Jack Kirby

Kirby, Jack, 1917–94, American comic-book artist famous for the strongly drawn, brilliantly colored, and surprisingly human superheroes and villains he created or co-created, b. New York City as Jacob Kurtzberg. Dropping out of school at 16, he worked briefly on Popeye cartoons and later produced strips for a newspaper syndicate. By 1940 he had teamed up with artist-writer Joe Simon and for 16 years, for such companies as Timely Comics and DC Comics, they produced a variety of strips and characters, e.g., Captain America, Boy Commandos. In 1958 Kirby joined Marvel Comics (the former Timely Comics) where, with writer-editor Stan Lee, he formed comic book's most fruitful partnership, resulting in such superhero classics as the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Mighty Thor, Silver Surfer, and X-Men, as well as the 1964 revival of Captain America. Kirby left Marvel in 1970, worked for DC creating New Gods and others, returned in 1975, and left again in 1978. From then until his retirement (1987) he created concepts and storyboards for animated films and worked on such independent comics as Captain Victory and Destroyer Duck.

See R. Ro., Tales to Astonish (2003), M. Evanier, Kirby: King of Comics (2008), and J. Morrow, ed., Kirby Five-oh!: Celebrating 50 Years of the "King" of Comics (2008); S. Howe, Marvel Comics (2012).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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