Jack Kirby would have been 94 today. What a tremendous creative force he was. In Japan, Tezuka Osamu is rightfully known as the "god of comics," but in America, that distinction has to belong to Jack Kirby. With a little difference. I'd guess practically everyone in Japan knows of Tezuka, but most non-comic readers in the US wouldn't recognize Kirby's name and couldn't tell you who he was. He didn't sell himself or make himself a brand. He just imagined and dreamed and put his characters out there in hundreds of books.
The general public does at least know the Incredible Hulk (co-created with Stan Lee). And quite a few met Captain America (co-created with Joe Simon) this summer. Other Kirby creations are obscure to outsiders-- Kamandi, Orion, Mister Miracle. Some are vaguely familiar-- the Thing, Silver Surfer. Whether or not his name is known, his influence is out there in pop culture through the sheer number of characters and concepts he invented by himself or in collaboration with others. Inescapable!
So to those of us who bleed in four colors, Kirby was, is and will always be the King. Enjoy a piece of chocolate cake in his honor today.