It's Jack Kirby's world. We're just living in it. Or taking a tour of it as the case may be. The Hunterdon Art Museum in beautiful Clinton, New Jersey recently held a Kirby exhibit and I was lucky enough to visit.
This post is going to be mostly pictures because Kirby's art speaks for itself (click on any images to enlarge). Charles David Viera lended works from his impressive collection allowing for a great variety of drawings. "The Marvelous Art of Jack Kirby" consisted mostly of several original pre-press illustrations ranging from the 40s-80s and a few classic comics.
As explained in the exhibit, Kirby was known as the "King of Comics" to many. So much so that artists were reluctant to ink over his drawings because they were so in awe of his work. Above you can see an example of his original from DC Comics Presents #84 on the left and the inks on the right. Inker Greg Theakson did them over a trace of the original instead leaving Kirby's work intact.
Here's a page from Marvel in 1966, Journey Into Mystery #124. It features a police officer giving Thor a hassle about needing a license to give a public demonstration. To which Thor replies, "License?? I have no license! I am THOR!" and the cop says, "I don't care if you're Mother Hubbard! You're not gonna do any hammer-swingin' on my beat, mister!"
The exhibit had a great selection of Kirby's varied work. There were pages from Stuntman, (1946), Bulls-eye (1955), Sky Masters of the Space Force (1959), X-Men (1965), Soul Love (unpublished 1971), Kamandi, The Last Boy On Earth (1973), The Eternals (1976) and Machine Man, The Living Robot (1978).
There was also this very cool layout from the Hunger Dogs Graphic Novel from 1985. "You expect me to sanction this...this filth," says Darkseid. The lowly minion replies, "Take the risk great Darkseid! Think of our machine's next great project...the Anti-Life Equation!!" It's kind of comforting to see that Darkseid and Kirby's Fourth World is written exactly the same way today.
Thanks to Mr. Viera for giving me the heads-up on this one, it was a great to see such amazing pieces of comic book history.