Take an odyssey through the King’s career with the Avengers writer!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us this month to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

Even legendary artists can take a little getting used to. Your reaction can all depend on exactly when you first experience their work and the kind of art you had seen up to that point. While Jack Kirby remains one of the most beloved creators in the comics world, not everyone fell in love at first sight.

AVENGERS and CHAMPIONS writer Mark Waid happened to be one of those exceptions when he first read a Kirby comic. However, he soon became enamored with the style and kinetic energy that makes the creator “King” to this day.

Fully converted towards the Kirby aesthetic, Waid has written many of Jack’s most prominent co-creations including Captain America, Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Ka-Zar, S.H.I.EL.D. and numerous others. We talked with the writer about that first less-than-great initial exposure, developing a love for Kirby, and his tendency to always look back at the master’s original stories.

Marvel.com: Do you remember the first Kirby-drawn comic you read? What was your relationship with his work like as a reader?

Mark Waid: It wasn’t a Marvel book, but rather a DC one—and to my eternal shame, I hated it when I was nine. I’d grown up with staid DC illustrators like Curt Swan and George Papp, and Jack’s [work] looked all “wrong” to me. Luckily, I grew up and saw the error of my ways.

Marvel.com: Did you get to know Jack personally? What surprised or impressed you most about him?

Mark Waid: I had one conversation with him, casually, at a convention in Dallas a million years ago. I was amazed by his humility and his accessibility, and listening to him tell war stories was a revelation.

Marvel.com: Jack has three distinct runs on Captain America. Did you have specific takeaways from each one that you incorporated into your time with the character?

Mark Waid: Yes. The Golden Age material taught me action. The TALES OF SUSPENSE era work taught me soap opera. And his mid-1970s run on Cap taught me the value of big, bombastic, all-new villains.

Marvel.com: You worked with the amazing artist Mike Wieringo on most of your FANTASTIC FOUR tenure. His style might not have looked like Jack’s but he perfectly captured the characters and that world. Was that something you sensed going into that collaboration?

Mark Waid: Absolutely. I knew Mike respected “The King” immensely, and Mike’s work was big and bold to match Jack’s.

Marvel.com: You’ve had very well regarded runs on some of Kirby’s greatest co-creations. Why do you think you’re able to tap into what makes these characters tick so well while also taking them on new adventures?

Mark Waid: Because they’re great characters, one and all. My job is to dig down and rediscover what I love about these characters and then show it to you. And Kirby’s creations and co-creations are so emotional, so human at the core, that it’s almost impossible not to be able to tap into them.

Marvel.com: You made Jack Kirby a “Higher Power” in FANTASTIC FOUR #511. He has these great lines about imagination and story. How much of that came from Jack and how much came from your own experience working on comics?

Mark Waid: At least half of those lines came from Jack quotes. His phrasing, his language is unique. In my mind, Jack was not especially articulate and yet incredibly well-spoken. He twisted words like no other comics author, and yet their meaning was always clear, always strong and on-point with a distinct flavor.

Marvel.com: You also incorporated the “Man Called Death” pilot pages into S.H.I.E.L.D. #9. How was it working that into the tale and how does it feel to have most likely given some readers their first exposure to “The King”?

Mark Waid: When I die and my life flashes before my eyes, that experience makes the highlight reel. There was so much energy in just those few pages that it was actually daunting to put dialogue to them –but now I can say that, in a very peripheral way, I got to work with “The King.”

Marvel.com: When working on books that feature direct Kirby creations or legacy versions—like INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK, S.H.I.E.L.D., or the Avengers books—do you look back at his original runs to get a better sense of what makes them tick?

Mark Waid: No question. The advice I give all writers is to always go back to ground when you take over existing characters and get a sense of why they’ve been pop-culture icons for all this time. You’re looking for that “X-factor” that the creators brought to the table so that you can find a way to modernize it without disrespecting it. If you’re ever stumped on a “take” for a character, go back and study author intent. The secrets are there.

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.

