Jack Kirby a Real Life Captain America
Recent Oscar winner for Best Picture, Argo, sheds a light on a moment in the career of comic artist Jack 'King' Kirby that was unknown to many of his fans.
Most comic fans know Kirby co-created patriotic heroes Captain America and The Fighting American. Some know that he also rushed to produce work to support his family in advance of his military service during WWII (he was one of the soldiers in the D-Day invasion). But very few people knew about his involvement in a classified C.I.A. operation to rescue American officials hiding in Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis, because all the details were classified for nearly 20 years. Now, the film Argo dramatizes the events behind that secret operation.
Argo stars and is directed by Ben Affleck. It represents a bit of a departure from Affleck's previous directing work, as this is the first film he's directed that was not set in his hometown of Boston, Massachusetts. In some ways the film shows more of the influence of co-producer George Clooney, in its subdued dramatic-thriller style and emphasis on political intrigue (Syriana, Ides of March, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Three Kings, The Men Who Stare at Goats etc.), than Affleck's previous South Boston crime films (Gone Baby Gone, The Town).
In the film, CIA exfiltrator Tony Mendez comes up with the idea of creating a fake film project to use as a cover after seeing the film Battle for the Planet of the Apes. He gets help from John Chambers, the special effects artist for Star Trek, who puts him in touch with a producer and comic artist Jack Kirby.
While the story's ending is a fait accompli to anyone familiar with the story, Argo is one of those films that's more notable for it's quirky characters (the first half of the film), and the journey (the second half of the film), than any surprising or 'twist' ending. If you like the type of subdued dramatic thrillers with a political bent mentioned above, you are likely to find Argo a worthwhile experience. If you want non-stop action, you're going to be disappointed.