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Kirby: King of Comics

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4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  1,994 Ratings  ·  92 Reviews
Jack Kirby created or co-created some of comic books’ most popular characters including Captain America, The X-Men, The Hulk, The Fantastic Four, The Mighty Thor, Darkseid, and The New Gods. More significantly, he created much of the visual language for fantasy and adventure comics. There were comics before Kirby, but for the most part their page layout, graphics, and visu ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published February 22nd 2008 by Harry N. Abrams (first published February 22nd 2007)
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kkurtz
Apr 21, 2008 kkurtz rated it it was amazing
to say that I am 'currently reading' this book is a bit of a misnomer. 'continually reading' is a more appropriate term.
my history with Jack Kirby goes back to my earliest childhood memories in the early '70s. Back then every comic on the stand seemed to be drawn & co-created by Jack Kirby. (Kamandi alone was enough of a spark to fuel in me a lifelong obsession with dystopian fiction & films) The fantastical stories & artwork in all of his creations were (& are) something to beh
...more
Josephus FromPlacitas
Aug 04, 2008 Josephus FromPlacitas rated it really liked it
I find this biography intensely depressing. Kirby created a million different characters, stories, and titles for a jillion different comics companies, yet he never enjoyed anything resembling basic financial security for himself and his family. Not until near the end of his life did he even get health insurance and that was only once he had quit comics and was working as a TV producer for a branch of animation giant Hannah-Barbera.

It's yet one more argument against ever having kids if you want
...more
Rick
Mar 20, 2008 Rick rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
From the age of 17 to his death in 1994, at the age of 76, artist Jack Kirby devoted his life to creating an influential pop-culture iconography for the 20th century. His many accomplishments included creating or co-creating Captain America, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, the Hulk, and the romance comic. His concepts fuel the backgrounds for both the Marvel and DC comic-book universes. Kirby's works permeate nearly every fantastical creation of the last 40 years, from prose novels to the biggest ...more
Tom
Jan 15, 2014 Tom rated it really liked it
A loving tribute to Jack Kirby, the most talented and prolific artist in comic history (my opinion, but shared by others). The book gives Kirby's story from childhood, in rough and tumble neighborhoods of New York, through the war years and lean years, right up to his death in the 90s, when he finally was getting the accolades he deserved. The book focuses on the lack of compensation and (more importantly) lack of recognition that Kirby suffered, particularly in the creation of the Marvel empire ...more
Nick
Nov 03, 2008 Nick rated it really liked it
Jack Kirby is truly the king of comics. His work defines the genre: his stories, layouts, and visual style are the benchmarks for the entire industry. Along with Stan Lee, Kirby was responsible for building the Marvel juggernaut during the 60's, co-creating such stars as Spiderman, Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Thor, the Silver Surfer, and many others. Kirby came to Marvel already one of the most successful artists of his generation, co-created Captain America and many other ...more
Michael
May 08, 2013 Michael rated it it was amazing
Lange, bevor sein Name Legende wurde und er von Stan Lee den Beinamen "King of Comics" zuerkannt bekam, über 20 Jahre vor der Geburt der Fantastic Four, begann der aus dem New Yorker Ghetto stammende Jack Kirby - diesen Namen nahm er später erst an - damit, unter unzähligen Künstlernamen für alle möglichen Zeitungen Comic Strips zu zeichnen. Er war unglaublich produktiv, vor allem aber auch innovativ. Er war es, der zum ersten Mal die klassischen dreiteiligen Strips graphisch durch ein riesiges ...more
Frank
May 22, 2008 Frank rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Harry
The best thing about this book is that it gave me a few more details on the Kirby/Lee war that I've only gotten pieces of before.

As this is a bio on Kirby, it certainly focused on his side more, though impressively, it wasn't an attack on Stan Lee.

Maybe it should have been though. For the most part it was a bland read, that used phrases like "Once again" or "As always" and repeated a general story of Kirby working hard for little reward.

There is a story here, but Evanier missed it. Perhaps, bec
...more
Tobin Elliott
Nov 03, 2014 Tobin Elliott rated it really liked it
When I first started reading comics, somewhere around 1972, Kirby was the first artist that stood out for me. I could pick his art out from the crowd. His characters, while not anywhere near anatomically correct or particularly nuanced, pretty much exploded off the page. That impressed the 10-year-old me.

As I got older, I found other artists to love: John Buscema, Neal Adams, Dave Cockrum, John Byrne. But you can only have one first love, and for me, that was Jack Kirby.

