Neal Kirby, Jack Kirby’s son, wrote a remembrance of his father for the LA Times Hero Complex blog. It’s not a big to-do or anything like that, some type of wide-ranging biography. It’s just a guy talking about his dad through the lens of the early 1960s. It’s a touching portrait, and humanizing, too. We all hear about Jack “King” Kirby, father to everyone’s style and one of the greatest comics artists to ever do it. We rarely hear about Jack the dad, Jack the husband, or Jack the man. This is valuable reading. I loved this bit:
I wonder if Michelangelo had a kid watching him paint? Was there a little Luigi watching the ceiling from a quiet corner of the Sistine Chapel? Extreme example, maybe, but the emotion would have been the same that I experienced watching my father at the drawing board. I had to stand on his left, looking over his shoulder. Starting with a clean piece of Bristol board, he would first draw his panel lines with an old wood and plastic T-square. Then the page would start to come alive. He told me that once he had the story framed in his mind, he would start drawing at the middle, then go back to the beginning, and then finish it up. Everything seemed to come naturally; he didn’t even needed a compass to draw a perfect circle. He worked fast but smooth, too, no wasted movement or hesitation.
There’s something about watching someone work that’s magical, whether it’s bringing down a tree with precision or throwing lines on a page.
And I guess the punchline to all of this is that Marvel’s going to make a billion dollars off the back of the Avengers movie and Kirby’s estate gets nothing for it. That’s comics, I guess.