cover image Kirby: King of Comics

Kirby: King of Comics

Mark Evanier. Abrams, $40 (223pp) ISBN 978-0-8109-9447-8

As a teenager, future television and comics writer Evanier became an assistant to Jack Kirby, one of the foremost artists in the history of American comics. Kirby played a major role in shaping the superhero genre, not only through his innovative, dynamic artwork but through collaborating with Stan Lee to create classic Marvel characters like the Fantastic Four, the Hulk and the X-Men. Evanier has now written this magnificently illustrated biography of his mentor. Rather than employing the academic prose that one might expect from an art book, Evanier, a talented raconteur, tells Kirby’s life story in an informal, entertaining manner. Although Evanier does not delve into psychological analysis, he brings Kirby’s personality vividly alive: a child of the Great Depression, a creative visionary who struggled most of his life to support his family. The book recounts how Kirby was insufficiently appreciated by clueless corporate executives and close-minded comics professionals. But the stunning artwork in this book, taken from private collections, makes the case for Kirby’s genius. A landmark work, this is essential reading for comics fans and those who want to better understand the history of the comics medium—or those who just want to enjoy Kirby’s incredible artwork. (Mar.)