Jack Kirby, born on this day in 1917 in New York, is the greatest comic book creator who ever lived.
That's not something that I consider to be up for debate. It's something that's self-evident every time that you sit down to read one of his comics — and, more than that, one of anyone's comics on the stands today — and have your mind blown by a driving energy and the limitless possibilities that have always marked superheroes and the medium they defined. The simple fact is that Kirby's work wasn't just great in and of itself, but that superhero comics as we know them quite simply would not exist without him.
For the past four years, August 28 has been more than just Jack Kirby's birthday. It's also the day that comic artists, retailers and fans all over the world celebrate the King's life and legacy with the Kirby 4 Heroes campaign. Originally created by granddaughter Jillian Kirby in 2012, Kirby 4 Heroes is a fundraiser for the Hero Initiative, the charity designed to help comic book creators in need, and this week, they announced the official start of the 2015 campaign.
The idea is a simple one: artist draw original pieces on Kirby's birthday and auction them on eBay, with all proceeds going to Kirby 4 Heroes. Fans can also donate directly, or attend in-store events across the country where there will be a variety of ways to donate.
It's never the wrong time to read a Jack Kirby comic, but with the King's birthday coming up in two weeks, now is a better time than most. Of course, the big problem there is trying to narrow it down --- Kirby's career did, after all, span six decades and involve some pretty prolific major work --- but really, when you want to read Kirby comics, you want to go for the big stuff.
And there's nothing bigger than Darkseid finally launching his attack on Earth, a battle so titanic that it took the combined forces of the Justice League and their most diabolical villains to repel it. It's the most titanic battle possible, on the grandest, most cosmic scale!
Except for the part where, you know, it doesn't actually happen.
Womenswear in superhero costumes hasn’t always been about skintight, sexy unitards. In the early Silver Age of comics, readers saw the inception of the mystically-inspired heroine; one imbued with passive or non-contact abilities such as invisibility, telepathy, or magic. Especially common at Marvel, these mystic or faux-mystic heroines offered a contrast to the superhero brute force of their male colleagues, but they also had something else in common; the headdress.
I haven't really watched any of DC's current television offerings, but to be honest, I'm actually pretty impressed with what I've heard. It seems like they're really going for it in a way that Smallville only ever did in its final season, going right to these big, weird superhero stories right out of the gate. I mean, if you'd asked me a year ago, I would've told you that there was no way we were ever going to see a telepathic talking super-gorilla show up on the CW's version of The Flash, and yet, here we are, living in a world where Gorilla Grodd is starring on a live-action TV show.
With that in mind, I'm guessing that we're only one, maybe two seasons away from TV's Green Arrow meeting up with Xeen Arrow, the hundred foot-tall alien Green Arrow from another dimension, a character who may in fact be Jack Kirby's strangest co-creation.
Sometimes, amazing things can come out of casual conversations. That's what happened this weekend when Luke Herr was plotting out an RPG campaign based around the idea of retelling Jack Kirby's classic Fourth World saga as a western, full of gun-slinging cowboys and steam-powered parademons battling it out in a town called Hope, and artist Kyle Latino stepped up to do some redesigns for what they began calling "The 4th West."
Comic covers are meant to get their message across in a single striking image, with the implication of movement provided only by the reader's imagination. We see the single frozen moment; our brain tells the story. Yet some talented digital artists have discovered that there's some fun to be had in animating these images and providing just a little more movement to the moment. We've collected some of our favorite examples of animated comic covers from the past few years, from an endlessly recursive Batman to a lolling Hobbes; from a struggling Spider-Man to a spinning Justice League.
The success of Jurassic World means that superhero movies are over! Forever! Why, we wouldn't be surprised if Fantastic Four and Ant-Man went straight to DVD and studios pulled the plug on the dozens of superhero movies already in production. Dinosaurs are the new superheroes, and in the future we expect all big-budget, would-be blockbuster films to be dinosaur movies.
Does this mean that comic books and graphic novels will lose their coveted place as the breeding ground for Hollywood's favorite source material? Not at all; there are plenty of dinosaur comics, ripe for film adaptation. Let's take a look at some of the more popular ones, and how likely it is that they may be coming to a theater near you... instead of Wonder Woman, Doctor Strange, or Justice League.
On July 2nd 1963, the first issues of two different series hit newsstands, and launched franchises that would some day be recognizable to the entire world: The Avengers and The X-Men, the teams that would truly tie everything together and serve as the cornerstones of the Marvel Universe.
One of these books brought together the company's mightiest heroes; the other featured all-new characters and introduced the idea of mutants battling to save a world that hates and fears them.
This week's rumors that Selma director Ava DuVernay had signed on to direct a Black Panther movie were a bit premature (though talks apparently continue), but the excitement that surrounded the news confirmed one thing: People really want to see Wakandan King T'Challa on the big screen, and they want to see him done right.
Here's some of the best art featuring T'Challa from the past five decades, from Kirby, Denys Cowan and John Buscema, to Francesco Francavilla, Olivier Coipel, and the best fan art around.
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