Gary Panter was born in Oklahoma and raised in Texas. He studied painting at the East Texas State University and moved to Los Angeles in 1977. In L.A. he worked on multiple fronts, including painting, design, comics, and commercial imagery, establishing a pattern of creating across traditional boundaries, and in multiple media, that endures to this day.
In the late 1970s he exhibited his first major suite of paintings and drew posters and fliers for the likes of The Germs and The Screamers. He also began a long association with the various incarnations of Pee-wee Herman, as well as creating the early adventures of his punk/nuclear/hillbilly alter ego, Jimbo. In 1980 Gary published “The Rozz-Tox Manifesto”, a highly influential document that directed his generation to infiltrate the mainstream with underground ideas and culture.
Gary’s paintings occupy a large portion of a very prolific 1980s, during which he also designed the sets and puppets for Pee-wee’s Playhouse, completed record covers for the likes of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and maintained an active comics output through his own mini-comics and his contributions to Raw magazine and other anthologies.
Returning to comics in the early 1990s, Gary drew seven issues of a Jimbo comic book. He then began delving into light shows, staging elaborate psychedelic performances in his studio space. More recently, he has collaborated with Joshua White, and the duo has mounted lightshows at the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. and at New York’s Anthology Film Archives.
In 2006-2007, Gary was a featured artist in the touring exhibition, Masters of American Comics. His paintings and drawings have recently been exhibited at Dunn and Brown, Dallas and Clementine Gallery, New York. In 2008, Gary was the subject of a one-man show at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.
His books include a comprehensive monograph, Gary Panter (PictureBox), and four graphic novels: Jimbo in Purgatory (Fantagraphics); Jimbo’s Inferno (Fantagraphics); Cola Madnes (Funny Garbage); Jimbo: Adventures in Paradise (Pantheon). Gary has won numerous awards, including three Emmy Awards for his production design on Pee-wee’s Playhouse, as well as the 2000 Chrysler Award for Design Excellence.
Winsor McCay was born in 1867 in Canada. McCay had an interest in drawing from the moment he could hold a pen. His father was a real estate agent and encouraged him to become a businessman. Unknown to his parents, he worked as a portrait artist in a “Dime Museum” in Detroit while attending Business college. “Dime Museums” were popular forms of entertainment in the 1800’s. Patrons could view carnival type acts and oddities including “Freak Shows”, as well as other forms of entertainment.
McCay left school at the age of 21, and went to work at the National Printing Company of Chicago. Here he illustrated posters for Circuses and other promotions. After two years he moved to Cincinatti, creating advertising posters for the Kohl and Middleton Dime Museum. He began to create quite a name for himself as avery talented artist.
McCay picked up additional work as a billboard painter. His ability to construct a figure’s outline in one continuous line was quite a sight to see. He would draw crowds wherever he painted.
In 1891, after a whirlwind courtship, Mccay married Maude Leonore Dufour. In 1896 she bore him a son, Robert, and in 1897, a daughter, Marion.
The economic hardships of supporting his family forced McCay to take a new job as a cartoonist/reporter for the Cinncinati Commercial Tribune. It was here he learned to fine tune his talent as a draftsman. He was also able to pick up freelance work for other magazines. In 1903 he produced sort of experimental comic strip entitled “Tales of The Jungle Imps by Felix Fiddle”, based on poems by George Chester. At the end of 1903, McCay was being courted by the New York Herald, and promptly moved his family to New York. It was this period of time when the newspaper comic strip was becoming very popular. MCay began experimenting with his own original strips.
After a few unsuccesful tries, McCay developed “Little Sammy Sneeze” in 1904. This was followed by “Dream of a Rarebit Fiend” for the New York Telegram (also owned by the Herald)that same year. Both strips were quite successful. “Dream” was actually so popular that there was talk of producing a Broadway musical. The editor of the Herald wanted to separate his work for the two papers, so his contract would not allow him to sign his real name to the “Dream ” strip. McCay used the alias “Silas” instead. In 1905 McCay began “Little Nemo in Slumberland“, an extremely popular strip that was made into a Broadway musical. This strip is considered by many to be McCay’s masterpiece.
McCay’s popularity increased, and he began performing on Vaudeville. His act consisted of “Speed Drawing” various characters including those from his strips. At the same time, McCay was still producing several daily strips, and editorial cartoons. After Eight years, hundreds of editorial cartons, and seven strips, McCay left the Tribune and went to work for William Randolph Hearst at the New York American. His arrival was a much publicized and hearalded event.
