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

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

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

Black Panther (1977) #1

Black Panther (1977) #1

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

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

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

Captain America (1968) #214

Captain America (1968) #214

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

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

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

Read More

Johnny Storm tries a secret identity in another classic from The King!

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.

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby broke a lot of super hero molds when they debuted the Fantastic Four in 1961. It didn’t take long for the team of super adventurers to become so popular that people wanted more and more out of the team. So, with STRANGE TALES #101, the duo decided to give the FF’s young heartthrob his own solo adventures!

Human Torch began anchoring the series in 1962; at that time, Johnny Storm didn’t want his Long Island neighbors knowing he moonlighted as the Torch, so he took traditional precautions to keep his alternate identity a secret. And yet, he still lived with his sister, Sue Storm, whose super hero identity remained public knowledge. To help Johnny live in suburbia, Reed Richards outfitted their house with a variety of Torch-specific additions like asbestos furniture and a room for him to work on his hot rods.

Following a nice, concise recap of the Fantastic Four’s origins, we met the villain of the piece: a green and yellow clad individual calling himself Destroyer who looked out over the local amusement park.

Strange Tales (1951) #101

Strange Tales (1951) #101

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Later, while walking to school, Johnny used the smoke from a nearby lighter and cigarette to cloud his own transformation into The Human Torch so he could save a man trapped on a runaway roller coaster at the same park. Storm saved the hapless victim, but the ride still broke in the process. The next day, something similar happened with the parachute drop ride. This time, Johnny shot out small fire pellets into the sky to distract the people around him so he could run into the fun house to transform.

With two of his schemes broken up by the young hero, Destroyer publicly challenged the Torch to a battle in the newspaper. Seeing this, The Thing showed up to back his little buddy, but Torch told him to kick rocks. Though Destroyer played Torch with this ruse, Johnny did eventually return to the amusement park and realize the villain’s game. Though it seemed like he wanted to simply destroy a fun place, Destroyer actually intended to take out the higher points of the park in an effort to keep prying eyes away from his dealings with a ring of Communist subs not far away!

Under the mask, Destroyer turned out to be local newspaper publisher Charles Stanton. With this first solo mission behind him, Johnny would go on to continue trying his hand as a secret identity-sporting hero for a while.

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

Read More

The Simon-Kirby team produces one of the Golden Age’s great heroes!

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.

These days, everyone knows The Vision as Marvel’s number one synthezoid hero with more than a few family issues to work through. However, before the Android Avenger, another Vision walked the halls at the House of Ideas.

A few months before creating Captain America, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby teamed up to present the very first appearance of The Vision in 1940’s MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS #13. This series debuted Golden Age heroes like Namor and the original versions of Angel, The Human Torch, and Ka-Zar.

The story kicked off with Dr. Enoch Mason showing three of his friends a new machine called The Dimension Smasher. As he put it, “The purpose of my demonstration, tonight, is to prove that the so-called ghosts and spirits are actually inhabitants of worlds and universes whose dimensional spheres are co-existent with our own.” Unfortunately for him, an intelligence-hating mobster by the name of Brain had bought Mason’s promissory note and intended to either collect or take his equipment that very same night.

Marvel Mystery Comics (1939) #13

Marvel Mystery Comics (1939) #13

  • Published: November 01, 1940
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: August 19, 2011
  • Writer: Ben Thompson
  • Penciler: Bob Oksner
What is Marvel Unlimited?

The hoods busted into the laboratory in the middle of the experiment, telling the doc that he either had to pay up right then or get an impromptu renovation. As he floundered for an answer, the green-headed Vision appeared behind one of the gunmen in a cloud of smoke sparked by his own cigar. The visitor froze the mobster, introduced himself as Aarkus, Destroyer of Evil, and then took off after Brain’s other thug. After taking care of business, Aarkus returned to Mason, this time in a more human form.

