The King's final year with Marvel included the launch of Devil Dinosaur and Machine Man.

In celebration of Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday, we’re been reviewing the man’s legendary creations with a year-by-year examination of his unparalleled career at Marvel Comics. Read on for our final installment of the History of Kirby and witness more of the work that made him comic book royalty.

Though wrapping up what would be his last year of work for Marvel in 1978, Jack Kirby’s creativity reached an amazing new plateau as he debuted two new series as well as two singularly fantastic standalone projects.

Jack kicked off the year with his last cover for perhaps his greatest co-creation of all time. FANTASTIC FOUR #190 showed off the team surrounded by symbolic shots of their major arch-enemies, a fitting illustration for the artist to end on. Later, seemingly not done with the idea of the Fantastic Four, Jack wrote and drew WHAT IF? #11, a fun take on the first family of super heroes that replaced Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Girl, the Human Torch, and the Thing with the real-life Marvel Bullpen staff of Stan Lee, Flo Steinberg, Sol Brodsky, and Jack himself.

What If? (1977) #11

What If? (1977) #11

  • Published: October 10, 1978
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: September 17, 2008
  • Writer: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Stan and Jack also collaborated on an immense project, their last as a duo. The SILVER SURFER graphic novel of 1978, written by “The Man” and illustrated by “the King,” took readers on a far-flung “Ultimate Cosmic Experience” with the Surfer to pit him once again versus the world-eating Galactus. One of the very first graphic novels ever, the tome ended up in bookstores, bringing Marvel into a whole new arena.

Jack brought his two series from the previous year, ETERNALS and BLACK PANTHER to an end in 1978, or at least to a stopping point for himself. In ETERNALS #19, he drew the climax of a gigantic, sprawling battle between the various races in the saga, and over in BLACK PANTHER he fit in T’Challa’s origin story, a new team called the Musketeers, a first-time villain called Kiber the Cruel, and new psychic powers for the titular hero.

Devil Dinosaur (1978) #1

Devil Dinosaur (1978) #1

  • Published: April 10, 1978
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 08, 2009
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Never content with resting on his laurels, Jack also launched DEVIL DINOSAUR and spun MACHINE MAN out of his 2001 series. DEVIL DINOSAUR related the ongoing plight of Moonboy, an early relative to man, and a crimson dinosaur called Devil as they made their way through a prehistoric landscape to clash with fiends and foes along the way. In MACHINE MAN, Jack told the tale of X-51, a self-sentient robot that searched for his identity and his place in the world while fighting various factions that would end his quest.

As the year came to a close, Jack Kirby looked beyond comics to new horizons and, for a time, left the industry to pursue work in the ever-growing animation business. Eventually, he returned to his first love, comic books, and continued to build upon the legacy he crafted at Marvel with projects at new companies just starting out on their journeys.

Machine Man (1978) #1

Machine Man (1978) #1

Read More

The King gives Black Panther a new series, introduces Machine Man, and more.

In celebration of Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday, we’re reviewing the man’s legendary creations with a year-by-year examination of his unparalleled career at Marvel Comics. Read on and witness the work that made him comic book royalty.

As the world grooved to the space opera glories of a little film called “Star Wars” in 1977, on the comics scene Marvel reminded readers that one of the original creators of “cosmic” worked under their roof. In the Second Marvel Age of Kirby, Jack added another title to his repertoire, bringing the count up to four ongoing books that year.

Black Panther (1977) #1

Black Panther (1977) #1

  • Published: January 10, 1977
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Writer: Jack Kirby
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Returning to one of his most important co-creations, Jack launched BLACK PANTHER to spotlight the amazing character of the same name he introduced with writer Stan Lee back in the halcyon days of FANTASTIC FOUR. Wasting no time, Jack tossed fans down the rabbit hole for a wild ride alongside T’Challa with the mystery of the Brass Frogs beginning in BLACK PANTHER #1 and a subsequent visit to King Solomon’s tomb in BLACK PANTHER #2, a fight with a yeti in BLACK PANTHER #5, and a the revelation of the first Panther and the origin of Wakanda’s vibranium in BLACK PANTHER #7.

