Today would have been Jack Kirby's 103rd birthday and fans of the late comic icon have been celebrating his legacy throughout the day. As part of the remembrance, Jeremy Kirby — a grandson of the creator — took to the @jackkirbycomics Twitter account to share some behind-the-scenes snippets throughout the day on Friday. One of the most surprising posts comes in the form of the earliest concept art behind the character that would eventually end up as Black Panther — now one of Marvel's most popular superheroes.
"The grandest of creations start out with a simple spark of creativity," Jeremy tweeted. "The original sketch of who would become the Black Panther. In the 1960s my grandfather felt the world needed a black superhero. Jack Kirby would have been 103 today, August 28th 2020."
The grandest of creations start out with a simple spark of creativity. The original sketch of who would become the Black Panther. In the 1960s my grandfather felt the world needed a black superhero. Jack Kirby would have been 103 today, August 28th 2020. pic.twitter.com/LRLxhmfjPh— Jeremy Kirby (@jackkirbycomics) August 28, 2020
As seen in the art posted, the character's original look was much different than how he ended up appearing in Fantastic Four #52. While the character still looks similar today as he did in his first appearance, this original concept art paints a completely different picture, showing the character is a yellow suit and a red and blue cape. Nowhere to be seen is any panther regalia or any inclination; in fact, in this "new" drawing, the character is donning a "C" on his chest, potentially hinting he originally had a different name altogether.
Having worked for both Marvel and DC, Kirby is credited with helping create a solid chunk of the Marvel mythos. Alongside Joe Simon, he created Captain America for Marvel predecessor Timely Comics. He also created the Fantastic Four, Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, the X-Men, and Black Panther with the late Stan Lee. For DC, Kirby created the Fourth World line of books, which resulted in characters like Darkseid, Mister Miracle, and Big Barda.
What's your favorite Kirby creation? Let us know your thoughts either in the comments or by hitting our writer @AdamBarnhardt up on Twitter!