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13 Facts You May Not Have Known About Jack Kirby, King of Comics

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Everyone loves comic book trivia, but with 75 years of superhero comics behind us right now, there’s always some new obscure fact to learn. That’s why ComicsAlliance is going deep into the minutiae of your favorite names in comics in our continuing video series. You think you know comics? Well, here’s a few things you might not know!

This week, we’re taking a look at Jack “King” Kirby, the greatest there ever was or ever will be. Arguably no single individual has contributed more to both the genre of superheroes and the medium of comics as a whole in terms of the creation of memorable and exciting characters, the development of the language and tools of the page, and pushing comics forward in terms of impact, power, and dynamism.

This video follows Kirby from his childhood in the Lower East Side to his time in the military, from his time at Marvel to his time at DC and back again and back again, as well as revealing his connection to Ben Affleck and his beef with Johnny Carson.

Show notes:

  • Yeah, Kirby gets one more fact than everyone else.
  • If you’re new to comics or otherwise not that familiar with the work of the King of Comics, let me lay out something of a primer for you:
  • I would start with Mark Evanier’s biography/art book, Kirby: King of Comics, which will give you a good overview of his life as well as showing art from all different stages of his over five decade-long career. Alternatively, or as a supplement, check out Kirby Five-Oh!, the fiftieth issue of the Jack Kirby Collector magazine, which runs down such topics as the best Kirby story for every year of his career, plus runs down Kirby’s massive influence on later comics creators.
  • Moving over to actual comics, Kirby 101 is pretty much his run on Fantastic Four with Stan Lee. If you want to skip to just the best of the best of the best, pick up the Omnibus vol 2, which contains a non-stop succession of hits, from the Inhumans to the Galactus saga, to “This Man, This Monster,” to the Black Panther and more. If that’s too big of an investment, check out this Silver Surfer Epic Collection, which despite its name, is a collection of Fantastic Four stories featuring the Surfer.
  • Once you’ve made your way through Lee/Kirby FF, if you want more prime ’60s Kirby goodness, next you should check out Thor: To Wake the Mangog.
  • The next place to go is to check out the adrenaline that is pure Kirby: his material from the ’70s. The Fourth World is the logical place to start, but if you want something smaller (in page count, not in bombast), try OMAC.
  • Once you get hooked on those and have tracked down the out of print collections of Kamandi, The Demon, Captain America and Falcon, Black Panther, and Devil Dinosaur, check out his collaborations with Joe Simon. You can get a nice sample with The Best of Simon and Kirby, but I say just jump in and get that Sandman collection. It rules.
  • This is just a sampling. The great news is, there is tons of Kirby material in print these days, so once you get hooked, you, like me, can spend all your money on really nice Jack Kirby hardcovers.

Watch more installments of You Think You Know Comics? below and let us know what comic book characters we should cover next.

 

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