When I was a kid reading those comics, I was introduced to the following characters who are now solidly entrenched as major parts of the so-called "Marvel Universe", but which should, in fact, be termed the Kirby-Ditko Universe. Those characters are, in order of appearance:
The Inhumans, a new super-powered team featuring Black Bolt, Medusa, Karnak, Crystal, Gorgon, Triton, Lockjaw.
The Silver Surfer.
T'Challa, the Black Panther.
The Black Panther was the first major black character to come out of mainstream comic books. This was a particularly brilliant and effective creation by Jack Kirby. This man was no sidekick. He was a born leader, and a brilliant scientist. He helped to sponge away the awfulness of such racist archetypes as Will Eisner's Ebony White.
I wonder what Jack Kirby was thinking each day as he went to work creating and writing and illustrating all of the books he was producing for Marvel Comics. To me, it's obvious that he was thinking first and foremost of his legions of fans--the kids who every month rushed to the local newsstand or drugstore to pick up their copies of Fantastic Four or Thor or X-Men or The Avengers or any of the host of titles he had created and over which he was laboring.
Over this ten-month, ten-issue period, the explosion of themes and ideas was staggering. This was a tremendous outpouring of creativity from Jack Kirby, and has proven to have been a truly stellar boon of marketing and merchandising for Marvel Comics. Lee and Goodman must have drooled every time they set eyes upon the pages of original Kirby artwork arriving in Marvel's offices each month. What new treasures were being delivered for a pittance? What size the golden eggs laid by Marvel's resident goose?
How much money has the corporate power we know as Marvel Comics made from just this brief flurry of activity from the mind of Jack Kirby? Can anyone calculate it?
|My copy of FANTASTIC FOUR #53.|