When The King met Wings
Jack Kirby’s influence over the comic book world is legendary. The man who brought most of the Marvel Universe to life and created some of the most enduring characters the industry has ever seen also struck a chord, pardon the pun, with one of the giants of rock and roll.
Paul McCartney and his post-Beatles band, Wings, released an album in May, 1975 titled Venus and Mars. One of the signature tracks from the album was “Magneto and Titanium Man,” a reference to a pair of Marvel villains who routinely plagued the X-Men and Iron Man, respectively. Both villains were co-created by Kirby, and McCartney used The King’s artwork on stage during performances of this song.
In the summer of 1975, McCartney and Wings played a trio of shows at the Forum in Los Angeles. The shows marked McCartney’s first trip to LA since the demise of The Beatles, and the shows sold out in short order. One person who didn’t need to worry about a ticket was Kirby, who visited McCartney and his wife Linda backstage before one of the gigs.
As the story goes, McCartney came around a corner in the backstage area, saw Kirby standing there and greeted him with an “Ello Jack, nice to meet you.” Kirby then presented the pair with a drawing he drew of them with Magneto, which they both loved.
McCartney would go on to tell Kirby how his comics kept the former Beatle from “going bonkers” in Jamaica during the recording of the album, as they kept the kids entertained during the recording process.
In 1980, McCartney was approached to score a Silver Surfer film, one that went unmade. The Surfer is one of Kirby’s most enduring characters, and it’s unfortunate that the iconic pair were unable to indirectly collaborate again.