While working for Hearst, MCay began to experiment with the idea of using animated pictures as part of his vaudeville act. His first attempt was made using the popular characters from the “Little Nemo” strip. (See Background history on “Gertie The Dinosaur” for more info). It was a huge success and captivated audiences everywhere he went. He followed this experiment up with “How a Mosquito Operates”, again a success. Finally, in 1914 McCay developed “Gertie The Dinosaur”. Rather then just showing the film as he had with his previous attempts, McCay actually interacted with Gertie, giving her life and charm. Gartie was an instant success and is the first original character developed solely for the animated cartoon and not based on a pre-existing comic strip.
Hearst felt that McCay’s vaudeville act was taking valuable time away from the newspaper, and since McCay was under contract, he forbid him from any more live performances outside the New York area. Gertie was made into a feature film with a live-action prologue and epilogue and shown around the world. Hearst eventually forbid McCay from any vauldville related performances and even doing daily strips. McCay was only to draw editorial cartoons.
McCay began working heavily on animated films during this time. His next film released in 1918 was “The Sinking Of The Lusitania”, one of the first films to use cels. Even when Hearst opened his own animation studio, McCay continued to work on his own, producing six more films through 1921.
McCay continued to draw editorial cartoons until his death by stroke on July 26th, 1934.
Lorenzo Mattotti was born in 1954. After studying architecture, he decided to devote himself to comics and is recognised today as one of the most outstanding international exponents of the art. His works have been published in the most important magazines and his books are translated all over the world. From “Il signor Spartaco”, “L’uomo alla finestra”, “Stigmate””Ligne fragile”, and many other works, up to “Fires” and “Murmur” published by Penguin Books in 1993, Mattotti’s work has evolved with a continuing coherence, though always within the eclectic tradition of those who have the courage to be innovative. For children he has illustrated “Pinocchio” by Collodi, “The Pavilion on the Links” by Stevenson and has published “Eugenio” that had the Grand Prix of Bratislava in 93. Mattotti has also worked in the fashion world, reinterpreting the models of the most famous fashion designers for “Vanity” magazine. He has carried out advertising campaigns and has illustrated the cover of such magazines as The New Yorker, Le Monde and Suddeutsche Zeitung. In 1995, the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome and The Frans Hals Museum in Harlem dedicated an anthology to him. He realized many important posters: Cannes 2000 – “Lire en Fête” “La Marie de Paris”. Recently he worked in the Film “Eros” of Wong Kar Way – Soderbergh et Antonioni, he creates the segments within the three episodes.
Harvey Kurtzman was born on October 3, 1924 in Brooklyn, New York. As a child he drew Ikey and Mikey, a regular comic strip done in chalk on sidewalks. In 1939, Kurtzman entered a cartoon contest in Tip Top Comics, winning a prize of one dollar. He attended New York’s High School of Music and Art, where he first met future collaborators Will Elder, Harry Chester, Al Jaffee and John Severin.
After graduating from Cooper Union, he freelanced for such second-tier comic book companies as Ace and Timely. It was at Timely (which later became Atlas and then Marvel) that he drew his first humorous “Hey Look!” gag cartoons. Timely used them whenever an issue was one page short. Kurtzman also produced Silver Linings, a comic strip which ran in the New York Herald Tribune from March 7 to June 20, 1948.
In 1952, he became the founding editor of the comic book Mad. Kurtzman was also known for producing (with Will Elder) the long-running Little Annie Fanny color strip in Playboy magazine from 1962 to 1988, satirizing many of the very attitudes that Playboy promoted.
Because Mad had a considerable impact on popular culture, Kurtzman was later described by The New York Times as having been “one of the most important figures in postwar America.” Director and comedian Terry Gilliam said, “In many ways Harvey was one of the godparents of Monty Python.” Underground cartoonist Robert Crumb asserted that one of Kurtzman’s cover images for Humbug “changed my life,” and that another Mad cover image “changed the way I saw the world forever!”
Writing for Time Magazine, Richard Corliss touted Kurtzman’s influence: “MAD was the first comic enterprise that got its effects almost entirely from parodying other kinds of popular entertainment… …to say that this became an influential manner in American comedy is to understate the case. Almost all American satire today follows a formula that Harvey Kurtzman thought up.”
