Stan Lee and Jack Kirby forever changed the world with their Marvel Comics creations, and today, as fans everywhere remember Jack Kirby on his birthday (August 28th), Stan Lee has added his one-of-a-kind perspective on remembering his friend and collaborator.
Check out what Lee posted about Kirby, in honor of the late creator's 101st birthday:
He was a legend, he truly was. Nobody could draw like Jack. – Stan //t.co/eF2NjMUCGx— stan lee (@TheRealStanLee) August 29, 2018
Jack Kirby (as well as Steve Ditko) created the defining look of Marvel Comics in its '60s era Silver Age, and his blueprint and philosophy for comic book artwork became the signature of the entire Marvel brand. 'Kirby Style' was almost religiously taught to new artists at Marvel Comics, and became the publisher's branding signature.
With Lee's fantastical ideas, and Kirby's unique ability to make them come alive on the page, Marvel characters like The Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Black Panther, Inhumans, the X-Men and Avengers grew to be the worldwide icons the are today. Thanks to Kirby's sci-fi-tinged concepts in Fantastic Four's "Galactus Trilogy," the Marvel Cosmic Universe became as fertile a playground as the Earthbound stories.
There will forever be a slight shadow over Kirby's work at Marvel, when we come to the subject of how he was/was not compensated as an independent contractor, working under the copyright laws of the time. Both he and Lee (or in Kirby's case, his estate) have gone through the fire in term of legal challenges to Marvel over rights and profits as the Marvel Universe has expanded and moved into mediums like TV and movies. However, Kirby passed away in 1994, so such concerns are no longer important, perhaps - and really, if you've ever followed his interviews and writings, it seems he would be fairly fulfilled having left behind an artistic legacy that has reshaped human mythology and literature, and inspired millions upon millions of people, for generations. Not too shabby for a "starving artist's" life.
While Kirby's influence still shines, there's no doubt that few feel the pain of missing the man himself quite like Lee. It's rare that we find such powerful partnerships in the arts - one of those creative bonds that may only come around once in several lifetimes.
For Marvel fans everywhere we'd like to say: Happy birthday, Jack, and R.I.P.