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[[caption-width-right:300:[[Film/HistoryOfTheWorldPartI It's good to be The King.]]]]

->''"The dude drew Captain America punching Hitler in the face, felt unfulfilled doing it artistically, drew all his comics for his war service in advance, and then went off to go kill a bunch of Nazis."''
-->--'''[[http://comicsalliance.com/recap-smallville-episode-10-11-icarus/ David Uzumeri]]'''

Jack "[[RedBaron The King]]" Kirby (born Jacob Kurtzberg, August 28, 1917 February 6, 1994) is, quite simply, one of the most important and influential artists and writers ''ever'' in American comics. This is the man who created or co-created ''dozens'' of classic characters for [[Creator/DCComics DC]] and [[Creator/MarvelComics Marvel]], and he is universally considered one of the masters of the medium, on a par with Creator/OsamuTezuka, Creator/WillEisner or Creator/{{Moebius}}.

His incredibly unique art style and bombastic storytelling made him one of the most imitated creators in western comics history. KirbyDots are named after the artist's distinctive rendering of {{Battle Aura}}s, also nicknamed, "the Kirby Krackle". He died of heart failure in 1994 at the age of 76, or at least that's what ComicBook/{{Galactus}} ''wants'' us to believe. Due to his speed in creating well-received comics, there exists something called the "Kirby Barrier"; breaking the barrier means that you've created a quality comic in under a week, a surprisingly difficult feat.

In the Franchise/MarvelUniverse, {{God}} looks like Jack Kirby. Or, [[RuleOfPerception did in one story]]. (Not to mention, he and Creator/StanLee also exist there as normal people who write comics based on the [[LiteraryAgentHypothesis 'actual' adventures of the superheroes]].)

Before working with Lee, he had a ridiculously creative partnership with Joe Simon, starting in the 1940s. Among other things, the two co-created ComicBook/CaptainAmerica and the ''entire genre'' of romance comics. He then spent much of the late 50s working on Atlas Comics' [[{{Kaiju}} monster stories]] with Creator/StanLee, co-creating characters who would eventually become Marvel mainstays, including [[ComicBook/IronMan Fin Fang Foom]] and [[ComicBook/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy Groot.]]

After this came the famous early Marvel period, where the Lee-and-Kirby team built the Marvel Universe from the ground up. However, towards the end of the 70s, the increased prominence of natural showman Lee and unfavourable working conditions led Kirby to become disillusioned with the company and leave. After Kirby left Marvel, he went to Creator/DCComics and created "The Fourth World" series, ''ComicBook/NewGods'', ''The Forever People'' and ''Mister Miracle'' as well as insisting on taking over ''Superman's Pal, ComicBook/JimmyOlsen'' which didn't have an assigned art team so he wouldn't cause anyone to lose their job. In those titles, Kirby created a grand cosmic mythos [[WritingForTheTrade he planned to have reprinted into bound volumes for resale]]. Unfortunately, this idea was around 15 years ahead of its time and DC's publisher, Carmine Infantino, pulled the plug before Kirby could see the project through. ''ComicBook/NewGods'' was reportedly his favourite of his works, and is commonly regarded by Kirby fans and scholars as his greatest achievement.

Kirby remained with DC writing individual titles like ''[[ComicBook/{{Etrigan}} The Demon]]'', ''[[ComicBook/{{Kamandi}} Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth]]'' and ''ComicBook/{{OMAC}}'' and even returned to Marvel for a time to single-handedly write and draw ''Captain America'', ''Black Panther'' and new titles like ''ComicBook/TheEternals'' and ''Devil Dinosaur'', before his work rate ''finally'' started to slow down.

Ironically, his most satisfying work at this point was in animation and toys with designs for ''WesternAnimation/ThundarrTheBarbarian'' and creating the designs for Creator/{{Kenner}}'s famous ''Super Powers'' toy series where he ''finally'' got direct compensation working on the classic Creator/DCComics characters. In the Eighties he also became one of the first major creators to write creator-owned comics for the Direct Market, writing ''Silver Star'' and ''Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers''.

Kirby is also well known (alongside [[Franchise/{{Superman}} Siegel and Shuster]]) as the poster boy for the creators' rights movements of TheSeventies and TheEighties. An embodiment of how talented artists were treated by the companies which became multibillion dollar industries because of their creations, while leaving the original creators with pittance on the basis of dubious "work for hire" contract policies by which artists were paid for no more than the "page rate" for the comics that they drew. Consequently, despite their characters becoming iconic, Kirby and the other artists of his generation made absolutely no royalties of any kind and were denied any chance to share in the successes of their creations. Also, he was the center of the art controversy during the mid 1980s when Marvel's image was tarnished by their shameful claim that he and the other artists had no rights to their own original artwork. Public pressure eventually forced Marvel into coughing up a pension for his widow, and the Kirby estate attempted to regain Kirby's share of the copyright on his Marvel Comics characters, an effort which ended with a 2014 settlement (the terms were undisclosed).

