As a new THOR movie arrives in theaters, it’s a perfect time to reflect on the artistic genius of Jack Kirby. In THOR: THE DARK WORLD, you will see a bunch of characters who were first dreamed up and drawn by Jack Kirby, including Thor himself, Jane Foster, Odin, Heimdall, The Warriors Three, and Loki. If you happen to see a cameo from Nick Fury, Captain America, Iron Man, or The Hulk, you can thank Jack Kirby for those guys too.
The reason most of us who grew up on superhero comics love them so much has almost everything to do with the drawings of Jack Kirby, the guy who created the looks of most of the most famous superhero comic characters. His style was the Marvel Comics house style for years. Kirby’s art is hailed for its brutish power and blocky velocity. Kirby’s drawings STILL leap off the page. They have a sense of weight and a kineticism, a strange energy, that remains just as captivating today. Kirby was there practically from the beginning of the medium. Virtually every major superhero comic book artist who followed him can count him as an influence.
For one week only — at least for now — 178 Delancey Street in New York City will be the site of the Jack Kirby Museum. This is not too far from Kirby’s Lower East Side birthplace. He grew up at 147 Essex Street. He’s probably one of the most influential New Yorkers ever, really, and the Kirby Museum is dedicating to honoring him.
This is a pop-up installation, meaning it’s only here for the week (through the 11th), but the idea, if I understand it correctly, is that the project will continue to raise enough funds that there can eventually be a consistent physical space for a museum honoring Jack Kirby and his unprecedented, amazing, voluminous artwork.
If you can afford to support the Jack Kirby Museum, please make a donation. If you’re in New York this week, check out the exhibit. And if you go to see THOR 2 in the theaters, clap a little louder when Jack Kirby’s name speeds past in the credits. Without him and all the artists like him, there’d be no superhero movies to enjoy.
And lastly, if you don’t have time for any of the above, take fifteen minutes out and scout around the internet for the thousands of examples of Kirby art to be found. It’s some of the most fun you can have without going outside!
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