Jack Kirby Soul Cameo in New Disney/Pixar Film
We needed a movie like Soul this year. Really, 2020 overall was like the setup for a Pixar movie, especially with the ultimate grandpa taking office in a little under a month. Soul is, literally, about finding a reason to live, but it’s also about finding inspiration. And one of the ways we see how souls are inspired is with the mentors. Unfortunately, Soul number 22 can’t find that “spark,” even though some of the greatest people in history tried to help her (well, only “her” because Tina Fey voices 22). One of those mentors who failed to help Soul 22 happens to be a comic book icon: Jack Kirby.
Jack Kirby Might Have Failed Soul 22, but He Failed With the Best of Them
If you’re going to fail, at least fail in good company. (Image: Soul, Disney/Pixar)
One of the ongoing jokes in Soul is how many famous people in history 22 drove nuts. Abraham Lincoln, Mother Theresa, Gandhi, Socrates, and more just throw their hands in the air and their nametags on the ground. 22 collects the nametags of each famous Mentor who couldn’t help her, and puts them on her wall. And among the titans of history in Soul, we have Jack Kirby.
Having Kirby on the wall, relatively featured in a prominent way, says a lot about how the Pixar creators felt about the master illustrator of Marvel Comics. Kirby co-created, mainly with Stan Lee, hundreds of characters. He inspired countless artists, famous or not. Without question, Jack Kirby influenced the animators who worked on Soul, and probably other Pixar projects. The Incredibles is a love letter to Jack Kirby and Stand Lee.
Maybe there are more comic book creators on the wall, but it will take some true eagle-eyed fans to find more. Soul 22 had a lot of mentors before and after Kirby.
Roman Colombo finished his MFA in 2010 and now teaches writing and graphic novel literature at various Philadelphia colleges. His first novel, Trading Saints for Sinners, was published in 2014. He's currently working on his next novel and hoping to find an agent soon.