Jack Kirby closes out his epic run by saving reality!

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 time for Stan Lee and Jack Kirby to finish their collaborative tenure on THOR in 1970, the duo pulled out all the stops. In THOR #175, the ending began as Loki gathered enough forces to finally achieve his greatest goal: gaining control of Asgard!

Thanks to the help of Mountain Giants, trolls, gnomes, demons, and a menagerie of other menaces—not to mention Thor being on a faraway journey to Midgard during the initial attack—the trickster distracted Asgardian forces and gained entrance into Odin’s chambers. Once there, he used his authority as a son of the sovereign to gain command while the true ruler slept.

Thor (1966) #175

Thor (1966) #175

  • Published: April 10, 1970
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: June 22, 2011
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Marie Severin
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Upon returning to his home realm, Thor saw that Loki wore the mighty Ring Imperial, which led the God of Thunder to attempt to gather his compatriots for a fight against the usurper, but the others couldn’t bring themselves to defy the bearer of such a symbol of power. Ultimately, Thor decided to bow to the new king, though his choice was made more to preserve Sif’s safety than his own.

Despite his early victory, Loki’s rule did not last long. In issue #176, Thor joined Balder, Sif, and the Warriors Three to take on the God of Mischief. Though soon, a much bigger problem arrived on the horizon: Surtur. With Odin’s power lapsing, the fire demon found his prison far less inescapable. Breaking free, the demon demanded retribution from those who wronged him and traveled to Asgard to exact his revenge.

Thor (1966) #176

Thor (1966) #176

  • Published: May 10, 1970
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: June 23, 2011
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

In issue #177, as Thor and the other heroes prepared themselves to battle Surtur, Loki ducked out and made his way to Earth to avoid trouble. Though, thanks to Balder’s rescue of Odin, the fiery beast found himself imprisoned under the rock once more.

Kirby’s run on THOR ended with issue #179, leaving a story perfectly set up for another world-famous artist, Neal Adams, to conclude. In that finale, Thor traveled back to Earth to make Loki pay for his crimes. Loki tried getting the drop on Thor in his Donald Blake form, but the Thunder God had set a trap. Unfortunately for the Mjolnir wielder, his brother utilized a magic mask to drain him of his powers. A few issues later, though, Thor prevailed, regaining his might and form at last.

Thor (1966) #177

Thor (1966) #177

  • Published: June 10, 1970
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: June 24, 2011
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

In the years since, a litany of artists have built their own stories and structures across the Nine Realms. As high and far as those designs reach, however, the firmament upon which they all exist will forever be crafted by the King—Jack Kirby.

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

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Thor gets caught in a war between Ego and the Devourer of Worlds!

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.

Ever since the dawn of comic books, readers have spent hours, days even, discussing what it would be like if their favorite characters met and what would happen in the ensuing fight. Fans themselves, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby actually got to make those dreams a reality as they continued building the Marvel Universe throughout the 60s. In THOR #160161, two incredible powers came into conflict for the first time: The God of Thunder and Galactus.

The issue from 1969 began with Tana Nile landing on Earth in hopes of drawing Thor out and requesting he return to Rigel with her to stop an unnamed, but grave menace, to which he agreed. Meanwhile, in Asgard, Odin interviewed The Recorder as Sif burst into the throne seeking leave to travel alongside her beloved Thor. Odin denied her, but did not stop the Rigellian robot from returning home.

Back on Nile’s ship, Thor’s journey came under siege as a lone but incredibly powerful Taurian crashed through the hull, demanding the crew cede control of the vessel. Upon losing the fight, the alien asked for mercy and explained that he’d lost his mind, just for a moment, because of the destruction Galactus wrought on his planet. Between that and seeing the results of the Devourer of Worlds’ most recent meal outside the ship, The Odinson vowed to punish The Planet Eater.

Thor (1966) #160

Thor (1966) #160

  • Published: January 10, 1969
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: May 21, 2009
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

While Recorder and Thor reunited on Rigel and left to find Galactus, the cosmic entity had come upon an unforeseen enemy in the form of Ego, the Living Planet! Their battle of might and mayhem proved strong enough to destroy the craft carrying Thor and his ally, leaving them seemingly stranded until the Wanderers swooped in to save the day. This group of survivors from the first planet Galactus consumed made it their mission to see their tormentor sated forever, one way or another.

