He grew up in New York City and learned to draw cartoon figures by tracing characters from comic strips and editorial cartoons. He entered the nascent comics industry in the s, drawing various comics features under different pen namesincluding Jack Curtiss, before ultimately settling on Jack Kirby.
Inhe and writer-editor Joe Simon created the highly successful superhero character Captain America for Timely Comicspredecessor of Marvel Comics. During the s, Kirby regularly teamed with Simon, creating numerous characters for that company and for National Comics Savile Row Company Shirtslater to become DC Comics. At Crestwood Publicationshe and Simon created the genre of romance comics and later founded their own short-lived comic company, Mainline Publications.
Kirby was involved in Timely's s iteration, Atlas Comicswhich in the next decade became Marvel. There, in the s under writer-editor Stan LeeKirby created many of the company's major characters, including the Fantastic Fourthe X-Men and the Hulk.
The Lee—Kirby titles garnered high sales and critical acclaim, but infeeling he had been treated unfairly, largely in the realm of authorship credit and creators' rights, Kirby left the company for rival DC. While these series proved commercially unsuccessful and were canceled, the Fourth World's New Gods have continued as a significant part of the DC Universe.
Kirby returned to Marvel briefly in the mid-to-late s, then ventured into television animation and independent comics. In his later years, Kirby, who has been called "the William Blake of comics",  began receiving great recognition in the mainstream press for his career accomplishments, and in he was one of the three inaugural inductees of the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall Justice Golf Car Company Fame.
InKirby was posthumously named a Disney Kirby And Company with Lee for their co-creations not only in the field of publishing, but also because those creations formed the basis for The Walt Disney Company 's financially and critically successful media franchise, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Kirby was married to Rosalind Goldstein in They had four children and remained married until his death from heart failure inat the age of The Jack Kirby Awards and Jack Kirby Hall of Fame were named in his honor, and he is known as " The King " among comics fans for his many influential contributions to the medium.
Sykes"Ding" Darlingand Rollin Kirby. He later found an outlet for his skills by drawing cartoons for the newspaper of the Boys Brotherhood Republic, a "miniature city" on East 3rd Street where street kids ran their own government. At age 14, Kirby enrolled at the Pratt Institute in Brooklynleaving after a week.
They wanted people who would work on something forever. I didn't want to work on any project forever. I intended to get things done". Kirby joined the Lincoln Newspaper Syndicate inworking there on newspaper comic strips and on single-panel advice cartoons such as Your Health Comes First!!! He remained until latewhen he began working for the movie animation company Fleischer Studios as an inbetweener an artist who fills in the action between major-movement frames on Popeye cartoons at the same time in He left the Studio before the Fleischer strike in They were manufacturing pictures.
Around that time, the American comic book industry was booming. Through that company, Kirby did what he remembers as his first comic book work, for Wild Boy Magazine. He began to explore superhero narrative with the comic strip The Blue Beetlepublished from January to Marchstarring a character created by the pseudonymous Charles Nicholasa house name that Kirby retained for the three-month-long strip.
During this time, Kirby met and began collaborating with cartoonist and Fox editor Joe Simonwho in addition to his staff work continued to freelance. Simon recalled in"I loved Jack's work and the first time I saw it I couldn't believe what I was seeing.
He asked if we could do some freelance work together. I was delighted and I took him over to my little office. We worked from the second issue of Blue Bolt through After leaving Fox and collaborating on the premiere issue of Fawcett Comics ' Captain Marvel Adventures [March] the first solo title for the previously introduced superhero, and for which Kirby was told to mimic creator C.
Beck 's drawing style,  the duo were hired on staff at pulp magazine publisher Martin Goodman 's Timely Comics later to become Marvel Comics.
There Simon and Kirby created the patriotic superhero Captain America in late The title's success established the team as a notable creative force in the industry. Kirby and Simon spent their first weeks at National trying to devise new characters while the company sought how best to utilize the pair.
The pair then revamped the Sandman feature in Adventure Comics and created the superhero Manhunter. The ongoing "kid gang" series of the same name, launched later that same year, was the creative team's first National feature to graduate into its own title.
