Jack draws the true heroes of the House of Ideas into adventure!

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.

We all know the basic plot of how the Fantastic Four came into being: a quartet of people went up into space, flew through some cosmic rays, and came back to Earth with incredible powers. We know the group as Reed Richards, Sue and Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm—but what if the transformations hit Marvel stalwarts Stan Lee, Flo Steinberg, Sol Brodsky and Jack Kirby?! In 1978’s WHAT IF? #11—written, drawn, and edited by Kirby—that’s the group that “The King” gave fantastic powers to in “What if the Fantastic Four were the original Marvel Bullpen?” In this alternate reality, Marvel’s then-Editor, Secretary, Vice President, and most storied artist would leave their comic-creating jobs to fight evil as the FF!

As we learn about how these familiar names became heroes, we also get to see them taking on a large purple monster-man who turned out to be Doctor Morrow, the man they’d left on a mission to meet. Before long, they entered Morrow’s laboratory—which came jam-packed with one-of-a-kind Kirby tech—and, after hours of searching, finally found the box they’d been looking for. We see a flashback to the early 60s when Stan informed Jack that some scientists planned on basing their next experiment on their comics. After Sol and Flo enter the room, they open a box that shoots them all with cosmic rays turning them into the famous team!

Readers saw the birth of The Thing, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic and Human Torch in a very different environment: Stan Lee’s office! Upon realizing that the device had been sent by a group called The “S” People, the crew got to work tracking them down when not making comics. As we came to understand, characters like Sub-Mariner wound up with counterparts in this alternate reality as well. In fact, the FF tussled with Namor as he’d come across one of the boxes himself. After convincing him they had nothing to do with its creation, Namor promised to help find the source of this power. As it turned out, the infiltrators stood right in their midst—and the “S” People turned out to be Skrulls!

What If? (1977) #11

What If? (1977) #11

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

This Fantastic Four and Sub-Mariner then teamed up to give chase to the invaders, ripping apart his ship in the process. The coalition also destroyed the other boxes the Skrull intended to use on Earthlings. They then carried on in their efforts to both entertain humanity and also keep it safe!

Many people have wondered how much of himself Kirby put into characters like Ben Grimm, so it’s really interesting to see him do that literally. The Kirby-fied Thing looks a bit different, but they sound the same, for the most part. Kirby also wound up being the one who didn’t quite trust the mystery box and also destroyed the one that changed them with his shoe!

The Watcher stepped in to explain that the comic book counterparts took on some of the characteristics of their creators, like, “Sue Storm was a fit projection of Flo Steinberg’s courageous dedication to a venture filled with countless dangers.” In other words, this issue offers a unique look at some of the dynamics at work during Kirby’s days at Marvel.

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 Robbie Thompson RSVPs for the social event of the Silver Age!

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.

Over the course of these Kirby 100 posts, we’ve made numerous references to Jack Kirby as co-architect of the Marvel Universe. These days the idea of a shared super hero universe in comics seems about as commonplace as the idea of heroes fighting villains, but that concept didn’t just sprout up out of nowhere. For years, issues would come out month after month with very little continuity between installments or references to other characters from the same publisher.

However, when Stan Lee and Jack started working together on titles like FANTASTIC FOUR, THOR, UNCANNY X-MEN and others, they didn’t just build off and reference previous stories, but also feature other heroes from even more books like Daredevil and Spider-Man. Readers of those early Marvel comics really got the sense that all of these characters lived in the same world, especially since many of them took place in New York City.

Kirby and Lee topped even themselves, though, with the publication of FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #3, which featured the highly anticipated wedding of Reed Richards and Sue Storm. Considering the profile of this couple, it’s easy to understand how it would take on legendary status for FF fans who came along at any time, like SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL writer Robbie Thompson who hopped on a few hundred issues later.

“I started reading FANTASTIC FOUR with issue #243, so I knew the Richards were married, but I was always curious to see the big day, and Kirby and Lee totally delivered on an epic Annual that brought the whole Marvel Universe together,” Thompson relays. “It exceeded my expectations and remains my favorite Marvel wedding.”