As our heroes healed from the frigid vacuum of space on the Wanderers’ ship, Kirby treated us to a must-see confrontation between Ego and Galactus. In addition to the huge, bold traditional art “The King” created with apparent ease, we also got to see another of those amazing collages he dreamed up. Wishing to end the madness, Thor thrust mighty Mjolnir into the fray. Flying true, the mystic mallet found its target, smashing into Galactus and reminding the gargantuan what physical pain felt like. The Thunder God then took the fight directly to his foe, walloping him in the head with his trusted weapon.

Though The Recorder and the Wanderers all assumed that they’d been soundly defeated, Thor mounted Mjolnir to a device built on Ego to turn it into a kind of cosmic cannon. Calling upon the strength and power of Odin, his prodigal unleashed enough power to severely damage Galactus, sending him away to heal and continue his never-ending mission of sating his hunger. With their shared enemy defeated, Ego and the Wanderers became allies for a time as the living planet created a lush living place for the group on his surface and offered it as their home and sanctuary.

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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Thor must team with Sif to battle Ulik, the trolls and an extra-dimensional being called Orikal!

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 of the great things about the partnership between Stan Lee and Jack Kirby is that the duo didn’t take the easy or obvious way through a story. Take THOR #137139 from 1967, for example. Most of the story revolved around the trolls scheming to take over Asgard while Ulik distracted Thor. That might seem fairly straightforward, but then we came to realize that the trolls had an extra-dimensional super powered robot-like being on their side called Orikal!  

Thor (1966) #137

Thor (1966) #137

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

When last we saw Thor in KIRBY 100, he and Jane Foster had broken up but he’d been reintroduced to Sif who had grown up since last he saw her. The two showed off their warrior skills to one another, but that came to an end when a band of trolls attacked and made off with Sif!

Enraged, Thor gave chase, even entering the Under-Kingdom Of The Trolls, only to come face to face with a new, but legendary enemy: Ulik! While those two titans battled, the trolls gassed Sif and sent her to Earth so that Thor would follow and turn into Don Blake, giving them a chance to steal Mjolnir.

As Thor and Ulik battled, the Odinson realized quickly that his opponent’s might nearly matched his own! In fact, the troll eventually gained the upper hand and went to land a potential killing blow when he disappeared.

Thor played right into the trolls’ plans as he transported himself to Midgard right as the other trolls attacked Asgard. He even changed into Don Blake to more easily blend in. Since the trolls knew Thor’s alter ego, they tracked Blake and used a molecular disperser to snatch him from below the very streets of New York!

The trolls even managed to grab the walking stick, but couldn’t change it until Don tricked them into changing himself into Thor! That lead to another fight with Ulik. When Thor gained a moment’s rest, he stumbled across Sif’s prison. Distracted, he put his hammer down for a few moments, but enough time for the trolls to capture it in the Orb of Orikal. They ran off with the weapon leaving Thor to turn back into Don Blake as he did after not touching Mjolnir for 60 seconds.

Distraught over both losing his hammer and not being able to get back to Asgard to help his fellow Asgardians, Thor resorted to a dire plan: he intended to jump in front of a train after changing into Blake in hopes that his spirit would return home! However, Sif reminded him that she had power of her home and transported them both to Asgard, which also meant that Thor would not change back into Blake.

They made it just in time too because the trolls used the weapons provided to them by Orikal that not only helped them invade the shining city, but also steal energy away from Odin himself!

Instead of joining the main battle, Thor and Sif took on Ulik once again before entering the flaming prison that the head troll kept Orikal captive in. The Asgardians agreed to free Orikal from his fiery prison as long as he offered to leave their dimension forever! With their secret weapon – and weapon-maker – out of the picture, the trolls surrendered to plot their next invasion!

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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.

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Thor, Loki, and Odin fight off the fire demon and the coming of Ragnarok!

As the clock ticks down to “Thor: Ragnarok,” spend your time wisely by reading these stories plucked from the Marvel Unlimited archives!

From issue #337 to #367, the legendary Walt Simonson wrote and drew THOR on his own. In that time, he revolutionized the character, expanded the mythos, and built upon the foundation Stan Lee and Jack Kirby built for the series.

One of Simonson’s best-remembered arcs arrived in THOR issues #340 to #353. Now known as “The Surtur Saga,” the year-long arc took its time to grow before exploding into a grand conclusion that left both Asgard and Midgard shaking in the aftermath.

Thor (1966) #340

Thor (1966) #340

What is Marvel Unlimited?