Regardless, Kirby's stature is such that, a few years after Disney acquired Marvel, he alongside Creator/StanLee became celebrated as a [[http://comicbook.com/marvel/2017/07/14/disney-d23-expo-legends-stan-lee-oprah-recap-/ Disney legend]] in 2017, fittingly enough in the year of his centennial.

No relation to [[VideoGame/{{Kirby}} a certain pink, walking marshmallow]].

!!Partial list of his creations/co-creations:
* For Creator/MarvelComics:
** With Joe Simon:
*** ComicBook/CaptainAmerica (and Cap's AlternateCompanyEquivalent turned AffectionateParody, Fighting American)
** With Creator/StanLee:
*** ComicBook/FantasticFour
*** ComicBook/AntMan
*** ComicBook/IncredibleHulk
*** ComicBook/TheMightyThor
*** ComicBook/NickFury
*** ComicBook/XMen
*** ComicBook/ProfessorX
*** ComicBook/JeanGrey
*** ComicBook/{{Cyclops}}
*** ComicBook/{{Iceman}}
*** ComicBook/{{Beast|Marvel Comics}}
*** ComicBook/TheAvengers
*** ComicBook/IronMan
*** ComicBook/BlackPanther
*** ComicBook/TheInhumans
*** ComicBook/{{Medusa}}
*** ComicBook/BlackBolt
*** ComicBook/{{Karnak}}
** By himself:
*** The [[ComicBookAdaptation adaptation]] of Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey, which introduced...
*** Machine Man/X-51/Aaron Stack
*** ComicBook/TheEternals
*** Devil Dinosaur
*** ComicBook/SilverSurfer
* For Creator/DCComics:
** ''ComicBook/ChallengersOfTheUnknown''
** ''ComicBook/NewGods'' (Including ComicBook/{{Darkseid}})
** ''ComicBook/{{Etrigan}} the Demon''
** ''ComicBook/{{Kamandi}}, The Last Boy On Earth''
** ''ComicBook/{{OMAC}}, The One Man Army Corps''
** ''The Sandman'' (Garrett Sanford)
** ''Kobra''
* Animation:
** ''WesternAnimation/GoldieGoldAndActionJack'' (character designs)
** ''WesternAnimation/ThundarrTheBarbarian''
* ''Young Romance'' (Both the influential comic series, and arguably - ''definitively'', according to Wiki/TheOtherWiki - the entire genre of romance comics).
* ''Captain Victory'' and ''Silver Star,'' which might not have been successes for Pacific Comics, but helped create precedent for the creator-owned comic (see Kirby's travails with Marvel and DC, above).
* More AliensAndMonsters than you can shake a xenomorph at.
* Pretty much created the MonsterModesty trope.
* ArmyScout: He pulled this duty when he was a private in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII when an officer learned he was an artist. It was the only time he regretted his calling while trying to survive that dangerous posting.
* ArtShift: Kirby was innovative in using collages from magazine and science-fiction covers and others in his panels to add depth and texture. The famous ones are especially, [[http://www.comicsreporter.com/images/uploads/collage.jpg Mr. Fantastic in the Negative Zone]] and [[http://berkeleyplaceblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/IMG_2112.jpg Ego the Living Planet]].
* AuthorAppeal: AncientAstronauts, the ReluctantWarrior, ugly looking heroes, complicated machines (with tiny spherical dots laid on top) and kid gangs are the clearest examples.
* AuthorAvatar:
** Kirby included Stan Lee and himself as guests of the marriage of Reed Richards and Sue Storm. Nick Fury did not allow them to pass.
** The One-Above-All, the {{omnipotent}} but mostly unseen [[ThePowerOfCreation creator]] {{God}} of the entire Marvel Omniverse, is widely believed to be an avatar of Kirby.
** According to his biographer Creator/MarkEvanier, the character Kirby most identified with himself was Ben Grimm / The Thing from ComicBook/FantasticFour, even giving him his distinctive New York speech pattern.
** DC-side, it's pretty common to render Dan "Terrible" Turpin like this, though it's unclear if Kirby intended such.
* BoldInflation: '''One of the trademarks of his lettering!''' It contributed greatly to the "epic" tone of his work.
* CosmicEntity: He was especially influential for introducing a majorly advanced cosmic sensibility to superhero comics. Aliens with BlueAndOrangeMorality, Godlike beings and bizarre interstellar travelers much of which really codified superhero science-fiction and was a major advance on Golden Age rather old-fashioned approach. A small list of his creations: Galactus, Silver Surfer, the Skrulls, Ego the Living Planet, Darkseid, Metron, the ComicBook/NewGods and many others.
