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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/ Chris Sims]]'''

'''Jack "[[RedBaron The King]]" Kirby''' (August 28, 1917 February 6, 1994, born Jacob Kurtzberg) 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 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 he 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 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''.

Unfortunately, Kirby was also a poster boy for how artists were treated by the companies who became multibillion dollar industries because of them. The dubious "work for hire" contract policies in those days meant that 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 is currently trying to regain Kirby's share of the copyright on his Marvel Comics characters, but whether or not their efforts would bear fruit remains to be seen.

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/TheAvengers
*** ComicBook/IronMan
*** ComicBook/BlackPanther
** By himself:
*** Machine Man/X-51/Aaron Stack
*** ComicBook/TheEternals
*** Devil Dinosaur
*** ComicBook/SilverSurfer
*** The [[ComicBookAdaptation adaptation]] of Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey
* For Creator/DCComics:
** ''Challengers of the Unknown''
** ''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 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 only time he regretted his calling while trying to survive that dangerous posting.
* 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.
* AuthorAppeal: AncientAstronauts, the ReluctantWarrior and kid gangs are the clearest examples.
* {{Badass}}: There's a story that before the US entered WWII, some American Nazis called to the offices offering to fight Kirby and Joe Simon, creators of ComicBook/CaptainAmerica. Jack supposedly rolled up his sleeves and immediately headed downstairs, but when he got down [[DirtyCoward they were gone...]] Creator/WillEisner also regularly told a story about a gangster who tried to claim protection money from the Eisner studio being physically intimidated by a young Kirby into giving up and leaving.
* BoldInflation: '''One of the trademarks of his lettering!''' It contributed greatly to the "epic" tone of his work.
* DudeWheresMyRespect: During his first Marvel period, one of the things that really rankled him is 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.
* ExecutiveMeddling: When he created the Mighty Thor, he planned to have the hero's story eventually end with Ragnarok, like in the original myths. When the Powers that Be vetoed this final end, he went on to create the New Gods, whose story he intended to end with final battle between Orion and his father, Darkseid. When the Powers that Be vetoes this final end, he went on to create the Eternals, which he intended to end with the ultimate confrontation with the Celestials. When the Powers that Be... and so on.
* HappilyMarried: To Roz Kirby.
* HeAlsoDid: Kirby became an animator for [[Creator/MaxAndDaveFleischer Fleischer Studios]] in the late 1930's, but felt it was like working in a factory, espeically when he had to be an inbetweener [[note]]The animators who have to do the animation between major positions of animated objects and characters[[/note]] so his tenure there was brief. In the early 1980's, Kirby returned to animation as a production designer and found it a whole different experience with the younger staff who did the grunt work themselves and treated him with awe.
* KirbyDots: Trope namer and originator for his way of showing energy radiating. He especially loved doing this for {{Battle Aura}}s.
* 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 comicbook 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.]]
* ShoutOut: In the movie ''Film/CrimsonTide'', Submarine Executive Officer Hunter points out to a crew member on the boat that "anyone who reads comic books knows that the Kirby ComicBook/SilverSurfer is the only true Silver Surfer."
** ''WesternAnimation/{{Minoriteam}}'' would always have an end credit giving special thanks to "King" Kirby.
** He briefly appears in ''Film/{{Argo}}'', played by Michael Parks, in his historical role of drawing the storyboards for the fake movie. Though he's not actually named in the film and you have to do some research to find out it's supposed to be him.
* 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.]]
* WhatCouldHaveBeen:
** Kirby started designing the New Gods in the late '60s at Marvel, where they would have been a post-Ragnarok continuation of Thor. What's less well-known is that OMAC started life as a Captain-America-in-the-future pitch.
** During TheSeventies, Jack Kirby was the conceptual art designer for an aborted attempt to produce a film based on Roger Zelazny's 1967 novel ''Literature/LordOfLight''. His art was later re-used for the [[Film/{{Argo}} CIA's fake movie ''Argo'']]. He even gets a split-second cameo in the film! (The art actually seen in the film, however, isn't his, or even much like it.)
** Kirby produced the first 17 pages of an adaptation of one of his favourite series, Patrick [=McGoohan's=] ''Series/ThePrisoner''. Unfortunately, the series never materialised, but [[http://www.theredcircle.com/blog/2009/11/15/jkirby-tprsnr/ some art can be found online.]]