Aarkus remained in that form when Brain’s mob showed up for further revenge. Knocked unconscious for a time, the otherworlder asked for one last cigarette before death and used the ensuing smoke to unleash his more powerful side. The Vision made short work of the crooks and even used their pants to tie them up!

While Vision clearly didn’t become Simon and Kirby’s main contribution to the Timely era, it’s interesting to note the similarities between his origin and Captain America’s. Both came about thanks to an experiment interrupted by bad men with guns.

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

Read More

Jack helps to introduce another of Marvel’s most vile villains!

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 maybe be best known as a super hero artist, but he loved making war comics. A military man himself, “The King” put his crown aside to serve his country during World War II as an Infrantryman and put plenty of those experiences into books like SGT. FURY AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS with his collaborator Stan Lee.

Though still thrilling adventure stories, these issues feature some of the hard truths that came with war, like losing members of your squad as the Howlers did when Junior Junipe got injured in issue #4. They carried that sadness and anger with them into the next mission, which introduced them and the readers to a new Nazi threat: Baron Strucker! The villain debuted dueling with another man and easily winning before receiving his latest orders from Hitler: kill Nick Fury. Thinking his prey beneath him, Strucker thought of the mission as nothing more than a game.

The Wing Commander of the Fuehrer’s Death-Head Squadron flew his plane over the Allies’ post, blasting away at Dum Dum Duggan and Izzy Cohen before throwing a tube with a note down challenging Fury to a death duel on Norsehaven in the English Channel. Enraged at Strucker’s taunts, the sergeant requested transport to the Channel from Captain Sawyer, who flatly refused. After dining with his girlfriend Lady Pamely Hawley, Fury called in a few favors and snuck his way to the meeting with Strucker.

Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos (1963) #5

Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos (1963) #5

  • Published: January 10, 1964
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Neither man wasted any time getting into the spirit of the duel itself, which they fought with plywood swords as part of Strucker’s beloved tradition dictated. However, the villain also drugged Fury’s pre-fencing drink and had his lackeys ready to literally trip Nick up. The future S.H.I.E.L.D. chief did his best to fight, but inevitably collapsed. With his opponent down, the Baron called out his photographers and videographers to record the Amerikaner’s defeat. They strapped Fury in a parachute and dropped him out of a plane near the base he had been stationed at.

Upon returning, Captain Sawyer busted Fury down to a private and dismissed him. Still a part of the Howling Commandos, Nick joined his crew as they went out for another big push. The Howlers got the drop on a tank squadron, stole their vehicle and used it to destroy a rocket base before busting into an enemy base that happened to house Strucker!

The nefarious Nazi didn’t stand a chance in a fair fight with the furious Fury who knocked him unconscious after punching him through a wall! Upon returning, Sawyer saw the error of his ways in demoting Nick—mostly because a general said how lucky he was to work with the Howlers boss—and returned him to the rank of sergeant!

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

Read More

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby team-up to tell a Hulk story for the ages!

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.

One year after the first volume of INCREDIBLE HULK ended with issue #6, the Jade Giant threw down once again—this time with his former Avengers teammate Hank Pym—in the pages of TALES TO ASTONISH #59! The team-up proved to be such a hit that Hulk stuck around the series until it became the second volume of INCREDIBLE HULK with issue #102.

Tales to Astonish (1959) #102

Tales to Astonish (1959) #102

  • Published: April 01, 1968
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: May 02, 2016
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Though he drew covers for the Hulk’s monthly return, Jack Kirby wouldn’t start penciling interior adventures until issue #68, when he reintroduced The Leader. At the time, Bruce Banner had been branded a potential Communist for seeming to help The Hulk—whom the government had a great suspicion in. Banner even appeared to die by a gunshot wound at the end of issue #69!

