A founding father of the Marvel Universe takes his place during the D23 Expo!

This July, Jack Kirby will be honored for his remarkable creative achievements as a Disney Legend in a ceremony to be held at D23 Expo: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event in Anaheim, California.  Hosted by Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger, the Disney Legends Award ceremony will take place at 10 AM on Friday, July 14, in Hall D23 during D23 Expo 2017.

Jack Kirby first grabbed our attention in the spring of 1941 with Captain America, a character he created with Joe Simon.  Kirby then followed this debut with a prolific output of comic books in the Western, Romance, and Monster genres–all a prelude to his defining work helping to create the foundations of the Marvel Universe.  For the next decade, Kirby and co-creator Stan Lee would introduce a mind-boggling array of new characters and teams—including the Avengers, Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Silver Surfer, Ant-Man, Wasp, Black Panther, S.H.I.E.L.D., and the Inhumans.  Kirby was inducted into the Eisner Hall of Fame’s 1987 inaugural class and continued creating comics throughout the ’90s before passing away in 1994.

Other honorees of this year’s Legends Award are Carrie Fisher, Clyde “Gerry” Geronimi, Manuel Gonzales, Mark Hamill, Stan Lee, Garry Marshall, Julie Taymor, and Oprah Winfrey.

Please join us as we honor Jack Kirby as he is inducted as a prestigious Disney Legend at D23 Expo 2017. For more information about the Disney Legends and D23 Expo, visit D23expo.com.

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Jack Kirby ends his time with T’Challa by pitting the hero against a matter-manipulator!

Read through some of T’Challa’s most thrilling adventures on Marvel Unlimited to mark Black Panther’s 50th anniversary!

In the wake of stopping Jakarra’s attack on the Great Mound, T’Challa found himself dealing with a newfound power: ESP! While continuing to heal in the care of his cousin Joshua Itobo, the King suffered from horrible dreams that introduced him to his soon-to-be foe Kiber!

Their other cousin Khanata turned out to be the first of the family to meet Kiber, however. While on one of his drives, the young man stopped to mentally plan a Wakandan race track only to get captured by some of the villain’s minions.

As T’Challa searched for him, Khanata witnessed Kiber’s plan which involved taking human beings, putting them in a machine, and converting them into energy that the tyrant would then use to power himself.

Black Panther (1977) #11

Black Panther (1977) #11

  • Published: September 10, 1978
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: September 17, 2008
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Before long, the Panther fought Kiber’s henchmen who got the drop on him and took him to their leader. Once there, T’Challa used his telepathic powers to get Khanata to lead a revolt with his fellow prisoners that helped cause a huge distraction.

In the final issue, Panther discovered Kiber’s true form and eventually made off with the souls of the people he converted to energy, saving Khanata and his fellow captives in the process.

Secrets of Wakanda

You probably noticed that Kirby himself didn’t actually write or draw BLACK PANTHER #13. Those responsibilities fell to Jim Shooter and Ed Hannigan with art from Jerry Bingham. The series itself actually continued on for two more issues with #14 and #15 that saw Panther open a Wakandan consulate in New York City which just so happens to play home to the Thunderbolts gang and their new living weapon: Klaw! Luckily the Avengers stand ready to help out!

Next, Christopher Priest introduces a brand new Black Panther as his run on the hero’s book winds down to its conclusion.

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On Friday August 28, anybody who has ever enjoyed a Marvel comic, movie, TV show, or character should take a moment to wish a happy 98th birthday to the one and only Jack Kirby, one of comics’ all-time greatest creators and a pillar of the House of Ideas. All-week long to celebrate, Marvel.com will be featuring the best of “The King,” with interviews, art, stories, and more! Visit marvel.com/kirbyweek!

Also be sure to check out and support Kirby4Heroes, a special campaign to raise money in Jack’s honor for the Hero Initiative founded by his granddaughter Jillian! Visit kirby4heroes.com and Facebook.com/Kirby4Heroes, and watch this special Kirby4Heroes spotlight video produced by The Nerdist

If you see Jack Kirby’s name on a piece of work in any medium, you can count on quality. If you start now and read every comic “The King” ever contributed to, it’s a worthwhile endeavor.

To provide some help, though, here’s some essential Kirby to get you going…

Captain America Comics

Along with Joe Simon, Kirby created Captain America and made him one of the most popular stalwarts of the Golden Age of Comics. Whether pitted against the Red Skull or a variety of Axis menaces, Cap under Kirby’s pencil embodied action and excitement.

Atlas Comics

While he made his name largely in super heroes, “The King” spent much of the 1950’s working on titles like STRANGE TALES, TALES OF SUSPENSE, and TALES TO ASTONISH. The results: Fin Fang Foom, Groot, and a cavalcade of memorable monsters.

Fantastic Four

With Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Girl, The Human Torch, and The Thing, Kirby and Stan Lee ushered in the Marvel Universe we know and love. Over the course of 102 consecutive issues along with six Annual specials, the duo dreamt up the likes of Doctor Doom, Galactus, The Silver Surfer, the Inhumans, and literal dozens more.