In the early issues, the only glimpses readers got of the fiery demon called Surtur came in the form of a shadowy individual pounding a sword on an anvil, sending resounding “DOOM” sound effects across the page. But the more Surtur worked, the more evil creatures woke up inside Earth, waiting for a call to action.

As he worked on this sword, which he named Twilight, Surtur sent the likes of Malekith to Midgard. Thor battled the Dark Elf there for the first time, allowing Surtur to rally his troops for their impending attack.

Odin sensed these brewing troubles and tasked the Warriors Three with gathering a force to fight for Asgard—and ordered that his own armor be prepared. A smart choice, as Surtur broke through the dimensional barrier to the realm at the end of THOR #348.

Thor (1966) #348

Thor (1966) #348

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Thor then returned to Asgard alongside Beta Ray Bill and Sif. After discovering that Surtur planned on using Earth as a stepping stone to get to them, all in the Norse force—except Odin and Heimdall—traveled to battle the monster on Midgard, in Manhattan. Joined by the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, Thor and his allies unwittingly played into Surtur’s plan to get to Asgard, kill Odin, and use the Flame of Destruction to bring about Ragnarok—the end of all things.

Suddenly understanding the plan, Thor left his compatriots to fight Surtur’s forces on Asgard, arriving just in time to save his friend Heimdall. Despite this early success, the Odinson failed to stop Surtur from destroying part of the Rainbow Bridge.

Armed with the Scepter Supreme, King Odin joined the fight. He stood firm against the demon, but Surtur’s power grew as he got closer to the Fire of Destruction. Summoning the power of the Cask of Ancient Winters, the flame beast froze Odin before placing Twilight in the Fire of Destruction!

The story reached its climax in the pages of THOR #353, when the previously absent Loki appeared to reveal that Surtur had placed his sword in an illusion, not the real Fire of Destruction. After their allies on Earth regained the Cask, Odin found himself freed and joined his sons in battle.

Thor (1966) #353

Thor (1966) #353

What is Marvel Unlimited?

As the heroes on Midgard defeated Surtur’s demons, distracting their dark leader, Thor threw Mjolnir at Twilight, disengaging the sword’s power. Seeing an opening, Odin grew to Surtur’s size and battled his foe hand-to-hand. As they grappled, Odin ordered Loki and Thor to blast the ground at their feet, sacrificing himself, sending both he and Surtur into Muspelheim.

Quiet fell across Asgard—as the realm stood safe, but without its King.

Ragnarok and Roll

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby chronicled some of the background to this story in the “Tales of Asgard” back-ups featured in the first “Thor Lore” stories! Surtur debuted in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #97, appearing in a panel that read, “At the world’s end sat Surtur, the demon of fire, who waited, with his flaming sword, for the end of the world, when he might go forth to destroy gods and men alike!”

In issue #99, Odin battled Surtur, trapping the demon in Earth’s core. The prophetess Volla then showed Thor and his compatriots what Ragnarok would look like and the part Surtur would play in bringing it about.

In honor of the battle between Thor and the Jade Giant in “Thor: Ragnaraok,” we’ll check out INCREDIBLE HULK #300 next week!

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The King's Silver Age Marvel work comes to a close with a milestone for the Fantastic Four 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.

The year 1969 became a turning point in the career of Jack Kirby as the legendary artist began what would be his final Marvel projects during the Silver Age of Comics.

Jack wound down his output even more in the last year of the Swingin’ Sixties, passing CAPTAIN AMERICA off to newer artists like Barry Windsor Smith and concentrating on his landmarks, FANTASTIC FOUR and THOR. With Stan Lee, Jack dove into an appearance by the mysterious Inhumans in FANTASTIC FOUR #82, as well as a new Doctor Doom saga that began in FANTASTIC FOUR #84. Later in the year, he and Lee created a planet of Skrulls who’d adopted an early-20th century gangster lifestyle in FANTASTIC FOUR #92, which led to the Thing battling a fantastic new Kirby creation, the robot Torgo, in FANTASTIC FOUR #93.

In CAPTAIN AMERICA #109, jack provided a big send-off for the Sentinel of Liberty with a retelling of his origin, then returned for a single story of super heroes’ remembrances of Cap in CAPTAIN AMERICA #112.

Captain America (1968) #109

Captain America (1968) #109

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

One Jack greatest co-creation, Galactus, returned in THOR #160 to bedevil the Thunder God as well as another Kirby stand-out character, Ego the Living Planet. Later, in THOR #165, Thor battle Him before Galactus returned once more to stomp his way through the rest of the year.

