Born Aug. 28, 1917, Jacob Kurtzberg grew up in New York’s Lower East Side the son of poor European Jewish immigrants before he took the pen name Jack Kirby. Alongside partner Joe Simon, he created a patriotic hero who remains relevant to this day in Captain America Comics #1 at Timely Comics (a company later known as Marvel) and had his first hit. Kirby’s style thrilled readers, with dynamic action and characters that could barely be contained to their panels. He would return to Marvel in the early 1960s and usher in the Marvel Age of Comics with the creation of the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, Thor, the Hulk and dozens more. Kirby was inducted into the Eisner Awards Hall of Fame in 1987, its inaugural year. “The King” — as Stan Lee appropriately nicknamed him — continued to create stories and inspire admirers until his untimely passing in 1994. His work has inspired a generation of professional artists and modern writers who continue to explore his concepts and characters in film and television as well as in comics.
Learn more about some of the characters Jack Kirby had a hand in creating.