Incredible Hulk

Kirby and Lee created a modern day Jekyll and Hyde in The Hulk, Bruce Banner’s bestial alter ego. Jack would utilize his monster-drawing experience on the Jade Giant’s initial six-issue run.

Thor

Fittingly, “The King of Comics” took delight in crafting the adventures of a god, both on Earth and in the Golden Realm of Asgard. Kirby introduced scores of allies and enemies for the God of Thunder, plus enchanted hammers, rainbow bridges, and much more.

Captain America

Kirby enlisted for a second tour of duty on one of his original creation, both writing and drawing the Sentinel of Liberty during the 1970’s. The reunited duo contended with the likes of Arnim Zola, Madbombs, and more!

Eternals

Taking his work with Thor to the next level, Kirby imagined an entire pantheon of gods and a new mythology residing within the Marvel Universe. From the towering Celestials to the heroic Ikaris to the mischievous Sersi, the Eternals launched some of Marvel’s most underrated and imaginative characters and concepts.

Black Panther

After bringing T’Challa to life years earlier, “The King” took another crack at the King of Wakanda during his 70’s tenure at Marvel, providing the Black Panther with some of his most seminal exploits.

King-Size Kirby

King-Size Kirby

King-Size Kirby

Looking for a massive collection of “The King” all in one place? This enormous hardcover tome should hit the spot!

The Marvel Legacy of Jack Kirby

The Marvel Legacy of Jack Kirby

The Marvel Legacy of Jack Kirby

To finish off your Jack Kirby odyssey, learn more about the man itself, check out this collection of art, biography, commentary, and a great article from his son, Neal.

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On Friday August 28, anybody who has ever enjoyed a Marvel comic, movie, TV show, or character should take a moment to wish a happy 98th birthday to the one and only Jack Kirby, one of comics’ all-time greatest creators and a pillar of the House of Ideas. All-week long to celebrate, Marvel.com will be featuring the best of “The King,” with interviews, art, stories, and more! Visit marvel.com/kirbyweek!

Also be sure to check out and support Kirby4Heroes, a special campaign to raise money in Jack’s honor for the Hero Initiative founded by his granddaughter Jillian! Visitkirby4heroes.com and Facebook.com/Kirby4Heroes, and watch this special Kirby4Heroes spotlight video produced by The Nerdist

To list off all the Marvel characters that Jack Kirby had a hand in creating would be like trying to count the stars in the nighty sky.

However, the Marvel.com staff got together and narrowed down our 10 favorite characters “The King” had a role in bringing to life. Share your own lists with us on Twitter using the hashtag #kirbyweek!

10. The Black Panther

10. The Black Panther

10. The Black Panther

Kirby imbued the first prominent African hero in comics with a combination of ferocity and regality that has made T’Challa unique through the years. “The King” made a simple ebony jumpsuit with a pair of ears look like the baddest outfit around.

9. Thor

9. Thor

9. Thor

The mighty God of Thunder brought out the epic sides of Stan Lee and especially Jack Kirby, who delighted in not only presenting a very different Thor than the one who originated in Norse mythology, but designing Asgard and its extensive cast. Everything from Mjolnir to Bifrost and every Frost Giant in between shows off Kirby’s flair for conveying power and glory.

8. M.O.D.O.K.

8. M.O.D.O.K.

8. M.O.D.O.K.

M.O.D.O.K.: the kind of creation that could only have sprung from Kirby’s imagination. The grotesque giant floating head with tiny arms and legs makes the Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing one of the most unique designs by “The King,” the type that a lesser artist may have made into a joke—but under Kirby’s pencil, M.O.D.O.K. carried a deranged, homicidal air like none other.

7. Doctor Doom

7. Doctor Doom

7. Doctor Doom

Living up to such a menacing moniker would prove difficult for an artist, but not for “King” Kirby. The cold steel of Doom’s armor conveys the power and impending destruction, while a green cape heightened the nobility and ostentatious nature of Latveria’s tyrant. Few characters invoke the fear and forthcoming despair like Doom, proving again Kirby’s skills at creating both good and evil.

6. The Avengers

6. The Avengers

6. The Avengers

United by a chance encounter with Loki, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Ant-Man and Wasp formed a legacy that continues to evolve in all mediums. The various characters showcased Kirby’s diverse skills that filled every single panel to the brim with action and excitement, no matter what foe Earth’s Mightiest Heroes faced.

5. Iron Man

5. Iron Man

5. Iron Man

A suit of iron that can fly and fire beams of energy makes for an exciting enough hero, but the man inside the armor creates a legend. Tony Stark’s resources also meant Kirby and others could redesign the suit for any occasion, allowing “The King” to experiment and reinvent Iron Man to reflect the evolving character inside.

