Jack Kirby will be honored for his role in creating the Marvel Universe this July. The iconic artist will be named as a Disney Legend in a ceremony to be held at D23 Expo: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event in Anaheim, California. The Disney Legends awards honor people who have contributed to Disney’s legacy and will be presented by Disney CEO Bob Iger. The ceremony will take place at 10 AM on July 14 in the main hall.
Currently, many of Kirby’s co-creations have either been replaced or altered in updated versions, with some of his most iconic — the original Hulk, Iron Man and X-Men‘s Professor Xavier and Cyclops — left for dead as the result of recent storylines. This award also comes at a strange time given the character most closely associated with Kirby, Captain America, was revealed to be a longstanding member of Hydra for the purposes of one of Marvel’s tentpole storylines of 2017.
Here is the official Press Release on behalf of Disney:
JACK KIRBY first grabbed our attention in the spring of 1941 with Captain America, a character he created with Joe Simon. Kirby then followed this debut with a prolific output of comic books in the Western, Romance, and Monster genres–all a prelude to his defining work helping to create the foundations of the Marvel Universe. For the next decade, Kirby and co-creator Stan Lee would introduce a mind-boggling array of new characters and teams — including the Avengers, Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Silver Surfer, Ant-Man, Wasp, Black Panther, S.H.I.E.L.D., and the Inhumans. Kirby was inducted into the Eisner Hall of Fame’s 1987 inaugural class and continued creating comics throughout the ’90s.
Of course, this award is meant to honor the recognition Disney owes Kirby given their state of affairs in today’s marketplace. Disney and Marvel Studios are global powerhouses in everything from film and Television to merchandise and video games. Kirby himself was a restless innovator who preferred to come up with new ideas rather than rehash old ones, so he would likely feel appreciation many of his creations have endured over the years. Marvel and Kirby’s estate are on better terms now than they ever have been, following a 2014 settlement of a long-running lawsuit over ownership of many Marvel characters Kirby had created or co-created for the company back in the day.
Other honorees of this year’s Legends Award are Carrie Fisher, Clyde “Gerry” Geronimi, Manuel Gonzales, Mark Hamill, Stan Lee, Garry Marshall, Julie Taymor, and Oprah Winfrey.
Kirby passed away in 1994. This August would have been his 100th birthday.
Images: Marvel, Disney