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The Silver Surfer artist recalls his unique first encounter with ‘The King’!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us this month to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

Few find childhood accidents funny—least of all parents—but sometimes they can change a kid’s life for the better. Thanks to some youthful shenanigans, Mike Allred—the creator of Madman and artist on SILVER SURFER—discovered the joys of Kirby and hasn’t looked back since.

Thanks to runs on books like FF, the aforementioned SILVER SURFER, and other project, Allred’s been able to dive into some of the characters Kirby developed with his own hands. Now, we talk with the creator about that boyhood introduction, mutants, and more!

Marvel.com: What was your initial relationship with Kirby’s work like? Was he the King to you right away or did it take some time to get into his style?

Mike Allred: One of my earliest memories was my big brother, Lee, shaking a table I had climbed up on and then waking up in the hospital with a concussion. And I was blanketed with comic books. Great medicine!

Lee was my first sensei with the ways of comics, and through him I learned who wrote and drew them. It became obvious that a man named Jack Kirby made more of my favorite comics than any other single artist. And what he and Stan Lee did with FANTASTIC FOUR made that my all-time favorite comic.

Marvel.com: As a young artist, were you looking to his work for inspiration?

Mike Allred: Always.

Marvel.com: Were there any tricks or ideas you figured out by looking at his work?

Mike Allred: I’ve always been conscious of the importance of developing my own unique style, but it’s almost impossible to keep out the Jack Kirby DNA which runs through there. I’d have to say the “Kirby Krackle” defining energy is something I always love tapping into. Beyond that, there’s endless inspiration from studying his layouts, expressiveness and overall power of his work.

Marvel.com: Jack actually did a Madman pin-up back in the 90s. How did that come about?

Mike Allred: Simple networking. I started collecting artist interpretations of Madman and pals back in 1992 when [wife] Laura and I were going to virtually every Comic Con. We were blessed to meet Jack and [his wife] Roz Kirby a couple times, and then Greg Theakston, a good friend and frequent collaborator of the Kirbys, stepped up to ink the piece.

Silver Surfer by Jack Kirby

Marvel.com: I think some people forget that Kirby drew the first 10 issues of UNCANNY X-MEN. Did you look back at those while working on X-FORCE and X-STATIX?

Mike Allred: I cycle back through everything he did constantly. So I’m sure I was revisiting Kirby’s X-Men comics during our “X” runs.

Marvel.com: You worked on another book with lineage back to Kirby in FF. How was it playing with those characters on that series and getting more into his sandbox?

Mike Allred: Thrilling as can be! The super terrific Matt Fraction designed that run as a kind of “Fantastic Four’s Greatest Hits” package and then Lee [Allred] stepped up with that spirit to write the epic conclusion.

Marvel.com: When it came to working on SILVER SURFER with Dan Slott, did you use those original Kirby stories for inspiration?

Mike Allred: Constantly. I’ve always referred to “The Galactus Trilogy” as my all-time favorite comic book story. I buy it again every time there’s a new edition of it, whether in a new collection or the Marvel Treasury Edition.

Marvel.com: Were there certain elements Dan incorporated that surprised you?

Mike Allred: Everything Dan writes surprises me. He has wrote this amazing tale with a brilliant “long game” strategy that is loaded with little rewards that culminate in one of the most satisfying conclusions I’ve ever experienced. A lifelong dream come true for me. Pure comic book bliss!

Marvel.com: After spending these years with Norrin Radd, do you feel like you understand Jack Kirby as an artist in a different way than you did before?

Mike Allred: Progressively, in little measures. But ultimately what really made Jack Kirby tick and the miracle of his achievements will always be one of the great mysteries. So grateful to have his influence in the overall foundation of the comic book biz, and a never-ending source of inspiration.

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.

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Erik Larsen illuminates Jack Kirby's ability to wrench hearts with a Captain America classic!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us this month to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

“Picking a favorite issue is pretty much impossible. Jack did everything so well, it’s hard to pick a favorite.”

Erik Larsen sums up how many feel about the King’s work. Between his early days on CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS to his Silver Age co-construction of the Marvel Universe as we know it, Jack Kirby had a hand in releasing some of the most popular characters in all of pop culture. In other words, it’s no small task to pick just one story to talk about.