Getting back to the golden age of the start of MAD magazine, Kurtzman had first found his niche at William Gaines‘ EC Comics, editing the war comics Frontline Combat and Two-Fisted Tales. Kurtzman was known for a painstaking attention to detail, typically sketching full layouts and breakdowns for the stories he assigned to artists and insisting they not deviate from his instructions. Despite (or because of) his autocratic approach, Kurtzman’s early 1950s work is still considered among the medium’s finest.
After EC stopped publishing due to comics censorship in the 1950s, the evolution of Mad was marked by Kurtzman’s recognition of his own value and talents. The comic book owed its existence to Kurtzman’s complaint to publisher Gaines that EC’s two editors – himself and Al Feldstein– were being paid substantially different salaries.
Gaines pointed out that Feldstein produced more titles for EC and did so more swiftly. The men then agreed that if Kurtzman could create a humor publication, Gaines would raise his pay substantially. Gaines agreed to expand Mad from a ten-cent comic book to a 25-cent magazine in 1955, a revamp that effectively removed Mad from the Comics Code Authority‘s censorious overview, thereby assuring its survival.
Kurtzman remained at the helm of the magazine only during the early issues of the first year, but that was long enough to establish the Kurtzman style there, including the introduction of the image soon named Alfred E. Neuman, the publication’s famous mascot.
While still with MAD, Kurtzman also became one of the writers for the relaunched Flash Gordon daily comic strip, which had previously been one of Mad’s satire targets, when his 1954 “Flesh Garden!” parody, illustrated by Wallace Wood.
In early 1956, with Mad sales increasing while all of EC’s other titles had been cancelled, Kurtzman requested a 51% share of Gaines’ business. Gaines response to this controlling interest demand was to hire Feldstein to replace Kurtzman as MAD’s editor. The incident has been a source of controversy ever since.
Some felt the magazine critically peaked under Kurtzman and never again regained its lightning in a bottle magic, settling into a predictable formula. Yet others felt that it was this very “assembly line of satire” formula that assured readers what they could rely on enjoying issue after issue.
In 1957, Kurtzman became the editor of Trump, published by Hugh Hefner of Playboy fame. It presented Kurtzman’s Mad sensibilities in a glossy, upscale magazine format. It only lasted for two issues. They reportedly sold well, but were expensive to produce, and publisher Hefner shut down the project during a costcutting crunch. Kurtzman later led an artists’ collective of himself, Will Elder, Jack Davis, Al Jaffee and Arnold Roth in publishing Humbug. Despite their efforts, and those of business manager Harry Chester, Humbug failed to overcome distribution and financial problems – it folded after 11 issues.
After the demise of Humbug, Kurtzman spent a few years as a freelance contributor to various magazines, including Playboy, Esquire, The Saturday Evening Post, and TV Guide.
Kurtzman’s last regular editorial position of note was from 1962 to 1966 at the helm of Help!, printed by Warren Publishing. Leaning heavily on photography, Help! gave the first national exposure to several artists and writers who would dominate underground comix later on, such as Robert Crumb, Gilbert Shelton, Jay Lynch and Skip Williamson.
The most notorious article to appear in Help! was “Goodman Beaver Goes Playboy!,” a ribald parody of Archie comics, that actually resulted in a lawsuit from Archie’s publisher. Despite a talented roster of friends and contributors including Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Gloria Steinem and Gahan Wilson, along with the above names, the magazine folded after 26 issues.
The magazine had also provided a brief forum for John Cleese and Terry Gilliam, who first worked together under Kurtzman’s direction, years before Monty Python. As a tribute, in his 1985 film Brazil, Gilliam gave Ian Holm’s character, the boss of protagonist Sam Lowry, the name “Kurtzmann.” A further tie between Kurtzman and the Python group was that Kurtzman’s assistant editor at Help! – Charles Alverson – later collaborated with Gilliam on the screenplay for Jabberwocky (1977).
Meanwhile, Kurtzman’s efforts on Little Annie Fanny, which in 1962 had begun its afore-mentioned 26-year run in Playboy, started out earning mixed reviews. Some admired it, yet felt it was “known more for its lavish production values than its humor.”
He also co-scripted the stop-animation film Mad Monster Party, which was released in 1967. (One could call it a “haunting” ancestor of later computer-generated Pixar products. Even viewed these days, “Party” still holds up rather well.)
