JACK KIRBY IN CONTEXT
Two years ago, Jack Kirby’s granddaughter Jillian launched Kirby4Heroes, a campaign to raise funds for the Hero Initiative, which helps comic artists in need. On the Kirby4Heroes Facebook page, Jillian posted several vintage pictures of her grandfather.
I thought it would be illuminating to provide a guide to what Kirby was working on at the time of each photo. Sometimes we forget that personal and professional lives don’t exist in vacuums.
(1) July 1941: Only months after the introduction of Captain America, Kirby and Joe Simon would soon leave Timely Comics. Jack and Roz Kirby spent a day at Brighton Beach.
(2) May 1961: Fantastic Four #1 was in development. It would hit newsstands on August 8. Bar Mitzvah for Neal Kirby.
(3) December 1963. Avengers #4, featuring the return of Captain America, was on newsstands. Tales of Suspense #52, featuring the first appearance of Black Widow, was at the printers. The growing Kirby family celebrated Hanukkah.
(4) July 1965: The debuts of the Inhumans (in Fantastic Four) and the Sentinels (in X-Men) were in production.
(5) June 1966: The fully-Kirby-scripted S.H.I.E.L.D. story in Strange Tales #148 hit newsstands (along with all of these). “I [did] a little editing later, but it was [Jack’s] story.” Lee said in an interview. Neal Kirby graduated.
On July 12, after Joe Simon began efforts to claim sole ownership of Captain America, Martin Goodman persuaded Jack Kirby to sign a deposition stating that Captain America, and all the work he’d done for Timely in the early 40s, was done with the understanding that it “belonged to Timely.”
(You can read much more about this in Marvel Comics: The Untold Story.)
All images ©2013 by Connie, Neal and Jillian Kirby.