In TALES TO ASTONISH #70, the U.S. Army investigated the Leader’s lab in search of The Hulk—before concluding that the Jade Giant had escaped and that Banner’s body went missing. Turns out, Banner’s old friend Rick Jones previously snuck into the lab, stole the body and drove it to one of Bruce’s own laboratories—where he hoped to revive The Hulk, and with him, Bruce!

Rick succeeded in reviving them, but inadvertently brought Bruce’s consciousness back in the Hulk’s body. Banner quickly realized that, if he changed back into his human form, the bullet lodged in his brain would kill him instantly. To stave off such an event, Dr. Banner needed to stay in his Hulk form as long as possible.

The Leader, meanwhile, unleashed a 500-foot-tall Humanoid to take on all comers. In response, The Hulk and the army formed a temporary truce to deal with the new, more urgent menace. The Leader’s invention, however, proved powerful enough to withstand the onslaught—until issue #71.

Tales to Astonish (1959) #71

Tales to Astonish (1959) #71

  • Published: September 10, 1965
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 28, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Gene Colan
What is Marvel Unlimited?

In that book, General Ross launched a missile called “the Sunday Puncher” at—and seemed to destroy—the Humanoid. In response to the attack, The Leader commanded his creation to immolate itself, so that the military had nothing to study. And The Hulk remained in his Banner-controlled state until he found a solution and turned back into his human form.

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

Read More

Jane Foster finally travels to Asgard in another Kirby classic!

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.

Meeting your betrothed’s dad can be a nerve-wracking and tricky situation. Now imagine you’re getting hitched to a guy who happens to be a Norse god with none other than the All-Father, Odin, for a dad! That’s the strange life Jane Foster found herself living as THOR #136 launched in 1967 thanks to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. At that point, Odin had finally approved of Thor’s relationship with Foster and she knew all about Don Blake’s secret identity, so the time seemed right to visit his homeland.

Upon their arrival on the Rainbow Bridge, the lovers saw the Calvary of Asgard running off to battle trolls and then one of the captured enemies brought back for interrogation. Jane met Heimdall and Odin, saw the Asgardian war room, and then received garb worthy of a god and the ability of flight from the All-Father! Foster then took off into the skies and enjoyed her new powers for just a few moments before doubting that they might remain consistent. As she plummeted, Thor flew to save her, but wondered why she lost faith in Odin so quickly.

All of this turned out to be the road to Thor and Jane marrying which would include her evolution into a goddess herself! As another test of Jane Foster, the All-Father requested the presence of The Unknown and sent Jane in after the mysterious being. Paralyzed by fear, Foster called for Thor’s help, which he quickly provided his beloved, seemingly sending the creature away. Convinced that Jane had not proved herself prepared for godhood, Odin reminded them that The Unknown fed on fear, an emotion that no immortal on Asgard could hold in their breast. Speaking for herself, Jane said that she wanted no part in godhood and left for Midgard alone!

Thor (1966) #136

Thor (1966) #136

  • Published: January 10, 1967
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: September 17, 2008
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Angered with his father, Thor lashed out, claiming that all of this had been Odin’s plan from the beginning to get Jane out of his son’s life! The accused denied these claims, put Thor in his place, and then ordered him to the Glade of Crystals to keep an eye out for the still-loose Unknown. Once there he found a Troll summoning the creature!

The Odinson soothed his inner turmoil to some extent by trying to destroy The Unknown. Heart-sick and off his game, our hero nearly fell to his foe, but regained himself thanks to the help of an unseen ally. After vanquishing the beast, Thor got a good look at the one offering assistance and recognized Sif, sister of Heimdall. As it happened, she had romantic feelings towards him dating years back and he seemed quite taken aback by her, all of which proved part of Odin’s master plan to help move his son along.

But what of Jane Foster? Of course, as we now know, Jane Foster would eventually return to Asgard, not as a potential goddess, but as Thor herself!

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

Read More

Devil Dinosaur allows the King to show off all his unique skills!

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.

