Jack Kirby (August 28, 1917 – February 6, 1994), born Jacob Kurtzberg, was an American comic book artist, writer and editor regarded by historians and fans as one of the major innovators and most influential creators in the comic book medium. Growing up poor in New York City, Kurtzberg entered the nascent comics industry in the 1930s. He drew various comics features under different pen names, including Jack Curtiss, ultimately settling on Jack Kirby. In 1940, he and writer-editor Joe Simon created the highly successful superhero character Captain America for Timely Comics, predecessor of Marvel Comics. During the 1940s, Kirby, generally teamed with Simon, created numerous characters for that company and for National Comics, the company that later became DC Comics.
After serving in World War II, Kirby returned to comics and worked in a variety of genres. He produced work for a number of publishers, including DC, Harvey Comics,Hillman Periodicals and Crestwood Publications, where he and Simon created the genre of romance comics. He and Simon also launched their own short-lived comic company, Mainline Publications. Kirby ultimately found himself at Timely's 1950s iteration, Atlas Comics, soon to become Marvel. There, in the 1960s, he and writer-editor Stan Lee co-created many of Marvel's major characters, including the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and the Hulk. Despite the high sales and critical acclaim of the Lee-Kirby titles, however, Kirby felt treated unfairly, and left the company in 1970 for rival DC. There Kirby created his Fourth World saga, which spanned several comics titles. While these series proved commercially unsuccessful and were canceled, the Fourth World's New Gods have continued as a significant part of the DC Universe. Kirby returned to Marvel briefly in the mid-to-late 1970s, then ventured into television animation and independent comics. In his later years, Kirby, who has been called "the William Blake of comics", began receiving great recognition in the mainstream press for his career accomplishments, and in 1987 he was one of the three inaugural inductees of the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame. The Jack Kirby Awards and Jack Kirby Hall of Fame were named in his honor.
Let's look at the facts, Jack Kirby was, and still is to this day, the most creative person in the comic book world, and quite possibly any media. Look at the hundreds, if not thousands of characters, concepts and stories that he came up with, the amount of work he produced, the quality or his work, any way you look at it; he's known as the king for a reason. Another important fact that we cannot overlook is the amount of creators who've been directly influenced by Kirby. You can literally see and feel Kirby's influence in some of these creators' art style and they're some of the most respected professionals in the comics field today; to think that they're relevant, on top of their game and moving the comics world forward and think that Kirby wouldn't be relevant in today's comics is plain stupid.
Let's look at some of the creators who've been so heavily influenced by Jack Kirby shall we?
-Bruce Walter Timm (born on February 8, 1961) is an American character designer, animator and producer. He is also a writer and artist working in comics, and is known for his contributions building the modern DC Comics animated franchise, the DC animated universe. Timm is known primarily for his work in animation, his first ambition was to become a comic-book artist. Although this dream did not materialize, leading him to a life in animation, nevertheless produced several one-shots and miniseries, mostly for DC Comics. In the 1980s, he made some mini-comics for Masters Of The Universe.In 1994, Timm and writer Paul Dini won the Eisner Award for Best Single Story for Batman Adventures: Mad Love. Timm won the same prize the next year as well, for Batman Adventures Holiday Special with Dini, Ronnie del Carmen and others. Later, Timm was involved with Batman Adventures and has also worked on Avengers and Vampirella. He is also a popular cover and pin-up artist.
-Erik J. Larsen (born December 8, 1962) is an American comic book writer, artist and publisher. He is known for his work on Savage Dragon, as one of the founders of Image Comics, and for his work on Spider-Man for Marvel Comics. In 1992, seeking greater control and profit over the work they created, Larsen and six other illustrators left Marvel to form Image Comics, where Larsen launched a series featuring a reworked version of Savage Dragon. This time, the Dragon was a massively muscled green amnesiac, who joined the Chicago police department after being discovered in a burning field. Initially debuting in a three-issue miniseries, the series met with enough success to justify a monthly series, launched in 1993. To this day, Larsen continues to write and illustrate the series entirely by himself, and has maintained a reasonably consistent monthly schedule (save for occasional lapses) in comparison with the other original Image Comics titles.
-Darwyn Cooke is a comic book writer, artist, cartoonist and animator, known for his work on the comic books Catwoman, DC: The New Frontier, The Spirit and Richard Stark's Parker: The Hunter.
With just these three names alone it should be understood that Kirby is, and always will be the most important creator in comics, but the list doesn't end there, there are hundreds of creators who specifically point to Jack Kirby for their inspiration and view him as a teacher of the medium, and to say that a book drawn by Kirby wouldn't sell in this day and age is not only ridiculous, but also incredibly disrespectful. Another ridiculous statement is that art has gotten better with the years, to which I say not really. The art in comics specifically has gotten flashier and more colorful, but not necessarily better.