Jack Kirby is still what he was in his time, the absolute "King" of comics. And I assume most who follow this blog will have assumed he was my number one favorite artist as much attention as I pay to him and his creations, especially his Fourth World stuff for DC. (767 posts so far.) But the King was an artist I came to love over a relatively short time, his abstractions in the pages of Fantastic Four proving exciting but at moments unclear. The vitality of his work seeped into me over time as I saw more and read more of it here and there and as it turns out today nearly everywhere.
Kirby is an artist who fought his whole life to create, a product of the tenements of NYC, a rough and tumble man who was unafraid of life and who despite his incredible skills possessed a true modesty. The work came so easily to him, that he couldn't understand why others thought it unusual or impressive. Slowly he became aware and sought to find the success alone that had only been his before in partnership, first with Joe Simon and later with Stan Lee. In pulling away from his past with such vigor he might have seemed less than appreciative of the talents of others, but those closest to him tell stories that let you know this was not the case. Kirby wanted to spread the glamour which was associated with him, especially after his monumental success at Marvel in the Silver Age, to others and was charitable in that regard. I adore the work of Jack "King" Kirby and have been buying collections and celebrations of it for decades now, but even more than the artist, I respect this man who I never met, but who I feel I know reasonably well. He was a doubtlessly great artist and he was an exceedingly good man, a good man who was kind enough to take time for us all.
Next time...it's number one.