Jack Kirby's LORD OF LIGHT Concept Art Used By The CIA For ARGO

Jack Kirby's LORD OF LIGHT Concept Art Used By The CIA For ARGO

If you're a fan of the legendary comic-book artist Jack Kirby, who co-created the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and the Hulk with Stan Lee, than you are used to the artist not getting as much credit as he deserves. Ben Affleck's Argo is just another example of that.

Ben Affleck's Argo is loosely based on a covert mission created by the CIA, with help from the Canadian government, that rescued six U.S. diplomats from Iran. C.I.A operative Tony Mendez (played by Affleck) smuggles the U.S. diplomats out of Tehran, by pretending that they are Canadian filmmakers working on a new science-fiction film, “Argo.”

In the film, Affleck's character is seen hiring an artist to create concept art and storyboards for his fictional movie. Later the art is used in a pivotal scene, as it plays a major part in the diplomats convincing the Iranians that their cover is legit.

In reality no artist was commissioned by Mendez as he already had production drawings Jack Kirby created for "Lord of Light," which is the actual title of the script the CIA used for "Argo." The film doesn't even acknowledge Jack Kirby's artwork, and of course doesn't use any of his original drawings.

"Argo" is adapted from a 2007 Wired magazine article written by Joshuah Bearman. You can read a more authentic version of events below.

An excerpt from Wired's "How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans from Tehran":
    In just four days, Mendez, Chambers, and Sidell created a fake Hollywood production company. They designed business cards and concocted identities for the six members of the location-scouting party, including all their former credits. The production company’s offices would be set up in a suite at Sunset Gower Studios on what was formerly the Columbia lot, in a space vacated by Michael Douglas after he finished The China Syndrome.

    All they needed now was a film — and Chambers had the perfect script. Months before, he had received a call from a would-be producer named Barry Geller. Geller had purchased the rights to Roger Zelazny’s science fiction novel, Lord of Light, written his own treatment, raised a few million dollars in starting capital from wealthy investors, and hired Jack Kirby, the famous comic book artist who co-created X-Men, to do concept drawings. Along the way, Geller imagined a Colorado theme park based on Kirby’s set designs that would be called Science Fiction Land; it would include a 300-foot-tall Ferris wheel, voice-operated mag-lev cars, a “planetary control room” staffed by robots, and a heated dome almost twice as tall as the Empire State Building. Geller had announced his grand plan in November at a press conference attended by Jack Kirby, former football star and prospective cast member Rosey Grier, and several people dressed like visitors from the future. Shortly thereafter, Geller’s second-in-command was arrested for embezzling production funds, and the Lord of Light film project evaporated.

    Since Chambers had been hired by Geller to do makeup for the film, he still had the script and drawings at his house. The story, a tale of Hindu-inspired mystical science fiction, took place on a colonized planet. Iran’s landscape could provide many of the rugged settings required by the script. A famous underground bazaar in Tehran even matched one of the necessary locations. “This is perfect,” Mendez said. He removed the cover and gave the script a new name, Argo — like the vessel used by Jason on his daring voyage across the world to retrieve the Golden Fleece.

    The new production company outfitted its office with phone lines, typewriters, film posters and canisters, and a sign on the door: studio six productions, named for the six Americans awaiting rescue. Sidell read the script and sketched out a schedule for a month’s worth of shooting. Mendez and Chambers designed a full-page ad for the film and bought space in Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. The night before Mendez returned to Washington, Studio Six threw a small party at the Brown Derby, where they toasted their “production” and Mendez grabbed some matchbooks as additional props to boost his Hollywood bona fides. Shortly thereafter, the Argo ads appeared, announcing that principal photography would commence in March. The film’s title was rendered in distressed lettering against a black background. Next to it was a bullet hole. Below it was the tagline “A Cosmic Conflagration.”

Images Courtesy of capnscomics.blogspot.com

Click Images to Enlarge

Slate.com has a great article about what else was fictionalized in Ben Affleck's Argo. Definitely worth a read.

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Member Since 7/12/2010
Filed Under "Sci-Fi" 10/26/2012
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thanos83 - 10/26/2012, 1:33 PM
Very "Anunnaki"
Newbus - 10/26/2012, 1:33 PM

Is the last pic an early version Galactus?
scambune - 10/26/2012, 1:43 PM
an epic scale never yet realized by humans, king kirby = brillz
BubblesShedAndBreakfast - 10/26/2012, 1:44 PM
Is that last pic called Argolactis?
Jollem - 10/26/2012, 1:48 PM
HelaGood - 10/26/2012, 1:50 PM
they need to make a REAL movie based on that art!!!!!!!!!!!!!
soberchimera - 10/26/2012, 1:52 PM
I want to see THIS be made into a movie.
siggisuperman - 10/26/2012, 1:55 PM
That Galactus looking mathafacka looks pretty b-dazz
TheMadman - 10/26/2012, 1:59 PM
Last pic looks like Galactus [frick]ed a Mayan god(dess) or something.
TheGambitFreak - 10/26/2012, 2:04 PM
Yeah, lmao, it looks like Galactus had copulated with one of the Celestials from The Eternals.
Optimus83 - 10/26/2012, 2:04 PM
the last pic is Galactus???
MAXQ1961 - 10/26/2012, 2:13 PM