Jack flew his patriotic hero down to a small South American nation in CAPTAIN AMERICA #206 and a battle with its dictator the Swine. One of the craziest Kirby designs ever reared its strange head in CAPTAIN AMERICA #208 with the debut of the evil Arnim Zola, and Jack came full circle with the return of the Red Skull in CAPTAIN AMERICA #210. Alas, despite these successes, he wrapped up his third tenure with Steve Rogers in CAPTAIN AMERICA #214.

Captain America (1968) #214

Captain America (1968) #214

  • Published: October 10, 1977
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: September 17, 2008
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Over in Jack’s ode to “ancient astronauts, ETERNALS, he continued to roll out some of his most incredible, mind-blowing concepts, such as the space-spanning Celestials, the devious Deviants, the thought-provoking Uni-Mind, and even a combat-ready Hulk robot in ETERNALS #14.

Though 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY closed its pages for good with issue #10, Jack still managed to introduce a character in the series that transcended his first story and went on to become a star, Machine Man.

Read More

The King returns to Cap, launches The Eternals and adapts a sci-fi classic.

In celebration of Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday, we’re reviewing the man’s legendary creations with a year-by-year examination of his unparalleled career at Marvel Comics. Read on and witness the work that made him comic book royalty.

What better year for Jack “King” Kirby, co-creator of one of the most famous patriotic super heroes ever, to return to Mighty Marvel than 1976, the Bicentennial of the founding of the United States?

Back from his stint at DC, Jack arranged to provide the House of Ideas with new stories, new books, and a new era of creativity, and with a special deal from him to write, draw, and edit his own projects, got down to work once more. To launch his second term at Marvel, he unleashed three special books.

Captain America (1968) #193

Captain America (1968) #193

  • Published: January 10, 1976
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: September 17, 2008
What is Marvel Unlimited?

First and foremost, Jack took up the task of directing his popular co-creation, Captain America. In CAPTAIN AMERICA #193, he unveiled the beginnings of a fantastic adventure for Cap and his partner the Falcon that would pit them against the Royalist Forces of America and culminate mid-year in the landmark CAPTAIN AMERICA #200. The two heroes slugged it out with General Heshin and his so-called “madbombs” across the country, providing ample opportunity for trademark Kirby action and spectacle, as well as new characters and concepts.

Jack also opened up a brand-new series that year, one that sprang from the then-controversial “ancient astronauts” craze. ETERNALS #1 took readers on a journey into Jack’s latest pantheon of super-beings, ones that resembled gods and who revealed the shadowy history of the human race on Earth. The designs for Ikaris, Mokkari, Sersi, and their brethren echoed all the great Kirby looks of the past, yet seemed wilder than ever. As it continued, the series detailed the two other races that, alongside mankind, made up a cosmology that its creator obviously relished and enjoyed unfolding.

Eternals (1976) #1

Eternals (1976) #1

  • Published: July 10, 1976
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Lastly, Jack wrote and drew an over-sized MARVEL TREASURY SPECIAL which adapted the 1969 science fiction film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and after its publication expanded upon the film’s ideas in a new ongoing title of the same name. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY #1 allowed Kirby the means to tell stories with themes he found interesting, yet also grounded in the same awe and wonder as seen on the big screen.

Read More

The King's Silver Age Marvel work comes to a close with a milestone for the Fantastic Four and more.

In celebration of Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday, we’re reviewing the man’s legendary creations with a year-by-year examination of his unparalleled career at Marvel Comics. Read on and witness the work that made him comic book royalty.

The year 1969 became a turning point in the career of Jack Kirby as the legendary artist began what would be his final Marvel projects during the Silver Age of Comics.