4. The Fantastic Four

4. The Fantastic Four

4. The Fantastic Four

As he ascended to new heights of his career, Kirby imbued Marvel’s First Family with dynamic personalities that rang true, particularly the tough-talking, but kind-hearted Thing, whom he had a personal affinity for. The creative explosiveness of “The King” helped the FF kickstart the modern Marvel Universe.

3. Galactus

3. Galactus

3. Galactus

At first, the idea of making a giant man in a purple skirt a menacing villain seems challenging…but not to “The King.” Kirby’s incredible, dynamic design for Galactus instantly leaves a powerful and ominous impression on anyone who first glances the Devourer of Worlds. All Galactus needs to do is show up on the page and the stakes of any story instantly skyrocket, all without anyone saying a word.

2. The Hulk

2. The Hulk

2. The Hulk

He’s big, he’s mean, and he’s grey. Well, in his first appearance, at least. Only Kirby could take a man, unleash his more primal, powerful emotions, and turn him into one of the most beloved monster in any medium. Even his co-creator could never predict how many readers connected with this “strangest man of all time” for decades nor how many would question the durability of Hulk’s pants.

1. Captain America

1. Captain America

1. Captain America

Kirby and collaborator Joe Simon just wanted somebody to punch Hitler in the face; they ended up with one of pop culture’s most enduring icons. Jack’s first major Marvel creation, Captain America had a personal significance to the hardluck kid who had fought in World War II himself for the ideals of freedom and justice. Years later, Kirby’s Cap still inspires.

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The King of Comics' granddaughter continues his charitable legacy with the Hero Initiative!

On Friday August 28, anybody who has ever enjoyed a Marvel comic, movie, TV show, or character should take a moment to wish a happy 98th birthday to the one and only Jack Kirby, one of comics’ all-time greatest creators and a pillar of the House of Ideas. All-week long to celebrate, Marvel.com will be featuring the best of “The King,” with interviews, art, stories, and more! Visit marvel.com/kirbyweek!

Also be sure to check out and support Kirby4Heroes, a special campaign to raise money in Jack’s honor for the Hero Initiative founded by his granddaughter Jillian! Visit kirby4heroes.com and Facebook.com/Kirby4Heroes, and watch this special Kirby4Heroes spotlight video produced by The Nerdist

At the age of 16, Jillian Kirby, granddaughter of legendary creator Jack Kirby, founded Kirby4Heroes, a charity to support the Hero Initiative, a non-profit organization to help those in the comics industry fallen on hard times and in need of medical and financial assistance. In this way, Ms. Kirby continues the charitable legacy of her grandfather, whose own door always remained open to those in need.

As she prepares to mark another year of Kirby4Heroes’ fund-raising, Jillian Kirby took a moment to reflect upon both her work for the charity and Jack’s spirit of giving.

Marvel.com: Jillian, you were a busy high school student when you founded Kirby4Heroes, and a busy college student now; how did it come about and how did you know you could make it work and still maintain your education and personal life?

Jillian Kirby: First and foremost, I was raised by both sides of my family in an atmosphere of charity, giving to those in need, and giving back to the community. My parents, Connie and Neal Kirby, are the biggest influences in my life. My mother is a Speech and Language Pathologist, who passionately serves elementary school children with speech and language difficulties and who might also suffer from Autism, emotional problems, or Attention Deficit Disorder. Many times, she has given a voice to children who cannot speak a word. A previous job involved serving children in juvenile detention centers, giving them hope for a future outside of prison. The kindheartedness and selflessness she has shown has inspired me to enter into a profession that ultimately benefits others. My father is a science teacher who also loves working with children, awakening in them an enthusiasm for science many have not experienced. His devotion and knowledge also awakened in me a passion for math and science. Both my parents, in their chosen professions and at home with me, are the best role models and heroes I could possibly have.

My other grandfather, Gene Oliva, had a very successful career in public relations in New York City, working tirelessly as my grandfather Jack Kirby did. He was a true mentor to those starting out in the field, sharing his creativity and enthusiasm. My grandmother, Ruth Oliva, epitomized public service. She served on her town board as a Councilwoman and Deputy Town Supervisor. In addition, she was a tireless voluntary advocate for environmentalism and preserving the quality of life on the North Fork of Long Island. I never saw her sit still except to eat dinner. What an example she set! I am proud that a county nature preserve, Ruth Oliva Preserve at Dam Pond, was named and dedicated in her honor after she passed away.

My grandfather, Jack Kirby, a WWII combat veteran and member of the “Greatest Generation”, to me serves as a role model in terms of his acts of valor and bravery during the war. In addition, one aspect of his status as a role model for my family and myself is his charitable works. Throughout his life, by giving to charity and to his temple, my grandfather embodied the very generous and giving nature that I hope to expand upon. His comic books reached out to so many children, and helped many through difficult times. He was humble and never refused to talk to any of his fans.

And, my grandmother, Roz Kirby, was a hero, true and steadfast to my grandfather. Her devotion to him allowed my grandfather to follow his passion; another example of selflessness. I am proud to call each and every one of them my grandparent; they have all had a very positive impact on my life. They are all heroes.

