I very nearly didn't make a special post for Jack Kirby Day because every day is Jack Kirby Day so far as I'm concerned. But as I looked over all the other cool posts throughout the comics blogosphere, I remembered something I was meaning to share with you.
Kirby is often hailed for for his dynamic art and the wild imagination of his visuals...but his actual writing is occasionally scorned, or at best too often overlooked, when he was in fact a consummate storyteller. The cosmic vistas and space gods and twisted monsters weren't just there as eye candy: he created them all in service of a deeply humanistic outlook. Yeah...screw you, Spiegelman, and watch your lying mouth, Warren Ellis: Kirby's work was all about humanity. When his stories went to Asgard or New Genesis or the Negative Zone, it was to explore human feelings and aspirations and passions every bit as much as the stories he set in Suicide Slum or France in WWII.
And to demonstrate what a full-realized storyteller Kirby was, here's one of his stories. It has humanity, it has heart, it has action that flies off the page, it has plot development, it has a twist ending, and it even has an unspoken but potent moral...and it does all this in two pages. Any comics writer would be proud to write two pages as perfect as this little gem...but for Jack Kirby, it was just another day's work and probably nothing special.
From Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen issue #148, April 1972...