Jack wound down his output even more in the last year of the Swingin’ Sixties, passing CAPTAIN AMERICA off to newer artists like Barry Windsor Smith and concentrating on his landmarks, FANTASTIC FOUR and THOR. With Stan Lee, Jack dove into an appearance by the mysterious Inhumans in FANTASTIC FOUR #82, as well as a new Doctor Doom saga that began in FANTASTIC FOUR #84. Later in the year, he and Lee created a planet of Skrulls who’d adopted an early-20th century gangster lifestyle in FANTASTIC FOUR #92, which led to the Thing battling a fantastic new Kirby creation, the robot Torgo, in FANTASTIC FOUR #93.

In CAPTAIN AMERICA #109, jack provided a big send-off for the Sentinel of Liberty with a retelling of his origin, then returned for a single story of super heroes’ remembrances of Cap in CAPTAIN AMERICA #112.

Captain America (1968) #109

Captain America (1968) #109

  • Published: January 10, 1969
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

One Jack greatest co-creation, Galactus, returned in THOR #160 to bedevil the Thunder God as well as another Kirby stand-out character, Ego the Living Planet. Later, in THOR #165, Thor battle Him before Galactus returned once more to stomp his way through the rest of the year.

As 1970 dawned, Jack made plans to leave Marvel. He’d already logged artwork for upcoming issues of his books and finished more in the first few months of the year. This provided Marvel and its fans a few more chances to see “The King” on their favorite characters before his departure.

Fantastic Four (1961) #100

Fantastic Four (1961) #100

  • Published: July 10, 1970
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Jack had drawn many a spooky witch in his early days on monster and horror anthologies, but perhaps his superlative success with the them came in the form of Agatha Harkness, introduced in FANTASTIC FOUR #94. A few issues later, Stan and Jack celebrated one-hundred installments of “The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine” in FANTASTIC FOUR #100, and then followed that up with a clash between the FF and Namor the Sub-Mariner with his new ally Magneto.

Over in THOR, Jack surrounded the Thunder God with the flames of Surtur in THOR #176, and then ended his run on the book with the incredible cover of Thor in all his glory on THOR #177.

Thor (1966) #177

Thor (1966) #177

  • Published: June 10, 1970
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: June 24, 2011
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

One fascinating footnote of Jack’s last days at Marvel arrived in the form of a new anthology Stan called AMAZING ADVENTURES. In the first four issues, Jack not only drew an amazing solo adventure of his Inhumans, but also scripted it, too. This rare combination of writing and art put a singular capstone on Jack Kirby last collaborations with Marvel in the 1960s. From there, he made his way to DC, but by no means did he shut the door on ol’ Marvel for good…

Amazing Adventures (1970) #1

Amazing Adventures (1970) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?
Read More

Cap gets his own title, while the FF battle a bevy of heroes and much more!

In celebration of Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday, we’re reviewing the man’s legendary creations with a year-by-year examination of his unparalleled career at Marvel Comics. Read on and witness the work that made him comic book royalty.

Superstar artist Jack Kirby continued to focus on only a few books in 1968, but one character of his in particular received even more attention from “The King” that year. In all, 1968 would prove to be another standout time for Kirby designs.

Over in FANTASTIC FOUR #70, Jack played around with the look of Sue Richards’ costume, adding a kind of skirt motif to it. It didn’t last long overall, but one Kirby creation that seemed poised to launch even higher into the stratosphere of popularity called himself the Silver Surfer, and he returned in FANTASTIC FOUR #72.

Jack also got to draw some of the other Marvel stars in guest-shot appearances in FANTASTIC FOUR #73, aided writer-editor Stan Lee in Galactus’ latest mischief-making in FANTASTIC FOUR #74 and #75, and played around again with the Thing’s wish to change back to plain ol’ Ben Grimm permanently in FANTASTIC FOUR #78.

