Jack Kirby, co-creator of many great Marvel characters, would have been very happy with Black Panther, according to his son. Jack Kirby, or "King Kirby," as many refer to him, is the man that helped build the stable of Marvel characters that we all know and love, alongside Stan Lee. The duo created Black Panther together in 1966 in the pages of The Fantastic Four. The character was precious to Kirby and his son Neal Kirby says that the response to the Black Panther movie would have delighted his late father.
Neal Kirby recently spoke with The Hollywood Reporter in honor of Black Panther arriving in theaters. Jack Kirby and Stan Lee brought the Wakandan hero to the world of Marvel Comics as the first prominent black superhero ever. At the time, it was groundbreaking, just as the movie is breaking new ground now. According to Neal, this is something that his father couldn't have possibly envisioned. Here's what he had to say.
"Fifty years ago, he could have never envisioned the statement that this movie is making and the way it is being embraced by everybody. In terms of a message, that was always his intention, but he could have never envisioned reaching this size of an audience."
Black Panther has been met with heaps of praise, currently boasting a 98 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It also looks like the movie is going to rake it in over the weekend at the box office, with the movie set to make $150 million or more. Possibly a lot more. Neal Kirby also explains that his father was a very forward-thinking, liberal person, which is why he would have loved what the movie is bringing to the table.
"I recall during the winter or early spring he asked me what I would think of a black superhero in the comics. Of course he was very much for it, as we all were at the time. My father was a very social liberal person. He would have been the Bernie Sanders of his day. He very much believed in social justice and equality, so he honestly thought it was time. Why shouldn't African-Americans have their own superhero?"
Stan Lee has been, historically, given the lion's share of credit over the years for the characters created during the glory days of Marvel Comics. Neal Kirby says, "My father was always very frustrated that recognition wasn't there. And that's just natural for anyone. It was a difficult situation for years and years...to their credit, Marvel has been very good about [properly crediting Jack Kirby]. We have had a very good relationship with them for the past couple of years." Even though Jack Kirby can't be here to see this, it's nice to know Black Panther would have made him happy. For more with Neal Kirby, you can check out the full interview over at The Hollywood Reporter.