Comic Book Legend's Lost Work Getting Video Game Treatment

Hundreds of unused cartoon concept illustrations from comic book legend Jack Kirby are being dusted off by animation studio Ruby-Spears Productions, to be used in the creation of television shows, movies and video games.

Jack Kirby is perhaps the best-known name in the comic book business. During his prolific career, Kirby helped create some of the world's most iconic superheroes, including Captain America, The Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk and The X-Men, and he remains one of the most influential people in the comic book industry today.

Kirby passed away in 1994, but his legacy lives on. In the late 1970s, Kirby started working for animation studio Ruby-Spears Productions, doing backgrounds and characters for the classics cartoon Thundarr the Barbarian. During his stint at the company, Kirby would often find himself with nothing to do. It was during these times that he'd create concept art for cartoons.

"Many times, he didn't have enough to do, or there weren't enough assignments," Mr Spears said. "He was such a prolific guy that he would, on his own, just start sketching out some thoughts."

Ruby-Spears Productions is teaming up with children's entertainment creators Sid and Marty Krofft to help bring hundreds of unused Kirby concept illustrations to life. Characters like the super-powered Tempest, seen above, will be developed into films, television shows, cartoons, comic books and video games.

You can visit the New York Times' story to see some of the work that is being developed. It's all got that signature Kirby flair - statuesque women, blocky men with intense eyes - it's like thumbing through old comics.

And while it remains to be seen exactly what will come of this new endeavour, these lost ideas from the mind of one of comics' greatest creators will being given new life is an extremely exciting proposition.

Jack Kirby's Heroes in Waiting [The New York Times via MTV]


    I suppose if it's done well it doesn't matter too much, but it just seems to me like a greedy few trying to make another quick buck off the comic book craze. I can't help but feel like Kirby is turning in his grave a little over this, but anyhoo. I'll try and remain optimistic.

    Several of the images on display in the NY Times piece are actually by Gil Kane - and one piece is by an artist I can't quite identify (I wish it were larger, the style is familiar) and unfortunately, this is the piece you selected to illustrate your article on Jack Kirby rahter than something actually drawn by the King.

    Kirby was a king, and a genuinely nice fellow. When he moved from Marvel to DC, he specifically asked not to be put on any big name projects, because he didn't want to take the job from any of the existing artists, and so he went to work on Jimmy Olsen. That there is the sign of a true great.

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