Jack Kirby’s “Lord Of Light”
Born in 1917 on the Lower East Side of New York City, Jack Kirby was a legendary comic book artist with a career that spanned nearly six decades. “The King,” as he’s still affectionately known, helped create many of the most popular characters in comics, including Captain America and The Fantastic Four for Marvel and The New Gods and Kamandi for DC. He spearheaded romance and war stories in comics, and there was no genre he could not master.
In 1979 it was announced that Lord of Light, based on the book by Roger Zelazny, would be made into a $50 million film. The sets for the movie were planned to be made permanent fixtures of a science fiction theme park to be built in Aurora, Colorado, and Jack Kirby was contracted to produce artwork for the set design. However, due to legal issues, the project was never completed.
Parts of the unmade film project—the script and Kirby’s set designs—were subsequently acquired by the CIA as cover for the “Canadian Caper,” a covert rescue mission in January 1980 of six U.S. diplomatic staff members trapped during the Iran Hostage Crisis. The rescue team pretended to be scouting a location in Iran for shooting a Hollywood film based on Lord of Light, which they had renamed Argo. The story of the rescue effort was later told in the 2012 Academy Award-winning film of the same name.