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How to celebrate the genius that is Jack Kirby? A wrap up of his great characters? A review of the some of the greatest moments. Counting up the dollars his characters have put in the pockets of others but of which in many cases he saw little rumination?
So many ways to consider. But given the focus of this blog, I think highlighting just one thing will do.
Jack Kirby, among everything else he did for comics, created Big Barda who was inspired by his wife Roz and actress Lanie Kazan.
Watch out MRA, Barda is going to drop a tank on you. (And if you doubt the toughness of Barda check out this post I did last year for the King’s birthday)
A few years ago Brian Heater and Sarah Morean at The Crosshatch came up with the great idea to celebrate KIrby’s birthday with International Read Comics in Public Day. For the past three years lots of women celebrated the day and sent in pictures to some sites I set up to show the diverse audience of women who enjoy and read comics and help fuel the comics economy.
Continue the tradition by reading a comic in public AND remembering the legacy of the great Jack Kirby, the King — creator of Barda, The Furies, Sharon Carter and Sue Storm among many others.
He did some much for comics fans, it’s the least you can do for him.
Today is Jack Kirby’s birthday so let’s celebrate one of his greatest creations, Barda Free. How tough is Barda? Pretty tough.
Oh look, someone shot Barda. Oh, is that blood? Barda doesn’t give a shit. “What’s for lunch?” she asks.
Six villains in hot pursuit? Barda doesn’t care. Watch your back all six of you!
These humans and their need to fit in. Barda doesn’t care; she wears what she wants.
Oh look the guys flying this crate are passed out. Barda doesn’t give a shit. She just shoves those guys aside and grabs the wheel.
Ha ha, a killer shark is about to take a bite of Barda. Barda don’t give a shit; she just punches that Shark in the face:
Oh, is that a dragon? Stand back Boostle, let Barda show it who is the boss. She’ll make that dragon cry like a baby.
Oh is that a flat tire? What use a jack? Barda don’t give a shit; she just lifts that truck right up.
What you’re supposed to use a bed for sexy times? Barda don’t give a shit; right here on the floor ‘bro.
That Nasty Ass Honey Badger just doesn’t stand a chance.
In addition to Read Comics in Public Day (And ladies please go submit your pictures) today is also Jack Kirby’s birthday. And so it is time to pay tribute to the man who created some truly female comic characters that truly do kick ass.
Among Kirby’s creations:
The Scarlet Witch.
And that’s all before he conceived and created one of the best female comic creators of all time:
Expect to see A LOT of Barda today.
Today ( in addition to Read Comics in Public) would have been Jack Kirby’s 94th birthday. His contributions to comics are, of course, enormous. He created many of Marvel’s iconic characters — Captain American, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, Silver Surfer and Thor to name just a very few. But his legacy isn’t just who he drew but in how drew them. Kirby’s style - so unique, so easily identifiable — brought an electricity to the comics page where the characters seemed to jump off the page in bolt of lightning or as it became known, “Kirby Krackle.”
While much of Kirby’s work was done at Marvel, he also did a stint at DC Comics. And it is there he created the character that I will focus my tribute to Kirby today — Big Barda or, as I’m prone to write —
Strong, smart, resolute, combative and a fierce fighter, Barda is for many people, including me, one of the most fascinating female characters in comics. Based in part on Kirby’s wife Roz (see here for who else Kirby based her on), Barda is not just a fighter; she’s a lover too. And there lies a lot of her appeal. For her great love Scott Free/Mr. Miracle (who is smaller and no where as strong as she is) Barda will do anything including attempting the mundane bits of domestic housekeeping. Fun, sexy and devoted, Barda and her husband were one of the best couples in comics. Until they weren’t.
So today I will remember Jack Kirby through Barda and all his Female Furies including Granny Goodness (did you think of Ed Asner when I said that?):
And here’s some video with her to get the day started.
Most comic fans know that Jack Kirby based Big Barda on the actress Lainie Kazan. Kazan is a singer and actress who had gotten her start as Barbra Streisand’s understudy on Broadway. Kirby saw a picture of Kazan in a 1970 issue of Playboy magazine. What you may not have seen are the pictures that inspired Kirby to create Barda. This is a page from Jack Kirby Collector #49 and was written by Sean Kleefeld.
He makes a good case for the dress Kazan is wearing being an inspiration for Barda’s costume.
And if you really want to see the nude photo that was in the original Playboy article, Google is your friend.