My grandfather Jack Kirby died the year before I was born.  Prior to entering my senior year of high school in 2012, I was searching for a way to make more of a personal connection with him.  In addition to family stories over the years, I had just read my father’s article “Growing Up Kirby: The Marvel Memories of Jack Kirby’s Son” published on the LA Times Hero Complex website, which brought tears to my eyes. The connection with my grandfather grew even more from this, and I wanted to take it one step further.  I thought the best way to honor his legacy as a grandfather and as a creator in the industry he helped shape would be through some type of charitable work.  This led me to look at charities benefitting the comic book industry.  I was surprised to find there were only two: the Hero Initiative and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. After researching the Hero Initiative, I found it so tragic when I discovered that there were so many people in the comic book industry without a financial safety net. The Hero Initiative, which is the only federally registered nonprofit organization that provides medical and financial assistance to comic book creators, writers and artists, is definitely a cause that my grandfather would have championed.

Going into this campaign, I knew it would take an enormous amount of hard work. Hard work is something that is in my DNA, it runs on both sides of my family. I know from the examples set by my family that you can achieve anything you want if you work hard. I used my grandfather Gene’s lessons from public relations in creativity, organization, planning and follow through. Further researching convinced me that my grandpa Jack was held in such high esteem by his peers, past and present and I felt confident that I could ignite the campaign with initial support within the comic book industry. My grandfather was known to have a very strong connection with fans of all ages, spanning several generations. Somehow I knew I would be able to start by recruiting their help and support.

Though the Kirby4Heroes campaign is a year-round effort, it really heats up in June and reaches its zenith on my grandfather’s birthday, August 28th. Having a full-time job during the summer, in addition to managing the campaign, is definitely a balancing act! Unlike most teenagers, whose parents often delegate to them, sometimes I’m delegating certain Kirby4Heroes responsibilities to my parents during the hectic summer months. This has proved necessary and definitely helpful since the campaign has grown so much since its inception in 2012. I really appreciate my parents for their continuous support! September through May are much less intense months. However, as a biomedical engineering major entering my junior year of college—Iron Man, Ant-Man, need a new suit?—sometimes even just maintaining my Kirby4Heroes Facebook and Twitter pages on a daily basis can be a challenge! I try to do my best during these months to honor my grandfather’s legacy by continuing the enthusiasm for my campaign and the Hero Initiative on social media.  

Marvel.com: That’s an incredible legacy. How would you describe the growth of the charity since its inception? What do you attribute it to?

Jillian Kirby: My 2012 Kirby4Heroes campaign included comic book retailers throughout the state of California, as well as the first Wake Up And Draw event (WUAD), sponsored by Hero Initiative. This event recruited comic book artists from across the country to create works of art on my grandfather’s birthday. These pieces were later auctioned off, with the proceeds going to Hero Initiative. In that first year, the Kirby4Heroes campaign raised $5000 for the Hero Initiative.

In 2013, my Kirby4Heroes campaign grew with the addition of a Kirby4Heroes public Facebook page. Because of the generous donation of time, effort and support from Bill Cucinotta and Gerry Giovinco of CO2 Comics, a Kirby4Heroes web site was created. Comic book retailers across the country were recruited, and WUAD, with [Hero Initiative’s] Jim McLauchlin’s persistence, was expanded through the voluntary participation of many more talented artists. This increased my fundraising efforts, raising $10,000 for the Hero Initiative!

Last year in 2014, artist Phil Hester created 97 different pieces of Kirby-themed art to auction off for my grandfather’s 97th birthday, raising over $3000! He pulled a marathon of an all-nighter working on these creations, live tweeting with lighthearted humor throughout the night, which truly increased individual participation and enthusiasm for the event! And there’s more! Yet another event spearheaded by the upstate New York team of Ron Marz, comic book writer, and Paul Harding, comic book artist, with participation of comic book retailers, threw a party in commemoration of my grandfather’s birthday at a local venue and raised over $2000 for the Hero Initiative. The event, celebrating the legacy of my grandfather Jack, was featured on National Public Radio! They characterized August 28th as a movement that is spreading throughout the country to become “National Jack Kirby Day”! My grandfather would have been astounded!

Also, a group of major comic book artists made appearances at comic book stores to participate in Wake Up and Draw. The revered inker Joe Sinnott created a work of art as a heartfelt tribute to my grandfather to be auctioned off for the Hero Initiative.  In addition, global outreach for the campaign increased, with events at the Moebius Liceo Gallery in Buenos Aires, an appearance by comic book artist Joe Prado at a comic book retailer in San Paolo, Brazil, a major fan Facebook page in France dedicated solely to the works of my grandfather, and comic book artists in France and Italy that created Kirby-inspired works for auction. In total, the Kirby4Heroes campaign raised almost $15,000 in 2014! 

