And I’m going to start young.
The picture at the head of this article is a hastily drawn ballpoint pen sketch of “Meteor Man,” a superhero I created when I was 10 years old. Maybe the first one I ever created. (And yes, I think you can see why I hire artists instead of drawing Nix Comics myself)
He was an astronaut in a truly organic sense: His species traveled the universe as sentient meteors/asteroids/comets. When they landed on planets, they could roughly adapt the form of the dominant life form on the planet. Meteor man was made of “rocky metal,” so didn’t need to breathe and was superhumanly strong and invulnerable. He could rocket through space at thousands of miles per hour and even shoot pieces of his body off of his mass at hypersonic velocity. (They’d grow back) Meteor Man could control the temperature of his body, from as cold as space to as hot as the temperatures of entry into the atmosphere
Like most 10 year old kids, Meteor Man was pretty derivative. I don’t think my rip was directly inspired by a Kirby creation. I was particularly fond of Blok from the Legion of Superheroes, whose comics I could get cheap at KB Toys in those Whitman sampler packs along with probably age inappropriate Warlord comics. Anyways: Blok looked a lot like the Thing and Meteor Man looked a lot like Blok. When Meteor Man heated up his body or flew, I sure as heck made him look like the Human Torch. When he chilled his body, he looked a lot like Iceman. I drew on a lot of sources The Kirby influence is undeniable.
I don’t know who Meteor Man is shooting his hand at in this picture. I remember a lot of the superheroes I created as a kid, but none the villains. Maybe I didn’t make up that many bad guys or maybe they were even lamer and more derivative than the heroes. Who knows? But Meteor Man has stuck with me.
Anyways, one measure of an artist is what they inspire other artists to create. I think it’s fair to say that without Jack Kirby, I never would have created Meteor Man as a kid… Or Aon the strongest man in the Universe… Or the Laser Family… or the characters that appear now in Nix Comics.