Important civil rights milestone overshadowed by iconic illustrator’s birthday.
Source: ThanosCopter Newswire
Today, many across the world will celebrate the 95th birthday of Jack Kirby, the deceased co-creator of a number of popular superheroes, including Captain America, the Hulk and the Fantastic Four. Celebrations, parades and Kirby dot raves are planned in cities such as New York City, Los Angeles and Paris to memorialize the lasting legacy and works of one of the comic book industry’s greatest contributors.
However, in the midst of the Kirby celebrations, another important historic occasion is being overlooked. August 28th is also the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech, a pivotal event in the Civil Rights movement. “Everyone’s always off celebrating Jack Kirby’s birthday,” said Olivia Tronsby, director of the Martin Luther King Speech Memorial Center. “And no one ever seems to remember the most important speech given in the last 100 years!”
The two holidays have annually come into conflict with each other ever since the Marvel bullpen missed the famed speech due to a birthday party held for Kirby. “We had a choice,” said Stan Lee in a tweet that never happened. “Watch some speech or get wasted with Jack and Roz and the rest of the staff. You decide which was better, True Believers!”
While King’s speech initially had the upper hand, the establishment of Martin Luther King Day in January and the growing popularity of a number of Kirby’s creations in film and mass media have recently caused the tables to turn in the creators’ favor. Tension between the Kirby and King camps have been heightened even further as neither King nor Kirby have attended each other's events in nearly twenty years.
Robert Stanford, owner of TrackingFakeCelebrations.com have noted that the amount of Kirby birthday celebrations have nearly quadrupled in number over the last five years, while the number of “I Have a Dream” remembrances have dropped by 18%. When asked why Kirby’s birthday is becoming so popular, Stanford replied that “The Avengers is really freakin’ awesome. And so is Darkseid, who I think is going to be in Avengers 2!”
Kirby's birthday has become so popular that there's even been talk in Congress of formalizing Kirby’s birthday into a national holiday, replacing Labor Day, a controversial move that has polarized union workers and comic book fans. It's widely expected that the change will be made in 2015 as part of Disney's marketing campaign for the next Avengers movie.
Despite the conflict between the two hallmarks, it's Olivia Tronsby’s hope that there will come a day when Kirby’s birthday and King’s speech are given equal billing. “King was all about equality,” she said. “And I'm sure Kirby was pro-equality too. Wouldn’t it be nice if both holidays were treated the same?”