As 1970 dawned, Jack made plans to leave Marvel. He’d already logged artwork for upcoming issues of his books and finished more in the first few months of the year. This provided Marvel and its fans a few more chances to see “The King” on their favorite characters before his departure.

Fantastic Four (1961) #100

Fantastic Four (1961) #100

  • Published: July 10, 1970
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Jack had drawn many a spooky witch in his early days on monster and horror anthologies, but perhaps his superlative success with the them came in the form of Agatha Harkness, introduced in FANTASTIC FOUR #94. A few issues later, Stan and Jack celebrated one-hundred installments of “The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine” in FANTASTIC FOUR #100, and then followed that up with a clash between the FF and Namor the Sub-Mariner with his new ally Magneto.

Over in THOR, Jack surrounded the Thunder God with the flames of Surtur in THOR #176, and then ended his run on the book with the incredible cover of Thor in all his glory on THOR #177.

Thor (1966) #177

Thor (1966) #177

  • Published: June 10, 1970
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: June 24, 2011
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

One fascinating footnote of Jack’s last days at Marvel arrived in the form of a new anthology Stan called AMAZING ADVENTURES. In the first four issues, Jack not only drew an amazing solo adventure of his Inhumans, but also scripted it, too. This rare combination of writing and art put a singular capstone on Jack Kirby last collaborations with Marvel in the 1960s. From there, he made his way to DC, but by no means did he shut the door on ol’ Marvel for good…

Amazing Adventures (1970) #1

Amazing Adventures (1970) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?
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Ulik, MODOK and the future Adam Warlock were all part of another great year for the King.

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.

By 1967, Marvel editor Stan Lee knew exactly where to use his top artist, Jack Kirby. Together, “The Man” and “The King” whittled Jack’s output down to two main titles that year, with two main side-projects just to make things interesting. One might say it became a true “Summer of Love” between the Marvel creators and their fans at that time.

Stan and Jack continued to infuse FANTASTIC FOUR with way-out wonders and swingin’ splendors in ’67. They kicked off the year with a multi-issue tussle between the FF and Doctor Doom, and then wasted no time tossing them into a battle with the Negative Zone’s Blastaar in FANTASTIC FOUR #62, and the alien Kree Accuser named Ronin—another stand-out Kirby design—in FANTASTIC FOUR #65.

Though the fans might’ve been unaware of the history-making events occurring in FANTASTIC FOUR #67, Stan and Jack introduced another great concept in that issue’s “Him.” Jack’s visuals on the golden-skinned godling seemed a bit subdued and minimalistic, perhaps, but the character continued on to transform into Adam Warlock a few years later, one of Marvel’s most enigmatic yet engaging stars.

In the pages of THOR, Jack’s other blockbuster assignment, the Thunder God met his physical equal in Ulik the Troll in THOR #137, Kang and his Growing Man in THOR #140, and the Kirby tour-de-force of the Super-Skrull in THOR #142. Thor himself suffered under an almost-complete loss of his Asgardian powers in THOR #145, allowing Jack the opportunity to portray the majesty and grandeur of the character in an Earth-bound, civilian-dressed form.

After a break from Captain America’s adventures in TALES OF SUSPENSE, Jack returned to the strip along with Stan in TALES OF SUSPENSE #92 to kick off a storyline that illustrated the great depth of feeling from Cap for Agent-13, one of Nick Fury’s valued S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. After that, Cap met MODOK, surely the most unique Jack Kirby-designed character of the entire year, in TALES OF SUSPENSE #94, and temporarily retired to try and live a “normal life” in TALES OF SUSPENSE #95.

Apart form all the danger and drama delineated by Jack in 1967, he also poked some fun at himself and the rest of the Marvel pantheon through Stan’s latest brainchild, NOT BRAND ECHH, a comedy-parody mag. Utilizing Jack sparingly, but effectively, Stan included his star artist on the introduction of the Silver Burper in NOT BRAND ECHH #1, Sore, Son of Shmodin in NOT BRAND ECHH #3, and the ever-lovin’ origin of none other than Forbush-Man in NOT BRAND ECHH #5. What a way to go-go!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more on Jack Kirby 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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Mark Waid looks back upon a classic Thor/Hercules tussle from 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.

A few days ago, we talked about how it can take some time to get used to an artist as dynamic and bold as Jack Kirby. By his own admission, AVENGERS writer Mark Waid didn’t take to “The King” when he first experienced some of his comics at the Distinguished Competition as a kid. If you’re wondering what made him change his mind about the artist, it came in the pages of JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #125 and THOR #126130.