Kurtzman produced several animated shorts in 1972 for Sesame Street, and that same year he even appeared in a Scripto TV commercial, drawing Little Annie Fanny on the wall of a prison cell. A series of reprint projects and one-shot efforts appeared in the 1970s and 1980s.
In 1988, when his naughty grownup parody of Little Orphan Annie “petered out” in Playboy, Kurtzman continued to work on anthologies and various other projects, as well as teaching a cartooning class at the School of Visual Arts.
That same year the annual Harvey Awards (named for Kurtzman, of course) were first given to the year’s outstanding comics and creators.
In the years before his passing, Kurtzman returned to Mad for a brief stint, along with long-time collaborator Will Elder. (Their pages were simply signed “WEHK.”) Kurtzman died of liver cancer at age 68 on February 21, 1993.
Kurtzman’s critical reputation has outlasted his career peaks and valleys, and he is routinely celebrated for his visual verve. In addition, he is often cited as a key influence by many leading cartoonists.
Gary Groth, the Journal’s co-publisher, is effusive in describing Kurtzman’s style: “It achieves some sort of Platonic ideal of cartooning. Harvey was a master of composition, tone and visual rhythm, both within the panel and among the panels comprising the page. He was also able to convey fragments of genuine humanity through an impressionistic technique that was fluid and supple.”
In 2009, The Art of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Genius of Comics, a comprehensive 256-page survey of Kurtzman’s drawings, paintings, comic strips, graphic stories, comic books, magazines and paperbacks, was published by Abrams. Written by Denis Kitchen and Paul Buhle, the book includes both preparatory work and finished pieces.
Kitchen said, “Too often, especially with the collaborative work, Kurtzman’s contribution is quite literally unseen. Harvey was masterful with compositions and the interaction of figures.
“Since he often worked with brilliant cartoonists like Will Elder, Jack Davis, Wally Wood, Al Jaffee and others, it’s easy for a casual reader to assume they were responsible for the imagery and Harvey ‘just wrote’ or ‘just laid out’ the stories. By showing how complete and vigorous his layouts are, it’s much clearer that he was a true director of the finished work.”
Kurtzman was inducted into the comic book industry’s Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1989. And along with Eisner, Jack Kirby, Robert Crumb, Chris Ware and Gary Panter , Kurtzman was among the artists honored in the exhibition “Masters of American Comics” at the Jewish Museum in Manhattan from September 16, 2006 to January 28, 2007.
Walt Kelly was a cartoonist notable for his comic strip Pogo featuring characters that inhabited a portion of the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia. The strip was famous for its sophisticated humor and keen political satire. Kelly was trained as an animator at Walt Disney Studios (he worked on cartoon shorts and Pinocchio, Fantasia, and Dumbo), he left the studio during a labor dispute in 1941. His irreverent and topical portrayal of the changing American and global political scene through his comic strip Pogo brought humor to his readers and poignancy to the moment.
Kelly began a series of comic books based on fairy tales and nursery rhymes along with annuals celebrating Christmas and Easter for Dell Comics. He also produced a series of stories based on the Our Gang film series, provided covers for Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories and illustrated adaptations of Snow White, Pinocchio, and The Three Caballeros. This period saw the creation of Kelly’s most famous character, Pogo, who first saw print in 1943 in Dell’s Animal Comics. His health would not allow him to work as a service man, so during WWII, Kelly worked in the Army’s Foreign Language Unit illustrating manuals. He returned to journalism as a political cartoonist after the war. In 1948, while art director of the short-lived New York Star, Kelly began to produce a pen-and-ink strip of current-events commentary populated by characters from Okefenokee Swamp. The first Pogo strip appeared on October 4, 1948. After the New York Star folded on Jan. 28, 1949 Kelly arranged for syndication through the Hall Syndicate which re-launched the strip in May of 1949. Kelly eventually arranged to acquire the copyright and ownership of the strip, uncommon in that era.
Pogo was a landmark strip in many ways and Kelly is arguably one of the greatest and most influential of cartoonists in the history of the craft. Kelly combined masterful line and brush-work (learned at the “mouse factory,” Disney) with fluent and highly amusing story-telling acted out by an endearing cast of “nature’s screechers.” He borrowed from various dialectical sources and his own fertile imagination to invent a unique and charming backwoods-patois, heavy on the nonsense, to fit his cartoon swampland. Although Pogo stands on its own as a superbly-realized cartoon strip for the ages, it was perhaps Kelly’s interjection of political and social satire into the work that was its greatest pioneering accomplishment- such commentary was simply not done in the genre of dailies in Kelly’s time.