Fantastic Four Annual (1963) #3

Fantastic Four Annual (1963) #3

  • Published: October 01, 1965
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Everyone showed up from Millie the Model to the X-Men—and those were the actual guests! Doctor Doom fueled by his hated for Richards, decided to send an army of super villains to destroy the festivities, but thanks to the assembled heroes and an appearance by The Watcher, Reed and Sue made it to the alter and exchanged I dos.

“From a practical standpoint, I think it was a great way to show the cohesiveness of the Marvel Universe and illustrate how big and connected [it] was becoming,” Thompson notes. “But from a personal standpoint, it also illuminates the key to why these characters work so well: the ‘event’ is personal. The biggest day of their lives isn’t getting their powers or another invention, or even Doom trying to spoil the whole thing; the ‘event’ is their greatest adventure yet: marriage. Seeing the hope and [positivity] in all the characters coming together to unite for Reed and Sue on a personal level is such a signature part of that book’s success and it’s executed perfectly in this Annual.”

Unfortunately, two well-intentioned attendees got turned away at the door by Nick Fury, Dum Dum Duggan, and Gabe Jones. The pair? None other than Stan and Jack themselves! Of course, that adds to the issue’s charm as the two men head off to work on the next installment! It helps that Kirby got to draw so many amazing characters in one issue while also throwing in some of his classic tech and even a collage!

“I’d rate it pretty high on the Kirby Canon, it really does have it all—and you can see Kirby pushing the form of comic storytelling in each panel, adding to the grammar of sequential storytelling and bringing each character to life in such an elegant way,” Thompson concludes.

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 Robbie Thompson celebrates the hope that Jack brought to comics!

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.

Robbie Thompson could see something special in Jack Kirby’s artwork from the first moment he discovered it.

Having written SILK, VENOM: SPACE KNIGHT, DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME, Thompson is set to take over SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL with issue #23. So he’s done his fair share of playing in the universe that Kirby helped create.

We celebrated Jack Kirby’s centennial alongside Robbie with a chat about discovering The King, loving Galactus, and adventuring with the Fantastic Four.

Marvel.com: Do you remember how you first discovered Jack’s artwork? Did you immediately enjoy it or did it take some getting used to?

Robbie Thompson: My brother and I used to get comics at the local drug store off a spinner rack—but for classic issues, we would get them from the local library. That’s where I first saw Kirby’s incredible work. They had copies of ORIGINS OF MARVEL COMICS, SON OF ORIGINS, BRING ON THE BAD GUYS, SUPER HERO WOMEN. All the artists in those collections are incredible, but Kirby’s work felt so singular. It became abundantly clear that he stood as a titan in creating the characters and universe my brother and I had grown to love.

Marvel.com: Does a particular Kirby book, arc, or series stick out in your mind as quintessential Jack?

Robbie Thompson: There’s almost too many to choose from! But I adore FANTASTIC FOUR; Kirby’s work on that series couldn’t have been more epic. There really wasn’t a book like it on stands at the time. It broke all kinds of ground and started the Marvel Universe. From character performances, to designs, to world-building, to layouts, Kirby created something timeless. The book has it all and it’s the one I revisit all the time. Plus, that’s where Kirby brought Galactus to life—and he’s one of my all-time favorite characters!

Marvel.com: When it came to creating new characters, few did it better than Jack and Stan Lee. But you’ve added a few toys to the Marvel sandbox yourself, so how does it feel adding to the stable they built?

Robbie Thompson: I feel incredibly fortunate to be standing on the shoulders of those giants and getting to play in the amazing universe they built. There’s a great quote from Kirby—it’s a perfect guiding light for playing in the Marvel Universe—which was, “I feel my characters are valid, my characters are people, my characters have hope. Hope is the thing that’ll take us through.” I love the hope in the Marvel Universe, and I’m so grateful to be playing a small role in it.

Marvel.com: In your mind, what about Kirby’s style and storytelling make him the person new fans keep discovering and older ones keep digging into?

