Why Jack Kirby Matters.

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.

.

Log in

Search on Site

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.
.

Recent Posts

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.
.
Status
Not open for further replies.

jiminks

Preferred Member
Aug 31, 2012
34,199
9,821
Jack Kirby matters for all the right reasons. This innovative man created or co-created the heroes and villains that impacted the culture of several generations: Captain America, The Fantastic Four, X-Men, Avengers, Darkseid, The New Gods, Boy Commandos, Newsboy Legion, the romance comics genre, Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Ant-Man, Dr. Doom, Red Skull, Magneto, Mr. Miracle, Kamandi, the Demon, Challengers of the Unknown, Black Panther, Silver Surfer, Galactus, Mole Man, Machine Man, Captain Victory, Nick Fury, the Inhumans, and hundreds more. Nobody created more important characters in such great abundance.
Jack was one of the first “big” thinkers in comics. His work influenced directly or indirectly many movies (e.g. Star Wars), tons of cartoons and video games. Were there cosmic sagas in comics before Jack? Barely (if you count Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon), and certainly none on the grand scale that became a Kirby trademark that others continually riff from to this day.
Conversely, Jack portrayed the average world just as convincingly as he did the environments of fantasy, often at the same time. Mundane aspects of clothing, buildings, furniture, cars, planes, trains… you name it, Kirby gave life to every detail that ever appeared a comic book panel that he designed. It was his world of imagination extracted from life, and he brought us along for the ride.
Jack influenced hundreds of artists and writers with his ground breaking story ideas and approach to drawing. He created a lot of the visual language of comics that we take for granted today. There are untold people indirectly influenced by Kirby who don’t even know they were, and of course, many more who readily admit how Kirby’s work did affect their thinking in regard to what comics were or could be. The vast scale and depth of his work rescued comics in the 1960s from the doldrums they had lapsed into by not changing with the times. Jack was always ahead of the times he lived in. Would there be a Marvel Comics today without Jack Kirby? Possibly not, and certainly not in the form that Kirby helped to craft that many others continued and expanded on in later years.
He did all of that, and more. Jack loved the fans, and they loved him. Jack interacted with others without the big ego that drove some comics creators. Kids and adults were treated equally, and Jack never thought he was above them in any way. When you walked away from an encounter with Jack, you felt you had a real conversation instead of being granted an audience. People easily related to Jack as he did with them because Jack never felt superior to others. On a down to the ground human level, he was one of us, and never wanted to be more than that.
Today, August 28, 2017, would have been Jack Kirby’s 100th birthday. We celebrate his life and career, both of which continually influence us, and likely always will. Those of us who knew him, those of us who counted him as a friend, those who only knew him through his work owe him a debt of gratitude that we can never repay. Jack wouldn’t have wanted us to, anyway. He was content to stand in our number as a citizen of humanity, and enjoy our company, just as we enjoyed his. Thais why he lives on past his life span, and why he will continue to do so as long as his works and the man himself are remembered by a society and culture he help to shape just by being Jack Kirby.

 

anthonyrosenthal74

Preferred Member
Jan 8, 2013
7,335
100
Wonderful post! I wonder how Jack Kirby would feel about comics today, and the extended media (tv shows, movies,video games, novels etc.) based on those comics.

 

jiminks

Preferred Member
Aug 31, 2012
34,199
9,821
Anthony: Jack predicted all of what you asked about would happen back in the 1960s, but nobody took him seriously then. Or later, for that matter. They couldn't see beyond what was current, but Jack was a visionary who could build on current times and those creative visions allowed him to see what was possible and what was likely to happen. He invented a form of the IPhone in comics in 1970, DNA testing, futuristic weaponry that has since come to pass, and much more. He was talking about the possibilities of what became the internet decades before it became reality. He saw the time would come when his work would fill big movie screens, TVs, and computers with his images and images that expanded on what he depicted or copied them. He was the only one who saw all of this, and when I think of those conversations with him, I feel sad he didn't live to see them all happen. But, he knew they would.

 

anthonyrosenthal74

Preferred Member
Jan 8, 2013
7,335
100
He may not have seen it all happen, Jim. But he was able to see some of it, and definitely the beginnings of it. Of course, it has blown up 10 fold since his passing, and it is a shame he wasn't able to witness all of that. Now my question is for you, Jim... what's it like knowing you have spoken, befriended, and even worked among giants?

 

jiminks

Preferred Member
Aug 31, 2012
34,199
9,821
Well, Jack Kirby was one of my first heroes. Roberto Clemente is the other from my childhood, and though I saw him play, I never got to meet him. I have known or met some famous people, and luckily for me, none have disappointed me. It's hard to explain the fun and the thrill of sitting with Mickey Spillane in a bar discussing drinking, women, comics, and writing. He, like Jack, was a very down to earth man. They were unpretentious people.
I'm not the type to rate people, nor do I like to rated. I have found that for the most part, that if you treat famous people like regular people, they tend to be interested in chatting with you (if we ever phone chat, I'll tell you about meeting Paul McCartney and interviewing Howard Stern). As much as I loved Kirby as a role model, we became close friends because we related to each other on equal ground as human beings. I can't see being any other way with people, and I think famous people - unless they have their egos into high over drive - would much prefer to be treated as normal people. They don't get enough of that.
Here's a link to a short piece I wrote on Jack years ago. You may find it interesting.
https://books.google.com/books?id=KI-et-e206EC&pg=PA193&lpg=PA193&dq=Jim+amash++meets+jack+kirby&source=bl&ots=9w8Hf4Fu1w&sig=J_PjHA6JBEhE-EHKPVcH0kfzDcE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwir7vHP0fvVAhUEPCYKHbeoDFMQ6AEINzAG#v=onepage&q=Jim amash meets jack kirby&f=false

 

anthonyrosenthal74

Preferred Member
Jan 8, 2013
7,335
100
Very cool, Jim. Thanks for that link.
I have found that for the most part, that if you treat famous people like regular people, they tend to be interested in chatting with you
I remember a time walking out of a venue, being parked in the back, and my favorite band was leaving out the back door where their tour bus waiting. My buddy says, "Hey, let's go say hi." So I said, "Ok." And so we did. The band was gracious enough to just hang out and talk with us, not bothered in the least, and seemed to be enjoying themselves every bit as much as we were. They were very down to earth, and very normal. The fact that they were down to earth and normal didn't take away from the experience. In fact, it hightened it. I may have to hear you tell that story about meeting Paul McCartney some day.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,965
1,643
Comics like poetry address the active imagination out of sight while we are being coerced by other things. Comics are the living mythology that shape personality as much as parentage, formal education, or politics. The underground river that moves in both language and visuals.

 

jiminks

Preferred Member
Aug 31, 2012
34,199
9,821
Jesse: thank you.
Mike: I know Kirby had a Medico and a Grabow in his studio. He wasn't picky about his cigars or pipe tobacco, and thought I don't know what he smoked, I'm sure it was a drug store OTC. Jack had simple needs and simple wants.

 
Status
Not open for further replies.