Born on August 28, 1917, the American comic strip artist, writer, as well as editor, Jack Kirby is considered one of the most significant pioneers in the industry as well as one of the most productive and prominent creators of all time.
He learned to draw cartoon creatures by copying characters from comics as well as newspaper cartoons since his childhood. He began working in the budding comics industry in the 1930s, initially under the pen name, Jack Curtiss.
However, eventually settled on Jack Kirby. For Timely Comics, the forerunner of Marvel Comics, he collaborated with writer-editor Joe Simon to develop the wildly popular superhero, Captain America, in 1940.
Kirby and Simon collaborated frequently in the 1940s, producing a variety of characters for both National and that firm.
Kirby created artwork for DC Comics, Harvey Graphic novels, Hillman Magazines, and other publications after deploying in the European Theater of World War II.
He and Simon established the romance comics genre at Crestwood Publications before starting their own brief-lived comic firm, Mainline Publications. Timely Atlas Comics, which evolved into Marvel the next decade, had Kirby working on it in the 1950s.
Many of the company’s well-known characters, such as the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Thor, the Hulk, Iron Man, as well as Black Panther, were created in the 1960s by Kirby.
High sales and favorable reviews were attained by Kirby’s works, but in 1970, feeling that he had been unfairly treated, particularly with regard to authorship credit and artists’ rights, Kirby departed the company for competitor DC.
|Real Name||Jack Kirby|
|Profession||Comic Illustrator, Writer|
|Date of Birth||28 August 1917|
|Date of Death||February 6, 1994|
|Age When Died||76 Years|
|Birthplace||New York, New York, United States|
|Hometown||New York, New York, United States|
|Place of Death||Thousand Oaks, California, United States|
|Educational Qualification||Not Available|
|Height (approx.)||in centimeters- N/A
in meters- N/A
in feet inches- N/A
|Weight (approx.)||in kilograms- N/A
in pounds- N/A
|Debut||The Blue Beetle |
|Relationships & Affairs|
|Wife||Roz Goldstein [m. 1942–1994]|
|Parents||Father- Benjamin Kurtzberg
Mother- Rose Kurtzberg
|Children||Daughters- Lisa R. Kirby, Barbara J. Kirby, Susan M. Kirby
Son- Neal L. Kirby
|Net Worth [approx.]||$10 million|
Early Life and Family
Jacob Kurtzberg was born on August 28, 1917, in New York City’s Lower East Side at 147 Essex Street, where he was nurtured later. Rose (Bernstein) and Benjamin Kurtzberg, his parents, were Austrian-Jewish immigrants, and his father was a laborer in a clothing factory.
When Kirby was younger, he wanted to leave his area. He enjoyed drawing and looked for learning opportunities about art. In addition to editorial cartoonists like C.H. Sykes, “Ding” Darling, and Rollin Kirby, Kirby listed comic strip artists Milton Caniff, Hal Foster, and Alex Raymond as inspirations.
As per Kirby, he sketched “too swiftly with charcoal” and was therefore disqualified by the Educational Alliance. Later, he discovered a use for his talents by creating drawings for the magazine of the Boys Brotherhood Republic, an East 3rd Street “miniaturized city” where street children controlled their own affairs.
At the age of only 14, Kirby enrolled at the Brooklyn-based Pratt Institute and dropped out after a week. “Pratt wasn’t interested in the kind of student I was. They sought workers who would commit a lifetime to a project. I had no desire to work on a project indefinitely. I wanted to complete the tasks”.
At the age of 14, Kirby attended the famed illustration school, Pratt Institute. He left class early and claimed that his personal ideology did not line up with that of the school.
While the Institute encouraged students to spend a lot of time on a single piece of art, he was more interested in producing enormous amounts of artwork quickly and “getting things done.”
Jack Kirby’s Career
In 1936, Kirby began working for the Lincoln Press Syndicate, producing solitary advice drawings like Your Health Comes First and newspaper comic strips.
In 1935, he started working as an underappreciated gem on Popeye cartoons for the theater animation studio Fleischer Studios, where he stayed until late 1939.
Before the 1937 Fleischer strike, he quit the studio. He said, “I traveled from Lincoln to Fleischer.” “I was forced to leave Fleischer quickly because I couldn’t stand that sort of behavior; it was like my father’s workplace in certain ways. They were producing images.”
