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!
I don’t usually write about superhero comics, or add my two cents to the internet outrages, controversies, and speculations that the comic book industry produces like Campbell’s makes soup, but I think this might be a good time to make an exception. Biff Bam Pop! readers may know that I’m something of a Captain America fan from my two-part look at Cap and historical memory, which you can read here and here. What you may not know is that these days, the only comics I collect are Our Army at War/Sgt. Rock, and Captain America. Those are the only two titles that will never be sold and replaced with trades, or donated to a library book sale, or whatever, that I bag and board using archival materials, and that I occasionally take Smaug-like glee over just possessing. I also occasionally like to take a pile of them out of their bags and curl up and binge-read them, reveling in the smell of old comics, looking at the ads, old-school lettercols, back matter, backup stories, etc. – you know, enjoy them as comic books.
Biff Bam Pop’s It’s All Connected – Just a Kid from Brooklyn: Captain America, American Memories of World War II, and the MCU, Part II
In the first part of this essay, I briefly sketched the construction of American memories of World War II that began slightly before the war and continue into the 21st century. In many ways the war has become a defining part of American identity, and the dominant, triumphal memory narrative we have created about it serves to elevate American participation in the war almost to the level of the sacred, and certainly to the realm of the simple black and white, good v. evil duality that is much more comforting than any messy and contradictory reality might be. The character of Steve Rogers/Captain America is one of the more perfect cultural artifacts to illustrate this process of memory construction, and the ways in which counter-memories, which challenge the dominant narrative, inevitably influence the national mythology.
Biff Bam Pop’s It’s All Connected – Just a Kid from Brooklyn: Captain America, American Memories of World War II, and the MCU, Part I
Captain America is a symbol, and Steve Rogers is an ideal. The former is the manifestation of the best that the United States of America can be, and the latter is the exemplar of citizenship that creates it. Yet this iconic character was born in defiance, and is inextricably linked with the largest and most horrific conflict in the entirety of human history. World War II left between 70 and 85 million people dead, or somewhere between three and four percent of the world’s population at the time. European Jewry was all but eradicated by a systematic, industrialized genocide. The infrastructures and economies of Europe, the Soviet Union, Japan, China, and the Philippines (among others) were largely smashed. In Great Britain – one of the victor nations – food rationing continued until 1954, nine years after the war had ended. How then, did Captain America, the paragon of American humanist and egalitarian virtue, spring from such poisoned fields?
A day after Donald Trump famously made a fool of himself (yet again) by throwing his hat in the Republican electoral conversation in the United States of America (my goodness, he’s so misinformed!), DC Comics is looking for your vote on a number of new comic books issued today!
You see, DC’s “New52” initiative from a few years ago has come to its only logical conclusion: it’s become something else. Witness the birth of the DCYou!
With new, debut titles of Robin: Son of Batman, Martian Manhunter, Harley Quinn and Power Girl, Black Canary, Doctor Fate and Doomed, it’s Prez #1 that’s got me most interested this week.
Follow me after the jump for the entire voter turnout!
He’s the King of Comics. A man who left an indelible mark upon the medium, using his peerless imagination to create some of the greatest stories and characters ever told. In 2015, celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s incredible contribution to comic book history in the monumental, decades-spanning KING-SIZE KIRBY HARDCOVER collection! More after the jump.