Currently, my 2015 campaign is off and running! I am again working with major comic book retailers, not only in California, but also across the country. Many will be donating a percentage of their sales or profits on my grandfather Jack Kirby’s 98th birthday, August 28th, to the Hero Initiative, publicizing my campaign on their web sites and Facebook pages, and using in-store posters and collection jar labels that I have provided. Some will be hosting “birthday parties,” enlisting known comic book artists to draw in their stores with the work to be auctioned off either in their stores or as part of WUAD on eBay. Others will be holding raffles with the proceeds donated to the Hero Initiative. Phil Hester will once again participate with his crazy nonstop drawing, this time creating 98 pieces for my grandfather’s 98th birthday! Also this year, certain comic book retailers coast-to-coast, and Kansas too, will be broadcasting podcasts featuring comic book artists talking about my grandfather and Kirby4Heroes.

I am so excited that my 2015 Kirby4Heroes campaign will also have the official endorsement of ComicsPRO, the only professional trade organization for comic book retailers. Marco Davanzo, the Executive Director—and owner of Alakazam Comics in Irvine, CA—was instrumental in facilitating this arrangement. With over 130 members representing over 200 stores nationwide, I expect ComicsPRO to be a great resource and support. Within hours of Marco publicizing the campaign to ComicsPRO members, I began receiving requests by comic book retailers to be involved in my Kirby4Heroes campaign. It’s thrilling that my Kirby4Heroes campaign is receiving such enthusiastic support by members of the comic book community.

Since my campaign’s inception in June 2012, the support given to me by the LA Times Hero Complex and the Nerdist Channel has been instrumental in relaying my message to the comic book reading public, major comic book websites, and mainstream media outlets, increasing my fundraising outreach. My initial contacts, Geoff Boucher at the Hero Complex and Seth Laderman at Nerdist, provided such amazing guidance, mentorship and continuing support and enthusiasm which carries through to this year’s campaign. The LA Times Hero Complex again published a fantastic article about my 2015 Kirby4Heroes campaign, embedding the professionally produced and edited 2015 promotional YouTube video, released on the Nerdist Channel.

One of the most satisfying surprises from my 2014 campaign was the amount of personal donations in the name of Kirby4Heroes sent in to the Hero Initiative either by mail or on the Hero Initiative web site. The addition of my public Kirby4Heroes Facebook page in 2013 and its growth in 2014 greatly helped my fundraising efforts. This Facebook page is meant to serve as a type of personal Jack Kirby art museum. I try to keep my grandfather Jack’s legacy thriving through daily postings of his artwork. Comments made by the page’s followers are often both entertaining and educational.  They keep my grandfather’s spirit alive. The Facebook page allows followers to personally message me, which has become another avenue for outreach. Furthermore, a Kirby4Heroes Twitter account was created in 2014, which really heats up for my grandfather’s birthday on August 28th.

Innovative fundraising ideas contributed by many Jack Kirby fans continually assist the Kirby4Heroes campaign to expand and blossom! Watching this event spread from state to state, with the possibility of becoming a national or international event is my greatest dream leading up to my grandfather’s 100th birthday in 2017. I look forward to the culmination of a fantastic show of support on August 28th! Over the past three years the Kirby4Heroes campaign has been fortunate enough to raise over $30,000 for the Hero Initiative. This year, I’ve upped the ante to a fundraising goal of $20,000! 

Marvel.com: And what aspects of the 2015 campaign are you most excited about, and why?

Jillian Kirby: There are so many new and amazing aspects of Kirby4Heroes this year that it’s hard to pick just one!

Kirby4Heroes has the official endorsement of ComicsPRO, the only professional comic book retailer trade organization, which has greatly helped to expand the outreach of the campaign.  Because of this, new retailers have been reaching out to me, asking how they can get involved in Kirby4Heroes. It is also very gratifying to see Marvel devoting a week on their web site to my grandfather, his legacy and this campaign for the Hero Initiative for the first time! It touches my heart! 

Furthermore, I’m very much looking forward to August 28th, to see what is happening across the nation and globally for the Kirby4Heroes Wake Up And Draw event. The enthusiasm of the participating artists is evident on Twitter while they are in the process of creating and completing works of art in honor of my grandfather’s birthday. There are at least 70 artists and counting participating this year. I am contacted almost every day from another artist that wants to be involved in the campaign. Some individuals have reached out to me, noting that they don’t have the financial means to contribute to the Hero Initiative, but they contribute fantastic fundraising ideas. You can’t put a price on wonderful ideas that are volunteered to you!  

Marvel.com: Indeed! How best would you describe your grandfather’s own charity towards others? Where did it come from within him? 

