Today marks what would have been the 101st birthday of the legendary comics creator and artist Jack Kirby, and his grandson paid tribute to the master via a touching social media message.
Kirby, affectionately known to fans as The King, was born on this date in 1917, and his grandson Jeremy acknowledged the occasion with a short but sweet testimonial on Twitter:
To call Kirby a superhero in the universe of comics is an understatement. It is not hyperbole to say that he and Stan Lee changed the course of pop culture history starting in the early 1960s, when they worked together at Marvel Comics to co-create what eventually became known as the Marvel Universe, inhabiting it with iconic characters like the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Captain America (an earlier character Kirby created with Joe Simon, which he and Lee revived), Thor, Hulk, Iron Man, the Avengers, Black Panther, Silver Surfer, Magneto and countless more.
Kirby's artwork was also the basis for the Marvel "house style" until his departure in 1970 for the rival DC Comics, where he created a whole new realm called The Fourth World, which spawned titles like The New Gods and The Forever People. He later returned to Marvel, creating races like the Eternals and the Celestials, then finished out his career with stints at Hanna-Barbera as well as several smaller comic book publishers before his 1994 death.
Kirby's high-energy, high-impact style of drawing, along the multitudes of characters and worlds he created or helped create, continue to cast a long shadow over the entire field of pop and comic art more than 24 years after his death (he was honored last year on his 100th birthday by some of the biggest current names in the field).
We can only speculate what else Kirby might have dreamed up or innovated had he actually made it to his 101st birthday, and from what we know, he was the kind of person who would have kept working as long as he could still put pencil to paper.
With Marvel continuing to bring his characters to life via the comics and the Marvel Cinematic Universe (where an Eternals movie is rumored to be in development), and even DC Films mulling the possibility of a New Gods movie, Kirby's work will no doubt continue to entertain and inspire artists and readers for years to come. But it's certainly nice to see a tribute from one of the fans who knew him best.