Today would have been the 100th birthday of legendary comic book artist Jack Kirby. Comic book fans and creators from all over the world are spending today sharing their favorite memories on social media about the comic book icon. When we were thinking of ways to celebrate his tremendous impact on the world of comic books, we realized that one of the easiest ways to visualize Kirby's impact was just to list 100 of his coolest comic book creations. So that's just what we're going to do. We're going to alphabetically list 100 amazingly awesome comic book creations by Jack "The King" Kirby and we're combing characters as much as possible, so this could easily be waaaaaaay over 100 (the X-Men, for instance, are just one entry when they could easily be six between Professor X, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Angel and Iceman). Enjoy!
1 Absorbing Man
One of the most striking Kirby designs, the idea of a guy walking around with a ball and chain and not only does HE absorb anything that he touches, but the powers also transmits to the ball and chain? What a great visual!
2 Agatha Harkness
When it came time for Franklin Richards (who we counted as part of the Fantastic Four, so he didn't get a listing) to get a babysitter, Kirby went to a very strange place, deciding to give Franklin a literal WITCH for his governess! It was such an out there idea that it really worked.
3 Alicia Masters
The beautiful blind artist girlfriend of the Thing (who apparently is also supposed to be a near double of Sue Storm for some reason) was such a wonderful example of humanity that she nearly single-handedly convinced the Silver Surfer to turn on his master, Galactus, and fight for the fate of Earth!
When the Fantastic Four had to go into the Negative Zone to get some McGuffin to save Sue Richards' life while she was giving birth to her and Reed's first child, the Fantastic Four first met the deadly Negative Zone denizen named Annihilus. Dude is a walking BUG who just loves to kill - how cool is that?
Lee and Kirby did the original story where Hank Pym shrunk down to the size of an ant and they then also did the story a year later where Pym was re-worked into a superhero character to join the Marvel Age of superheroes. Kirby was also around when Pym became Giant-Man.
6 Arnim Zola
Right before his run as writer/artist on Captain America came to a close, Jack Kirby introduced one of his most enduring Captain America villains, the twisted geneticist with a creepy head in his stomach, Arnim Zola. As we will see a lot of on this list, Kirby's visuals were stunningly different.
When you're constantly dealing with a lead character who is reckless and headstrong, and the most powerful character in the comic (and ostensibly the wisest one in the comic) is the other character's father and he is just as reckless and headstrong, there is always a place for a character who ISN'T reckless and headstrong. Thus, Balder perfectly balanced out Thor and Odin in the pages of Thor by being just a consistently loyal and levelheaded hero.
8 Baron Strucker
While it was Jim Steranko who famously transitioned Baron Strucker into the Hydra age, it was Lee and Kirby who introduced the villain as a Nazi nemesis of Nick Fury in the Sgt. Fury comic book.
9 Baron Zemo
One of the great retroactive villains is Baron Zemo, who was introduced AFTER we learned that he was the man whose bomb apparently killed off Bucky and left Captain America in suspended animation for decades. When Cap returned, Zemo had to make sure to take Cap out before he took Zemo out. In the end, though, Cap ended up killing Zemo and avenging Bucky's death.
10 Batroc the Leaper
The wonderfully over the top Batroc the Leaper is one of the most durable villains in the Marvel Universe, as it seems like no writer can quite manage to ruin Batroc's charms.
11 Betty Ross
One of the great early dramatic pieces of the Incredible Hulk comic book was seeing Betty Ross deal with her love for Bruce Banner while he was constantly disappearing, and then when she found out Banner's secret, the conflict between Betty and her father over how to handle the Hulk was always powerful.
12 Big Barda
When your main character is a guy named Mister Miracle, he needs a love interest who can hold up to that sort of standard, and Big Barda more than lived up to the over-the-top nature of Mister Miracle. Heck, she was probably MORE bombastic than her lover, Scott Free!
13 Black Panther
Probably the greatest black superhero of all-time, Black Panther made his debut by essentially kicking the butts of the Fantastic Four. It was a bold way to introduce a new black superhero.
14 Black Racer
One of the bleakest Kirby characters is the Black Racer, who is a comatose Vietnam vet who lies in a hospital bed by day and by night, he becomes the Black Racer and goes around doing Death's duty and then returning to his comatose body when he's finished.
One of the earliest "evil mutants," the Blob had been an excellent addition to the Marvel Universe, especially the way that writers have been able to test the whole "unmovable object" aspect of his character.
16 Boy Commandos
After leaving Timely Comics once they were screwed out of the money promised them due to their hit comic book, Captain America Comics, Jack Kirby and Joe Simon went over to DC Comics and strutted their stuff by promptly launching ANOTHER hit comic book, the story of a group of kids who did commando missions during World War II. Boy Commandos was one of DC's most popular titles, but then Kirby and Simon went into the military and the book fell of a lot.
17 Brotherhood of Evil Mutants
A great early idea by Lee and Kirby was to contrast the heroic X-Men by having Magneto have his own sort of X-men team, with his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. While the Evil part has not lasted that long, the Brotherhood has been a mainstay in the X-Men universe in the decades since.
18 Bucky Barnes
One of the earliest comic book sidekicks was Bucky Barnes, who Kirby and Simon would often depict blazing the bad guys away with a machine gun despite the fact that he's supposed to be barely a teenager.
19 Captain America
The character that put Kirby and Simon on the map, Captain America was a sensation in the 1940s and Kirby and Lee were able to bring him back and make him even BETTER in the 1960s, as they added the whole "man out of time" element to his characterization.
One of the most underrated additions to the Marvel Universe by Kirby is the Celestials, who have played a major role in a number of comics after Kirby introduced them in the pages of the Eternals during his 1970s return to Marvel.
Go to the next page for #21-40!