Jack Kirby legacy: Kirby4Heroes aims to assist comic book creators

Aug. 06, 2014 | 3:00 p.m.
1950 kirby family long island Jack Kirby legacy: Kirby4Heroes aims to assist comic book creators

Long Island, 1950. Rosalind and Jack Kirby with their children, Neal, 2, and Susan, 6. Credit: (Kirby family collection)

1961 kirby family neals bar mitzvah Jack Kirby legacy: Kirby4Heroes aims to assist comic book creators

1961, Neal Kirby's Bar Mitzvah. Left to right in rear: Neal Kirby, Rosalind Kirby, Susan Kirby and Jack Kirby; Barbara Kirby in front. (Kirby family collection)

1965 touching up iron man marvel Jack Kirby legacy: Kirby4Heroes aims to assist comic book creators

Jack Kirby touching up an Iron Man page in 1965 at the Marvel offices. (Kirby family collection)

Two years ago, at the age of 16, Jillian Kirby began a campaign designed to honor the legacy of her late grandfather, Jack Kirby, the comics legend who created or co-created a host of iconic Marvel characters — Captain America, the Fantastic Four, X-Men, the Avengers and Thor, among them.

Titled Kirby4Heroes, the charitable venture was launched to generate donations for the Hero Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping comic book creators in need, offering assistance to artists and writers.

Once again, this year Kirby is hoping to raise money while celebrating the wide-ranging influence of the artistry of her grandfather, who dreamed up many of his heroes in the basement of his Long Island home. (Jillian’s father, Neal Kirby, wrote a first-person account of his childhood in the house for Hero Complex in 2012.)

On Aug. 28 — what would have been Kirby’s 97th birthday — a selection of comics retailers across the country will donate a portion of their day’s sales to the Hero Initiative as part of the Kirby4Heroes drive.

Individual stores are also set to mark the anniversary of Kirby’s birth in varying fashion — some hosting “birthday” parties, raffles and live artist events, while the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia plans to incorporate two days of study of Kirby’s work into its curriculum.

The Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco will host artist Paolo Rivera for an appearance and signing, and special events are planned at the Moebius Liceo Gallery in Buenos Aires and in San Paolo, Brazil.

Kirby’s goal is to raise $15,000; in 2012, Kirby4Heroes raised $5,000 for the Hero Initiative, while last year’s efforts brought in $10,000 for the charity.

To learn more about the 2014 campaign, which received an endorsement from ComicsPRO, the professional trade organization for comic book retailers, watch Jillian Kirby’s video message below.

Click through the gallery of images above for a vintage look at Kirby himself.

— Gina McIntyre

Follow us on Twitter: @LATherocomplex

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