This book serves as a gre
...more
Jason
Jan 27, 2013 Jason rated it really liked it
Shelves: read2013, comics-hx
Easily the prettiest biography I've ever read--Evanier's work includes numerous original drawings and collages by Kirby. The book also feels intimate, and it should considering that Evanier was Kirby's production assistant. Neither bogged down in details nor light in content, the biography does a good job of laying out Kirby's professional life, from his days at Max Fleischer's animation studio in the 30s through his rich contributions to the Golden, Silver, and Bronze Ages of comics and Kirby's ...more
Cormacjosh
May 14, 2014 Cormacjosh rated it it was amazing
What a trip down memory lane! As a kid I got to see roughly the last 10 years of Jack Kirby’s career as it happened. This book was a delight in the fact that I got to get to know in some small way the man behind the drawings, but it made me miss him something awful. It also made me angry at Marvel for what they did; how they treated him; so it hasn’t renewed an interest in reading comic books, unless I could go to the San Diego comic con or a flea market and dig up old Kirby books from my childh ...more
James G.
Nov 15, 2015 James G. rated it it was amazing
Coming to a close as bed time reading with my son. And I love that this is our first joint absorption of an art history text. I got it a couple of years ago, hoping for just that. It has been mutually edifying.
Bobby Nash
A great look back at the life and career of Jack "King" Kirby. A must read for comic book fans.
M.L.D.
Jul 13, 2017 M.L.D. rated it really liked it
Poor Jack Kirby--so talented, but so terrible at promoting and negotiating.
Parka
Nov 17, 2009 Parka rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art-books, comics

(More pictures at parkablogs.com)

Jack Kirby, King of Comics. It's a prestigious title certainly befitting for someone who created or co-created some of the most popular comic characters like Captain America, The X-Men, Fantastic Four and many others whose stories are still running in the comics today.

This book is the biography of Jack Kirby's career in comics, written by Mark Evanier who had worked as his assistant in 1969.

Kirby learned his drawings from newspaper comic strips and movies, doodl
...more
BigJohn
Sep 22, 2014 BigJohn rated it it was amazing
Mark Evanier, having worked as one of Jack Kirby's assistants in his youth, has written a wonderful, if not slightly biased, professional biography of Jack Kirby, the King of Comics. It's not as deep as some biographies, and in fact seems to be written for those fans of Kirby who are used to an illustrated telling of a shorter length. There are many, many samples of Kirby's artwork throughout the narrative that give wonderful examples of Kirby's style and achievements. There are even a few gems ...more
Jon Hogan
Jul 22, 2013 Jon Hogan rated it really liked it
A great Kirby biography from his former assistant, Kirby: King of Comics goes in-depth about Jack Kirby's life and work in a way that only someone who knew him could. Evanier's connection to Kirby's estate allows for some real gems to be featured in the oversized pages of this gorgeous coffee table book.

However, Evanier's connection with Kirby's estate also proves to be a bit of a problem. Too much of this book is spent trying to paint Kirby as a martyr whose creations were stolen from him. Kirb
...more
Paul Dinger
Aug 22, 2015 Paul Dinger rated it really liked it
There are no comics artists like Jack Kirby. There is nothing like a Jack Kirby page. As a youngster, I gasped at his illustrations for the Fantastic Four, Captain America, and Thor, New Gods, Mister Miracle and The Forever People. Though his heroes had square jaws and blocky lines, no one could draw space and all it entailed like him. It is no surprise that the Fantastic Four never sold as well after he left, except when an artist like him named John Bryne took over. Nor was Thor as good. Yet, ...more
Richard Bennett
Dec 11, 2014 Richard Bennett rated it really liked it
Author Mark Evanier presents the life and works of Jack Kirby, King of the Comics, the man who single-handedly drew and introduced more than 400 characters to pulp magazines over a 50 year period.

Mark worked as an assistant to Mr. Kirby, and described his job as being the person who said, "That's a good idea, Mr. Kirby!" Working as closely as he did to the KING, he was able to give a few insights into his workings and personal feelings, such as ... Mr. Kirby would NOT enter the store "Toys 'R' U
...more
Derek O'Gorman
Jun 26, 2013 Derek O'Gorman rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed reading this book, and learned a few things about Kirby and his career in the process. The art was also inspiring. But that shouldn't be a surprise, when the book is about the art and life of Jack Kirby. I have rated it high because I did enjoy it, but I do think it could have been better. I recently read two volumes of a three volume series on Alex Toth. I can't help thinking that Kirby's career could be fleshed out a lot more than it is in this one book, and that there is so much mor ...more
Garrett
Feb 29, 2016 Garrett rated it really liked it
Evanier's one of the great historians and archivists of comics, and since his personal association with Kirby precludes strict objectivity, he doesn't even try. And that's okay. It's kind of what you want from this glamour-sized celebration of Kirby's actual work; splash pages and covers and double-page spreads of straight Kirby pencils, no ink or color provided in some cases. Excerpts from things I'd never seen counterpointed by stories I have more or less been reading since the late 1980s. Sor ...more
Wesley Craig Green
Jul 17, 2014 Wesley Craig Green rated it it was amazing
I'm embarrassed to say I wasn't a Kirby fan as a kid in the 70s. I found his art to be borderline horrible. However, I loved his concepts with New Gods and OMAC being my favorites even though I didn't really "get" them.