“If I was to pick a favorite scene by Jack as a writer at Marvel—it’d have to be the sequence in CAPTAIN AMERICA [#206] where The Swine fed a starving prisoner at his table,” Larsen explains. “Absolutely devastating. Powerful stuff, both story and art.”

This particular tale came from Kirby’s last stint on the character, during a time when he wrote and illustrated each issue. At the time, Steve Rogers shared the title with Sam Wilson, aka The Falcon—another Kirby co-creation. Issue #206 saw the creator shifting locations to a Central American jungle nation called Rio de Muerte, where a ruthless commander named Hector Santiago—dubbed “The Swine”—used prisoners for slave labor.

“The scenes with The Swine were just powerful and impactful,” Larsen recalls. “You felt the pain. You felt the prisoners’ plight. Yeah, the fights were explosive and the characters were great—there’s so much there—but Jack was able to tear out your heart. I think fans tend to overlook what a terrific writer Jack could be.”

Captain America (1968) #206

Captain America (1968) #206

  • Published: February 10, 1977
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Thanks to a botched kidnapping and ensuing plane crash, Steve Rogers wound up in close proximity to Rio de Muerte. After the Swine’s stooges found and attacked him, Santiago tried to shoot Cap, but ultimately stood no match for Steve’s ingenuity—and shield.

Intending to escape and get out of the jungle, The Sentinel of Liberty had a realization when he saw Santiago’s captives. Alongside Cap, readers witnessed the gruesome torture that The Swine put his prisoners through in attempts to make them divulge military secrets.

In issue #208, Steve fought off a Man-Fish monster before being trapped by the Swine’s goons. Intending to torture Cap with a flamethrower, Santiago soon found himself betrayed by his own cousin Donna Maria. Tossing her into the torture chamber with Rogers, Hector looked to set them both on fire, when the creature returned and made short work of the villain. In short, one of the worst bad guys around got what he deserved in classic Kirby fashion.

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.

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The Savage Dragon creator on a decades-long appreciation of the King!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us this month to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

For many, Jack Kirby’s work represents the absolute pinnacle of imagination. From Captain America in the ‘40s to the Fantastic Four in the ’60s to Devil Dinosaur in the ‘70s, the King’s work illustrates an unprecedented creativity in crafting unforgettable stories and characters.

Veteran comic book creator Erik Larsen—known for his Marvel runs on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and SPIDER-MAN—follows Jack Kirby’s grand tradition of creating dynamic stories with a mix of action and heart. To remember the King and his legacy, we spoke with Larsen about meeting the man himself, learning from his craft, and getting to ink his work!

Marvel.com: Do you remember how you came to know Jack’s art? What kind of impact did it have on you?

Erik Larsen: My dad bought comics when he was a kid and I grew up with his collection—which he shared with his children when we were far too young and we destroyed a lot of them. But my earliest encounter with Jack’s work was Boy Commandos. By the time I was old enough to buy my own comics, Jack was winding up his tenure at DC, working on Kamandi, The Demon, OMAC, and Mister Miracle. I devoured his work. I loved the energy of it all. And whenever Marvel reprinted his stuff, I snapped it up. Marvel was publishing a lot of Jack’s work in TREASURY EDITIONS and I adored those.

Marvel.com: As an up-and-coming artist, did you look to Kirby’s work for inspiration when configuring panels and pages?

Erik Larsen: Certainly. There was a lot to be learned from Jack’s work and he was a huge influence. The internal battle was to try and get some of that power and energy without aping his work so much that you looked like a second-rate Kirby. His work is very seductive in that way. Whenever I look at his work I want to become Jack Kirby—and there are times a Kirby squiggle, Kirby fist, or Kirby Krackle works its way onto my pages. I can’t help myself.

Marvel.com: Did you ever meet or get to work with Jack? If so, what do you remember most about him?

