Here’s part II. I’m hoping to track down some more Kirby audio interviews; I think a lot gets lost in translation when interviews are transcribed into text — you get a much better feel for Jack’s quintessential NY personality and irreverent sense of humor when you listen to him talk instead of looking at cold text on a page.
I forget if it’s on this clip, but I loved the stories Jack told about walking around NYC, trying to figure out a way to get out of the ghetto, searching for an escape. Ironic how important walking and exploring his surroundings on foot was to Jack as a kid when you consider he almost lost his legs during WW II and he would go on to spend most of his life sitting at a drawing board.
I suspect that intense period from 1917 – 1945 where Jack was streetfighting as a youngster and interacting with people from all over America on the European battlefields served as the foundation for his storytelling approach, and from there he probably got most of his supplemental material from the media, newspapers, and magazines — putting it all together to come up with his own unique artistic worldview.
I get the impression that once Kirby found a place where he was comfortable living and he had a job he enjoyed, instead of continuing to wander the streets of New York City, Jack dug in at home and used the comics medium as his main method to explore the world through the eyes of his characters.