I enjoy complicated stories. Stories about things that are hard to talk about, things that can’t be reduced simply.
The story of Jack Kirby is one of those stories. Kirby is the spark at the core of a superhero explosion, a billion-dollar cinematic empire. Yet many don’t even know his name. They don’t go back and look at the spark.
It’s not like Kirby is unknown. Fans have known for years about Kirby’s creative genius. Other creators are still extrapolating on his ideas today, or paying homage to his dynamic style. But somehow, he still sits behind his own creations. At one point in our play, Kirby’s wife Roz says, “-everywhere I look it’s you, Jack. And you’re not even there.”
Kirby exists in that complicated space that makes easy hero worship slide away from him. Later in life, he justifiably felt upset about his lack of recognition for laying the foundation for Marvel Comics. On the other hand, he didn’t fight nearly as hard for that recognition at the time, in fact often giving up long-term rights for short-term gains.
He had his reasons. He was taking care of his family and looking for security. He had fought in the war and came home simply wanting to work. And most of all, he had no idea that comics and Marvel would turn into what it is today. None of them knew, back then.
We’ve been working through Kirby and his life in our rehearsals. We’re not answering these questions, but we’re exploring them. It’s been fascinating. You should join us. C’mon. Get complicated.