* DudeWheresMyRespect: During his first Marvel period, one of the things that really rankled him was how he was treated like mere hired help when Creator/StanLee got all the plaudits for the Franchise/MarvelUniverse to the point where some reporters thought he ''drew'' the stories Kirby did. And unfortunately, this is ''still'' the case, since Jack didn't live to experience the profile boost given to Stan Lee by the modern movie adaptations of their work. According to Creator/MarkEvanier, (his biographer, who is also friends with Lee), the nadir was an article published by the ''New Yorker'' profiling Stan Lee that more or less [[WorkingClassPeopleAreMorons insulted Kirby for being scruffy and working]], and not appearing as approachable to reporters as Stan. Evanier notes that Lee didn't intend this and had no say in that article, but he also didn't do enough to correct the false impression and it more or less stoked Kirby's resentment.
* HappilyMarried: To Roz Kirby.
* HiddenElfVillage: He had a fondness for them, Wakanda and Attilan to name the two most well known.
* KirbyDots: Trope namer and originator for his way of showing energy radiating. He especially loved doing this for {{Battle Aura}}s.
* {{Mayincatec}}: Kirby was an early TropeCodifier for this. For instance he modeled the design of the Sentinels on the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olmec_colossal_heads famous Olmec Head]], the design of Galactus on Aztec and Mayan costumes and likewise drew on the same lore for ''The Eternals''.
* MixAndMatch: Kirby was fond of reimagining occult and magical concepts with technological and science-fiction flourishes. Dr. Doom's costume simultaneously has a medieval and modern motif (a Renaissance-hood, cape, gold clasps for both, a green surcoat, and a medieval belt covering over absolutely modern robotic armour) and according to Kirby was intended to make him look like the Grim Reaper. Magneto likewise has a pulp fiction leotard and cape number but has a helmet with a Dark Ages-style horn, that makes him look like a feudal baron straight from the feudal era (this was Pre-Claremont, where Magneto was still an obnoxious asshole). The Norse Gods are simultaneously SufficientlyAdvancedAlien and HighFantasy beings, Wakanda is likewise a traditional African community and a modern science-fiction utopia, and the Fourth World of Apokolips and New Genesis takes this to the zenith, with everything have a techno-occult motif.
* OnlySixFaces: Most of his characters' faces look a ''lot'' alike aside from paraphernalia like helmets and hairstyles. Those that are actually distinctive facially (Darkseid, Desaad, Orion without his helmet, Dan Turpin) are usually ''hideous''.
* PenName: As was the case with many of the early comic-book men, "Jack Kirby" was a ''nom de plume''. He was born Jacob Kurtzberg.
* SelfImposedChallenge: When he joined DC, he voluntarily took over ''Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen'', their worst performing title which was on the verge of being cancelled, and supposedly promised he'd make it a best-seller. What is definitely true is that he took it over because it was the ONLY book without a set team, [[NiceGuy and he didn't want to kick anyone else off of their books.]]
* SplashPanel: Kirby was possibly the ''king'' of the splash page. Many of his stories start with a trademark one-two punch of a title page close-up splash to establish tension, followed by a double-page splash of something ''huge'' happening. The openings of ''ComicBook/NewGods'' or ''ComicBook/{{OMAC}}'' are probably the most well-known. Chris Sims, provider of our page quote, dubbed it "Kirbyvision".
* TakeThat: A famous one in ''ComicBook/NewGods'', where [[MeaningfulName Funky Flashman]], his angry take on Creator/StanLee, lives in a [[Creator/MarvelComics crumbling house]] with a sycophantic manservant based on Roy Thomas, and gets his meagre cash by rooting around in a container shaped like ''[[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic Jack's head.]]'' Oh, [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking and he wears a toupée.]][[note]]Seriously, this was a surprisingly big deal - the fact that Stan wore a toupée was an open secret till now, but Kirby was the first to actually say it out loud.[[/note]]
* TechnologyPorn: James Cameron himself said that nobody drew machines better than Kirby.