The principal characters were Pogo the Possum; Albert the Alligator; Churchy LaFemme (cf Cherchez la femme), a turtle; Howland owl; Beauregard (Houndog); Porkypine, and Miss Mamzelle Hepzibah, a French skunk. Kelly used the strip in part as a vehicle for his liberal and humanistic political and social views and satirized, among other things, Senator Joseph McCarthy’s anti-Communist demagogy (in the form of a shotgun-wielding bobcat named “Simple J. Malarkey”) and the sectarian and dogmatic behavior of Communists.
Another interesting facet of the comic strip were the unique speech balloons Kelly drew several characters. One character, Deacon Mushrat, an educated muskrat, spoke in speech balloons with decorated Gothic style lettering. The village mortician, Sarcophagas Macabre, a vulture, had square, black-framed speech balloons with fine script lettering, resembling funeral announcements. P.T. Bridgeport, a bear and showman/promoter of questionable repute, spoke with speech balloons in highly decorated type, resembling nineteenth century circus posters.
In 1969, a half-hour animated television special, The Pogo Special Birthday Special was produced, and aired on the NBC television network. Kelly himself provided the voices for P.T. Bridgeport, Albert Alligator, and Howland Owl.
The creator of the zenith of comic strip art Krazy Kat, George Joseph Herriman, was born on August 22, 1880, in New Orleans. When he was still a teenager, George and his family moved to Los Angeles, as many African-American Creole families did, to escape the restrictions of the Jim Crow laws.
Herriman never publicly acknowledged his ethnicity, probably fearful of its effects on his reputation. Some people believe that Herriman always wore a hat to hide his “kinky” hair, but a comic historian suggests that the hat covered an unsightly bump on his head. Herriman’s death certificate lists him as Caucasian.
George began his career as an engraver at the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner in 1897, where he produced spot illustrations, political cartoons, and daily strips. In 1900 the artist moved to New York, where he sold cartoons to Judge magazine and painted signs for sideshows in Coney Island, where he was occasionally a carny barker.
Between 1901 and 1910, Herriman produced his first, regular strip, Musical Mose, as well as other features like Acrobatic Archie, Professor Otto and His Auto, Major Ozone’s Fresh Air Crusade, Mary’s Home from College, and Gooseberry Sprig, for the Pulitzer papers and the prestigious T.C. McClure Syndicate.
In 1910, the artist inaugurated The Dingbat Family, later renamed The Family Upstairs, for The New York Evening Journal, a Hearst paper. The strip featured the adventures of an ordinary family dealing with their annoying upstairs neighbors. Herriman was the first to use the word “dingbat” to indicate a silly, empty-headed person.
In The Family Upstairs the artist used the bottom part of each panel to narrate the stories of the Dingbats’ pet, Krazy Kat, and a mouse named Ignatz. Herriman stated that he was doing it to “fill up the waste space.” The cat and mouse adventures were unrelated to those of the Dingbats. On July 29, 1910, Ignatz Mouse threw an object at Krazy Kat’s head for the first time. Bonking Krazy’s brain with a brick, with all its attendant meanings, became the strip’s main motif. In 1913, Krazy Kat and Ignatz finally had a strip on their own, while The Family Upstairs folded in 1916.
Herriman’s creative use of the language narrates the whimsical adventures of three characters, Krazy, Ignatz, and Offissa Pupp, locked in a love triangle. The unfortunate feline is in love with Ignatz, who does not reciprocate his feelings (or her? Krazy’s gender was never clearly established) and likes to hurl bricks at the cat’s head. This violent treatment only seems to throw Krazy more deeply in love. The third character, Offissa Pupp, besotted with Krazy and motivated by a strong sense of duty, tries to bring sanity back by locking up the repeat offender Ignatz.
In regard to Krazy’s undetermined gender, Herriman has been quoted to respond, “I don’t know. I fooled around with it once; began to think the Kat is a girl—even drew up some strips with her being pregnant. It wasn’t the Kat any longer, too much concerned with her own problems—like a soap opera. Know what I mean? Then I realized Krazy was something like a sprite, an elf. They have no sex. So that Kat can’t be a ‘he’ or a ‘she.’ The Kat’s a sprite—a pixie—free to butt into anything. Don’t you think so?”
