Famed comic book creator Jack Kirby will be posthumously honored by the Walt Disney Company this July at the company’s upcoming D23 Expo in Anaheim, California. Kirby will be honored as a Disney Legend, a hall of fame designation awarded to individuals who have made significant contributions to the company’s success. Kirby was a prolific comic book artist, writer and editor who helped to define the characters and events that shaped the Marvel Comics universe in its early days.
Kirby got his start in comics in 1936 when he began drawing newspaper strips for the Lincoln Newspaper Syndicate. In 1940, Kirby would go on to create the character Captain America with writer Joe Simon for Timely Comics – a company that would later go on to rebrand first as Atlas Comics, then as Marvel Comics. Kirby helped create other characters which are, decades later, still integral to Marvel’s comic line and cinematic outings.
At Marvel Comics, Kirby worked across numerous genres, including romances and Westerns, but was most successful as a science fiction and fantasy illustrator. Kirby is perhaps best known for his longtime collaboration with Marvel Comics writer Stan Lee. The duo created some of the most iconic Marvel characters that endure to this day: Thor, the X-Men, Iron Man, Magneto and Ego the Living Planet, among others. Kirby also illustrated for several of the comic company’s early anthology series, like Amazing Adventures, Strange Tales and Tales to Astonish.
Kirby’s connection to Disney is largely through the company’s 2009 purchase of Marvel Entertainment, which included the rights to numerous characters he helped create. Kirby did briefly work for Walt Disney between 1979 and 1980, though, adapting Disney’s movie The Black Hole for the company’s syndicated comic strip Walt Disney’s Treasury of Classic Tales.
The Disney Legends program began in 1987. Once a privately hosted affair, the awards ceremony has been held at the D23 convention since 2009. This year’s award list represents a broad pool of recipients from numerous fields and companies, including Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Stan Lee and Oprah Winfrey, among others.
Kirby’s contribution to the comics industry has long been acknowledged, as the artist was inducted into the Eisner Awards Hall of Fame in 1987 at the first ever Eisner Awards ceremony, along with Will Eisner and Carl Banks. The Disney Legends awards ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 14, in Hall D23 during D23 Expo. Kirby, who passed away in 1994, will be awarded posthumously.