Perhaps the biggest news that year for FF fans arrived in Lee and Kirby’s FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #6 blockbuster. In it, Jack unleashed the spooky Annihilus, a weird insect-like tyrant who ruled over the Negative Zone and stood in the team’s way of securing a cure for Sue’s condition. What condition might that’ve been? None other than dangerous amounts of radiation in her body endangering the birth of her first child, Franklin Richards. Stan and Jack saw her through, though, and the old Kirby artistic touch seemed right at home at delineating babies.

To increase the tall tales inn the fabled halls of Asgard, Jack added the powerful, cosmic crowbar-wielding Wrecker to THOR #148, and designed a cool new monster, Mangog, for the Thunder God to lay the hammer down upon in THOR #154.

Jack’s World War II super hero soldier received his own title in 1968 when Lee converted his 11-page adventures in TALES OF SUSPENSE into a glorious 20-page Kirby extravaganza aptly named CAPTAIN AMERICA. Cap hit the ground running and jumping in CAPTAIN AMERICA #100 and enjoying the company of Stan and Jack’s Black Panther for a clash with the masked Baron Zemo. The Red Skull dropped in for another bout with his arch-nemesis in CAPTAIN AMERICA #101, and Jack whipped up a creepy headshrinker in the form of Doctor Faustus in CAPTAIN AMERICA #107.

The remainder of Jack’s free-time—ha ha—in 1968 rounded out with his usual layout service for other books, and also his incredible control over covers. Two such knock-outs that year must be the Daredevil-Captain America boxing match from DAREDEVIL #43, and the high-flying new cover for TALES OF ASGARD #1, which reprinted Stan and Jack’s back-up feature from THOR.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more on Jack Kirby and join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

Read More

Ulik, MODOK and the future Adam Warlock were all part of another great year for the King.

In celebration of Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday, we’re reviewing the man’s legendary creations with a year-by-year examination of his unparalleled career at Marvel Comics. Read on and witness the work that made him comic book royalty.

By 1967, Marvel editor Stan Lee knew exactly where to use his top artist, Jack Kirby. Together, “The Man” and “The King” whittled Jack’s output down to two main titles that year, with two main side-projects just to make things interesting. One might say it became a true “Summer of Love” between the Marvel creators and their fans at that time.

Stan and Jack continued to infuse FANTASTIC FOUR with way-out wonders and swingin’ splendors in ’67. They kicked off the year with a multi-issue tussle between the FF and Doctor Doom, and then wasted no time tossing them into a battle with the Negative Zone’s Blastaar in FANTASTIC FOUR #62, and the alien Kree Accuser named Ronin—another stand-out Kirby design—in FANTASTIC FOUR #65.

Though the fans might’ve been unaware of the history-making events occurring in FANTASTIC FOUR #67, Stan and Jack introduced another great concept in that issue’s “Him.” Jack’s visuals on the golden-skinned godling seemed a bit subdued and minimalistic, perhaps, but the character continued on to transform into Adam Warlock a few years later, one of Marvel’s most enigmatic yet engaging stars.

In the pages of THOR, Jack’s other blockbuster assignment, the Thunder God met his physical equal in Ulik the Troll in THOR #137, Kang and his Growing Man in THOR #140, and the Kirby tour-de-force of the Super-Skrull in THOR #142. Thor himself suffered under an almost-complete loss of his Asgardian powers in THOR #145, allowing Jack the opportunity to portray the majesty and grandeur of the character in an Earth-bound, civilian-dressed form.

After a break from Captain America’s adventures in TALES OF SUSPENSE, Jack returned to the strip along with Stan in TALES OF SUSPENSE #92 to kick off a storyline that illustrated the great depth of feeling from Cap for Agent-13, one of Nick Fury’s valued S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. After that, Cap met MODOK, surely the most unique Jack Kirby-designed character of the entire year, in TALES OF SUSPENSE #94, and temporarily retired to try and live a “normal life” in TALES OF SUSPENSE #95.

