If you're enjoying the current comic book movie sensation, then you should know that none of it—not "Iron Man," not "The Avengers"—would be possible without the work of legendary comic book creator Jack Kirby, who would have turned 92 years old today.
Kirby co-created almost all of the now-classic comic book characters from Marvel Comics as well as plenty from DC Comics. Without Kirby, the aesthetic of heroes such as Thor and villains like Galactus would be entirely different.
Heck, they probably wouldn't even exist at all.
Born Jacob Kurtzburg in 1917, Kirby's first major contribution to comics came in the creation of Captain America in the early '40s with partner Joe Simon, but his influence didn't end there. Alongside Stan Lee, the artist co-created an endless wealth of iconic character at the House of Ideas, including the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and the Avengers.
But he was more than just an artist; Kirby was a storyteller, too—a skill he put to the test during his days at DC Comics, where he created iconic characters like Darkseid, Mister Miracle, Orion and the other New Gods. These are characters that, while not as instantly recognizable as Captain America or Hulk, are still utilized prominently in the DC Universe, most recently by Grant Morrison in "Final Crisis."
The comic book community is celebrating Kirby's birthday in several ways, but you can get in on the fun through Twitter, where different writers, artists and fans are remembering the iconic comic book creator through the #kirbyfacts hashtag with a happy mix of informative, humorous and thoughtful remembrances.
Above all, it's well-worth remembering that Kirby's characters are the foundation for a new pantheon of myths and models, most of whom have flourished long past their inception and will continue to thrive for generations to come. If that's not a cause for celebration, I'm not sure what is.
What are you doing to celebrate Mr. Kirby's life and contributions to the comic book industry? Remember the legendary creator in the comments section!