Now that I'm older and wiser, I have found a whole new appreciation of Jack Kirby both as a creator and for what he's done for this medium I love.

For any Kirby fan, Kirby: King of Comics is simply a must! The over-sized pages gives us fans the opportunity to take in all his cosmic
...more
Martin Scherer
Jan 03, 2010 Martin Scherer rated it really liked it
For as long as I've read comics, Kirby has been praised as the King of Comics. Personally, I've admire his output and creative energy, but was never a fan of his art until I read this book. While this book does a great job as a biography of his life, it does a better job as a coffee book. There are amazing reproductions of his pencils and personal work which is just awe-inspiring.

My only complaint about this book, is that I wish it had more of these quality reproductions and was at times a bit
...more
Cat Springer
Feb 27, 2009 Cat Springer rated it really liked it
For the true comics fan, this a is terse history of the man who almost single-handedly brought motion and dynamic graphic storytelling to the comics medium. Piled on with lavish illustrations -- as you might expect -- Kirby's singular and often-imitated style is shown as he goes from post-WWII grind-'em-out basics to becoming "King" Kirby, the premiere illustrator of his times. Although I would have preferred more finished art (mostly we're given his unfinished pencils), and the colors in my cop ...more
Karl Kindt
Jan 18, 2009 Karl Kindt rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Super hero fans and Stan Lee.
Shelves: 2009
This book is filled with wonderful samples of the man who made super hero comics what they were in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s...and what they continue to be...and what they are on screen in big-time Hollywood movies. It is a crime against humanity's culture that people know who Stan Lee is without knowing who Jack Kirgy is. The art included is stunning, varied, and printed in a large format, which shows off Kirby well. It also contains slices of every part of Kirby's profes ...more
Justin
Jul 14, 2010 Justin rated it really liked it
Full disclosure: I love Jack Kirby. He is one of the few, true comic book geniuses. He transcended his genre and medium (not that there is anything wrong with comics - I am an avowed comic book nerd) and created true art - and if you don't believe me then read this excellent biography.

Well, I say biography but really it is a bit lighter than that I suppose. It is not some warts-and-all, expose on the man, but rather a biography of his working life. It is a quick read, the art/graphics are stunni
...more
Michael Thompson
Jul 10, 2015 Michael Thompson rated it it was amazing
A compelling biography and vivid retrospective of the actually humble king of comics, Jack Kirby. It doesn't absolutely settle the debates of who really created the Marvel Comics superstars, but does present both sides of the story, a little heavier on the side of Kirby, and often provides an explanation for the confusion. I did learn that Kirby was a notoriously bad driver, which perhaps explains why the Judge in Sheldon's traffic court appearance on the Big Bang Theory was named Kirby (on the ...more
Joshua Barton
Sep 23, 2016 Joshua Barton rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thesis-research
A fascinating look at one of the men who helped create the modern comic book. While Jack Kirby gets a lot of attention for the superheroes he helped create and grow (Captain America, Fantastic Four, Thor, Hulk, etc.) for Marvel Comics, he would also work for DC comics. Several of the interesting tidbits that this amazingly illustrated biography shared: Kirby's farseeing views on the importance of Comic-Con, merchandising and use of politics. His ability to understand the times he was living in a ...more
Michael
Mar 27, 2013 Michael rated it liked it
I'm not sure what this book was meant to be. As a biography, it doesn't succeed (once you get past the Marvel Age it kind of fades). As an art book, it doesn't succeed (I loved some of the rarities but you can't call it comprehensive). As a "light" book about Kirby, for people who want A BOOK ABOUT KIRBY, it mostly succeeds. Readers wanting more should pick up collections of the Jack Kirby Collector journal instead.
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
Aug 30, 2016 Jon(athan) Nakapalau rated it it was amazing
Jack Kirby - the best of the best.
Jacobi
Mar 03, 2009 Jacobi rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-read
The term "genius" gets thrown around way too much, but it's always interesting to read about people that term accurately describes. Jack Kirby is definitely one of those people. The grandfather of the superhero comic, and creator of pretty much every major Marvel character, Jack was nothing short of a creative machine. The stories were before my time, and they're hard to read now because of the different writing style, but the art is still wonderful to look at. When it comes to that, this book s ...more
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Mark Stephen Evanier is an American comic book and television writer, particularly known for his humor work.
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