Erik Larsen: I met Jack a few times in San Diego and he was a very supportive and soft-spoken man. He was very encouraging. I wish I’d spent more time with him. I inked a couple of pages of his pencils for the Phantom Force book we published at Image and that was an absolute thrill and somewhat heartbreaking at the same time. After I erased his pencils I felt like I’d committed a crime. I erased Jack’s pencils! What was I thinking?

Marvel.com: You’ve used Kirby drawings as the basis for your own cover art in the past. Has working with a piece that way offered any new insights into the man’s brilliance?

Erik Larsen: I’ve inked over Kirby’s work on blue line numerous times and it’s always a great learning experience. It’s also frustrating that I can’t do the kind of job I’d like to do. My hat’s off to Mike Royer, Joe Sinnott, Frank Giacoia, and the others who inked his pencils so brilliantly over the years.

Marvel.com: During your early days at Marvel, you worked on Kirby co-creations like Thor and the Hulk. Knowing the history there, what was that like?

Erik Larsen: Always a thrill. My very first Marvel job was an inventory issue of THOR where he fought the Hulk. Stan Lee ended up scripting it and Vinnie Colletta inked it. It was the last issue of THOR either of them ever worked on. I was subbing for Jack in that classic creative team on my very first Marvel gig! It was all downhill from there!

Marvel.com: You went on to launch your own original stories—each jam packed with new characters and creations. Would you say Kirby inspired that work?

Erik Larsen: I’d say he inspired all of it! There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t look at Jack Kirby’s art! If it’s not a book in my hands, it’s framed art on my walls! I don’t have any of my own work on my walls—but I have Jack’s! He was, and forever will be, the King 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.

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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.

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Jack Kirby and Stan Lee create a world-shaking foe and unlikely new ally!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us this month to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created to change comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

No one came up with better, more long-lasting villains than Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. Their FANTASTIC FOUR run alone brought some of the Marvel Universe’s biggest baddies into existence—ranging from Monstro and the Skrulls to Doctor Doom and Galactus!

“If anyone is going to surpass ‘The King’ as far as creating characters, he or she hasn’t been born yet,” notes MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR writer Brandon Montclare. “Or at least hasn’t started their careers, as no working creator can extrapolate that kind of output!”

For Montclare, the Devourer of Worlds, Galactus, holds a great deal of significance, thanks in part to the difficulty he had getting his hands on the story that ran in FANTASTIC FOUR #4850 from 1966.

“FANTASTIC FOUR #48 was mythic before I ever got to read it,” Montclare describes. “Silver Surfer was my favorite character growing up. Even before I read those [issues of] FANTASTIC FOUR, he had a mystique of being a different and special character. The cosmic force Galactus was equally so! I’m envious of older fans who experienced that on the newsstand. But I couldn’t afford a FANTASTIC FOUR #48! And I recall there actually being FANTASY MASTERPIECES reprints only of the John Buscema stuff, but even those were older and hard to find!”

The first issue in the trilogy tied up an Inhumans thread running in a prior storyline. The Watcher then appeared to warn Reed Richards and his team of an upcoming threat posed, first by the mysterious Silver Surfer, and then by Galactus himself!

Fantastic Four (1961) #48

Fantastic Four (1961) #48

  • Published: March 10, 1966
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Face-to-face with the world-eater, the quartet jumped into the fight, though as Ben Grimm described their initial futile efforts in issue #49, “He didn’t even feel it!” But thanks to the group’s persistence—as well as a change in allegiance by the Silver Surfer and the looming threat of the Ultimate Nullifier—Galactus decided the planet not worth his trouble and left, exiling Norrin Radd to Earth in the process.

“Reading all of the Stan and Jack FANTASTIC FOUR comics, when I finally got around to it, was an eye-opener,” Montclare recalls. “I don’t think anyone has come close to doing what they did on FANTASTIC FOUR. I think there’s indeed a ton of great Fantastic Four comics, but they were squarely super hero and very ‘Marvel Universe’ by the time I knew them. The early Fantastic Four, despite the crossovers and recurring characters, always feels like an exploration story.”

