Today marks what would have been the 100th birthday for Jacob Kurtzberg, the man we all know as Jack “The King” Kirby. Kirby is one of the foundational creators in all of modern comicdom heralded for his work at Marvel and the creation of characters like the Fantastic Four and the X-Men. From 1940-43 Kirby and Captain America co-creator Joe Simon worked at National Comics Publications (the precursor to DC Comics) where they revamped characters like Sandman and created characters such as Manhunter and the Newsboy Legion. Kirby would return to DC in 1970 and stay for five years, where he crafted his Fourth World Saga, Kamandi, and more. All-in-all, Kirby’s early National Comics work highlighted his desire to punch Nazis, while his later DC work came at the height of the sci-fi heavy Silver Age, and is comic book beauty done right that movie and television special effects only wish they could catch up to.
I remember as a kid watching all of DC’s animated shows like Superman: The Animated Series, Batman: The Animated Series, and Justice League and being terrified of Darkseid, thinking that him and Brainiac were really the only two characters that truly put Supes on the ropes. I have rewatched many of those shows in the last few years and stumbled upon Superman:The Animated Series second season episodes where Darkseid first tries to invade Earth in a two-parter, and realizing that the second part of that episode is dedicating to the memory of Kirby. The Superman/Darkseid relationship is the backbone of the ongoing narrative of the DCAU, as their battle, truly good vs. evil, hope vs. despair, faith vs. apathy, plays out in multiple shows. Creators have been paying homage to Kirby for years, and will do so for years to come.
DC has been releasing tributes to Kirby all year: first with their twelve-issue “The Kamandi Challenge” series, as well as Tom King and Mitch Gerads “Mister Miracle” which began this month, as well as a series of six one-shots featuring characters Kirby created. Here, we will look back at some of Kirby’s best DC work, to help celebrate the life of the greatest to ever make a comic.
“Star Spangled Comics” #7 (1942)
“Boy Commandos” #2 (1942)
“Adventure Comics” #75 (1942)
“Adventure Comics” #253
“Challengers of the Unknown” #1 (1958)
“House of Mystery” #85 (1959)
“New Gods” #1 (1971)
“New Gods” #6 (1971)
“Forever People” #1 (1971)
“Mister Miracle” #2 (1971)
“Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth” #1 (1972)
“The Demon” #8 (1973)
“First Issue Special” #1 (1975)
“Kobra” #1 (1976)
“Super Powers” Vol. 2 #6 (1986)
“All-Star Comics” #14 (1942) – A message for 1942 and 2017.
What are some of your favorite Jack Kirby DC moments? Let us know in the comments below!