Comic Book Men 703 “Hail to the King”
Jack “King” Kirby was and continues to be a giant in the world of comics. One half of the duo that launched Marvel Comics in the 1960’s, Kirby designed many of the company’s signature characters and added a dynamic form of storytelling to the medium that continues to awe and inspire to this day. To commemorate what would have been Kirby’s 100th birthday Comic Book Men’s latest episode Hail to the King features all things Kirby.
The King Kirby-fest begins right away when two customers come into the Stash with not one but four copies of Fantastic Four #12. The classic issue from 1963 features the first throw down between the Thing and the Hulk. The customers are huge fans of Jack Kirby and actually have 24 (yes 24!!) copies of the issue. After Mike uses his keen eye to assess the value of each issue, Walt and the one of the customers work out a price for one of the issues and everyone walks away happy.
In keeping with the Kirby theme another customer walks into the store looking to unload another classic book. This time it’s a 1966 issue of Fantastic Four. Issue #52 of the world’s greatest comic magazine is notable for the introduction of the Black Panther, the first African American superhero. The customer is looking to use the cash from the book to offset some of the costs of a Black Panther cosplay outfit. During the deal the Black Panther’s cultural significance is touched on as well as the character’s upcoming solo feature film.
In honor of what would have been Jack Kirby’s 100th birthday, Walt decides to hold a party in his honor at the Stash. After throwing around a few ideas, the gang decides to see if some of Jack’s relatives would be on board with joining in the festivities. On the day of the party Jack’s grandkids, Jeremy and Tracy are given the royal treatment. They arrive via horse drawn carriage and are met at the door by Walt, Mike and Ming. Ming even tries his best to give them a royal salute with a horn but it doesn’t come off as planned. Inside the store members of the Red Bank cosplayers are dressed as characters Kirby created including Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Darkseid and Machine Man.
Tracy and Jeremy bring some of their grandfather’s original pieces of art including his original concept design for the Black Panther. They chat a little about what it was like growing up with the most influential artist in comic book history receive a Captain America shield with their grandfather’s image on it as a gift.
Hail to the King is a fitting homage to perhaps the greatest comic book artist ever. Much like Elvis or the Beatles Kirby was a trailblazer who stands at the forefront of the art form and continues to inspire and entertain years after his passing.