FANTASTIC FOUR #48-50 served to continue the establishment of the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe. While readers had already met the Skrulls, the alien race made another appearance in this tale, doing their best to avoid a visit from Galactus. Future writers would take inspiration from these early galactic insights to help build what now stands as an all-important aspect of the universe.

“I love Marvel Cosmic,” Montclare explains, “As a kid, I started in a decade past [writer and artist] Jim Starlin, so two decades past Kirby. But seeing those stories, you really can feel that the whole cosmic branch of Marvel started in that book—and really just with Jack’s visuals. From the outlandish designs to posed grandeur to even the classic Kirby Krackle.”

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.

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Writer Brandon Montclare discusses introducing a Kirby Classic to a new generation.

Join us this month to celebrate Jack ”King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created to change comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

There’s just no denying the appeal of a giant Jack Kirby-created monster!

Cullen Bunn recently took time to discuss what made Jack Kirby’s 1978 DEVIL DINOSAUR series such an important run to him as a kid. He and Brandon Montclare clearly agree on the finer points of Moon Boy’s former pall as the latter currently writes MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR.

Montclare and Amy Reeder launched the book as co-writers with artist Natacha Bustos last year. Like Kirby’s original, this series took a new approach to the odd couple idea by uniting the crimson carnivore with a young woman who not only happened to be a genius, but also of Inhuman decent who wanted nothing to do with the Mist-producing change.

Now, the series continues with Montclare and Bustos as Lunella Lafayette continues to learn more about herself, her unique partner and the wild world around him. We talk with Monctlare about digging up the dino, learning from the master and experiencing Kirby’s work for the first time.

Marvel.com: Do you remember the first Jack Kirby book you were aware of? Did it take you a while to get into his style or did you take to it right away?

Brandon Montclare: Jack Kirby was, of course, before my time. But when I started reading comics in the mid-80s, and lucky enough to live in NYC, I had access to comics stores and back issues. Simultaneously, there was no trade paperback market. So like every little kid reader, you were aware of the King – but there were not too many opportunities to read him. The first work I would have been aware of would be up on a comics shop wall and in Mylar, beyond what I could afford. That being said: he was so stylized that Kirby was probably the first artist I could identify by eyeballing it. But it would be years later that I started to appreciate it.

Marvel.com: Devil Dino wasn’t necessarily one of Kirby’s more iconic creations. When you and Amy began working on MOON GIRL & DEVIL DINOSAUR, what made you want to look back and use this Kirby creation?

Brandon Montclare: We definitely wanted to work with an obscure Marvel character. What you lose in popularity and perceived marketability, you gain in creative control. Kirby casts a huge shadow over everything he does, but we thought Devil Dinosaur might be a little… less huge! Creatively, we wanted to really distance ourselves from the Dinosaur World adventures of a T-Rex. And we definitely did that, but it wasn’t a rejection. I think we honor Kirby’s pioneering originality by making Devil Dinosaur our own thing. And we love and use some of the core concepts of the 1970s book; moreover, putting Lunella Lafayette on the same (fictionalized) Yancy Street on the Lower East Side where Kirby grew up 100 years ago wasn’t an accident.

Marvel.com: DEVIL DINOSAUR was part of Kirby’s 70s Marvel work which has a very unique tone and outlook. Has that influenced your series?

Brandon Montclare: It’s definitely an influence, although, maybe it’s not always seen on the surface. Kirby’s 70s work was pure adventure and surreptitiously sophisticated storytelling – that one obvious and not-so-obvious thing I try to emulate. It was a very unified, professional vision. The subject matter was delightfully bonkers, but it was finely executed. I think that’s overlooked in a lot of Kirby stuff – just how consistent and considered he was at drawing as well as writing.

Marvel.com: Though he doesn’t speak, Devil Dinosaur seems to have a very specific character. What were the key aspects you wanted to carry over into MOON GIRL & DEVIL DINOSAUR?

