Jack Kirby ‘King of Comics’ Birthday Bash

Jack Kirby

Jack Kirby is not generally considered a household name, although many comic book enthusiasts may disagree. While Stan Lee is widely known for creating the Marvel universe, only die-hard comic fans know that Jack Kirby is responsible for creating iconic characters like Captain America, The Fantastic Four, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, and, of course Groot. He was also the co-creator of the Avengers and the X-Men. Now who wonders why Kirby was dubbed “The King of Comics”?

While Jack Kirby passed away in 1994, his August 28th birthday is widely considered something of a national celebration for comic book fans. The movement to celebrate Jack Kirby’s birthday was started by Kirby’s granddaughter Jillian in 2012. Kirby’s birthday bash includes original art auctions (like a statue of Groot!) and panel discussions, among other things. Proceeds go to Hero Initiative, a fund which provides a financial safety net for struggling comic book artists. A handful of comic book stores will also donate a percentage of their profits from today to the Hero Initiative.

The Hero Initiative recruited 100 artists to “Wake Up and Draw” by sending a “birthday card to Jack.” Fans can follow the action throughout the day on Twitter by searching the hashtag #WakeUpAndDraw. Additionally, Jillian Kirby spearheaded the ‘Kirby4Heroes’ campaign.

“Though my grandfather Jack unfortunately died the year before I was born, I am surrounded by books, artwork, and of course family stories and anecdotes so much that I feel like I’ve known him my whole life,” said Jillian Kirby. “Even though I never had the opportunity to know him personally, I have learned my grandfather was a very giving and charitable man. I know my grandfather would have been the first to lend the Hero Initiative his support.”

Jack’s son Neal adds, “By supporting the Hero Initiative through the ‘Kirby4Heroes’ campaign and ‘Wake Up and Draw,’ comic book fans can honor my father on his 95th birthday in the same manner that he would have.”

Jillian Kirby teamed up Seth Laderman, head of production at the Nerdist Channel, to produce a video spotlighting the campaign, which can be viewed below.

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