Jillian Kirby: My grandfather was a Depression-era child who grew up in a Jewish neighborhood on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. His immigrant parents lived in very poor circumstances. Their family of four lived on the fifth floor of a walk-up tenement building. The apartment, if you could call it that, had but one window and no electricity. The entire family shared one bed. Can you imagine? My grandfather said that his only vacation growing up was to step out on the fire escape. Unlike most of his boyhood friends, he was very sensitive to the feelings of others. My grandfather has told this story, where the members of the street gang he belonged to were asked, for good luck, to rub the back of one of the boys who had a deformed spine, prior to fighting another street gang. Feeling sorry for this handicapped boy, my grandfather refused. Like Captain America, my grandfather always stood up for the little guy.  Many of Grandpa Jack’s friends went on to become gangsters or wind up dead or in prison. He didn’t, he chose the path of hard work. 

A wonderful example of my grandfather Jack’s charitable nature can be seen in an anecdote my father shared with me on many occasions. It took place during the Bar Mitzvah of my grandfather’s nephew in a Lower East Side Manhattan synagogue in the early 1960’s. After the service, his nephew’s family, being of modest means, had just a simple buffet served in the large entrance foyer of the synagogue. Noticing a homeless man standing in the open doorway, just looking in at the celebration, my grandfather Jack immediately walked over to the man, took him by the arm, led him into the room, sat him down at a table and served him a plate of food. Not a word was spoken between the two men.

My grandfather, himself having grown up in poverty, knew hunger. This act of kindness, typical of my grandfather, inspired me to raise money and awareness for the Hero Initiative, because a charity that helps others in the comic book community and gives aid to those in need exemplifies the devotion my grandfather Jack always had for his fellow man.  As a member of the Jewish community in Thousand Oaks, CA, my grandfather gave generously to various charities as well.

My grandfather Jack’s generosity was legendary in the comic book industry. He always gave encouragement to budding comic book artists asking for advice. He never turned away a fan! He maintained a public address and phone number available to all. This would be unheard of today! His Thousand Oaks home was famous as a haven for comic book lovers, fans, and those just seeking one of my grandma Roz’s famous bologna sandwiches! Over the course of his career, my grandfather received thousands of fan letters, to which he always personally replied.  He never hesitated to draw a sketch or sign an autograph when asked, whether by mail or at his home. 

Whether helping the little guy through acts of kindness, charity, or support, my grandpa Jack is my personal Captain America!

Marvel.com: Ah, that leads us to ask if you have a favorite Marvel character your grandfather played a role in creating?

Jillian Kirby: There are so many characters I enjoy, such as the Silver Surfer, the Incredible Hulk and the Invisible Woman, but if push came to shove, I would pick Captain America as my personal favorite—shout out to co-creator Joe Simon! Cap is everything my grandfather stood for: standing up for the little guy, protecting the weak, and his fierce patriotism was emblematic of America’s stand against tyranny during WWII! My grandfather, as a liberal Democrat, always identified with this character, which gives Captain America personal significance to me. I loved seeing Lewis Black mention the iconic CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1 cover showing Cap punching Hitler in the jaw on “The Daily Show”! We miss you Jon Stewart!

Marvel.com: Okay, many say they find something new in Jack’s art every time they peruse it; do you find that in your own case? What’s the most engaging element of it for you?  

Jillian Kirby: There are many aspects of my grandfather’s artwork that are engaging to me. The use of forced perspective for dramatic effect always wows me and makes his characters seem to jump off the page! Also, being an engineering student, every time I look at one of his technologically based drawings I notice new intricate details in the design of the drawing that I previously overlooked. His black and white pencil sketches truly resonate with me on a personal level because those were my grandfather’s original creations and ideas. Even without dialogue, his artwork always seems to tell a story, and I’m sure have served as storyboards for many super hero movies, which he would have loved.

As Brent Staples of the New York Times wrote, “He brought in a vibrant, cinematic style to the idiom and revolutionized it several times, working in romance, westerns, fantasy, and the [super hero] genre.”

Marvel.com: Finally, let’s look ahead to the 100th anniversary of Jack’s birth, what might we expect from you and the charity?

Jillian Kirby: Looking ahead to the future, I’m zeroing in on August 28th, 2017, my grandfather’s 100th birthday. Upon reaching my 2015 goal of $20,000 for the Hero Initiative, I will have brought in a total of $50,000 since my campaign’s inception in 2012. My target is to raise an additional $50,000 over the next two years. Upon my Grandpa Jack’s 100th birthday celebration in 2017, I will hopefully have been able to provide the Hero Initiative with $100,000 for their charitable works. It would also be wonderful to have fundraising events for Kirby4Heroes occurring in all 50 states to benefit the Hero Initiative by 2017.

Another one of my goals to honor my Grandpa Jack’s legacy is to increase outreach to the younger generation, using school art programs to educate students about my grandfather as an important 20th century American artist. To spread awareness of my grandfather’s influence as one of the most preeminent American pop culture artists of the 20th century, seeing his artwork displayed in several major art museums would be another amazing goal, enabling my grandfather and his legacy to be celebrated in the mainstream. As I feel my grandfather was an American Master artist and patriot, I would love to see PBS feature him in one of their inspirational “American Masters” documentaries. In addition, as Washington, DC represents the heart of our political process and my grandfather was a WWII combat veteran and fierce patriot, it would thrill me to see him given the very first posthumous Kennedy Center Honor.