Brandon Montclare: It was probably an old trick when even Kirby was using it, but a lot of how you get Devil Dinosaur to communicate to the reader is having it bounce off of the human character. Moon Boy, I think it’s safe to say, might have been included to help flesh out the big, red thunder lizard! We flip that in our book: we use Devil Dinosaur’s basic, animal nature to help show the more complicated Moon Girl. But we still need to make a dinosaur tell a story! And that’s down to the magical cartooning of Natacha Bustos. She makes a T-Rex have human qualities — happy or sad; subtle or demonstrative. It’s an amazing book visually, which is the least we can do with a Kirby creation.

Marvel.com: The series also revolves around Lunella, of course. Would you say there’s any thematic connections between her and Moon Boy?

Brandon Montclare: No. Not really! Lunella has a lot of influences, but Moon Boy simply wasn’t very fruitful for our purposes. But they are both outcasts, although in different ways. They do present the same visual storytelling challenges of getting a 4-foot and 30-foot character to interact again and again and again! Lunella does take a ton from classic Marvel characters that Kirby co-created with Stan Lee. Again, it’s not an accident she grew up on Yancy Street. Nor is it an accident that she was an awesome scientist before she becomes a super-hero.

Marvel.com: How has it been for you bringing him into a new era and giving him new life?

Brandon Montclare: It’s been great! I’m very proud that we flipped the script. I think not only has Moon Girl stood on her own as a new character, she’s actually raised awareness and appreciation for Devil Dinosaur. Of course, that’s a very small claim compared to Kirby’s original contribution to popular characters!

In the next Kirby 100 installment, Brandon Montclare will discuss the finer points of near annihilation as we focus on the very first Galactus story in FANTASTIC FOUR #48-50.

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.

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Cullen Bunn looks at Jack Kirby's 1970s return to the monster genre!

Join us this month to celebrate Jack ”King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created to change comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

DEVIL DINOSAUR may have only lasted nine issues in 1978, but the series continues to inspire creators to this day. Jack Kirby’s return to Marvel saw him unleash his creativity as the writer-artist-editor on a series of books including BLACK PANTHER, CAPTAIN AMERICA, and MACHINE MAN.

While those books dealt with super heroics and science fiction in various ways, DEVIL DINOSAUR took place in the distant past, where a humanoid creature named Moon Boy made friends with a huge red Tyrannosaurus-like dino. Both turned out to be outcasts who banded together to battle threats ranging from other dinosaurs to time-hopping witches!

For MONSTERS UNLEASHED and X-MEN: BLUE writer Cullen Bunn, the first issue of DEVIL DINOSAUR left a huge influence on his storytelling perspective.

“One thing about a Kirby first issue: he doesn’t waste a lot of time,” Bunn explains. “He throws the reader into the action and gets the story moving. That’s a good technique to keep in mind.”

Despite his passion for the work, Bunn didn’t experience DEVIL DINOSAUR for the first time with that initial issue; he instead came to it by way of the larger Marvel Universe!

Devil Dinosaur (1978) #1

Devil Dinosaur (1978) #1

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

“I found that book at just the right age,” he recalls. “I was reading Marvel’s GODZILLA series, which had a Devil Dinosaur guest appearance [in issues #21-22]. As soon as I read that, I knew I had to find Devil’s main series. I bought my first issue of that book at a drug store.”

Like many of those 1970s Kirby classics, Bunn’s first issue—DEVIL DINOSAUR #3 as it happened—featured some of the biggest and wildest ideas to date: “It was a story where Devil and Moon Boy faced a giant yeti creature who wore a triceratops skull as a helmet,” Bunn laughs. “It was giant monster craziness the way I liked it!”

For all of the amazing imagery and imagination, though, DEVIL DINOSAUR featured the one thing that always kicked Kirby comics to the next level: true emotion.

“The series had a lot of heart, too, showing the friendship between Devil and Moon Boy,” Bunn relays “As the book progressed, it got crazier and crazier, with aliens and cosmic horrors. Again, it was pure giddy imagination on the page. It seemed like Kirby was having a blast with the book. Really, that’s one of the things I love about all his work. It always felt like he was really reveling in the act of creation.”

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.

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The MONSTERS UNLEASHED maestro remembers his first interactions with Jack Kirby's work!

