Jack Kirby


Universally acclaimed as the "King of Comics", Jack Kirby is the most innovative and influential artist that ever worked in the comic book field. Starting out as a political and comic strip artist for the newspapers, Kirby quickly gravitated to the booming comic book industry in 1938. By 1940,Kirby and his partner Joe Simon had risen to the top with their immensely popular creation Captain America. The Simon and Kirby Studio continued to create new characters and deliver Kirby's dazzling visual technique to comic book readers in a variety of genres...superhero, crime, humor, horror and science-fiction...and they even initiated the romance genre in comics in 1947, an overwhelming success! When the McCarthy era paranoia sent the comic book industry into a downward spiral in the mid 1950s, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby eventually went their separate ways.

In 1956, when DC Comics decided to test the waters to see if superheroes might once more build up a following in a depressed comic book market, Kirby was there with his Challengers of the Unknown, the first new heroic team of what would soon be called the Silver Age of comics. Teaming with Stan Lee in the 1960s at what would ultimately become Marvel Comics, Kirby co-created The Fantastic Four, The Hulk, The Mighty Thor, The Avengers, The X-Men, Iron Man and The Silver Surfer and many more characters. Returning to DC Comics in 1970, Kirby spent the first half of that decade creating powerful new characters and features like The New Gods, Mister Miracle, The Forever People, Darkseid, The Demon and Kamandi. The last half of the 70s saw Kirby back at Marvel continuing his one-man avalanche of ideas! His powerful visual storytelling technique was a major factor in the success of these still popular characters, and Kirby set the standard for action oriented comics that remains unsurpassed to this day!

As the decade of the 1980s dawned, there was a new movement stirring... the independent comic publishers. Formerly, the characters created by people like Kirby for the major publishers became the property of those corporations, but this new publishing movement promised to let the creators retain the rights to their creations. Jack was wholeheartedly behind this concept, and lent the fledgling industry a show of support by assigning his new creations Captain Victory and Silver Star to the brand new Pacific Comics.

Kirby brought in his friend and fellow artist Michael Thibodeaux to ink his pencils at this time, and sponsored the first appearance of Mike's feature The Last of the Viking Heroes in Jack's first issue of Silver Star (1983). Mike was so encouraged by the response to his story and by Kirby's prompting, that he and his entrepreneur friend Richard French formed the Genesis West company in 1986 to continue publishing this feature. Kirby continued to contribute artwork, characters and story ideas to the new company, while his own focus had shifted away from comic books to supplying concepts and storyboarding for animation production.

In 1993, Genesis West arranged a deal for Kirby with Image Comics to produce a series based on a feature Kirby had created with Genesis West that ran in some of the Viking Heroes books... The Phantom Force. The first issue of this series was to be the last of his Comic book work that Jack would live to see. It sold 250,000 copies and Jack was really pleased to be bringing in this income while he was otherwise too ill to work. A big thanks is due to the wonderful artists at Image who contributed their time and talent to benefit Jack.

The Genesis West team has continued to work with the Kirby family to develop and refine the ideas and charecters that Jack left behind. In 2006 Marvel Comics released a 6 issue comic series of Jack Kirby's Galactic Bounty Hunters, co-authored by Lisa Kirby, and in 2007 this has been released as a graphic novel. Lisa Kirby and Genesis West hope to be bringing you more of Jack Kirby's phenomenal work in the near future.

    Also, Twomorrow's Publishing issues a quarterly magazine about this true genius of comic storytelling, The Jack Kirby Collector. For more information visit Twomorrow's Publishing