When it came to artistic strengths, Jack Kirby had enough to fill a book—several in fact! Just off the top of the head, he excelled at monsters, aliens, heroes, villains, reaction shots, architecture, vehicles, fists, and, of course, krackle! If you want to see all of that in one place, feast your eyes on DEVIL DINOSAUR #46 from 1978!

In that three-issue arc—which Kirby wrote, drew and edited—the title beast and his pal Moon Boy investigated an awesome, huge-mouthed monster! According to the caveboy, his people foretold that this creature would not only eat the moon, but also act as just the first of many such devourers. The following two-page spread not only showed the true power of the invader, but also a great deal of the King’s aforementioned attributes!

Even though that initial scene proved just a dream, Moon Boy still stood wary of impending attacks, which came moments later as a space ship landed nearby. Upon revealing themselves with a blast of fire aimed at our heroes, the aliens then shared their mission to cleanse the area of all lifeforms! While they failed to kill Moon Boy and Devil Dinosaur, they did succeed in capturing the former and taking him back to their ship for vivisection! Meanwhile, understanding the shared threat to their world a pair of Hill Folk called White-Hairs and Stone-Hand ally themselves with Devil to send the aliens packing.

After witnessing dinosaurs loading into the ship for chemical processing and Hill Folk disintegrated for rebelling, the unorthodox trio journeyed to The Tower of Death to save their way of life. It didn’t take long for the armored aliens to give chase and, even though the Hill Folk questioned Devil’s path, he soon proved adept at using the environment against their pursuers.

Devil Dinosaur (1978) #4

Devil Dinosaur (1978) #4

  • Published: July 10, 1978
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: March 04, 2010
What is Marvel Unlimited?

As DD and the Hill Folk witnessed the denizens of The Tower Of Death—giant ants called Swarmers—obliterate one of the aliens, the invader’s brethren continue their unspeakable experiments on Moon Boy in the ship. To retaliate against Devil for killing three of their own, the aliens unleash a weapon of destruction called The Land Crusher. They then used the giant laser to destroy the Tower which sent the Swarmers in all directions. More importantly, it left Devil Dinosaur nearly dead underneath all that rubble.

DD quickly recuperated in time to help White-Hairs and Stone-Hand save a female of their kind called Eev. Eventually, the Swarmers make their way to the ship and destroy it with their sheer, overwhelming numbers. Of course, the adventure for our stars continued on as they had not been reunited by the end of DEVIL DINOSAUR #6 and still needed to deal with the alien leftover called the Demon Tree…but that will be a story for another day!

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

Read More

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

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

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

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

Captain America (1968) #193

Captain America (1968) #193

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

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

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

Eternals (1976) #1

Eternals (1976) #1

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

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

Read More

The Fantastic Four investigates an empty house with startling results!

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.

New parents have a lot on their mind. From diaper changings and feedings to worrying about all manner of other potential dangers, making mistakes comes with the territory. Now, take all of that and throw in a never-ending train of super-menaces to deal with and you get an idea of where Reed and Sue Richards’ heads resided in FANTASTIC FOUR #8889 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Their son—not yet named in these issues, but eventually called Franklin—had been born not long prior in the pages of FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #6, so after coming home from a mission, they all decided to look at an out-of-the-way home that would offer them privacy and safety. The fact that they didn’t think anything of a strange building in the middle of nowhere that no one had ever lived in and seemed to come out of nowhere should have triggered a few alarms, but let’s blame that new parent baby brain on that.

For us, though, we get to see “The King” do his thing, designing a domicile that would make Frank Lloyd Wright’s places look tame in comparison. The more the Fantastic Four and Crystal—a member of the squad at that point—looked around, the more they realized that something might be up. Still, they decided to buy the place and start moving in. They started regretting the purchase a bit when Reed tried drilling some holes so Sue could hang pictures and the security system shot stub bolts and trapped him in a clear jar. Still, not fully wary of the purchase, they continued to unpack.

