Captain America locks horns once more with his arch-nemesis!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us 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.

Jack Kirby legendarily shouldered all of the penciling responsibilities when it came to CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1 back in 1941. That issue not only concisely introduced the world to Cap and Bucky, but also their number one villain, The Red Skull. In CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #3, writer Joe Simon and Kirby brought the soon-to-be stalwart villain back into our heroes’ lives. Just look at that maniacal look on the Skull’s face as seen on the cover as he tied Bucky to a bomb right next to the already-trapped Betty Ross whilst Captain America valiantly busts in to free his friends!

For a quick reminder, the first Red Skull seen in the Shield-Slinger’s inaugural issue turned out to be George Maxon. He used an injection drug to scare people to death, but ultimately rolled over on his own needle, seemingly overdosing in the process. However, as CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #3 kicked off, the man rose back up, claiming that he’d basically inoculated himself against his own drug. With that, the villain set about to gain revenge on the heroes and America itself! He got right to work by stealing plans for a U.S. made power drill and also exhibiting his new Touch of Death defense which killed anyone who came in contact with his person!

The Skull continued rolling right along with his nefarious plan as he had his minions spread word of his return, causing a wave of terror, followed immediately by an attack of the power drill that bored a hole right through a major city, killing thousands. Bucky and Cap leaped right into action, even grabbing on to the massive drill, but soon fell back when the bad guys turned their guns on our champions. Meanwhile, a carnival barker decided to capitalize on the patriotic pair’s fame and had a couple of goons dress up as them. The charlatan then charged a dime for people to come in and shake hands.

Captain America Comics (1941) #3

Captain America Comics (1941) #3

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Though the real deals broke up the racket, Red Skull didn’t hear about the con and broke in with his henchmen to kidnap his supposed enemies! Unfortunately for the fill-ins, the Skull hung them just before Captain America and Bucky could get there. However, they did succeed in blowing up the mad man’s power drill with a good, old-fashioned bomb!

Kirby also drew a fun mix of anti-Nazi and horror stories called “The Hunchback of Hollywood” and “The Movie Murder,” which found our heroes investigating threats to film designed with an anti-fascist message. This one not only featured Steve Rogers dressed up as a knight in the picture, but also Cap storming a castle by way of catapult! Other issue highlights include a prose story called “Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge” written by a kid named Stan Lee, another Cap and Bucky adventure called “The Queer Case of the Murdering Butterfly and the Ancient Mummies,” and a Reed Crandall-drawn Hurricane, Master of Speed tale that Simon and Kirby wrote!

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 King and Joe Simon intro Marvel Boy and other Golden Age goodies!

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.

Back in the 1940s a pair of scrappy comic-making partners started creating the kinds of books that would change the face of the industry. Joe Simon and Jack Kirby launched a studio that introduced the world to Captain America, but before that, they worked on the last three issues of DARING MYSTERY COMICS for Timely Comics in the early part of the decade. Though not one of the more popular and lauded super hero anthologies from that era, the book did feature some very interesting work from the future “King of Comics” including the covers to installments #6-8 and the introduction of the very first Marvel Boy!

In an interesting mix of mythology, the tale explained that the ancient Egyptians figured out  reincarnation which also applied to Hercules, Son of Power as he died. The Greek demigod’s spirit rested in Valhalla for a time until World War II broke out and he decided to return to the land of mortals. He traveled to Earth, found a newborn baby named Martin Burns, and inhabited his body.

Upon his turning 14, a mysterious stranger appeared in the middle of a nighttime thunderstorm to give the youth a wrapped gift. The mystery man then popped into Martin’s room as a talking shadow and explained that the soul of Hercules resided inside him and that he would have the strength to topple fascism as The Marvel Boy!

The gift held Martin’s new super hero uniform, which he put on before heading out to stop a group of Fifth Columnists from bringing more Axis agents into New York City! With his incredible strength, Marvel Boy easily stopped the car transporting the new spies and also uncovered important information about the whole cell that he turned over to the FBI.

Daring Mystery Comics (1940) #6

Daring Mystery Comics (1940) #6

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That same issue also saw Simon and Kirby collaborating on a character the former introduced in the first issue of DARING, The Fiery Mask! In this one, Dr. Jack Castle made a house call to a woman going through shock after a member of the Legion of the Damned appeared and gave her a baby who would become the evil group’s champion! Castle returned to the house that night, but as his heroic alter ego Fiery Mask! He arrived just in time to see the baby get up and start walking around before summoning a giant, green assassin. Fiery Mask stopped the creature’s first attempt at murder and then followed the menace through some kind of portal that lead to an epic battle with demons!

In DARING MYSTERY COMICS #7, Simon and Kirby debuted another new character: Captain Daring. Set in a world where evil underworlders developed weapons that allowed them to easily infiltrate the United States and destroy cities, the tale found only one man ready to stand in their way. The Army’s Captain Daring used solar powered underground planes and a good deal of cunning to win the day and save the Earth in the process.

Looking back at these Golden Age Kirby offerings not only shows how his art style evolved over the course of his long career, but also some of the themes that h’’d never stop exploring like kids receiving immense powers, mythology and its relation to heroics, and coming up with really creepy monsters!

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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