His artistry was, and remains, so innovative and influential in the comic book zeitgeist that the industry named awards after him. Heck, they even named a visual image after him: the affectionately known, “Kirby Krackle.”
How pervasive is writer and artist Jack Kirby in pop culture?
You can scan the litany of comic book characters that the man created or co-created and you’d be certain to find dozens that are your favourites. From the globally renowned Captain America, Avengers, Fantastic Four and X-Men series of characters, to the populace’s burgeoning awareness of Darkseid and Black Panther, to the more niche creations of Kamandi, Etrigan the Demon and Destroyer Duck. With Kirby, the list of great characters goes on and on and on.
Without him, pop culture and comic books wouldn’t be at all what we know it to be today.
This August marks the 100th birthday of Jack Kirby and we here at Biff Bam Pop! mean to celebrate that auspicious centennial with a plethora of written accolades all summer long!
This is your cordial invitation to our #Kirby100 party!
We’re hearing that it’s full of action, adventure, tears and joy – and that there are <a-hem> pardon the pun – wonderful performances throughout the film!
Yesterday, Biff Bam Pop! Editor-In-Chief, Andy Burns, predicated a $105 million bankroll for the film in its first weekend of release. That’s a hefty and, frankly, outstanding sum of coin for this film and a number that can only be deemed a victory for the DC Cinematic Universe. There’s a lot riding on the Wonder Woman film both creatively and monetarily.
But Wonder Woman is more than just a single film. The character is a 75-year old pop culture icon of strength, love, hope, and will – not to mention an number of other positive and engaging adjectives!
Did you know that today, June 3, is #WonderWomanDay?!
Perfect timing, really…and there are a number of things you, or someone you love, can do to participate in the worldwide celebrations!
Early reviews have been positive to absolutely glowing – and that sense of affirmation is just the vaccination that the DC Extended Universe film franchise has desperately needed! With the tent pole Justice League film dropping later this year and the cinematic debut of Aquaman now firmly in production, the Wonder Woman film had a massive pop culture encumbrance to bear on its shoulders.
Indeed, perhaps unfairly, the future of Warner Brother’s comic book universe of films was in absolute jeopardy due to previously dark and critically lackluster movies.
Thankfully, that sentiment is not the same in the comic book world – the wellspring of these globally recognized pop culture icons.
This Saturday, June 3, is appropriately, #WonderWomanDay. Fans around the world will be celebrating the feminist icon with comic book readings, cosplay, theater-goings and much, much more.
But you can get an early start on the festivities today with the release of Wonder Woman Annual #1 – a fantastic introduction to the character for readers of any age!
Status, ruling class, and sub species.
And “King” Jack Kirby.
The theme of social status was the starting point of Kirby’s New Gods comic book title when he strode across the publishing divide, walking away from Marvel Comics and turning his talents and ideas to rival DC Comics.
And boy did he bring ideas and characters that still reverberate nearly five decades later: Darkseid, the Anti-Life Equation, New Genesis, Apokolips, gods, monsters, destiny… and politics.
Not to mention the visionary publishing invention of interlocking titles that constitute one, finite story.
Still, social status was only one of the themes of Jack Kirby’s “Fourth World” series of those interlocking comic book titles that included New Gods, Mister Miracle, The Forever People and Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olson.
That story of social status continues, with a new generation of great creators in this week’s release of Bug!: The Adventures Of A Forager #1!
Your Childhood Cartoons Meets Comics In “Green Lantern/Space Ghost Annual #1” & Others On The Wednesday Run
But it’s a little kid’s dream, isn’t it?
Those after school or Saturday morning cartoons – the ones that we ALL loved so much, made even more real, given a heightened sense of heroic justification, when intermingled with the heroes of the comic books we read!
I mean, we’d regularly have crossover adventures between cartoon and comic book heroes, universes, genres and pop culture mediums with the toys that we’d buy at the local store.
We were ahead of our time.
Green Lantern. Space Ghost. Suicide Squad. Banana Splits. Booster Gold. The Flintstones. Adam Strange. Jonny Quest.
Cartoons and comic books – never the two shall meet?
Not today – today we get ALL the meetings!
The uncharted ether of imagination.
That’s what brings us to today.
Over the last month and a half, we’ve begun unofficially celebrating the year of comic book legend Jack Kirby’s birth here at Biff Bam Pop! The “King” as he’s affectionately called, would be 100 years young this year…and make no mistake, his many pop culture creations live long and strong.
You know many of them: Captain America, The Fantastic Four, Hulk, Silver Surfer, X-Men, etc., etc., etc.
Without Kirby, you could argue there would be no superhero comics, no Marvel Cinematic Universe, no Wednesday Run!
But beyond those characters listed, did you know about Kirby’s early 1970’s Fourth World creations: his “Cosmic Odyssey”? It was a series of interconnected titles that would tell one complete story, a publishing revelation, far ahead of its time!
Well, look no further than today release of the Kirby-inspired, late twentieth century release of, Cosmic Odyssey: The Deluxe Edition – and discover the King’s imagination run rampant across the universe!
A couple of weeks ago, friend and compatriot Glenn Walker (he of @monsura and regular contributor to all things cool on this very website), came to visit my hometown city of Toronto for Biff Bam Pop!’s Editor-in-Chief, Andy Burns’ monumental birthday celebration.
It was a wonderful affair, full of frivolity, chatter and seemingly endless shot glasses of Jägermeister (many of us are still shuddering at the taste in our mouths).
At a breakfast get together the next morning, Glenn and I stated talking about our love of comic book industry-changing creator, “King” Jack Kirby (creator of so many of your favourite comic book heroes and villains), and his 1972 post-apocalyptic protagonist, Kamandi. He reminded me of the mid-eighties DC Comics series, the DC Challenge, on which today’s Wednesday Run column comic book pick is based.
And Kamandi, the beloved Last Boy On Earth: in a brand new, limited series, full of story and art and wonder and industry legends working on the creation of the industry’s all-time Legend.
Today sees the release of the hugely-anticipated The Kamandi Challenge #1!
In the mid 1980’s, DC Comics bought up a number of Charlton Comics characters as assets to integrate into their own pantheon of superheroes. They included The Question, Blue Beetle and Nightshade. You might remember them.
You might also remember Captain Atom, another character bought up from Charlton. He was the original inspiration for the powerful Doctor Manhattan in Alan Moore’s seminal mid-80’s series, Watchmen.
Captain Atom went on to star in various monthly DC comic books over the decades, but of late, he’s been nowhere to be found.
Lost and forgotten.
But no more!
Today, Captain Atom returns in a band new, six-issue miniseries: The Fall And Rise Of Captain Atom – and it’ll be a rebirth, ushering the character into the new DC Universe proper!
It’s the best kind of comic book reading, believe me.
Now, you might be getting comics given to you as gifts. (Maybe there’s one or two from this list or this list.) But you might still want to pick up something to read that signifies the season. Something featuring the greatest superheroes and villains the world has ever known.
Lucky for you, both DC Comics and Marvel Comics are publishing their own holiday specials today… you might want to consider getting in on the zany, wintry, heroic fun!
Follow me after the jump for the low down on the DC Rebirth Holiday Special #1 and the Gwenpool Holiday Special: Merry Mix-Up #1!