Join us this month to celebrate Jack ” King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created to change comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

Jack Kirby co-created some of the most iconic characters in the Marvel Universe. In addition to Captain America back in the 1940s, he also helped bring Iron Man, Thor, The Avengers, Nick Fury, Hulk and the X-Men to four color life. Even before that, he worked on books like JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY and STRANGE TALES bringing weird, wild monsters into readers’ homes every month.

Cullen Bunn continues that tradition as the writer of many X-Men books–including X-MEN BLUE right now–and both the MONSTERS UNLEASHED limited series and the current ongoing which showcase many of those massive miscreants, while painting them in a new light.

We talk with Bunn about playing in Kirby’s sandbox with everything from the coolest monsters to the mightiest mutants!

Marvel.com: Do you remember when you first experienced Jack Kirby’s work?

Cullen Bunn: I couldn’t tell you a specific book that was my first Kirby experience, but I vividly remember sitting at the breakfast table in my Aunt Mary’s house in South Carolina, reading a stack of comics, many of which were clearly Jack Kirby stories. Even before I knew Kirby by name, I recognized his style, and I loved it.

Marvel.com: Were there certain lessons you learned about how comics work either visually or verbally from looking at his stories?

Cullen Bunn: The lesson I think I learned from Kirby could be boiled down to “go big or go home.” His stories are dynamic and bold and exciting. More than anything, Kirby was an “imaginer” and I don’t ever want to forget how important that is to comics. He brought his all to every page he worked on.

Marvel.com: Jack drew the first 10 issues of X-MEN. Did you look back to those earliest appearances before jumping into that pool yourself?

Cullen Bunn: Of course! I poured over those original stories again and again, and I even went so far as to read them in their original comic form–I’m a big X-Men collector–instead of in trade, just to enhance that old school feel.

Marvel.com: You got even further into pure Kirby with MONSTERS UNLEASHED. How did the idea to revive all of those great monsters come about?

Cullen Bunn: MONSTERS UNLEASHED was always intended to be a love letter to the classic Marvel Monsters and their creators. The trick, of course, was to figure out a way to bring them all together. Kid Kaiju, the boy with the power to summon monsters by drawing them, is a tribute to artists like Don Heck and [Steve] Ditko and, of course, Kirby, who brought them to life. He’s an ode to the childlike wonder Kirby brought to the page.

Marvel.com: When you started working on MONSTERS UNLEASHED, did you immediately start re-reading those comics?

Cullen Bunn: I did! I have a collection of old Marvel monster comics, and I broke them out and read those original tales. That’s a great perk of the job. For research, I can spend some time reading terrific old Kirby comics.

Marvel.com: Were there any monsters you weren’t familiar with that really surprised you in those issues?

Cullen Bunn: I think I had seen most of the monsters at some point over the years. Some of them I had encountered in other comics, drawn by other creators, though. Digging into the research, I was amazed by just how many of these creatures Kirby actually created. The list was pretty impressive. Some that were most interesting or with whom I wasn’t super familiar were Spragg, who is just an evil hill, and Trull, who was a killer steam shovel.

Fantastic Four (1961) #91

Fantastic Four (1961) #91

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

Marvel.com: You’ve mentioned being a fan of FANTASTIC FOUR #9193. In that storyline, Stan and Jack worked with Skrulls and other aliens, 1930s-esque gangsters and a giant robot monster in Torgo. Those issues are packed with cool visuals, but also some great Kirby face-acting as Thing struggles with all of it. Did that come into play when you were first discovering that tale?

Cullen Bunn: Yeah, for sure. This was another issue I just picked up off the rack at the grocery store, and it struck me to the point that I remember the very moment I first looked at the issue. There’s a splash page with the Thing sort of turning and brooding sadly toward the “camera” while Torgo stands behind him stoically. It’s a quiet image, but there’s so much emotion and drama on the page, it’s the one that I connect with in that arc.

Marvel.com: We’ll be speaking again soon about your love of DEVIL DINOSAUR, but in a lot of ways those original 1970s Marvel stories are pure, unadulterated Kirby. When you first read them, did that come across?