Robbie Thompson: I think there’s really something for everyone in Kirby’s work if you love design, architecture, world-building, crazy technology, cosmic adventures, incredible characters with layered performances, romance, intrigue, suspense. He could do it all. He defined and then constantly redefined what could be done in a comic book as an art form—that’s what made him a legend.

Plenty of Kirby’s work has been adapted, and will be adapted for years to come; I can’t wait to see all the Kirby love in “Thor: Ragnarok.” His work defines pure comics—I think that’s what sets Kirby apart and what keeps him timeless. He did things that simply can’t be recreated in another art form. He was an absolute genius and I’m thrilled each new generation keeps finding and appreciating his legacy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Revisit the King’s creation of the Avengers founding member!

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.

During the 1960s, female comic book characters weren’t often positioned as heroes the same way that their male counterparts were—many were relegated to roles as romantic interests, damsels in distress, or both. While Janet van Dyne has filled these roles at times, she also holds the unique distinction of being not just the first female member of the Avengers, but also one of the team’s five founding heroes. Not bad for a character that only debuted a few months before the group’s inception!

Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Janet made her original appearance in June 1963 with TALES TO ASTONISH #44. The story saw Hank Pym (A.K.A. Ant-Man) first meet van Dyne when her father Vernon appealed for help with a science experiment. While Pym dismissed Vernon’s request, he did take a liking to Janet—who seemed to have a mutual interest in Hank.

Later that night, Vernon van Dyne’s experiment accidentally transported a space creature called Kosmos directly into his laboratory. After witnessing her father get knocked unconscious by the beast, Janet called Pym for help—but by the time he arrived as Ant-Man, Vernon had already died from the attack.

The two worked together in the aftermath of the accident—and Hank gave Janet shrinking powers of her own, as well as with the ability to sprout wings and fly. In an effort to avenge her father’s death, van Dyne took on the mantle of The Wasp.

Tales to Astonish (1959) #44

Tales to Astonish (1959) #44

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Now using their super hero monikers, the duo ended Kosmos’ reign of terror and fought other threats across the globe. Before long, Ant-Man and The Wasp joined Thor, Iron Man, and The Hulk to become Earth’s mightiest heroes with AVENGERS #1 in 1963.

Janet van Dyne immediately made herself known as a force to be reckoned with—even among such powerful and cosmic company. In issue #1, The Wasp demanded that Ant-Man wait for her to respond to Rick Jones and the Teen Brigade’s radio request for help—and when Hank made a crack about Janet’s makeup, she called him a “stuffy old bachelor” and answered the call.

Later in the same issue, as Ant-Man and The Wasp faced off against a rampaging Hulk, Janet risked her life to lure the Jade Giant into a trap. After fighting The Hulk—and dropping Loki into a lead-lined tank—Ant-Man, The Wasp, Iron Man, Thor, and a now-recovered Hulk convened to make their association official. Janet came up with a team name and the Avengers were born.

Earth’s mightiest heroes have become one of the most influential groups in Marvel history—and The Wasp has served as the team’s leader more than anyone, except Captain America, ever since. One of Jack Kirby’s finest creations, Janet van Dyne has proved that a female hero can be as interesting, complex, capable—and fallible—as any of her male counterparts for more than 50 years.

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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Explore a wild kingdom only the mind of Kirby could imagine!

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 1960s when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby laid down the base for the Marvel Universe, they created a number of unusual and endlessly captivating nooks and crannies to explore. In 1965’s UNCANNY X-MEN #10, readers discovered a secret place called the Savage Land that played home to dinosaurs, Neanderthals, and other forms of life including the heroic Ka-Zar and his saber-tooth tiger Zabu. Those last two came into the merry mutants’ world by way of a television broadcast showing the “Antarctic Wild Man” saving a researcher wearing only a loin cloth and accompanied by a supposedly extinct cat.

At first thinking he might be a mutant, the X-Men wanted to go check the mystery out. Professor X told them that, had he been a mutant, Cerbro would have spotted him, but then allowed them to go anyway. Upon exploring a recently created crevasse, the team traveled down through an icy tunnel that emptied into a boneyard for huge animals.

