Monday, August 28, 2006

Jack Kirby's Birthday

August 28 is Jack Kirby's birthday. He would have been 89. His major contribution was to the comic book field, but he worked in animation in the 1930's, inbetweening for the Fleischer studio, and returned to animation in the 1970's and '80's, doing storyboards and design work for TV series. He's continued to be an influence in animation, particularly in the Bruce Timm versions of the DC comic book heroes.

The above drawing is one of two Kirby pieces I own and the only one that's in pencil. I love it because it's pure Kirby, not Kirby worked over by an inker.

Those of us of a certain age were highly influenced by Kirby. There's a vividness to his characters and the way he told stories that hooked us and made us want to do it too. Before I ever thought of becoming an animator, I wanted to be a comic book artist like him. He's the reason that I learned how to draw.

For me, Kirby is like Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett or John Ford in that his personality and his work are inseparable. I value creators whose works are so personal that they couldn't be done by anyone else. Even their lesser works are interesting, as a chance to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses. And regardless of the quality, you always have the pleasure of their company.

Happy Birthday, Jack.


Unknown said...

That's pretty amazing that you'd own an original Kirby! Thanks for sharing!

Looking forward to school? Make sure to drill good technique into those second years!

Conteart said...

Hi Mark! great post on Kirby. Your blog is really informative. Lucky I stumbled upon it. Time to save!!