“One of my all-time favorite Kirby stories is the ‘Verdict of Zeus’ epic, which I read at age 12 and was my introduction to Marvel Kirby,” Waid said. “The sheer drama in that Thor/Hercules saga, with all its grandeur and all its humanity, was an education for me.”

These issues contain many amazing moments bound to convert anyone to Camp Kirby. The first issue kicks off with a battle between Thor and a Norn Stone-enhanced Witch Doctor for several pages before shifting focus to a napping Hercules who helped move a downed tree from the train tracks.

After returning the Norn Stone to his father on Asgard, Thor attempts to tell his father that he revealed his secret identity to Jane Foster, but the elder god already knew! In his rage, Odin demands the other warriors present attack his son in “the Ritual of Steel.” The Odinson fights valiantly and earns his trip across the Rainbow Bridge back to Midgard where he finds his beloved at a soda parlor with Hercules!

Journey Into Mystery (1952) #125

Journey Into Mystery (1952) #125

What is Marvel Unlimited?

A wonderfully epic, titanic battle erupts between the two gods in the very first issue of THOR! How epic, you wonder? Well in addition to wielding enchanted uru hammers and Power Staffs, the two use trailer trucks, streets, heavy machinery, buildings, and bare fists to knock each other silly.

Hercules not only wins that battle, but also parlays the victory into a gig working on a gorgeous movie set overseen by mysterious supernatural figures disguised as humans. Meanwhile, Thor returns to Asgard where he stops an interloper from stealing Odin’s power, but nearly at the cost of his own life.

Eventually, Thor heals up, which gives him the strength to help Hercules get out of a boneheaded deal he made to become ruler of the Netherworld, thus cementing a camaraderie that continues to this 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.

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The Living Planet clashes with Thor in his earliest incarnation!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

In the pages of this week’s ULTIMATES 2 #8, Al Ewing and Aud Koch brought two powerful cosmic entities into conflict once again as Galactus faced off against his old foe Ego. We’re not going to spoil how that encounter ended, but we will talk about the Living Planet’s first recorded bout!

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced readers—and the title Asgardian warrior—to Ego on the very last page of THOR #132 back in 1966. You might wonder what brought the God of Thunder into outer space at the time. In THOR #131, Jane Foster’s former roommate Tana Nile revealed her true identity as a Space Colonizer. Since no one else cared about the backwater planet Earth, she called dibs and took control. When Thor came to visit the missing Jane, he discovered Tana’s secret and battled the supposedly unbeatable Colonizers from Rigel. He allowed himself to get captured and easily broke free to confront the entire organization in issue #132. After a battle, the Colonizer leader told Thor of the true threat, a being living in the Black Galaxy.

Agreeing to face this unseen enemy head-on, Thor flew off in a space ship with a humanoid robot called The Recorder. The duo witnessed the Living Planet as a beautifully rendered Kirby collage at the end of #132, and then far more fully in the next issue. Upon the Thunder God’s landing on Ego’s surface, the enormous creature revealed seemingly unlimited powers like the ability to peer into minds and manipulate the molecules around them to create familiar environs. He quickly exposed his desire to use these powers to escape the Black Galaxy and take over “all of space.”

Thor (1966) #133

Thor (1966) #133

  • Published: October 10, 1966
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: September 17, 2008
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
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Ego further explained that his plan revolved around using the Thunderer as a molecular model to create an army of powerful anti-body-based minions that would travel from the Black Galaxy to fulfill his machinations. Though the Living Planet offered plenty of obstacles for Thor and Recorder to survive, the Son of Odin called down a storm of epic proportions that allowed them to free themselves from his grievous gravitational pull. In his rage at losing, Ego swore to seal off his bio-verse and never attack an outside world again.

Flash Forward

Of course, Ego’s vow of non-violence didn’t stop another cosmic threat from threatening the Living Planet! Galactus stumbled upon Ego during one of his many searches for sustenance and the two quickly came into conflict in THOR #160. Meanwhile, Tana Nile appeared on Earth to bring Thor to the Black Galaxy to help stop this war of cosmic proportions. The Thunder God joined the fray, fighting Galactus for the very first time, in an effort to defend Ego from being devoured. Thanks to some help from the Wanderers, who provided equipment to enhance Mjolnir, the heroes drained Galactus of his life energy and sent him packing! Ego offered his thanks by giving the Wanderers a place to live on his surface.

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