The writer of Iceman pays homage to Bobby Drake’s 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.
Forgive the pun, but in 1963, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the coolest character in comics: Iceman! Debuting alongside his fellow mutants in the pages of UNCANNY X-MEN #1, Bobby Drake not only revealed himself as the youngest of the bunch, but also the class clown. The frozen hero has grown quite a bit since then, but ICEMAN writer Sina Grace still sees the connections going back to those earliest appearances when he looked more like a walking-talking snowman than the experienced X-Man we’ve come to know and love.
We talked with Grace about how a toy probably introduced him to “The King,” the personality Stan and Jack infused Bobby with, and how all that influenced his own work.
Marvel.com: How did you first discover Jack’s work? Do you remember what you thought of it at the time?
Sina Grace: I think maybe the first time I saw Jack Kirby’s work was in some UNCANNY X-MEN #1 reprint that came with an action figure? Growing up, I remembered always being drawn to it over some of his other contemporaries. Like, I’m pretty sure I’m the only kid in the world who was like, “Why is this Neal Adams guy drawing X-Men in later issues?!” [Laughs]
Marvel.com: When you knew you wanted to make comics, did you go back, look at his work and learn anything that helped you in your own process?
Sina Grace: My experiences learning from Kirby’s art were always about how to communicate a lot of information with the constraints of being under deadline. Jack was so prolific, and his art was always dynamic. I examined that. I remember seeing an exhibit with his originals for the Masters of American Comics exhibition, and just spending solid minutes looking at every detail, every brush stroke. Thanks Glen David Gold for contributing so much of your collection to that!
Marvel.com: Iceman obviously looks different now than he did when Jack drew him, but what do you think makes that a classic look?
Sina Grace: Jack’s representation of Bobby is sort of how I love him best: being a walking, talking snowman could be fodder for embarrassment, but our boy leaned into it and was in on the joke from the get-go. Jack always drew him with humor and levity, when he could have been far more angsty about his skill set in those early years.
Marvel.com: You’ve worked on a lot of different kinds of books in different fields, like Jack did. Do you think he inspired you at all in that way?
Sina Grace: I wouldn’t say that Jack directly inspired me to go ahead and play around with genres and art styles, but I will say that I was always inspired by the way he was able to evolve his style while staying consistently true to what made something deserving of the Kirby signature.
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.