Jack Kirby is probably the single most important figure in the development of American comic books. His career spanned seven decades, and though he is best-known for his work on super-hero titles, he defied simple categorization and worked in nearly every style of comic: horror, science fiction, romance, comedy, fantasy, funny animal, crime, war, western, and probably some others that I'm forgetting.
He didn't just define a single genre: he constantly defined (and re-defined) the entire comics medium, right up until his death in 1994. So in honor of his 96th birthday, we here at MTV Geek have assembled A Week Of Jack Kirby, a series of posts celebrating the life, work and inspiration of the man that Stan Lee dubbed simply 'The King'.
Jack Kirby was born and raised in the Lower East Side of New York City. It's the same neighborhood I've lived in for the past eleven years, and I've spent many an afternoon wandering around, squinting my eyes, trying to envision what the world must have looked like in the tenement era, when young Jack (or Jacob Kurtzberg, as he was then known) walked these streets and dreamed of being an artist.
And I'm clearly not the only one. The Jack Kirby Museum & Research Center was founded in 2005, to "promote and encourage the study, understanding, preservation and appreciation of the work of Jack Kirby". And while the Museum has operated as a purely digital entity up until this point, publishing a number of scholarly essays and blogs about The King's life and work, and offering an extensive online library of scanned original art, they are now raising funds for a physical museum location in the Lower East Side. So, as part of our 'Week Of Jack Kirby' celebrations, I spoke to Museum trustee Randolph Hoppe about the Kirby Museum's history, and their plans for the future.