Apart form all the danger and drama delineated by Jack in 1967, he also poked some fun at himself and the rest of the Marvel pantheon through Stan’s latest brainchild, NOT BRAND ECHH, a comedy-parody mag. Utilizing Jack sparingly, but effectively, Stan included his star artist on the introduction of the Silver Burper in NOT BRAND ECHH #1, Sore, Son of Shmodin in NOT BRAND ECHH #3, and the ever-lovin’ origin of none other than Forbush-Man in NOT BRAND ECHH #5. What a way to go-go!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more on Jack Kirby and join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

Read More

The King helps introduce the Silver Surfer, Galactus, Black Panther and much more!

In celebration of Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday, we’re reviewing the man’s legendary creations with a year-by-year examination of his unparalleled career at Marvel Comics. Read on and witness the work that made him comic book royalty.

Imagine a year in which the entire comics industry changed, and for the better. While the rest of the world danced to the beat of the British Invasion, thrilled to spy adventures on the big screen, and smiled ear to ear from the high camp on their televisions in 1966, Jack Kirby stood in the middle of a bonafide revolution in comic books.

In FANTASTIC FOUR #48, Jack and Marvel editor-writer Stan Lee brought a silver star down from the heavens to change the life of their family of super heroes forever. Legends tell of Lee’s astonishment to see a silver man on a surfboard in Jack’s art for the issue, and asked who it might be. The artist figured their bran-new cosmic baddie, Galactus, needed a herald of sorts, and the Silver Surfer sprang to life before the writer’s eyes. Soon, the herald would eclipse his big, purple master in popularity, and Jack’s simple design would go down in comics history.

The so-called “Galactus Trilogy” of 1966 showcased other Kirby art flourishes, such as Galactus himself, sporting a look that could only be described as Galactic Chic a la Jack Kirby. As the story continued into FANTASTIC FOUR #49 and FANTASTIC FOUR #50, readers marveled at Galactus’ “attack dog,” his mind-boggling personal spacecraft, and the ultimate weirdness of the Ultimate Nullifier, the one device that set the world-devourer quaking in his space-booties. It’s hard to imagine any other artist illustrating the tale and it creating an indelible mark on comics still felt to this day.

If that didn’t constitute a revolution, Lee and Kirby wasted no time in filling the rest of the year with such triumphs as the poignant “This Man, This Monster” story of FANTASTIC FOUR #51, the ground-breaking introduction of the Black Panther in FANTASTIC FOUR #52, and the return of the Silver Surfer in FANTASTIC FOUR #55. Lee, knowing Jack’s penchant for delineating Doctor Doom, also arranged to end the year with the newest assault by the Latverian monarch in FANTASTIC FOUR #57.

Across the Rainbow Bridge in fabled Asgard, Stan and Jack promoted their Thunder God into his own book with THOR #126, and in an effort to put their star through his paces, tossed him into the fires of Pluto’s underworld to rescue the wayward Hercules. Jack’s art never looked better as he fashioned incredible set pieces to make us believe in Pluto’s evil and the fiery world around him. Thor later met a living planet named Ego in THOR #133, and pondered the mysteries of the High Evolutionary—another fantastic Kirby design—in THOR #134.

Jack’s inventiveness and creativity extended past his art, of course, and over a few issues of Nick Fury’s adventures, he proved it by not only co-plotting a few stories with Lee and others, but handling full scripting chores along with his cover and layouts on STRANGE TALES #147.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

Read More

Two of the Fantastic Four tie the knot, Hulk fights Thor, plus more!

In celebration of Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday, we’re reviewing the man’s legendary creations with a year-by-year examination of his unparalleled career at Marvel Comics. Read on and witness the work that made him comic book royalty.

Even a casual Marvel reader in 1965 might’ve believed that Jack Kirby worked on every single issue of every single title the House of Ideas published that year. The truth of it stands as something less than that, but Marvel editor and writer Stan Lee knew a good thing and ensured Jack’s presence across the line in varied ways, and with a concentration where the Kirby touch would bring comic book gold.

