Jack Kirby created or co-created some of comic books’ most popular characters including Captain America, The X-Men, The Hulk, The Fantastic Four, The Mighty Thor, Darkseid, and The New Gods. More significantly, he created much of the visual language for fantasy and adventure comics. There were comics before Kirby, but for the most part their page layout, graphics, and visual dynamic aped what was being done in syndicated newspaper strips. Almost everything that was different about comic books began in the forties on the drawing table of Jack Kirby. This is his story by one who knew him well the authorized celebration of the one and only King of Comics” and his groundbreaking work.
I don’t think it’s any accident that . . . the entire Marvel universe and the entire DC universe are all pinned or rooted on Kirby’s concepts.” Michael Chabon
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Mark Evanier met Jack Kirby in 1969, worked as his assistant, and later became his official biographer. A writer and historian, Evanier has written more than 500 comics for Gold Key, DC Comics, and Marvel Comics, several hundred hours of television (including Garfield) and is the author of several books including Mad Art (2002). He has three Emmy Award nominations, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award for animation from the Writers Guild of America.
As a teenager, future television and comics writer Evanier became an assistant to Jack Kirby, one of the foremost artists in the history of American comics. Kirby played a major role in shaping the superhero genre, not only through his innovative, dynamic artwork but through collaborating with Stan Lee to create classic Marvel characters like the Fantastic Four, the Hulk and the X-Men. Evanier has now written this magnificently illustrated biography of his mentor. Rather than employing the academic prose that one might expect from an art book, Evanier, a talented raconteur, tells Kirby's life story in an informal, entertaining manner. Although Evanier does not delve into psychological analysis, he brings Kirby's personality vividly alive: a child of the Great Depression, a creative visionary who struggled most of his life to support his family. The book recounts how Kirby was insufficiently appreciated by clueless corporate executives and close-minded comics professionals. But the stunning artwork in this book, taken from private collections, makes the case for Kirby's genius. A landmark work, this is essential reading for comics fans and those who want to better understand the history of the comics medium—or those who just want to enjoy Kirby's incredible artwork. (Mar.)
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