Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Jack Kirby, the Artist Behind Marvel's Super Heroes

When you look at a comic book cover you will see a list of five names of people who created it. The first name is the writer, the second is the penciller, the third and fourth are usually the inker and colorist, and the fifth is the letterer.

Stan Lee is practically a household name now because he created many of the comic characters (Spiderman, the X-men, the Hulk, etc.) who have been the basis of today's blockbuster movies (and he has a cameo role in most of them).

His friend and partner, Jack Kirby, is the person who actually drew these characters however. Stan Lee is a writer - Jack Kirby was the artist.

In 1941, Kirby and writer Joe Simon created the highly successful superhero character Captain America (left) for Timely Comics. During the 1940s, Kirby would create a number of comics for various publishers, often teamed with Simon. He contributed to a number of publishers, including Archie Comics and DC Comics, but ultimately found himself at Timely's 1950s iteration, Atlas Comics. In the 1960s, Kirby co-created many of Marvel Comics' major characters including the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and the Hulk along with writer-editor Stan Lee. Despite the high sales and critical acclaim of the Lee-Kirby titles, Kirby felt treated unfairly, and left the company in 1970 for rival DC Comics.

Jack Kirby passed away in 1994. His former assistant, Mark Evanier, published an authorized biography of the man who would come to be commonly known, and widely thought of, as the King of Comics (right). It’s a fitting tribute to the man who co-created much of the comic world today.

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