The strip features many other characters, Mrs. Kwak Wakk, “Bum Bill” Bee and Don Kiyote, and the ever-changing landscapes of the imaginary desert of Coconino County, Arizona.
The characters speak in a poetic mix of phonetically spelled words inspired by parts of Creole, African-American, Brooklyn English, Yiddish, American-Indian and Spanish.
The strip’s subtleties and surrealism never made it very popular with the public en masse, but it had an enthusiastic following among artistic and intellectual circles. Writer Gilbert Seldes dubbed Herriman “the counterpart of Chaplin in the comic film” in his Seven Lively Arts, in 1924. President Woodrow Wilson never missed reading it. Picasso was reputedly a fan. But the artist’s most ardent supporter was William Randolph Hearst. Hearst owned the King Feature Syndicate and refused to drop Herriman’s Krazy Kat even when it was carried by fewer than 50 papers. It was Hearst who ordered the strip to be cancelled in 1944, upon learning of Herriman’s passing. In his opinion, no one could replace the artist and Krazy Kat was possibly the first strip to die with his creator.
ack Kirby was born Jacob Kurtzberg in New York in the early 20th century; the son of Austrian Jewish immigrants. Kirby was a self taught artist who learned his trade by copying drawings from the newspaper strips, like Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon. Kirby was rejected by the rigid art schools of the day despite his talent. However he did find work on small strips and eventually landed a job with Fleischer Studios working as a fill in animator for the popular Popeye cartoons.
After leaving Fleisher studios Kirby entered the nascent comic book industry which was booming thanks to the birth of Superman over at National Comics. Working at Fox Feature Syndicate on a superhero strip called The Blue Beetle. It was here that he met his first collaborator Joe Simon.
Simon and Kirby would leave Fox to work for Timely Comics which was enjoying modest success from their title Marvel Comics which featured the popular heroes the Sub-Mariner and the Human Torch. Seeing the terror of the Nazi menace in Europe the Jewish Kirby and his partner Simon co-created the patriotic hero Captain America. Kirby crafted a memorable cover for the character’s first appearance; the Star-Spangled Sentinel is shown delivering a mighty punch to Adolph Hitler, a full year before America’s entrance into World War II.
Feeling they were not getting a fair shake for their work on Captain America the duo left timely for National Comics and helped reinvigorate the Sandman character as well as create what would become National’s third best seller the Boy Commandos.
Kirby married in 1943 and had his name legally changed to Jack Kirby. A short time later he was drafted into military service and worked as a reconnaissance scout, using his artistic abilities for drawing maps of enemy positions. He was discharged in 1945 after suffering severe frostbite to his legs.
Returning stateside he continued his work in comics, however the postwar comics industry was mired in controversy over the content of comic books and Kirby languished drawing romance and western strips, while occasionally creating a superhero or two that were quietly forgotten.
The 1960’s would see the heyday of Jack Kirby as he returned to Timely Comics, now renamed Marvel Comics and began his longtime partnership with Marvel’s golden boy Stan Lee. The two would go onto create legends like the Hulk, Thor, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, The Silver Surfer, Iron Man, and Doctor Doom.
Despite this boom in comics and his amazing success at Marvel, Kirby felt slighted in how he was treated and the compensation he received for his creations and in 1970 jumped ship for National once more, now renamed DC Comics.
At DC he created his space spanning Fourth World Saga and introduced one of Superman’s most powerful enemies Darkseid, a demigod despot bent on destroying the universe in search of the anti-life equation. Unfortunately, despite Darkseid resonating profoundly with audiences Kirby’s fourth world books failed to meet sales expectations and Kirby once more left for Marvel.
His time at Marvel would be short lived and Kirby would leave once more, this time for the world of animation and at Hanah-Barbara he helped create the memorable Thundaar the Barbarian and teamed with Fantastic Four co-creator Stan Lee to work on the Fantastic Four cartoon.
Kirby’s final years would see him receive the recognition he was due in the comic community, winning awards and after years of legal battles receiving much of his original artwork back from Marvel Comics. He would continue to create comic characters but none had the staying power of those that he had crafted during his time at Marvel. Jack Kirby died in 1994 from a heart attack at the age of 76.