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A Jack Kirby Comic Book Chronology ~ Between The Covers 1940-1993

The Classic Comic Book Blog
Jack KirbyIn a world full of Jack Kirby tribute sites, we decided to make one a little different, an attempt to track down every cover of every comic book Jack Kirby ever drew, including a few long forgotten and obscure firsts and fun stuff. In fact, we're going to begin by putting every cover his work was first published in even though he didn't draw the cover. It goes without saying that between 1940 and 1955 Jack was partners with the equally talented Joe Simon. Quite often the division of their work cannot be attributed to one or the other with both working on different aspects of writing, drawing and inking. But from the first, Jack had a distinctive style of his own that was obvious. Kirby's characters had a unique body language, expressing power and movement. His faces had character. Joe Simon was an excellent draftsman and did many of the layout which Kirby took to completion. His characters were leaner than Jack's, his faces longer and more angular. But after a few years, the two had truly grown together forming one cohesive style. After they split in 1956, Jack's style gradually evolved into an even more dynamic style featuring characters who looked like Greek Gods come to life, brimming with mythical power and exaggerated
Jack Kirby Portrait by Susan Saar 1992
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Added December 28, 2015 ~ 1943 & 1944 & 1945
1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949
1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
1980                 1994
Jack Kirby's first comic book work appeared in a title called Wags in 1938. This book is hard to track down. the most information I've been able to find comes from thecomicsdetective.blogspot.ca. I'm quoting directly here from their website: The comic was made up of recycled US Sunday newspaper supplements with a new wraparound cover. WAGS appeared on January 1, 1937 with 32 pages and ran every week until November 4, 1938 shrinking to 16 pages along the way for a total of 88 issues. Originally printed in the US with the J.B. Powers United Press imprint for export to the UK until issue #31 when it began carrying the imprint of TV Boardman. Eisner strips appeared in the British version from #16 (April 16, 1937).
Jack's first works appeared in Wags #64 through 71 published weekly March through May 1938. Here's the only cover I can find, #16 from 1937, so you get the idea.
During this period Jack was working under a number of names before he finally settled on Kirby. It had to be a kick for him the first time he saw his work in print. Imagine how much more exciting it was the first time he got a cover. Certainly it was always first and foremost a living with Kirby, but he loved the comics and he had to be pretty proud the first time he saw his work published. Imagine him showing it to his future wife, Roz. Look at this honey, I'm an artist. For real! Even if it only in the funny papers.
Jumbo Comics #1 - 1938 Jumbo Comics #2 Jumbo Comics #3 Famous Funnies #61 - 1939 Famous Funnies #62
Famous Funnies #63 Famous Funnies #64 Famous Funnies #65 Crash #1 - 1940 Crash #2
1940

What was the first comic book cover Jack Kirby drew? Most sources say it was Champion #9, but look closely at Science Comics #4 and Champion # 8, all of which predate Champion #9 by as much as four months.

Crash #3
From here we leave behind the non Kirby covers even though his work appears inside unless they have some special significance.

Jacob Kurtzberg alias Jack Kirby alias Michael Griffith alias Floyd Kelly alias Jack Curtis ~ The inside job, early works before Joe Simon. Mystery Men # 10 - Jack did the interior story 3 page Wing Turner story. I've studied the cover thinking it could be Jack, but ultimately, no.

 

Science Comics #4 - Though this cover is credited to Joe Simon, the green villain has some distinctly Kirbyesque features. His new partner JK contributes the 8 page Cosmic Carson interior story. Champion # 08 - Look at the face and figure of the guy delivering the punch, even the body language, it's pure Kirby.

 

Champion # 09 - The first offically credited cover to Jack Kirby

 

Champion #10 - Ah classic early comics. Tie up the chick and some kind of weirdo in his underwear will run in to save her. Blue Bolt #3 - Jack is not credited for this cover, but it's unmistakably Kirby, likely over a Joe Simon layout.

 

Red Raven #1 - Jack's first work for Martin Goodman at Timely/Marvel. This loopy one is one of the most collectable comics of all time. Daring Mystery #6 - The first appearance of Marvel Boy, that highly forgettable character who was a forerunner of sorts of Captain America.
Fantastic Comics #10 - Not JK, but a great cover. Jack did the interior story Space Smith - See, we warned you we were going in throw in everything including the kitchen sink. Marvel Mystery Comics #12 - Goodman's flagship title. Joe and Jack only did the cover and no interiors.

 

Marvel Mystery Comics #13 introduced the original Vision created by Simon & Kirby. A clip from the splash page is inset on the cover The Vision - The obvious antecedent of Roy Thomas's popular Avengers reincarnation in the 1960s

 

Marvel Stories Vol 2 #2 - This was part of Goodman's Pulp line. S&K contributed artwork for various stories within. Read on for the intriguing part.
And that boys and girls clears the decks for 1940. The following year was to bring great things to Joe Simon & Jack Kirby. Read on.
thecomicsdetective.blogspot.ca made a fascinating discovery within this long forgotten magazine. They described as a predecessor of the Fantastic Four as the protagonist is shot into space to attain super powers via cosmic rays, but from the illustration and description "be gifted with unlimited power and military prowess" I think this we've more likely uncovered the inspiration for Simon & Kirby's Captain America. That looks an awful like Steve Rogers standing there if you ask me. Mystic Comics #7 Ad from Human Torch #3 - S&K were working like fiends for Goodman at this point. Though they had nothing to do with creating this characters, they drew up the advert. The Black Marvel, Marvel Boy, Marvel Comics. I think Goodman kind of like the word Marvel, don't you?

 

 

 

Mystic Comics #7 - And then they do the cover which has nothing to do with the character.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prize Comics #7 - The boys were still freelancing at this point. Goodman would not put them under exclusive contract until after they'd delivered the real prize the following year with Captain America. BTW, though this is listed as JK, it more has the look of a Joe Simon drawing inked by Jack in my humble opinion.

 

 

1941

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