The Comics Pimp – The King of Comics
As a kid, I was dimly aware of a guy named Jack Kirby. Sure I knew that along with Stan Lee, he was the architect of the Marvel Comics universe. I also knew that he was that guy who drew those dated comics. His figures always seemed so boxy and surreal, and I simply could not appreciate what was staring back at me. Little did I comprehend the true genius of King Kirby.
A Jack Kirby comic is unmistakable. As an artist, he was willing to sacrifice realism for maximum style and impact; his machines and monsters were wonderfully chaotic, and his costume designs have withstood the test of time. At times his figures were not anatomically perfect, but he never forgot that a comic book is supposed to transport you to a fantastic place, where emotion, drama, and action are paramount. Whether they acknowledge it, or whether they are even aware, every modern comic book artist has in some way been influenced either directly or indirectly by the king of comics.
Recently, DC Comics released a series of volumes collecting Jack Kirby’s 1970’s work. Jack Kirby’s Fourth World is reprinted in four glorious volumes, and it tells the tale of the next generation of gods. It is probably the first true epic told in comics, and in my opinion, stands as inspiration for Star Wars. One needs only look at the villainous Darkseid, and the noble Highfather, to see why.
My personal favourite in the line of Kirby reprints is The Demon. I have always had a weakness for monster comics, and along with Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, The Demon stands atop the heap. It is a twist on the classic take of Jekyll and Hyde, where a man of magic shares his body with a demon named Etrigan.
There is no doubt that The Hulk, Captain America, The Avengers, The X-Men, The New Gods, The Fantastic Four, and Thor stand as the most popular Kirby creations. Yet Jack Kirby had a long career outside DC and Marvel. In May, Dynamite Entertainment is releasing its own homage to the great Jack Kirby with Kirby: Genesis.