With World War II underway, Liebowitz expected that Simon and Kirby would be draftedso he asked the artists to create an inventory of material to be published in their absence. The pair hired writers, inkers, letterers, and colorists Quality Fence Company order to create a year's worth of material.
Army on June 7, After the war, Simon arranged work for Kirby and himself at Harvey Comics where, through the early s, the duo created such titles as the kid-gang adventure Boy Explorers Comicsthe kid-gang Western Boys' Ranchthe superhero comic Stuntmanand, in vogue with the fad for 3-D moviesCaptain 3-D. The team found its greatest success in the postwar period by creating romance comics.
Simon, inspired by Macfadden Publications ' romantic-confession magazine True Storytransplanted the idea to comic books Delmar Electric Bike Company with Kirby created a first-issue mock-up of Young Romance. Crestwood publishers Teddy Epstein and Mike Bleier agreed,  stipulating that the creators would take no money up front.
Simon recalled, "We thought we'd show them how to do Captain America". Senator Joseph McCarthy. At the urging of a Crestwood salesman, Kirby and Simon launched their own comics company, Mainline Publications  securing a distribution deal with Leader News  in late or earlysubletting space from their friend Al Harvey 's Harvey Publications at Broadway. The partnership between Kirby and Vanhoose Fence Company had become strained.
There was no reason to continue the partnership and we parted friends. At this point in the mids, Kirby made a temporary return to the former Timely Comicsnow known as Atlas Comics, the direct predecessor of Marvel Comics. Inker Food Company Infographic Giacoia had approached editor-in-chief Stan Lee for work and suggested he could "get Kirby back here to pencil some stuff.
It would be the following year before Kirby returned to the nascent Marvel. He began drawing Sky Masters of Franklin Templeton Company Overview Space Forcea newspaper comic strip, written by the Wood brothers and initially inked by the unrelated Wally Wood.
Schiff successfully sued Kirby. Several months later, after his split with DC, Kirby began freelancing regularly for Atlas despite harboring negative sentiments about Lee the cousin of Timely publisher Martin Goodman's wifewhom Kirby believed had disclosed to Timely back in the s that he and Simon were secretly working on a project for National. Initially with Christopher Rule as his regular inker, and later Dick AyersKirby drew across all genres, from romance comics to war comics to crime comics to Western comics, but made his mark primarily with a series of supernatural-fantasy and science fiction stories featuring giant, drive-in movie -style monsters with names like Grootthe Thing from Planet X;  Grottu, King of the Insects;  and Fin Fang Foom for the company's many anthology series, such as Amazing AdventuresStrange TalesTales to AstonishTales of Suspenseand World of Fantasy.
It was at Marvel, in collaborating with writer and editor-in-chief Lee that Kirby hit his stride once again in superhero comics, beginning with The Fantastic Four 1 Nov.
At Lee's request, he often provided new-to-Marvel artists "breakdown" layouts, over which they would pencil in order to become acquainted with the Marvel look. As artist Gil Kane described:. Jack's point of view and philosophy of drawing became the governing philosophy of the entire publishing company and, beyond the publishing company, of the entire field They would get artists Jack was like the Holy Scripture and they simply had to follow him without deviation.
That's what was told to me It was how they taught everyone to reconcile all those opposing attitudes to one single master point of view. Not that he did it badly—it just wasn't the character I wanted; it was too heroic". The story frequently cited as Lee and Kirby's finest achievement   is " The Galactus Trilogy " in Fantastic Four 48—50 March—Maychronicling the arrival of Galactusa cosmic giant who wanted to devour the planet, and his herald, the Silver Surfer.
Editor Robert Greenberger wrote in his introduction Kirby And Company the story that "As the fourth year of the Fantastic Four came to a close, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby seemed to be only warming up. In Visa Credit Card Company AddressJoe Simon was involved in litigation with Marvel Comics over the ownership of Captain America, initiated by Marvel after Simon registered the copyright renewal for Captain America in his own name.