Fantastic Four (1961) #88

Fantastic Four (1961) #88

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

Unbeknownst to the new tenants, the build actually came from a surprise source, one who kept an eye on things while the Richards’ moved in: Mole Man! He’d been using the place to send out a signal that would make everyone on the surface world as blind as him! After robbing the FF of their sight and revealing himself at the end of #88, Mole Man really pressed his advantage in the following issue. Far more used to fighting in the dark than his opponents, the villain easily dodged their attacks!

However, Mole Man underestimated how much Reed and Sue loved each other and how fiercely they’d fight any foe to keep the other safe. After Mr. Fantastic wound up on the wrong end of the villain’s staff, The Invisible Girl lashed out, knocking off his glasses and exposing his overly sensitive eyes to light they could not handle. Enraged at the attacks on his friend and his sister and with sight renewed, Human Torch took off and melted Mole Man’s staff. As the subterranean tyrant blamed everyone but himself for his crimes, Johnny Storm corralled him and then, essentially, told him to stop being so whiny and take responsibility for himself.

With the immediate threat out of the way, the team could concentrate on reviving Reed, who seemed out for the count, but soon regained consciousness after The Thing administered mouth to mouth and CPR. In this story Lee and Kirby presented a thrilling tale that keeps you involved at every turn while also giving Jack plenty of room to play when it came to designing a house that just about any fan would love to visit—though maybe without the booby traps!

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

Read More

Swing through Kirby adventures with the friendly neighborhood hero!

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.

Everyone knows that Jack Kirby drew the cover for Spider-Man’s first appearance in AMAZING FANTASY #15, and that another legendary artist—Steve Ditko—handled the interiors. Aside from that issue, however, The King worked his particular brand of Wallcrawler magic alongside Stan Lee!

Kirby returned to the arachnid scene with 1963’s STRANGE TALES ANNUAL #2—a story called “Human Torch on the Trail of the Amazing Spider-Man.” In this book, Johnny got a little annoyed at Spidey after seeing how much attention the Web-Head received for his actions, eventually running off in anger. Meanwhile, The Fox ran afoul of the law—and framed Spider-Man for the crimes committed. Worried that he couldn’t handle everything on his own, Spider-Man headed to the Storm house in Long Island, asking The Human Torch for a hand. Johnny, still upset, responded with a barrage of fireballs.

Strange Tales Annual (1962) #2

Strange Tales Annual (1962) #2

  • Published: June 11, 1963
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: September 26, 2008
  • Writer: Jack Kirby
  • Penciler: Steve Ditko
What is Marvel Unlimited?

After a long battle, Spidey webbed up the Torch, allowing him a moment to explain the situation. Initially disbelieving, Johnny saw the truth and joined the cause. Finally working together, the duo planned on taking The Fox down—and saw their plan come to fruition soon after.

The next year, Kirby created a back-up story in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #8 called “Spider-Man Tackles The Human Torch.” In this tale, ol’ Web-Head met up with Johnny’s girlfriend, Doris Evans, at a party—in an attempt to sweet talk her into a date. Johnny arrived at the scene, however, and the meetup became a super power head-to-head between the two heroes. Johnny spotlighted a few dancers with his infrared light, Spidey formed a bat out of webs and tossed it over the revelers, causing a bit of hysteria.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #8

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #8

  • Published: January 10, 1964
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

This move, obviously, didn’t go over too well, with the guests requesting that the Torch remove the unwanted visitor. And the ensuing confrontation proved to be a bit more violent. During the fracas, Johnny ran into the Fantastic Four, leading Spider-Man to attack them as well. Before long, though, Sue Storm calmed the situation and the Wallcrawler swung into the night.

The rivalry between these two continued for years—though, eventually, they’d become close friends. But these early stories show an ultra-unique dynamic between two good guys who just have different ways of doing things. All thanks to Steve, Jack, and Stan!

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

Read More