Happy Birthday Jack Kirby!

Crash Comics #1 (May 1940) “Solar Legion” page 3, pencils, inks and letters by Jack Kirby

Tuesday, August 28, is Jack Kirby’s birthday. In his honor I include a page from Titan’s up-coming Simon and Kirby Library: Science Fiction. Although at this point Jack probably had already met Joe, I believe his work on the first three appearances of the “Solar Legion” was a solo affair. If this is true, then it is as pure a Kirby as can be found. Kirby pencils, inks, letters and probably writing. I know a number of fans credit Kirby with writing during the Simon and Kirby period but all surviving evidence indicates that is not quite true. Simon and Kirby employed script writers but would alter what they received. Thus it would be more accurate to say Kirby would re-write scripts that he drew as opposed to being the original writer. But during the early days of comic books, artists often wrote what they drew. The rather unique “Solar Legion” stories seems the writing of Jack himself.

This birthday is particularly special as one of Jack’s granddaughters has made an appeal, see Join the Kirby4Heroes campaign for details and a link to her appeal.

9 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Jack Kirby!

  1. Michael Hill

    Harry, I think you’re discounting a number of first-hand witnesses who have been interviewed on the subject of writing in the S&K studio, including Geier, Aamodt and Katz in Alter Ego. There is ample evidence to back up Kirby’s claim of originating his own stories, maybe not all the time but certainly not none of it.

  2. Harry Post author


    No I am not discounting their testimony, particularly Geier and Aamodt. Their testimony is very important because they were two of the script writers that Simon and Kirby employed. Nowhere do they indicate that Kirby wrote his own scripts. I did not say that Kirby did not provide plots, just that the actual writing was done by others. But both the evidence given by Joe Simon and the writing style of the Kirby drawn stories indicate that Jack re-wrote what the script writers provided, just like I said in my posts.


  3. Steven Brower

    Hi Harry,
    I have to say I’ve always been puzzled by this: for me whoever came up with the plot IS the writer. Without them there would be no script. It seems that only in comics does the plot take a backseat to the script. In film, if you see “story by” that’s who came up with the story they are telling, “screenwriters” are the ones who then applied that story and broke it down scene by scene, and perhaps added dialogue and content. In comics the role of the plotter/artist is even greater, because the creator came up with the idea and then paced and designed it. The script writer is acting as a screenwriter, after the fact.

  4. Harry Post author


    Words have meaning. I have to admit that I had to pull out my dictionary to assure myself that I have been correctly using the terms “writer” and “plot”. But I am and there is a distinction between the two terms. Your example from film illustrates this quite well. The “story by” credit is not the same as saying they were the writers, but it is pretty much the same as saying they provided the plots. While screenwriters are distinguished from writers only in applying their craft for the creation of films. Let us not make the mistake of confusing the activity with its importance. Personally I decide this on a case by case basis, but I have no problem with your statement you favor the plotter over a writer. I am sure that Kirby imaginative plots were an important factor in what made Simon and Kirby productions so great.

  5. Mark Evanier

    Respectfully, Harry, we disagree on the history here.

    I’ve talked to more people who worked with Jack than anyone alive. I can’t recall a single one who didn’t say Kirby wrote many scripts from scratch. Joe Simon and Stan Lee both said that to me on numerous occasions and since it corresponds to what others have said, I tend to believe that’s the case even if Joe and Stan sometimes took credit for all or most of the writing. I have an interview here with Gil Kane where he talks about working on Kirby scripts and I heard that from Jack Katz, Steve Ditko, Bill Draut and many others. And Ben Oda told me stories of Jack indeed writing scripts right on the board as he drew. I would be interested to hear what kind of “evidence” would say Jack never did this. I can’t imagine what that might be.

  6. Harry Post author


    Thank you very much for this information. It is not that I have evidence that Kirby never did this, I just had no evidence, until now, that he ever did. The only evidence that I had were interviews by Geier and Aamodt which present a different description how scripts were created in the Simon and Kirby studio. Again thank you for your testimony.

  7. Tim

    While he’s at it, Mark could provide titles/issue numbers for works produced during the S&K days that purport to be Kirby full art.

  8. Harry Post author

    Tim and Gene,

    I would like to remark on your comments. I apologize in advance if Mark Evanier feels I have overstepped myself. Like you there is evidence that I am waiting from Mark, in my case the evidence that he has that supports that Kirby wrote full scripts on the drawing boards. But Mark has promised a detailed Kirby biography and it would not be fair to expect him to reveal, piece by piece, the contents of that book. I feel we should all be patient and wait for Mark’s book.

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