The last drawing looks to be done in 1978, well after the creaction of Galactus by Kirby
billytwohats - 10/26/2012, 2:13 PM
Frick u Affleck and you're Hollywood bullsh*t movie
AnotherSinisterClone - 10/26/2012, 2:34 PM
makes me wanna go find my new gods comics, awesome galactus looking guy too
Jollem - 10/26/2012, 2:58 PM
marantaz - 10/26/2012, 2:59 PM
On the one hand, it would be just like a duuush like AAAFFFFFLLLeck to ignore Kirby. Kirby was probably too pro-America for him to even want to be near. On the other hand, paying Kirby's heirs for using the art probably would have doubled the movies budget! Thanks for telling 'the rest of the story', nail!
Cosmic1 - 10/26/2012, 4:07 PM
F that its just wrong.
Jollem - 10/26/2012, 4:42 PM
kirby bomb

as for the mickey mouse galactus, who knew kirby had psychic powers? :)
skidz - 10/26/2012, 5:25 PM
And what exactly would we being saying if Afflect HAD included Kirby's work? Probably screaming crap like 'copy-write infringement'! How much money would he have had to pull from the budget just to get temporary access to that artwork? Affleck probably showed more respect by not including it. He's a comics fan, I doubt that was an easy decision. See the movie and make your own decisions as to whether it was important.

Everybody knows how important Kirby was by now, why are we arguing about it?
ThePowerCosmic - 10/26/2012, 6:14 PM
The king! The greatest.
thejon93rd - 10/26/2012, 9:46 PM
I laugh when people insult a film purely based off a news article. However, in relation to this truly amazing art by Jack Kirby, that I hadn't seen or heard mentioned previously, this is absolutely phenomenal work from a true visionary. What an amazing talent that man was, these look great. Plus, that's gotta be some form of Galactus... which is also the coolest look for the character that I've ever laid eyes on. He looks so weird and intimidating, like he should in reality.
DoctorDoak - 10/26/2012, 10:48 PM
Nailbiter: "Ben Affleck's Argo is another example of [Kirby not getting the credit he deserves]."

How so?

The film is LOOSELY based on an actual mission that used Kirby's art... How is the film responsible for robbing him of credit in a fictionalized scenario? They did nothing wrong in regards to Kirby, and he has absolutely NOTHING to do with the film itself. You state that "the film doesn't even acknowledge Jack Kirby's artwork, and of course doesn't use any of his original drawings." I'm sure they also don't acknowledge many real-life people who played vital roles in the actual mission... because it's a fictional movie. The story trivializes and embellishes many real-life facts -- Kirby's role was not singled out by any means.

Also, Jack Kirby IS in the film -- played by Michael Parks. He isn't named in film (and he only has one line), but he is credited in the end as "Jack Kirby". And Michael Parks looks just like Mr Kirby.

Plus, we all know how the Kirby estate acts -- they probably would have sued if the film used his art in any way.

Don't get me wrong, Jack Kirby is a god and I absolutely love and adore him and his eternal body of work, and I feel he deserves much more credit for many other things. But in this case, it's unfounded.

Also, I'm Ben Affleck.
kirbyfan - 10/26/2012, 11:00 PM
Jack King Kirby, Nuff Said!!
loki668 - 10/26/2012, 11:39 PM
I agree with DoctorDoak (except about the part where he says he's Ben Affleck). Kirby IS in the credits and this film is NOT about comics or Kirby's contribution to them. Get off of the soap box and put that wood to use as a bridge so you can get the [frick] over it.

Lord Loki has spoken
GetsugaTensho22 - 10/27/2012, 1:22 AM
Once again, Kirby gets the shaft while Stan "I'm a douche and steal credit" Lee gets all the love. Disgraceful.
gac - 10/27/2012, 4:59 AM
Jack Kirby's influence is far reaching and not just in comics. So many have been influenced by his work including the beard behind this guy. The New Gods came out in 1971 (this came out in 1977). If you haven't read the New Gods, do it, but it'll ring familiar.

sameoldthing - 10/27/2012, 5:54 AM
Love seeing this great Kirby art that I've never had a chance to see..damn that guy was prolific & is truly a King of illustration.
sameoldthing - 10/27/2012, 7:15 AM
I hope it's not lost on anyone that in the Thundarr the Barbarian cartoon which was designed by Kirby,Thundarr would often yell out "Lords Of Light" during battle.

I wonder if that was in tribute to this project,did the writers or producers of that cartoon slip that line in there because they knew Kirby worked on a Lord Of Light production?

It can't be a coincidence can it?
BlazinTexan - 10/28/2012, 10:34 PM
Thundar is [frick]ing awesome
loki668 - 10/31/2012, 10:57 PM
Thundarr's "battle howl" was [frick]ing awful but the show was good.

Lord Loki has spoken

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