First and foremost, Lee and Kirby’s flagship book remained Jack’s true focus at the midpoint of the 1960s. In FANTASTIC FOUR #32, after a battle with the strange android Dragon Man, Reed Richards received the answer he’d hoped for from his marriage proposal to Sue Storm, setting up one of the true monumental moments in comic history: the wedding of Mr. Fantastic and The Invisible Girl in FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #3 that summer.

Not to rest on their laurels, Stan and Jack also introduced the Frightful Four in FANTASTIC FOUR #36, brought Daredevil in for a guest-spot in FANTASTIC FOUR #39, and following Gorgon’s introduction in FANTASTIC FOUR #44, unveiled their next big idea, the incredible Inhumans, in FANTASTIC FOUR #45 to round out the year.

Over in Thor’s universe, Jack illustrated one of the greatest clashes of comics, the Thor-Hulk match fans clamored for, in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #112, as well as designing a villain for the ages, Absorbing Man, for JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #114. In addition, Jack’s images of the robotic Destroyer impressed fans in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #118, but perhaps the real stand-out moment of the year in Thor’s world came in the introduction of Greek demi-god Hercules into the ongoing drama in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY ANNUAL #1.

Jack’s penciling duties for 1965 also extended into Captain America’s solo series in TALES OF SUSPENSE. For the first part of the year he produced covers and simple layouts for others to follow, but for his and Stan’s powerful team-up between Cap and Nick Fury in TALES OF SUSPENSE #78, he provided full interior art. From there, the duo planted dynamite under Cap’s world with the return of The Red Skull in TALES OF SUSPENSE #79, and the amazing Cosmic Cube saga beginning in TALES OF SUSPENSE #80.

Speaking of Nick Fury, Jack’s visions of technological wonders expanded exponentially when he and Stan promoted the sergeant into their newest concept, S.H.I.E.L.D., in the landmark STRANGE TALES #135. For the next several issues of the mag, Jack would do layouts and covers, helping guide his former World War II star into the Swingin’ Sixties.

Jack relinquished penciling chores on AVENGERS in 1965, but also helped out with layouts and covers, same as with SGT. FURY and TALES TO ASTONISH. Over in UNCANNY X-MEN he worked to illustrate the memorable meeting of the young mutants and the Avengers to fruition in X-MEN #9, and introduce the savage Ka-Zar in X-MEN #10.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

Read More

Captain America returns, Hulk battles Thing, plus so much more!

In celebration of Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday, we’re reviewing the man’s legendary creations with a year-by-year examination of his unparalleled career at Marvel Comics. Read on and witness the work that made him comic book royalty.

As the House of Ideas scored more hits in the first few years of the still-young Marvel Universe, Jack Kirby’s project load began to transform. By 1964 he no longer spent time on romance books and Westerns represented a very small percentage of his output. The words of the day became super heroes, and perhaps the greatest example of that among Jack’s 1964 successes stood with the return of Captain America.

Jack’s 1940s patriotic co-creation with Joe Simon exploded onto the swingin’ 60s scene in a fitting place: AVENGERS #4. Kirby’s big hit, along with writer-editor Stan Lee, represented the biggest and the best heroes around, so Cap fit right in. Once the team pulled him from the ice he’d been stuck in since the end of World War II, the Star-Spangled Sentinel of Liberty set off to the races and it seemed like Jack’d never stopped drawing him in action.

Together with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Captain America faced off against the Masters of Evil in AVENGERS #6, Kang the Conqueror in AVENGERS #8, and the mysteriously powerful Wonder Man in AVENGERS #9. And if readers couldn’t get enough of the returned crusader, Jack and Stan spun him off into his own solo adventures later in the year with TALES OF SUSPENSE #59.

The duo’s other big hit, FANTASTIC FOUR, entered into its third year with a big bang provided by The Thing battling The Hulk in FANTASTIC FOUR #25, and the entire cast of the Avengers joining in the fun in FANTASTIC FOUR #26. Artistically, Benjamin J. Grimm’s visual look continued to evolve and it became evident that the scrappy, sarcastic Thing stood as a stand-in for his artistic co-creator.

