Jack Kirby did work at Image Comics late in his life, but now company co-founder Jim Valentino has revealed an even deeper connection the iconic creator had with the creator-owned company.
In a Facebook post, the ShadowHawk creator explained that in January 1992 - one month before Image Comics was announced - he reached out to the Kirby family at the behest of Todd McFarlane to ask if they could emblazon all of the Image Comics with "Jack Kirby presents..." to contrast with Marvel's long-running tagline of "Stan Lee presents..."
"So, I call up the Kirby house and Roz answered the phone, 'Hello, Roz, this is Jim Valentino.' 'Hello, Jim, how are you?' 'I'm fine. Listen, this hasn't been made public yet, but we would like you and Jack to know what a group of us are going to do.' And, with that, I explained Image to her, who was involved and what we wanted to do (break away from Marvel, start a company that would allow creators full ownership of their properties where they, and not a corporation would benefit from their creations). When I was finished, she asked me to hang on - Jack was working and she wanted to tell him."
"She came back a few minutes later, pretty choked up and told me that we had hers and Jack's full support," Valentino continued. "She told me that Jack thought what we were doing was wonderful and ended the phone call with a teary, 'God bless you boys.'"
Image Comics ultimately didn't use the "Jack Kirby presents" tagline, but the prospect started a deeper relationship between the Image founders and the Kirby Family.
"From that moment on, any time she mentioned us she called us 'The Image boys.' It remains a source of pride to this very day and will be for the rest of my life."
Image eventually published Kirby's Phantom Force (co-written with Michael Thuibodeaux and Richard French), with Rob Liefeld and several other Image founders inking over the Kirby's pencils.