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On Friday August 28, anybody who has ever enjoyed a Marvel comic, movie, TV show, or character should take a moment to wish a happy 98th birthday to the one and only Jack Kirby, one of comics’ all-time greatest creators and a pillar of the House of Ideas. All-week long to celebrate, Marvel.com will be featuring the best of “The King,” with interviews, art, stories, and more! Visit marvel.com/kirbyweek!

Also be sure to check out and support Kirby4Heroes, a special campaign to raise money in Jack’s honor for the Hero Initiative founded by his granddaughter Jillian! Visit kirby4heroes.com and Facebook.com/Kirby4Heroes, and watch this special Kirby4Heroes spotlight video produced by The Nerdist

Everyone’s got a favorite Kirby cover, even the mighty Marvel artists themselves.

With literally decades of Jack Kirby covers to choose from, it may seem a daunting task to zero in on one that encapsulates everything that’s great about the legendary artist’s style and vision. Undeterred by this, we pressed six of Marvel’s creative masters to look back over the years of Jack’s unequaled career and pick a favorite work…or two.

Paolo Rivera

FANTASTIC FOUR #50. It wasn’t the first appearance of the Silver Surfer, nor his first time on a cover, but it would soon become the archetype for every Surfer money-shot since. I think it would be an awkward pose in real life, but in Kirby’s reality it’s the epitome of speed, grace, and power. And who wouldn’t want to see Johnny’s first day of college?”

Walt Simonson

“I like a ton of Jack’s covers, but for the purposes of this exercise, I’ll choose the cover to JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #120, because it’s Thor, Mjolnir, the fires of the steel mills of Pittsburgh, the Absorbing Man, and it’s the first Marvel comic I ever bought!”

Eric Powell

“One of my favorites is FANTASTIC FOUR #12, with Kirby’s Frankenstein-ish Hulk. It’s not Kirby’s best illustration, but the graphic style of it is amazing. If you were a kid reading Marvel in the 1960’s, I can only imagine the excitement of seeing this cover and scrambling in your pocket for the 12 cents to see the Hulk fight the Thing.”

Francesco Francavilla

“My favorite Jack Kirby cover is actually a tie between FANTASTIC FOUR #1 and INCREDIBLE HULK #1. The FF has all you need to get excited about the book: giant monster, action, Human Torch drawing fire in the air. HULK shows the transformation right there, on the cover! Composition and colors make this look like a horror cover, which is probably why I love it so much.”

Cliff Chiang

Cliff Chiang

Cliff Chiang

“MACHINE MAN #1. It’s the first Jack Kirby comic I ever saw, and one of the first comics I ever read, so it’ll always be burned into my brain. As a professional, I can see why it captured my imagination: the hero’s front and center, his robot arm dynamically extending towards us while army guys with laser guns chase him. I wanna dig up my copy and read it right now.”

Michael Allred

“For sentimental reasons, FANTASTIC FOUR #49 is my favorite Kirby cover. The Galactus Trilogy is my all-time favorite story, and this was the first time both Galactus and the Silver Surfer appeared on a cover. My favorite Kirby monster cover would be JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #63, because I own the original art from a page of the cover story, drawn by Jack and inked by Steve Ditko.”

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Editor Jon Moisan speaks on gathering 26 of comics' greatest artists to honor 'The King' this October!

By JK Parkin

In addition to helping create many of Marvel’s most beloved super heroes back in the 1960’s, Jack Kirby also lent his genius to designing a seemingly endless number of monsters; creatures like Groot, Devil Dinosaur, Fin Fang Foom, and Rommbu. These figures menaced the pages of books like THOR, FANTASTIC FOUR, and BLACK PANTHER, as well as anthology series such as TALES TO ASTONISH and JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY.

This October, Marvel pays tribute to the “King of Comics” with a set of variant covers featuring 26 Kirby monsters, one for each letter of the alphabet, drawn by artists like Paul Pope, David Marquez, Mike Allred, John Cassaday, Eric Powell, and Francesco Francavilla, among many others.

Editor Jon Moisan, responsible for spearheading the project, said the idea came from Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso. After Alonso presented the concept at a meeting, Moisan chased him down the hallway to ask if he could head up the initiative.

“For me, Jack Kirby represents a huge part of what got me into comics,” Moisan says. “I grew up reading old Silver Age reprints, so Jack Kirby’s art has been permanently burned into my brain and still gets me excited to this day. And being able to work on the monsters he created is icing on the cake. I’m a huge monster nut, so being able to go to my favorite artists and tell them, ‘Hey, wanna draw a Kirby monster?’ is absolutely nutso fun.”

While each of Kirby’s monsters has a special place in Moisan’s heart, he named one in particular as his favorite:

“I’ve gotta go with Orrgo as my hands-down favorite monster. Not only does he have a crazy fun look, but he’s also one of the stars of the HOWLING COMMANDOS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. book I’m editing this fall. Gotta go with the home team, y’know?”

