With the new "Thor" movie being released this weekend, I thought I'd take a look back at the character's co-creator while I look back at the personal favorites and undeniable influence of Jack "The King" Kirby, whose kinetic figures, otherworldly settings and sensational storytelling skills first got me interesting in comics and their sequential language.
The first comic book I can remember reading was a reprint of Fantastic Four (volume 1) #5, the first appearance of Doctor Doom.
Like a metal monolith, Doctor Doom always sent me into shivers whenever he appeared on the page. His cruelty and contempt for life were unmatched by any other villain. I often said that Doom was could crush Darth Vader's ball in fist like a vice.
Speaking of Star Wars, tell me if this scene from Fantastic Four #87 (1969) were Sue and Crystal stumble into Doom's dining room looks a bit familiar.
Also like Darth Vader there was always the mystery of what he looked like behind his unfeeling mask. It had been hinted many times over that he was severely deformed, but was never actually confirmed to my knowledge. Personally, I like the idea that Kirby believed in this unpublished sketch, that Doom's face is quite handsome say for a tiny scar on his cheek, but that Doom is so obsessed with his own perfect that he considers it a flaw that is no different from deformation. Such a scale of arrogance is simply mesmerizing.
What Kirby did best:
Kirby knew how to use scale, no question, and often dwarfed his mighty heroes with elaborate machinery that could likely power the entire universe.
Again, using scale to his advantage, Kirby populates his settings with a cast of hundreds. The diversity of expressions and body language makes each and every one of them feel alive.
Fist Fights Cause Things to Explode
You know why Kirby drew so many explosions in his career? Because half the time Stan Lee didn't want to have write anything more complicated than "Ka-Boom!"
Seriously, the sheer volume of explosions in a Jack Kirby comic makes the flying sparks during the fights in "Power Rangers" seem subtle by comparison.
For as kinetic as Kirby could be in his covers, this one shows that less is more.
I'll never look at "Free Willy" the same way again.
The Female Furies throw the best slumber parties.
From "The Human Fly".
You know that movie trope were the hero walks away from an explosion without flinching?
Kirby cranks that trope up to eleven in OMAC #1.