12 Days of Christmas, #1 – Jack Kirby

Posted on 24 December 2016 by Admin

The King of comics himself, Jack Kirby!

The greatest superhero artist of all time is the man who defined what term means. The King of Comics helped create the language that all comic book artists use today; in every country and every genre. There were many great illustrators before Kirby, and many great cartoonists, but Jacob Kurtzberg adopted the genre (created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster) and recreated it in his own image.

A Jewish immigrant that grew up in the rough and tumble streets of Brooklyn, Kirby lived the life that he depicted in his early comics. He learned early on to punch his way out of trouble, taking on school bullies and street gangs, and one of the key elements to his work was the ability to capture the motion, the power and beauty of physical violence.

His characters were always moving (even when sitting down), and the critical choices he made in the brief moments it took him to compose a page defined the genre: where to position the ‘camera’, how to twist the figure, which lines to use, how much (or how little) detail to define the background, and where to lead the viewers eye through one panel and into the next. And each Kirby panel tells it’s own story; the relationship of the characters, their strength and character, and a glimpse into moments both before and after.

Having his hand in nearly every major character created at Marvel Comics in the 1960s and 70s (and a sizeable chunk of ones at DC), he remains the most important creative force in the long history of superheroes.

Long live the King.