According to Simon, Kirby agreed to support the company in the litigation and, as part of a deal Kirby made with publisher Martin Goodman, signed over to Marvel any rights he might have had to the character. At this same time, Kirby grew increasingly dissatisfied with working at Marvel, for reasons Kirby biographer Mark Evanier has suggested include resentment over Lee's media prominence, a lack of full creative control, anger over breaches of perceived promises by publisher Martin Goodman, and frustration over Marvel's failure to credit him specifically for his story plotting and for his character creations and co-creations.
When Kirby objected, the management refused to negotiate any contract changes. Kirby spent nearly two years negotiating a deal to move to DC Comics,  where in late he signed a three-year contract with an option for two additional years.
The three books Kirby originated dealt with aspects of mythology he'd previously touched upon in Thor. The New Gods would establish this new mythos, while in The Forever People Kirby would attempt to mythologise the lives of the young people he observed around him.
The title character was an escape artist, which Mark Evanier suggests Kirby channeled his feelings of constraint into. Mister Miracle's wife was Kirby And Company in character on Kirby's wife Roz, and he even caricatured Stan Lee within the pages of the book as Funky Flashman.
The central villain of the Fourth World series, Darkseidand some of the Fourth World concepts, appeared in Jimmy Olsen before the launch of the other Fourth World books, giving the new titles greater exposure to potential buyers.
In addition to his artistic efforts, Kirby proposed a variety of new formats for comics such as planning to collect his published Fourth World stories into square-bound books, a format that would later be called the trade paperbackwhich would eventually become standard practice in the industry. However, Infantino and company were not receptive and Kirby's proposals only went as far as producing the one-shot black-and-white magazines Spirit World and In the Days of the Mob in Kirby's production assistant of the time, Mark Evanierrecounted that DC's policies of the era were not in synch with Kirby's creative impulses, and that he was often forced to work on characters and projects he did not like.
Since he was working from California, they were able to undermine his work through redesigns in the New York office. At the comic book convention Marvelcon '75, inStan Lee used a Fantastic Four panel discussion to announce that Kirby was returning to Marvel after having left in to work for DC Comics.
Lee wrote in his monthly column, "Stan Lee's Soapbox", "I mentioned that I had a special announcement to make. As I started telling about Jack's return, to a totally incredulous audience, everyone's head started to snap around as Kirby himself came waltzin' down the aisle to join us on the rostrum! Back at Marvel, Kirby both wrote and drew the monthly Captain America series  as well as the Captain America's Bicentennial Battles one-shot in the oversized treasury format.
He produced an adaptation and expansion of the film A Space Odyssey as well as an abortive attempt to do the same for the classic television series The Prisoner.
Still dissatisfied with Marvel's treatment of him,  and with an offer of employment from Hanna-Barbera Kirby left Marvel to work in animation. In that field, he did designs for Turbo TeenThundarr the Barbarian and other animated series for television. InKirby drew concept art for film producer Barry Geller's script treatment adapting Roger Zelazny 's science fiction novel, Lord of Lightfor which Geller had purchased the rights.
In collaboration, Geller commissioned Kirby to draw set designs that would be used as architectural renderings for a Colorado theme park to be called Science Fiction Land; Geller announced his plans at a November press conference attended by Kirby, former American football star Rosey Grierwriter Ray Bradburyand others. In the early s, Kirby and Pacific Comicsa new, non-newsstand comic-book publisher, made one of the industry's earliest deals for creator-owned series, resulting in Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers  and the six-issue miniseries Silver Star later collected in hardcover format in In Richard Kyle commissioned Kirby to create a page autobiographical strip, " Street Code ", which became one of the last works published in Kirby's lifetime.
It was published inin the second issue of Kyle's revival of Argosy. A comic-book series based on the show was published by DC and a toy line produced by Kenner. In the twilight of his life, Kirby spent a great deal of time sparring with Marvel executives over the ownership rights of his original page boards.
At Marvel, many of these pages owned by the company due to outdated and legally dubious copyright claims were given away as promotional gifts to Marvel clients or simply stolen from company warehouses.
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