Jack Kirby and the ‘Argo’ connection

kirby lord of light art

I didn’t want to get too far away from the subject of “Argo” without mentioning the connection between the movie and comic book legend Jack Kirby, the artist who, along with Stan Lee, created some of the greatest Marvel Comics characters of all time, including The Fantastic Four and many members of The Avengers.

In the movie, the group of Hollywood operatives and government agents trying to free a half-dozen Americans in hiding in Iran in 1979 pretend they’re mounting a Hollywood film production. Storyboards of their make-believe science fiction spectacular, “Argo,” are shown several times and help “sell” the story to the Iranian military at the movie’s airport climax.

lord of light street

I believe a “Wired” story was the first to note that when the real-life figures working to free the Americans needed artwork to help make the film production more convincing, they used concept drawings Kirby had created for a movie and theme park based on Roger Zelazny’s “Lord of Light” book.

In the story told in the movie, the conspirators knew there was no “Argo” movie. In real life, Kirby and makeup artist John Chambers and other producers hoped to get “Lord of Light” in production and even hoped to turn it into a Denver-area theme park.

It was not to be.

kirby-at-the-drawing-board

I’m guessing that Kirby, who died in 1994, would have been pleased that the role  his drawings played in espionage history figured into the movie.

I’m also guessing that he would be irritated, though, that not only were his drawings not used but little acknowledgement of him was made.

Although: IMDB lists the cast and notes that Michael Parks – seen in the movie submitting the drawings used in the plot – plays Jack Kirby. I honestly didn’t notice Kirby’s name in the end credits. Anyone else know if Kirby is named on screen in the credits?

At any rate, Kirby and the “Argo” connection is  a nice little bit of Hollywood lore.

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