Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Marvel Comics honors Jack Kirby on Veterans Day

A nice indication of improving relations between Marvel Comics and the family of cartoonist Jack Kirby: Marvel posted a tribute yesterday honoring Kirby's military service during World War II.

Kirby co-created most of Marvel's hallmark characters - Captain America, Thor, Fantastic Four, Hulk, S.H.I.E.L.D and many others. Recently, Marvel made a legal settlement with Kirby's estate - terms undisclosed - and has started listing Kirby as a co-creator with Stan Lee in many of its comics.

The Veterans Day tribute is a nice touch, too, and has some quotes from Kirby's son, Neal, about the Jack's eventful Army days.

In mid-1944, Kirby and others again got reassigned, this time to serve as infantry in Europe. Following training at Camp Stewart, he reported to the 11th Infantry Regiment, Company F. As part of General George S. Patton’s Third Army, Kirby and his unit quickly became part of the Lorraine Campaign in France.
Kirby took part in the crossing of the Moselle River at Dornot on September 8, 1944. Paddling themselves across the river in tiny assault boats while under fire from German troops on the other side, the battalion established a small beachhead where they were met by the 37th SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment. Holding a thin line in the woods, the men of the 2nd Battalion held for days.
Neal Kirby remembers one harrowing story, when a tank was charging down on his father’s foxhole. Sure to be run over by the massive tank, “the guy next to him stood up and just fired a round right through the drivers slit and the tank stops dead. It’s one of those one in a billion shots,” that saved Jack Kirby and others.


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