Jillian Kirby, 16, never got to meet her grandfather, but she’s seen plenty of his magic — she’s seen it in the pages of classic Marvel Comics, up on the screen in “The Avengers” and most especially in the eyes of Marvel fans who meet her and find out she’s an heir of the King of Comics.
Jillian is connecting with that family magic more than ever thanks to her admirable summer project, which she calls Kirby4Heroes. It ties together Jack’s birthday (he would have been 95 on Aug. 28) and the good works of Hero Initiative (which helps comic book creators in times of financial or medical distress).
Jillian’s grandfather died in 1994 after the most illustrious career in the history of the American comic book. Kirby created or co-created Captain America, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Iron Man, Doctor Doom, the Silver Surfer, the Boy Commandos, Magneto, the Black Panther, Fighting American, Darkseid, Ant-Man, the Demon, the Red Skull, Galactus, Kamandi and hundreds of other comic book characters.
Many fans are shocked to hear that the Kirby family doesn’t get a single cent when his creations are turned into toys, video games, cartoons or even a historic blockbuster film like “The Avengers” but that’s the harsh reality of work-for-hire deals that (as the sad history of Superman‘s creators reminds us) have been the norm since Day One in the superhero business.
That industry backdrop led to Hero Initiative and, now, to Jillian’s Kirby4Heroes. And what exactly is her idea? Here, let her explain…
Let’s all circle Aug. 28 on the calendar. And check back here; we hear there are more Kirby-related announcements coming in the next week or two. If you want to learn more about Kirby and his legacy, be sure to read the wonderful essay written by his son, Neal Kirby, who just happens to be Jillian’s father. Also, it’s great to wander around the digital corridors of the Kirby Museum, another worthy non-profit group that represents the Power Cosmic.
– Geoff Boucher
Essay: Marvel, Malcolm and Martin