We celebrate Halloween with scary movies, Christmas with sentimental ones. How can we properly celebrate the pomp and bombast of the 97th birthday of the King of the Comics, Jack Kirby?
Good news! If you are a Netflix subscriber, there are plenty of things you can watch that feature the creations of Jack Kirby.
Here is a select list (NB: episode number are based on how they are listed on Netflix, not actual production codes):
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
BBatB is basically the perfect show because it is equal parts Kirby, Shelly Moldoff, and Adam West. A number of episodes prominently feature Kirby creations:
S01E04: “Day of the Dark Knight” Batman and Green Arrow meet Etrigan, Merlin, and Morgaine le Fey
S01E07: “Dawn of the Dead Man” Full episode is a Deadman story, but the cold open features Batman meeting Kamandi and Dr Canus
S01E15: “Trials of the Demon” In one of the best episodes of the series, Batman teams up with Jason Blood and Sherlock Holmes
S01E21: “Duel of the Double Crossers” This story is primarily about Jonah Hex and Mongul, but features appearances by the Female Furies Lashina and Stompa
S01E22: “Last Bat on Earth” This one is a two-fer: the cold open features Mister Miracle and Big Barda, and then the main episode is a full-length Kamandi adventure
S01E23: “When OMAC Attacks!” Perhaps needless to say, this episode is about OMAC
S02E01: “Death Race to Oblivion” Batman and a host of heroes and villains must win a race against Steppenwolf for Earth’s survival
S02E21: “Cry Freedom Fighters” The main story is about Plastic Man joining the other Quality Comics characters, but the cold open features Blue Beetle and Stargirl fighting Mantis
S02E22: “The Knights of Tomorrow” In the cold open, Batman and the Question fight Kalibak and some parademons (the main story is a fun homage to Grant Morrison’s Batman and Robin run)
S02E23: “Darkseid Descending” Everyone teams up to fight Darkseid
S02E25: “The Malicious Mr Mind” The main story is a Marvel Family joint, but the cold open features the return of Kamandi and Dr Canus
S03E03: “Shadow of the Bat” Batman becomes a vampire and Etrigan appears again
Justice League executive producer Bruce Timm is another creator heavily influenced by Jack Kirby, so it’s only natural some references to the King would pop up here and there.
S01E20 and S01E21: “A Knight of Shadows” A two part story featuring Etrigan and Morgaine le Fey
S02E01 and S02E02: “Twilight” Another two-part story all about New Genesis and Apokolips and subsequently featuring a huge cast of Kirby characters
Justice League Unlimited
The follow-up to Justice League also featured some appearances by Kirby creations. The running plot in season one focuses on the Cadmus Project, a loose adaptation of a Kirby concept introduced in Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen.
S01E03: “Kids’ Stuff” The Justice League are changed into children in this episode that features Morgaine Le Fey, Mordred, and Etrigan
S01E15: “The Ties That Bind” This episode heavily features Mr Miracle and Big Barda, as well as a number of denizens of Apokolips. Notably, this episode was written by Jim Steranko, the IRL human on whom Mr Miracle was based
S01E22: “Question Authority” There’s a lot of series mythology going on in this one, but it features an appearance by Mantis
S02E05: “Flash and Substance” Orion teams up with Batman and Flash to save the Flash Museum
S02E10: “Patriot Act” The cameo appearance by the Newsboy Legion in this episode goes unnamed, but you should watch this episode anyway to see the Seven Soldiers fight the Shaggy Man
S02E13: “Destroyer” You-know-who shows up
The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
The best possible Avengers cartoon to watch on Netflix.
Every episode Every episode features at least one character or concept created by Jack Kirby.
As I said, this is only a partial list. There are some movies you might have heard of that are also available to watch via Netflix. You’ve probably already seen those, though.
Here’s the thing, though:
I have no idea how much, if anything, Kirby’s estate was compensated for the use of his creations in these episodes, so if you watch or have watched these shows and enjoyed them, please consider making a donation in Jack Kirby’s honor to The Hero Initiative, a non-profit organization that benefits struggling creators of the characters we all love so much.
Thanks for reading, and happy Kirby Day! The day that gets you ready for the WORLD THAT’S COMING!!!