Most visitors here likely already know who Jack Kirby is. I don’t think it’s possible to overstate his importance as a comics artist and creator. So many of the characters we’ve been enjoying in the Marvel films, more often than not, Kirby either co-created them or flat-out created them himself.
But you can find all that history elsewhere. The point I want to make here is that Kirby’s work mattered a great deal to me personally. I believe he was the one of the first comic book artists who I came to recognize by his name and his work. When I first came across it, it was powerful. It was, to my thinking, comics the way they should be.
I went through a phase in high school where I was trying very hard to draw like Jack Kirby. Not the most uncommon thing among fan artists back then, but (this is the embarrassing part) my reasoning was that at some point Mr. Kirby would retire, and there needed to be someone to pick up the baton. I thought (in my naiveté) maybe that should be me. As I said, it’s embarrassing to admit, but I was young, and this shows how important I truly felt his work was.
Of course, I grew out of this phase of thinking I needed to be the next Jack Kirby (A change I’m sure Jack would approve of). But there are still valuable artistic lessons I picked up from studying his work that I can see in my work even today.
An explanation of this piece: years back now, a photocopy of a Jack Kirby Red Skull sketch came into my hands. Dated 1970, as my tracing over his signature indicates. It was closer to a layout than the full pencils we usually see, but something about it spoke to me, compelled me to take a crack at inking it. I colored it for its appearance here.
I’ll be back soon with another piece.
Happy Kirby 100!