Jack Kirby (partially found original Superman and Jimmy Olsen art from comic artist; early 1970s)

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Unused cover sketch, probably for Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #135 or #136

Status: Partially Found

Jack Kirby was a comic book artist who created many characters and teams which are now staples of the medium (most of which for Marvel Comics, like Captain America and Fantastic Four). Contract and attribution disputes between Kirby and Marvel led him to quit and begin working for rival DC Comics in the early 1970s. It was then that Kirby began work on his magnum opus: The Fourth World.

The Fourth World

The Fourth World was a massive, epic storyline that spanned 4 comic book titles: Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen, The Forever People, New Gods, and Mister Miracle. This also included well a graphic novel that served as the climax for the story arc The Hunger Dogs. It began with the publication of Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #133 in October 1970. Initially reluctant to draw a character like Superman that he did not create, Kirby made a new design for the character, using a new "S" emblem and other minor changes.


DC executives were not happy with this and made noted Superman artists Al Plastino and Murphy Anderson draw over Kirby's designs with more traditional looks for Superman and his titular pal Jimmy Olsen. As such, most of the original pencilled panels that included those characters in Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen and The Forever People are lost.


Other people working for DC at the time, such as Kirby's then-assistant Mark Evanier and future New Teen Titans and Crisis on Infinite Earths writer Marv Wolfman, did get to see Kirby's original pencils, and some pieces of his original art do still exist, including an unused cover sketch. The rest has not been seen anywhere since the initial redraws were done before publication.


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