Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Happy Birthday, Jack!

Today in 1917 a baby boy named Jacob Kurtzberg was born in NY, NY.
He began drawing comic strips sometime in the mid to late 1930's under the pseudonym "Jack Curtiss."
At the end of the 1930's he left and worked as a fill-in artist for Popeye cartoons being made by Fleischer Studios. He wasn't happy at Fleischer and left soon after. Around that time comic books were just becoming popular. But they were not what we know them as today. Rather they were a collection of comic strips, like you would find in the newspapers. He worked for a few of these comic book publishers, and eventually ended up collaborating with Joe Simon at one called "Martin Goodman's Timely Comics," which would eventually become "Marvel Comics."
Together Jack and Joe created Captain America.
In 1942 Jack got married and changed his last name to, you guessed it, "Kirby."
Kirby died at age 76 of heart failure in his Thousand Oaks, California home.

Jack Kirby is credited for his work on the following comics:


* Captain America Comics (Golden Age) #1–10 (1941-1942)

* Various issues of "pre-superhero Marvel" science-fiction/fantasy stories in Amazing Adventures, Journey into Mystery, Strange Tales, Tales of Suspense, Tales to Astonish, Strange Worlds and World of Fantasy (1958 to early 1960s)

* Fantastic Four #1–102 (1961-1970)

* Incredible Hulk #1–5 (1962-1963)

* X-Men #1–17 + Annual 1 (1963-1970)

* Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #1–7 (1963-1964)

* Avengers #1–8 (1963-1964), #14–17 (1965)

* The Mighty Thor #126–177,179 (1966-70; continued from Journey into Mystery)

* Captain America (modern) #100–109 (1968-1969; continued from Tales of Suspense), #193–214 (1976-1977)

* The Eternals #1–19 (1976-1978)

* The Black Panther #1–12 (1977-1978)

* Devil Dinosaur #1–9 (1978)

* Machine Man #1–9 (1978)

* 2001: A Space Odyssey (comics) #1–10 (1976)


* Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #133–148 (1970-1972)

* Forever People #1–11 (1971-1972)

* New Gods #1–11 (1971-1972)

* Mister Miracle #1–18 (1971-1974)

* The Demon #1–16 (1972-1974)

* Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth #1–40 (1972-1976)

* The Sandman #1–6 (1974-1976)

* OMAC #1–8 (1974)

* Challengers of the Unknown #1–8 (May 1958 - July 1959)

* Adventure Comics #250–256 (July 1958 - January 1959)

* World's Finest #96–99 (September 1958 - February 1959)

I was lucky enough to see some of his original comic book art pages last summer at the Masters of American Comics art exhibit, when it arrived in Milwaukee. Really detailed and incredible. People like Kirby are amazing - he could create comics in no-time flat, and they were incredibly detailed drawings with fantastic stories. One count says he created over 250,000 pages - and that's not counting his comic strips and animation work.

Even though he's not with us anymore, Kirby's work stands out as an example of what great comic book creators can do. Happy Birthday, Jack.

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