From there, the teens saw many of the wonders hidden below the ice in the Savage Land, but also several of the dangers ranging from pterodactyls to primitive warriors riding huge birds and wielding impressive weapons. Those attackers got the drop on the X-Men and made off with Marvel Girl while Ka-Zar made his first appearance alongside faithful companion Zabu!

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #10

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #10

  • Published: March 10, 1965
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 08, 2009
  • Rating: T+
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Thanks to some misunderstood differences in customs, the strangers fought one another, but only until Maa-Gor, the Killer, popped up to murder the self-proclaimed “Lord of the Jungle.” With that confrontation over, Ka-Zar agreed to help the X-Men save Jean from the Swamp Men. Angel flew ahead to scout, but got captured himself!

Ka-Zar and company made it to the Swamp Men’s walled village just in time to help Angel and Marvel Girl fend off an attacking T-Rex, thanks in part to the small army of mastodons the jungle lord called in for reinforcements. Upon freeing the captives, Ka-Zar bid the X-Men farewell, explaining concisely that he preferred his world to the one above.

Kirby returned to the Savage Land and Ka-Zar along with Lee for the first issue of ASTONISHING TALES in 1970. The character had appeared in various places in the five years since his creation, but this marked his first real showcase, though he had to share it with the villainous Doctor Doom! With the second issue, Roy Thomas took over for Lee on the scripts. Kirby only lasted one more issue himself before making way for artists like Barry Windsor-Smith, Herb Trimpe, Gil Kane, John Buscema, and Marie Severin.

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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A trio of takes on the Sentinel of Liberty from his co-creator!

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.

During Jack Kirby’s decades-long career he certainly created a number of memorable characters, but none can match Captain America when it comes to longevity. Along with his partner Joe Simon and the talented artists who worked for them, Kirby delivered CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1 to Timely Comics in 1941 and continued working on the series through issue #10. During that time, Kirby not only drew Steve Rogers’ origin as the Army reject who wound up becoming the symbol of all things American when given the Super Soldier Serum, he additionally introduced the likes of Bucky and The Red Skull.

As later established in AVENGERS #4, Bucky died thanks to a plot by Baron Zemo that also left Cap floating through the ocean in a block of ice. He remained there until 1965 when Kirby teamed up with Stan Lee—who also contributed to CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS—to reintroduce the Sentinel of Liberty to a new generation of readers! The thawed out Super Soldier quickly became a stalwart member of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

After bringing Steve Rogers back, Lee and Kirby decided to tell even more Cap stories, this time in the pages of TALES OF SUSPENSE, starting with #58. While some of these adventures took place in the present, others drew on some of that raw material from the first run of Cap comics and retold them for a new audience, complete with new art that showed off how Kirby’s work had evolved in that time.

TALES OF SUSPENSE gave way to CAPTAIN AMERICA #100 in 1968. Between the two books, Kirby helped introduce characters like Batroc, Doctor Faustus, Sharon Carter, The Falcon, Peggy Carter, M.O.D.O.K., and more. Kirby drew the series through issue #109, and then returned for #112, which he reportedly drew in 24 hours.

In the mid-70s, “The King” returned to the castle he helped build and did one more stint with his bravest of knights: Captain America. Kirby took over as writer-artist-editor of the title with 1976’s #193. Without missing a beat, he launched the Avenger and his partner Falcon directly into classic adventures like “Madbomb,” which dealt with the dangers of weaponized hate.

During this time, Kirby created one of Erik Larsen’s favorite moments during “The Swine,” not to mention the still-relevant Arnim Zola. Ultimately, the King’s reign on CAPTAIN AMERICA would come to a close with 1977’s issue #214, leaving behind not one or two, but three legendary runs on the character!

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 war-time hero turns secret agent courtesy of Stan Lee and 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.

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby changed the comic landscape with a quartet of adventurers in 1961. As the decade pushed on, so did they, creating more fantastical super folks than we can count, but in 1963 they introduced the world to a guy who would become one of the most important figures in the Marvel Universe: Nick Fury.