Over in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY, Jack returned to providing the interior art for Thor’s adventures with JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #101. From that moment on, he and Stan launched a long stretch of stories that took the Thunder God beyond mere earthbound menaces and into the fabled realm of mythology and beyond. JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #103 provided a look at Jack’s designs for the wily Enchantress and her bodyguard The Executioner, and JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #109 shared the story of Thor’s clash with Magneto, sworn enemy of another group of the artist’s super hero creations.

Besides loaning Magneto to Thor’s title, the X-Men continued to enjoy Jack’s artwork in 1964. UNCANNY X-MEN #3 introduced the blustering Blob, and in UNCANNY X-MEN #4 the Master of Magnetism unveiled his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, which just happened to include Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch, who’d soon embark on a path of heroism that would lead to the Avengers’ door.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

Read More

Celebrate the King’s career in a year-by-year look at his Marvel work!

In celebration of Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday, we’re reviewing the man’s legendary creations with a year-by-year examination of his unparalleled career at Marvel Comics. Read on and witness the work that made him comic book royalty.

Though Jack Kirby’s history with Marvel Comics stretches back to the early 1940s when he co-created Captain America, the dawn of the 1960s saw “The King” help form the foundation of the Marvel Universe—and ultimately catapulted him to the legendary status he holds today.

The introduction of Captain America—which Kirby spearheaded alongside his partner Joe Simon in 1941—also occurred around the same time that Jack met a young man named Stanley Lieber, a budding creator who’d one day rename himself Stan Lee. Little did the two know that 20 years after their introduction, from late 1962 through the end of 1963, Jack and Stan’s collaborative output would stagger the industry in its unprecedented longevity and depth of creativity.

It all began, of course, with FANTASTIC FOUR #1. Jack designed characters for a new team that emulated facets of books he’d worked on in the years before—choosing to include elements of suspense, romance, and most importantly, monsters. The series whipped up wildfire among readers, with Stan and Jack wasting no time in filling each issue with expansive concepts and the underpinnings of a larger universe.

FANTASTIC FOUR #2 introduced the shape-shifting Skrulls, FANTASTIC FOUR #3 gave the quartet of heroes costumes and equipment, and FANTASTIC FOUR #4 revived Golden Age character Namor the Sub-Mariner as a villain. Once FANTASTIC FOUR #5 unveiled a new baddie named Doctor Doom, Stan and Jack immediately teamed him with Namor to inaugurate Marvel’s first bona-fide super villain team-up.

Jack stayed with the monster theme—thanks to the Thing’s instant popularity in the pages of FANTASTIC FOUR—and offered up a not-so-jolly green giant to complement Stan’s prose with INCREDIBLE HULK #1. The series bravely asked readers to allow a brutish behemoth to act as a hero in his own adventures—and Jack endowed the beast with not only the features of a Frankenstein Monster, but also the soul of the scientist trapped inside.

Larger-than-life central protagonists seemed the way forward for Marvel, so Stan and Jack looked to their fondness for mythology for the next bold idea in 1963. They converted the long-running thriller series JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY into a vehicle for a new version of the Norse god Thor, and in doing so, gifted Jack with far-flung realms to draw that would dovetail with his grandiose imagination. After Thor debuted in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #83, the sky served as no limit as to where the creative duo might go.

After telling the tale of a simple man trapped in an underground world in TALES TO ASTONISH #27, Stan and Jack decided to fashion the character into a super hero, complete with the power to shrink and control insects. Ant-Man stepped into the ever-growing Marvel Universe in TALES TO ASTONISH #35, sporting futuristic technology and yet another unique Kirby costume.

Incredibly, beyond these fantastic firsts, Jack still maintained his regular art chores in 1962 and 1963 on such books as KID COLT OUTLAW, TALES OF SUSPENSE, and more than one romance title, making him one of the most prolific creators in all of comics.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

Read More