Brent Staples, New York Times Education, Race & Culture editor, thinks you better recognize:
The fear of being forgotten after death is endemic in the creative arts. In the case of the iconic comic book artist Jack Kirby, it happened while he was still alive. By the 1960s, Mr. Kirby had already revolutionized the comic book business more than once. Working as principal artist and in-house genius for Marvel, he created a voice and an aesthetic unmatched by any other company.Go read the whole thing.
Marvel took his talents for granted and denied him the credit and compensation he clearly deserved. Worse, he was overshadowed by his loquacious and photogenic collaborator, Stan Lee, who became the public face of an enterprise that depended heavily on Mr. Kirby’s skills. ***
Mr. Kirby did a lot more than just draw. As the critic Gary Groth so ably put it in The Comics Journal Library, “He barreled like a freight train through the first 50 years of comic books like he owned the place.” He mastered and transformed all the genres, including romance, Westerns, science fiction and supernatural comics, before he landed at Marvel.
He created a new grammar of storytelling and a cinematic style of motion. Once-wooden characters cascaded from one frame to another — or even from page to page — threatening to fall right out of the book into the reader’s lap. The force of punches thrown was visibly and explosively evident. Even at rest, a Kirby character pulsed with tension and energy in a way that makes movie versions of the same characters seem static by comparison.
Captain America, The Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, The Avengers, The Silver Surfer, The Black Panther, The X-Men, Spider-Man, Doctor Doom, Galactus, Magneto, Darkseid, The New Gods, Mister Miracle, The Forever People, OMAC, Kamandi, The Demon, The Eternals, Devil Dinosaur, Machine Man and Thundarr the Barbarian...
If, before I die, I ever create just one thing as good and as lasting as the least of those -- even The Forever People or Devil Dinosaur -- I will have lived a full and useful life.
Note: February 6, 1994, by the way.