Jack Kirby is going to be honored as one of Disney’s Legends next month for his contribution to the Marvel brand. The Mouse House attends virtually every major entertainment convention out there, but since their array of properties vastly exceeds that of other media conglomerates, they also host their own public event, the D23 Expo, every two years. The Expo features presentations not only for movies and television, but also video games, theme parks, and music, among other things.
The Walt Disney Company also uses the event as an opportunity to honor those who have contributed, in some fashion, to helping shape the Disney brand; they become known as Disney Legends. The 2015 Expo honored people such as ESPN executive chairman George Bodenheimer and longtime animator Andreas Deja, as well as Pirates of the Caribbean and Alice in Wonderland star, Johnny Depp, and Star Wars creator and Lucasfilm founder, George Lucas.
This year, Disney already plans on honoring Stan Lee for his undeniable contribution to shaping Marvel Comics, though what’s surprising is that the Mouse House will also be honoring legendary comic book artist Jack Kirby, whom they are heralding as a “Founding Father of the Marvel Universe.” The Disney Legends Awards Ceremony is being held on Friday, July 14 at 10 am PDT in Hall D23 during the D23 Expo 2017 in Anaheim, CA.
It’s no secret that people tend to attribute Marvel’s success to Stan Lee, and while the comic book publisher certainly wouldn’t be where it is today without him, Marvel certainly would not have become a global powerhouse without the help from Kirby. For those that are unaware, Kirby co-created Steve Rogers/Captain America – one of Timely Comics’ (the precursor to Marvel comics) major three characters – during the Golden Age of Comics in 1941. Most comic book creators would consider themselves lucky if they created one of the most recognizable characters in the world, but Kirby didn’t stop at just one.
Throughout the years, Kirby had co-created iconic characters such as Hulk, Thor, Ant-Man, Wasp, Iron Man, Fantastic Four, and Black Panther, among countless others, while also co-creating the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. teams, and much of the cosmic side of Marvel, not to mention his indisputable enrichment of the DC Universe as well, creating the New Gods, which may be a major influence in the DCEU moving forward – making his work a major guiding influence on the majority of superhero cinema today. Despite achieving so much, he continued to shell out comics well into the ’90s, until he passed away in 1994 at the age of 76. Prior to his death, Kirby had been inducted into the Eisner Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 1987 alongside Carl Barks and Will Eisner himself, and now he’ll join the Walt Disney pantheon as a Disney Legend next month.