GRAPHIC NOVELS

Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics

Ten Speed: Crown. Jul. 2020. 208p. ISBN 9781984856906. $28.99. Rated: Teen+. BIOG
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In this lively biography, Scioli (Fantastic Four) pays loving tribute to the creator of Iron Man, the X-Men, and dozens more classic characters. As a child living in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Kirby became obsessed with the colorful adventures he discovered in newspaper comic strips. Inspired by these stories, as well as folktales told by his mother and the futuristic imagery he found at the 1939 World’s Fair, he began a career as a journeyman cartoonist. After cocreating Captain America with his partner Joe Simon, Kirby was drafted and experienced harrowing combat in World War II. In the 1960s, he began a fertile period that saw him revolutionize the comic book industry, creating a slew of characters who still dominate pop culture. Scioli presents Kirby’s story through a carefully researched but fictionalized first-person point of view, capturing his larger-than-life personality and adding extra pathos to his final decades spent struggling to get credit—and compensation—for his massive contribution to American culture.
VERDICT Scioli details Kirby’s life with the same passion and crackling energy the King of Comics brought to his own work. An essential text for fans of the medium.

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