Friday, September 21, 2007

TOP TEN :: Best Comics Artists Ever :: #1 :: Jack Kirby

Here walked a giant. Besides being one of the great idea men, one of the great innovators (romance comics, kid gang comics, the first direct only sales success, and especially the co-creator of the Marvel universe) Jack Kirby always provided the WOW factor. Look at any comic art today--you see influences of Neal Adams, the Image group, even Milt Caniff, but the guys who made the single and two page spreads his own was Jack Kirby.

Pick up any Marvel Masterworks or Fourth World Omnibus--the art explodes off the page--you stare with gape-jawed awe. Your eye lingers and--back in the day--you had to buy the book.

In the same way Hemingway stated that all American literature derives from one source, Huckleberry Finn, all modern comics derive from what Jack Kirby wrought over his fifty-odd creative years. A lot has been written about Kirby, but here is the simplest way to sum it up. If it weren't for Kirby's explosion of creativity in the sixties, I doubt we would all be here today praising comic books.


Big Dog Studios said...

You really have to be living under a rock to disagree with this one. So many grand creations many which have stood the test of time. How many can lay claim to creating one let alone dozens of iconic characters? Then there's his reach. Many of the today's top artists cite him as a major influence. And the one's who don't were indirectly affected by their mentors' proclivity for all things Kirby.
Excellent choice gang, but was there really any other choice?

Robert Ullman said...

I've been on a bit of a Kirby kick lately...recently picked up Vol. 1 and 2 of the New Gods Omnibus, and got the second Kirby Marvel Visionaries volume for a song at Baltimore. And yeah, this stuff is really as good as advertised, but better. The Marvel stuff is great, no question, but I'm constanty annoyed by the subpar inkers they saddled the King with on those seminal runs (Joe Sinnott being a notable exception). The DC stuff, though...WOW! The unbridled imagination going on there just blows me away. I'd read bits here and there, but seeing it all in one place and reading it straight on through...literally, anything could happe in these books! They even had Don Rickles show up for a couple issues! And the art...the art is pretty pitch perfect, classic Kirby at his best.

Gotta get around to picking up that second KAMANDI Archive one a these days soon...I really dug the first. If you're looking for a good huge chunk of fun Kirby wackiness, you might also check out that Challengers of the Unknown Showcase edition from awhile back...NEW FRONTIER fans especially. Fun stuff, not too serious but a blast to look at...and Wally Wood inked him on a couple issues so you know it's gawgeous!