Cullen Bunn: Oh, yes! These days, I often go into the comic shop and ask to be pointed in the direction of a book full of “mayhem.” What I’m really asking for, I think, are books like Kirby used to create, with wild ideas and crazy events jumping from every panel. I’m always trying to recapture that wonderful feeling of reading those Kirby classics.

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.

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Ben Grimm struggles with his role in this Lee-Kirby classic!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us this month to celebrate Jack ” King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created to change comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

Jack Kirby worked nonstop on FANTASTIC FOUR from its launch in 1961 all the way through 1970’s #102. During that time, he and Stan Lee created some of the most memorable characters in the Marvel Universe, ranging from the First Family of Comics themselves to Galactus, Silver Surfer, Doctor Doom, and beyond!

One of the most beloved stories in that run came right in the middle with FANTASTIC FOUR #51, a tale known as “This Man… This Monster.” And that particular issue happens to be a favorite of HOWLING COMMANDOS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. artist Brent Schoonover—so we sat down to discuss it with him!

“I was lucky to get a pretty beat up copy [of FANTASTIC FOUR #51] for cheap at a comic convention when I was a kid,” he explains. “I was all about getting old comics as cheap as I could on my allowance growing up. That is one of the most iconic stories of all time.”

The tale takes place in the immediate aftermath of the team learning about the Inhumans and then facing off against Galactus. The June 1966 issue kicks off with a striking cover of Sue Storm pleading for help from Ben Grimm as Reed Richards looks trapped in a force field. And—unlike the usual gung-ho hero we’ve all come to know and love—The Thing simply looks down at his hands, seemingly unsure of himself.

“You open it up to this amazing image of Ben Grimm standing in the rain and it just hits you that, while everyone in the FF really seems to love their powers, Ben is the only one who truly came away worse than when he went in on that space shuttle launch,” Schoonover says. “He could have become one of Marvel’s best bad guys, but he always did the right thing.”

Fantastic Four (1961) #51

Fantastic Four (1961) #51

  • Published: June 10, 1966
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Ben’s first words in the issue come on the next page, in the form of a thought balloon, reading, “I’ll never be human again! I’ll live—and die—just the way I am!” Moments later, a stranger offers him shelter from the storm—and Ben agrees. No simple good Samaritan, this particular person turns out to be a Reed Richards-hating mad scientist who drugs Grimm’s coffee and uses a device to steal his rocky features, leaving Ben in his helpless human form!

A few days later, this impostor tests out his new look by walking right into the Baxter Building and gaining access to one of Reed’s labs. Not long after, the actual Ben barges in, but gets dismissed by Reed and Sue, who refuse to believe he’s actually who he claims to be!

This leaves Reed ready to try his latest experiment, which required Ben’s superhuman strength. In exploration of a way to move faster than the Space-Time Barrier—like The Watcher, Galactus and The Silver Surfer—Reed requires the Thing’s might to keep him tethered to his machine and, if necessary, pull him back if he hits any snags.

Upon arriving at what he first called “the Crossroads of Infinity,” Richards experiences something no one had ever seen before. Here, readers thrilled to one of Kirby’s brilliant collage pieces. “It’s just a wonderful example of how Kirby could take such a human story and add a mighty visual hook to it to keep the reader entertained,” crows Schoonover.

Reed pulls on his tether for help, but the impostor Thing doesn’t respond—until realizing that he’d become more like the hero he’d replaced than he ever intended. Though too late to easily pull Mr. Fantastic back, he grabs another piece of the chord and, rather than saving Reed, finds himself being pulled into the Negative Zone. Though crashing towards utter destruction, Reed tells the fake Ben Grimm that he remains one of the best men he’d ever known and, despite all odds, the fill-in Thing decides to perform a last heroic deed and manages to throw Richards back to safety.

Back on Earth, the real Ben Grimm makes his way to see Alicia Masters, though the scientist’s death in the Negative Zone reinstates the Thing’s original rocky form. Ben Grimm, his super-self once again, returns to the Baxter Building and gets the full story from Reed and Sue.

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!

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