Jack Kirby needs no introduction. He's the King of Comics, the co-creator of Captain America, a man who gave us masterpiece after masterpiece right up until his death in 1994, but his comics achievements aren't the whole story. In 1980, Kirby's art actually helped save the lives of six Americans in hiding in Iran, and now that art is headed to print in the August issue of Heavy Metal magazine.
If you haven't heard the backstory, here's a quick referesher: In the late '70s, Kirby was contacted by producer Barry Geller, who was hoping to adapt Roger Zelazny's novel Lord of Light for the screen, then follow it up with a Colorado theme park named Science Fiction Land. Geller had scraped together some development money and hired Kirby to draft concept art for the project. Kirby produced some incredible drawings, but production of the film eventually fell apart. In 1979, when the U.S. embassy in Iran was stormed and its occupants taken hostage, a CIA operative named Tony Mendez started looking for a cover that would allow him to smuggle six Americans who'd escaped the embassy (they were hiding out in the home of the Canadian ambassador) out of Iran. He found the Lord of Light script and concept, and "Operation: Argo" was born. The story eventually became the basis for the Oscar-winning film Argo, starring Ben Affleck as Mendez, and though Kirby's art resurfaced as a result of that adaptation, it's still not very widely known.
Now, Heavy Metal is changing that, by publishing Kirby's art in August complete with powerful new colors.
"These Pieces by Geller & Kirby, mostly unseen before now, are part of American history as they were the artwork used by the CIA for OPERATION: ARGO, which helped free American embassy workers during the Iranian coup in 1979," Heavy Metal said in a press release. "Also featuring all-new, eye-scorching color by some of the best toners in the biz!"
We've seen this spectacular Kirby art before, but seeing it in color and in print will be a real treat, especially since Kirby didn't really work with Heavy Metal during his lifetime. To see the original pencils, click HERE, and look for Heavy Metal this August to see the final product.
(Via Bleeding Cool)