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Iconic Thor Creator Walt Simonson Talks About Jack Kirby, the Most Important Comics Storyteller Ever

Image: Marvel Comics
Image: Marvel Comics

Today is the 100th birthday of comics legend Jack Kirby, the artist who co-created many of Marvel’s most famous superhero characters, including Thor. In the video below, hall-of-fame creator Walt Simonson talks about Kirby and the impact his work had on his own career, and the medium of comics overall.

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Last month at San Diego Comic-Con, I had the honor and pleasure of talking to Simonson, Greg Goldstein, and Scott Dunbier—president and director of special projects, respectively, of publisher IDW—about Kirby. (Note: the video clocks in at about eight minutes but is worth every second.) The collective praise and respect for Kirby is a practice that should continue for years to come.

 
Kirby helped invent and evolve the visual language of comics over the span of his decades-long career, scorching the page with bombastic energy and compositional daring. You can see some of that genius in the Artist’s Editions and hardcover collections that IDW has released of Kirby’s work. He’s someone who’s been beloved by subsequent generations of fans and creators, with some of those folks taking up the cause of making sure Kirby (who passed away in 1994) got his due.

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As an added bonus, in the video below, Simonson talks a bit about his expectations for the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok movie, which is based in part on his superb work on the Thunder God in the 1980s. He also discusses a new project centered on the mythological Thor, where he gets to execute a very different take on the Norse deity.

Video games. Comic books. Blackness.

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DISCUSSION

austenpaul
austenpaul

The first comics I ever bought with my own monies (i.e. not my older brother’s comics that I read when he was done with them) were Walt Simonson’s magical run on The Mighty Thor. When I was first learning to draw, it was in large part by copying panels from his Fantastic Four. He was my first favorite comic book artist and it wasn’t just because his signature was a dinosaur. He was my idol and he led me to his influences and contemporaries like King Kirby and Barry Windsor-Smith and Alex Toth and I thank him every day for that. I ran into him once at SDCC (he was just there as a fan and I saw him next to the Fantagraphics booth) and was able to tell him so. He was kind and gracious and shook my hand and went on being a fan, as well as one of the greatest comic book artists ever. Thank you Kirby for inspiring Walt. And thank you Walt for celebrating Kirby.