Tagged: Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday, Jack Kirby! Here’s How To Celebrate!

Today marks the 95th birthday of the all-time king of comics, Jack Kirby. In the comics racket, that makes today a national holiday. The influence of superhero comics on our popular culture has never been greater, and, therefore, Jack’s impact upon our society has never been stronger.

To help celebrate, Jack’s 16 year old granddaughter Jillian has teamed up with our friends at The Hero Initiative on the Kirby4Heroes initiative.

To quote The Hero Initiative press release:

The Hero Initiative, the charitable organization dedicated to helping veteran comic creators in medical or financial need, is celebrating the birthday of Jack “King” Kirby on August 28 with a little help from The King’s family.

Hero has recruited 100 artists to get up on the morning of August 28, 2012 to simply “Wake Up and Draw.” This new event is a way for artists to limber up, get the creative juices flowing, and celebrate the day by drawing and sending a “birthday card to Jack.” All 100 drawings will be featured in a special gallery at ComicArtFans.com, and fans can follow the action through the day on Twitter searching hashtag: #WakeUpAndDraw. All drawings will be auctioned to benefit Hero Initiative at a later date! Neal Kirby, son of Jack, and artist Tim Seeley are featured in a special YouTube video on the event here

And Jillian Kirby, Jack’s granddaughter, has spearheaded the “Kirby4Heroes” campaign. Jillian has recruited a number of comic stores to donate a percentage of their sales to Hero on August 28, and encourage their customers to make donations as well. Fans can donate via the PayPal link at www.HeroInitiative.org, and type in “Kirby4Heroes” in the special instructions box. Jillian has teamed up with Seth Laderman, head of production from the Nerdist Channel, to produce a video spotlighting the campaign. Check out Jillian’s YouTube video on the event here

 “Though my grandfather Jack unfortunately died the year before I was born, I am surrounded by books, artwork, and of course family stories and anecdotes so much that I feel like I’ve known him my whole life,” said Jillian Kirby. “Even though I never had the opportunity to know him personally, I have learned my grandfather was a very giving and charitable man. I know my grandfather would have been the first to lend the Hero Initiative his support.”

Neal Kirby adds, “By supporting the Hero Initiative through the ‘Kirby4Heroes’ campaign and ‘Wake Up and Draw,’ comic book fans can honor my father on his 95th birthday in the same manner that he would have.”


Happy Birthday: Two-Face

Happy Birthday: Two-Face

Harvey Dent was young, charismatic, idealistic, and driven—at 26 he was the youngest District Attorney Gotham City had ever had, and the press dubbed him “Apollo” for his good lucks and his meteoric rise.

Dent’s idealism was also flexible enough that he recognized the good Batman did, even if the Dark Night Detective didn’t always follow the rules. The two wound up becoming staunch allies, even friends, and their passions for justice actually complemented each other.

Until, one June 12th, Dent reached the high point of his career—prosecuting Sal “Boss” Maroni for murder. Unbeknownst to Dent, his own assistant Vernon Field worked for Maroni, and when Maroni was forced to take the stand Field handed him an antacid bottle filled with sulfuric acid. Dent got up to cross-examine Maroni, displaying his key evidence—Maroni’s good luck charm, a two-headed coin he always carried, which he had carelessly left at the scene of the crime.

Maroni then hurled the acid—Batman tried to intervene but only managed to deflect the attack so Dent caught the acid on the left side of his face and on his left hand instead of across his entire face. The attack did not kill him, as Maroni had planned, but did leave Dent permanently disfigured—in mind as well as body.

The horribly scarred D.A. snapped and turned to a life of crime and violence himself, scarring one side of Maroni’s coin and flipping it to determine his actions whenever presented with a choice between good and evil. And thus Two-Face, one of Batmnan’s most dangerous villains, was born.

Happy Birthday: The Creeper

Happy Birthday: The Creeper

Jack Ryder’s parentage certainly predicted his future—his father was the publisher of a successful union dispatch, while his mother suffered paranoid schizophrenia and died in an institution while Jack was still a child.

Growing up, Ryder followed in his father’s footsteps and became a television news reporter. Unfortunately, Ryder had a big mouth. Normally that would be an asset, but Ryder didn’t know when to shut up, and it cost him his job.

The network didn’t fire him, but they did demote him to working network security, a job Ryder found beneath him. He got his chance to prove himself again when mobsters kidnapped a scientist named Dr. Emil Yatz. Ryder guessed that Yatz would be held at the mob boss’ mansion. The boss was holding a masquerade party that night, so Ryder cobbled together a bizarre costume and snuck in.

He found Yatz, but was seriously injured in the process, and to save him Yatz injected Ryder with the serum he’d created. The scientist also hid the device the mobsters were after by concealing half of it inside Ryder’s wound, which then healed thanks to the serum’s effects.

The device can make matter appear and disappear instantly, allowing a soldier to walk into a place in civilian clothes and then have a uniform and full weapons with the touch of a button. In Ryder’s case it let him make his strange new costume appear and disappear. Ryder used his bizarre appearance, the strength and agility the serum granted him, his unhinged disregard for personal safety, and a disquieting laugh to bring the mobsters to justice.

They dubbed him "The Creeper," and so a new—and truly bizarre—superhero was born.

Happy Birthday: Parasite

Happy Birthday: Parasite

Maxwell Jensen was the classic, small-time crook before his own idiocy transformed him into something far greater.

Jensen was working at a plant attached to a research center and opened one of the storage containers, thinking it might contain the company’s payrolls. Instead the biohazardous extraterrestrial materials inside transformed him, staining his skin purple and giving him the power to absorb the powers of anyone he touched.

The Parasite, as Jensen dubbed himself, became one of Superman’s most dangerous foes, especially since Jensen could not only absorb Superman’s powers but also learned his secret identity.

Happy Birthday: Golden Age Black Canary

Happy Birthday: Golden Age Black Canary

Dinah Drake was born and raised in Gotham City, where her father Richard Drake was a detective with the Gotham City Police Department. He trained his daughter well, and when she was old enough, Dinah applied to the GCPD herself. She was turned down, however, and the disappointment crushed her father, who died a short time later.

Dinah vowed to use her skills and training to fight crime in his memory, and donned a blonde wig, fishnet stockings, pirate boots, a bustier, and a short jacket to create her new alter-ego, the Black Canary. Dinah also opened a flower shop, using the money her father had left her, and that served as both a day job and a cover story.

While fighting crime, Dinah met and fell in love with GCPD detective Larry Lance—the two were later married and had a daughter, Dinah Laurel Lance, who would ultimately follow in her mother’s costumed footsteps. The older Dinah continued her secret life and became a member of the Justice Society of America.

It was during those years that Dinah fought the living star-creature Aquarius, whose radiation ultimately killed her.

Happy Birthday: Sargon the Sorcerer

Happy Birthday: Sargon the Sorcerer

John Sargent became fascinated with magic at an early age—and also gained fearsome powers. This was thanks to his discovery that his mother’s old ruby pendant actually contained the ancient artifact called the Ruby of Life, which let him control anything he touched.

As he grew older, Sargent focused his attention on stage magic in particular, eventually developing his own stage act as "Sargon the Sorcerer." Most of his “tricks” were real magic, however, and off-stage Sargent battled evil for real, eventually becoming an honorary member of the Justice League of America.

Unfortunately, possessing the Ruby of Life affected Sargent’s mind, and he temporarily became a villain. He later shook off that change, but died valiantly aiding Zatara, the Swamp Thing and others fending off a powerful evil.