Artist Influences: Jack Kirby

Jack Kirby Self-Portrait

August 28th would've been Jack Kirby's 95th birthday, so I thought this week's blog should be a little tribute to one of my favorite artists since childhood. Gone, but not forgotten. He was an American comic book artist whose illustrations inspired many fans like myself, and his legacy of creativity still influences artists today. He was basically a pioneer in the world of comics. Kirby was part of the creative conception behind Captain America in 1940. He pretty much created the majority of the cast of Marvel characters, despite an ongoing copyright war between his family and Marvel, who owns all of his character creations. Kirby worked for Marvel, DC Comics, and worked with Stan Lee in co-creating characters like The Fantastic Four and X-Men.

Jack Kirby's Captain America

Just look at this Captain America illustration. It's pretty obvious why Jack Kirby is known as “The King of Comics!” He was an artistic badass! His exciting visual style and illustrative dynamism made his work stand out compared to other comic artists. The angles and consistent action in each panel makes it feel as if you're right there in the story as it's happening. His work has a lot of movement.

Jack's legacy truly does live on, not only in our hearts, but there's a great place called the Kirby Museum. It's got a huge archive of his work on there, where they're doing a really great job of educating the masses about his career, art, and inspirations. Check it out and enjoy! kirbymuseum.org

On Jack's birthday this year, his granddaughter, Jillian Kirby, ran a campaign called Kirby4Heroes. Funds donated to this on August 28th went to the Hero Initiative organization, a non-profit charity which raises funds for aiding comic book creators, artists, and writers in medical or financial need. It's a unique organization with a noble cause.

Another really cool event revolving around Jack's 95th birthday this year was the “Wake Up and Draw” project. On August 28th, fans could keep up with the art on Twitter using the #WakeUpAndDraw hashtag. The Hero Initiative recruited 100 artists to contribute. Check out their art HERE. Furthermore, just this week on September 18th, an auction has begun for the Wake Up and Draw art contributions! The auction runs four weeks. Wanna bid? Register for free at ComicArtFans.com!

Jack Kirby's work is so relevant today in so many ways, it's astounding. There's a new movie coming out soon called ARGO, directed by Ben Affleck. It's based off of a true story about a CIA rescue attempt to save six Americans hiding out in a Canadian Ambassador's home during the Iran hostage crisis. They convinced Iran that those six people were actually part of a sci-fi film crew, scouting for a movie titled Argo! It gets better. The CIA's fake production company used real designs by JACK KIRBY, stolen from the work he'd submitted for a film! It was Jack's art that helped these hostages successfully escape Iran! Nuts! I have to see this movie!!!

I'll finish this post with my painting of Ash. He's pretty much a superhero in his own right. I wanted to convey a sense of urgency in the action, to get that feeling one gets while looking at a Kirby action piece, with the hero in the foreground and chaos exploding around him.

Lastly, I may or may not have mentioned that I've been working on a comic book this summer! Things still haven't been finalized, so I'm not at legal liberty to make any official announcements, but fans of the macabre will enjoy it if everything pans out as planned. I am extremely excited to be working with the people behind this project. Can't wait to tell you guys about it!

Also I would like to go on record to say that my favorite Kirby comics are as follows: The Demon, Kamandi , New Gods, and Captain America!

Evil Dead 2 by Chris Kuchta

HEY! This weekend, I will be in Pittsburgh at HORROR REALM! Hope to meet more fans there!