The Jack 'King' Kirby virtual museum is open for business.
I never liked Kirby's art during my youth, when I was a fairly obsessed comic collector. To be fair my prime was well past his, during which he more or less invented Marvel Comics (Stan Lee's vocal protestations notwithstanding). I've always thought of comics as a medium of the artist- you can give the greatest script in the world to a crap-ragous artist and the result is going to be garbage.
Kirby was boldly and expressively cartoony. His figures always looked like they'd been carved from a block of stone, and his only concession to detail were thick, black squiggles of ink on every available surface.
By the time I started reading comics "seriously", a new realism was marching over the horizon, spearheaded by Neal Adams. Lots of lines, lots of detail...just what my preadolescent mind craved. The favorite artists of my comic maturity were all obvious descendents from the Adams school- guys like the early Bill Sienkiewicz, before he became a Russian Furturist...the final expression of the Adams style was John Byrne- Adams streamlined, with all the threatening edges removed.
And actually, the Adams realism turned out to be a dead end...comics are comics, not movies or photo albums. Eventually, the heirs of Adams begat their own heirs, guys who took Neal's line-heavy realism to the only place it could go- grotesque exaggeration.
As I aged, I began to switch alligience from the heirs of Adams to the heirs of Kirby, formost among them Frank Miller, who took Kirby's monumental style to its extreme with the Sin City series, comic story as woodcut novel. An even more direct successor is Mike Mignola, who even goes in for the thick black squiggles.
Now that I'm old and don't really read comics other than the occasional graphic novel that catches my eye, I have a better appreciation and respect for ol' Jack. I still don't like his art that much, but I can appreciate the bottomless energy and creativity he brough to the medium. And in the battle of descendents, his followers administer a hearty ass-whipping to the neo-realists.
So cheers, Jack.
You created so many other brilliant characters, it would be petty to hold Devil Dinosaur & the Forever People against you.