In the midst of the super hero resurgence, Stan and Jack decided to play to both their strengths and launch, of all things, a World War II comic. In a 2005-penned intro to the Marvel Masterworks collection of their run, Lee admitted that he considered these stories some of the best he’d ever written and Jack had ever drawn:

Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos (1963) #1

Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos (1963) #1

  • Published: May 10, 1963
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

“Maybe I relate to them so much because ‘King’ Kirby and I both served in World War II,” Lee wrote. “Jack was a fightin’ infantryman with the Third Army and I was attached to the Signal Corps. We were both discharged in 1945 after three years of service. And I know I don’t haveta tell you, it’s an experience you never forget.”

SGT. FURY AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS not only gave the world tough talking Fury, but also his band of misfits, including Dum Dum Duggan, Gabriel Jones, Dino Manelli, Izzy Cohen, Junior Juniper, and Rebel Ralston. Lee said that he took pride in the diversity of the cast, which accurately reflected their experiences during the war.

Of course, Nick Fury wouldn’t stay in the 40s forever. In FANTASTIC FOUR #21, he made his first appearance in the modern day, meeting up with Reed Richards who had actually appeared as a pre-Mr. Fantastic scientist in SGT. FURY #3. Not yet sporting his now-iconic eye patch, Fury worked on a case for the CIA at the time. In the next two years, Nick lost an eye and became the head of the Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law Enforcement Division—or more simply S.H.I.E.L.D.—as seen in 1965’s STRANGE TALES #135.

Strange Tales (1951) #135

Strange Tales (1951) #135

  • Published: August 10, 1965
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Beyond evolving Fury into Marvel’s number one spy—and also its first and last line of defense against any number of threats—Kirby and Lee also introduced concepts like The Helicarrier, Hydra, Life Model Decoys, Zodiac, the ESP Division, and A.I.M., among many others. Just try and think of a long-running Marvel comic that hasn’t featured one of those elements—it’s no small task!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Marvel at the majesty of Kirby-drawn monsters!

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.

Plenty of fans rightly associate Jack Kirby’s name with costumed individuals punching each other so hard that the very air around them crackles with energy, but he also worked in a variety of other genres. Like many artists in the 50s and 60s, he contributed to anthology comics that featured huge monsters, menacing aliens, and other threats previously unknown to mortal man!

One of those books, AMAZING ADVENTURES, ran for just six issues in 1961 but nicely showcased the abilities of Kirby and Stan Lee to create thrilling stories in just a few pages. The first tale of the inaugural issue followed a man named Paul Ramsay on trial for the murder of his friend. He refused to defend himself because of Torr, an alien who landed and intended to turn Earth into a colony for his home planet.

Using his immense mental powers, Torr switched bodies with Paul’s scientist colleague in an effort to get a lay of the land. Along the way, he used hypnosis-induction to make people see all kinds of crazy things including a car monster! To save humanity from enslavement, Ramsay shot his friend, but knew the court would never believe the story. Luckily for him, a surprise witness led to an immediate mistrial.

Amazing Adventures (1961) #1

Amazing Adventures (1961) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

After a story by another legendary comic artist, Steve Ditko, Lee and Kirby worked together to introduce Dr. Droom, a kind of mystic super hero who would go on to appear in all six issues of AMAZING ADVENTURES. Droom answered the call of a Tibetan Lama requesting a doctor. Upon arrival, he had to forsake his medical bag, cross hot coals, and face a half-gorilla, half-lion creature before meeting the Lama who passed his powers along to the newcomer. In many ways, Droom would pave the way not just for fellow occult hero Doctor Strange, but also lay down a version of his origins which revolved around traveling to a temple in the mountains to gain mystical abilities.

Other Kirby-drawn installments of AMAZING ADVENTURES feature a teenager searching town to find an escaped alien named Manoo, a college couple wandering into a monster-filled place known as the Twilight World, and other harrowing tales showcasing the King’s great skill at rendering everything from looming monsters and alien technology to simple, yet powerful looks of fear and rage.

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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