Stan Lee is the biggest name known in Marvel comics today. If you’ve watched a Marvel superhero movie, no matter if it’s owned by Disney or Sony, you’ve likely seen him in a cameo. He’s taken a lot of credit for the MCU and what it is today, and at least a healthy part of that is what he’s earned. The problem is that while he’s done quite a bit with the company that he helped to get going, Stan is not the only one that deserves the credit for the insanely popular comics that have propelled Marvel this far into the future. Jack Kirby, a name that usually only true diehard fans would know, is equally responsible for getting the brand off the ground.
So what did Jack Kirby do? Let’s take a look.
He co-created Captain America with Joe Simon.
How many of you didn’t know that Marvel wasn’t the original venue of Captain America? Whether by purpose or by dint of history it’s not likely that Lee will blurt this out to the world. If asked he might go ahead and tell, but Kirby and another man named Joe Simon were responsible for the iconic character and would later on give in to Marvel to let go of Captain America and make him a known commodity throughout the MCU.
He was responsible for the Fantastic Four’s first appearance.
This was a collaboration with Lee, but Kirby did a good deal of the work and it’s because of his artwork that the Fantastic Four really got off the ground. Lee could always talk a good game but if your characters look ridiculous there’s nothing that can be said to make them look any better. Kirby’s pencil was the method by which a lot of superheroes got their start.
He developed The Inhumans.
The likes of Black Bolt, Medusa, Lockjaw, Crystal, and the others were largely if not entirely inspired by Kirby’s drawings. He came up with back stories, their looks, their story lines, and brought the Inhumans into the mainstream. As it stand now Lee will obviously take a lot of credit because Kirby is not here to do so, but all one needs to do is procure a copy of Kirby’s original work to see how it all began.
He wrote and drew The Eternals
The Eternals brought in the god-like beings known as the Celestials, which are essentially the biggest, strongest, and most dangerous characters throughout the MCU. They are able to create and destroy life on a galactic scale, and have motives that are largely unknown to most of the universe. Their mystique is that they create and destroy based upon a design that no one can possibly understand. That’s what makes them both way too powerful and extremely interesting.
He came up with new drawing techniques such as the “Kirby Krackle”.
This was a new technique that Kirby developed to denote massive amounts of energy gathering around a source. It would be drawn as a multitude of black dots clustered together so as to indicate a massive field of energy that was in effect “crackling” giving it the dark, negative look that one sees when they stare too long into a bright light.
Jack Kirby is responsible in great part for Marvel’s current success by way of pioneering the artwork that has led to today’s comics. The only issue is that Stan Lee, the media darling of Marvel, doesn’t always see fit to speak Kirby’s name with the reverence it deserves.