Moisan’s not the only fan of Kirby—he found 26 artists more than eager to contribute their renditions of the artistic icon’s monsters for this project.

“For this cover program, I really wanted to create a murderer’s row of artists, and I feel like that’s exactly what we have,” Moisan promises. “Putting people like Cliff Chiang, Eric Powell, and Geof Darrow on my wish list felt crazy at first, but as I started reaching out to people, I found out that most artists love Jack Kirby and these monsters as much as, if not more than. For most people, it really was a case of asking them if they wanted to draw a cool-looking monster.”

Moisan presented the artists with a list and them pick the monster they wanted to draw.

“The most surprising thing was seeing which artists gravitated toward which monsters,” Moisan relates. “I thought for sure I would get 26 people wanting to draw Devil Dinosaur and Fin Fang Foom, but lots of people jumped at the chance to draw monsters like Infant Terrible and Xemnu.”

Even with 26 monsters on the list, it still only scratches the surface of all the creatures Kirby created. Moisan said there were a few more he wished he could have included”

“Goom! Googam! Gah, too many to name! The hardest part about narrowing the list of monsters to 26 was just the sheer number of monsters that didn’t make the cut. Because each letter of the alphabet only gets one monster, it really becomes hard to have to pick between Groot and Goom and Googam and others. I honestly think we could’ve done 100 of these covers and still have monsters that people would want to see, myself included.”

The sheer quantity of monsters created—along with the caliber of artists who wanted to participate in this project—both stand as a testament to Kirby’s talent.

“I think the thing about Jack Kirby is that everything he did, he threw all of his creative energy into,” Moisan says. “Despite creating such a vast number of monsters, they’re all unique and interesting, which really speaks to how great an artist he was. And the fact that they look unlike anything we see today really helps them to stand out. For me, I think they represent a fun, goofy era of comics and media that doesn’t really exist anymore.”

Visit marvel.com/sdcc2015 to watch LIVE! video from San Diego Comic-Con, plus read the latest news, see photos from the show, follow liveblogs from every panel and more!

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Experience the work of Jack Kirby and his massive contribution to comic book history with this brand new collection!

He’s the King of Comics. A man who left an indelible mark upon the medium, using his peerless imagination to create some of the greatest stories and characters ever told. In 2015, celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s incredible contribution to comic book history with the monumental, decades-spanning KING-SIZE KIRBY HARDCOVER collection!

Presented in Marvel’s Adamantium-sized format, this titanic tome clocks in at more than 800 pages of Kirby’s finest stories and stands more than a foot tall! For the first time ever, fans will be able to experience these truly genre-defining stories in a format that complements Jack Kirby’s unsurpassed art and storytelling abilities.

“If there were a Mount Rushmore of American comic book artists, Jack Kirby would be front and center,” says Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso.

Whether it was westerns, romance, war, horror, sci-fi, humor or super heroes, Jack Kirby could do it all! From Captain America punching Adolf Hitler to the super heroic creation of the Fantastic Four, X-Men and Avengers on to the far-out space opera of the Eternals, savor Jack Kirby’s most iconic comics in this one, unforgettable collection.

“Fans should reinforce their bookshelves and coffee tables,” says Marvel SVP Sales & Marketing David Gabriel. “This one is going to be huge – literally! We’re aiming to bring fans the ultimate collection, the ultimate collectable and the definitive Jack Kirby experience. The King of Comics deserves no less.”

This summer, experience the work of Jack Kirby brought to life like never before. A collection for the ages, experience the groundbreaking storytelling of one of the medium’s greatest pioneers when the KING-SIZE KIRBY HARDCOVER hits stores in July! Hail to the King.

KING-SIZE KIRBY collects material from RED RAVEN #1; MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS #13; CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS (1941) #1, 7; TALES TO ASTONISH #5; RAWHIDE KID #17; AMAZING ADVENTURES (1961) #1, STRANGE TALES #89, #94 and #114; TEEN-AGE ROMANCE #84; FANTASTIC FOUR #1, #48-51, #57-60 and ANNUAL #5; INCREDIBLE HULK #3; TWO-GUN KID #60; LOVE ROMANCES #103; AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #8; SGT. FURY #6 and #13; AVENGERS #4; TALES OF SUSPENSE #59; X-MEN #9; THOR #134-136 and #155-157; NOT BRAND ECHH #1; AMAZING ADVENTURES (1970) #1-2; CAPTAIN AMERICA’S BICENTENNIAL BATTLES; CAPTAIN AMERICA (1968) #200; ETERNALS #7; DEVIL DINOSAUR #1; and WHAT IF? #11

KING-SIZE KIRBY HC
Written by JACK KIRBY, MARTIN BURNSTEIN, JOE SIMON & STAN LEE
Penciled by JACK KIRBY
Cover by JACK KIRBY
On Sale July 2015!

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