Most of you know the name Jack Kirby due to his legendary status as the co-creator of the principal characters in the Marvel Universe, like the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America, and countless others. His work for DC also provided that company with their biggest villain, Darkseid, and the entire New Gods mythology.
Now some of Kirby’s long lost artwork, originally just done in black and white, are getting the modern color treatment, and are set to debut in Heavy Metal Magazine #276. They will also be sold as limited-edition black light prints at this year’s Comic Con in San Diego. But as great as the artwork is, it’s the story behind them that really makes these particular Kirby pieces a treasure.
Back in 1979, Jack Kirby was contracted to create concept art and set designs for an adaptation of the 1967 science fiction novel Lord of Light. The set was planned to be saved for a potential ‘Science-Fiction Land’ theme park once the movie finished shooting. The movie and the theme park never came to pass obviously, but that’s where the story take a more interesting turn: Kirby’s artwork was subsequently acquired by the CIA.
It served as cover for what they called the “Canadian Caper,” a rescue mission for six US diplomatic staff trapped by the Iranian hostage crisis in a Canadian embassy compound. The rescue team pretended to be scouting a location in Iran for shooting a Hollywood film from the script, which they had renamed Argo (which of course was fictionalized in Ben Affleck’s Oscar winning movie of the same name). And with that, Kirby’s artwork became more than just a series of unused concepts, but a part of American history.
Now Kirby’s artwork is finally available in full-color, and you can pre-order the prints on the pre-sale page here, and pick them up at the Heavy Metal booth at Comic-Con. And for a preview, check out our gallery below of each stunning piece in the series.