The American comic book business was growing at the time. For one of the few companies that produced comics on demand for publishers, Eisner & Iger, Kirby started writing and illustrating comic books.
For Wild Boy Magazine, Kirby completed what he considered to be his first comic book work through the firm.
This included strips like “The Diary of Dr. Hayward” (written under the pseudonym Curt Davis), “Wilton of the West” (written under the pseudonym Fred Sande), “The Count of Monte Cristo” (again written under the pseudonym Jack Curtiss), and “Abdul Jones” (written under the pseudonyms Ted Grey and Teddy), all of which were produced for Jumbo Comics as well as other Eisner-Iger clients.
# Postwar Career
After the war, Simon set Kirby and himself up with jobs at Harvey Comics, where they produced works including the boy-gang adventure Boy Explorers Comics, the boy-gang Western Boys’ Ranch, and the superhero comic Stuntman, and Captain 3-D, which was popular during the 3-D movie craze.
Additionally, Simon, as well as Kirby, worked as freelancers for Crestwood Publications and Hillman Periodicals, which published the crime comic Real Clue Crime (Justice Traps the Guilty).
# Marvel Time Period
In spite of his misgivings about Stan Lee, who Kirby did believe had revealed to Timely back in the 1940s that he and Simon were secretly working on projects for National, Kirby started doing regular freelance work for Atlas a few months after his split with DC.
Due to the low page rates, Kirby would work on four to five pages of art every day for 12 to 14 hours at his home sketching desk.
The cover and the seven-page story “I Discovered the Secret of the Flying Saucers” from Strange Worlds #1 were his first published works at Atlas (Dec. 1958).
From romance comics to war comics to crime comics to Western comics, Kirby drew in all genres initially with Christopher Rule as his regular inker, and later with Dick Ayers.
However, he is best known for a series of supernatural fantasy and science fiction tales featuring enormous, drive-in movie-style monsters with names like Groot, the Thing from Planet X; Grotto, King of the Insects; and his strange creations of strong, extraterrestrial monsters were a success.
# Final Years
One of the first deals for creator-owned series in the business was negotiated in the early 1980s by Kirby as well as by Pacific Comics, a new, non-newsstand comic book publisher.
This led to the creation of Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers and the six-issue miniseries Silver Star (later collected in hardcover format in 2007).
This helped set a precedent to end the stranglehold of the work-for-hire system, where comics creators, even freelancers, had no ownership rights to protagonists they created.
Similar actions by other independent comics publishers, like Eclipse Comics (where Kirby co-created the character Destroyer Duck in a benefit comic-book series published to help Steve Gerber fight a legal case against Marvel), also contributed.
Relationship, Wife, and Children
Kirby and his family relocated to Brooklyn at the beginning of the 1940s. Rosalind Goldstein or Roz Goldstein, who also resided in the same apartment complex, was there when Kirby met her. Soon after, they started dating.
On Goldstein’s 18th birthday, Kirby proposed, and the two later got engaged. On May 23, 1942, they got married. Susan (born December 6, 1945), Neal (born May 1948), Barbara (born November 1952), and Lisa were their four children.
For his family, Kirby purchased a residence in Mineola, New York, on Long Island, in 1949. The studio in the underground, which the family jokingly referred to as “The Dungeon,” was just 10 feet (3.0 m) wide and served as Kirby’s workspace for the next 20 years.
Early in 1969, he relocated the family to Southern California in order to be near the Hollywood studios Kirby thought may offer employment, as well as to live in a drier climate for the health of his daughter Lisa.
Jillian Kirby, Kirby’s granddaughter, claimed in an interview that her grandfather was a “liberal Democrat.” At the age of 76, Kirby passed away from heart failure in his Thousand Oaks, California, residence on February 6, 1994.
This American comic book creator, writer, as well as editor, Jack Kirby seemed to have approximately $10 million in net worth. In August 1917, Jack Kirby was born in New York City, and he passed away in February 1994.
Interesting Facts about Jack Kirby
- Jack Kirby was in his late 30s as well as early 40s when he began working on Marvel Comics during its most successful period. But even before then, Jack Kirby had already created a huge number of comics. Moreover, he collaborated on a number of comics with people like Eisner & Iger when he was about 18 or 19 years old.
- When it comes to creators today, many have their own tools of the trade to get the desired aesthetic. Some people draw using various pens, pencils, or digital tablets. But, Jack Kirby appeared to only use pencils and his old wooden table to draw.