Was Jack Kirby's Demon inspired by Prince Valiant?

I did not like the Prince Valiant comic strip as a kid in the 1970s. Even as a comics-obsessed, comics-starved kid, when I got my hands on a Sunday newspaper comics section, I'd look at the word balloon-less, text-heavy, dense panels of Prince Valiant, and scan right past it to Broom Hilda. Even the art, which was obviously beautiful and incredibly skillful, was, like the text, kind of… dry and boring.

For adventure comics, I much preferred the brash, action-packed, passionate stories from comic book creators like Jack Kirby.

But if I'd ever seen the Christmas, 1937 Prince Valiant storyline by Hal Foster, I might have been interested. And it apparently inspired a comic book artist in whom I was vitally interested.

The good prince was fighting someone called the Ogre, and he fashioned a gruesome mask from a goose, using its quills for fangs, its feet for ears, and its skin (?!) to cover his face.

Those grotesque images would have gotten my attention.

And yet, when Valiant confronts the Ogre in this mask, no fight ensues. The Ogre simply has a heart attack and dies in one panel. The end.

But that image must have caught the imagination of Jack Kirby, who in 1972 was casting about for new characters for DC comics after his ambitious Fourth World program was canceled.

Jack introduced The Demon, who has an uncanny resemblance to Prince Valiant's goose-disguise, right down to some kind of stylized goose-feet/fins for ears.

Hat tip: Kevin Stawierway, @skeezix161 and @EdPiskor