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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 23 May 2018 at 1:51pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

These people were too busy making the stuff to write down all the minutia of how they were doing it at every stage for later posterity. Comic books were pretty much still seen as ephemera in 1961, made to sell at the time to people of that day. I guess that might be stating the obvious but maybe needs saying?

I think I can recognize a Stan 'style' of having a monster angle more than other writers/creators. I did have something around a thousand '60s Marvels* at one time back to Atlas, and even a few before, plus a lot of those 25 cent reprints they did starting in the mid-'60s and various later reprints of the '70s-early '80s. I must've had at least two dozen pre super character monster titles, some with tryouts of sorts for characters like the Sandman. Do you see much of a monster angle in the New Gods, Omac, Inhumans, Captain Victory? I don't recall there being as much as in the early silver age Marvels. I guess there was Devil Dinosaur though!

* edited because I had over two thousand '60s comics, but only around half would've been Marvels, and yes, some people still actually read them even if they might get an extra crease. :^)


Edited by Rebecca Jansen on 23 May 2018 at 2:01pm
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Steve Coates
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Posted: 23 May 2018 at 2:07pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Truly, there is no need to look at any other book than the Fantastic Four for the evolution of the credits. Issue #1 has "Stan Lee + Jack Kirby" and by issue #11 the credits are separated into script, art, inking and lettering. The split credits continue until issue #56 with some minor variations. About then the credits concerning Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko changed. It is said by some, Jack preferred, "produced by" because it allowed for ambiguity in the contributions.

I think it is the separation of the credits into distinct roles which has caused so many ill feelings. Too many want the credits to define the contribution and don't realize it should be Stan Lee and Jack Kirby: Storytellers, or Joe Simon and Jack Kirby; Storytellers, or Roger Stern and John Byrne...

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Rick Whiting
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Posted: 23 May 2018 at 6:17pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

When was Kirby "out of work" post FF?

_______________________________


After searching online I found the book about comics that Joe Simon and his son Jim wrote. The book is called THE COMIC BOOK MAKERS. Also, after doing a little more research I found the quote from the book that I was talking about and I was totally wrong. The quote I was referring to was about the creation of Spider-Man and the whole thing about Kirby being out of work was (according to Joe Simon) when Kirby was looking for work in the 50's. So I was totally wrong and I apologize for the mistake. Here's a link to the article followed by a quote from the article.


http://alnickerson.blogspot.com/2009/02/who-really-created-s pider-man.html

Where did Joe Simon’s Silver Spider/Spiderman character come from? According to Simon’s THE COMIC BOOK MAKERS (2003), Joe Simon had created his own Spiderman in 1953. He worked with Jack Oleck, his brother-in-law, on the script. Oleck suggested on calling the character "the Silver Spider" instead of "Spiderman." Simon then asked C.C. Beck (of Captain Marvel fame) to pencil the first few pages of THE SILVER SPIDER before pitching the idea to Harvey Comics. By the time Joe Simon went to Jack Kirby with the concept, he had decided to call the character "the Fly" instead of "the Silver Spider." Simon told Kirby: "C.C. Beck is out of the business. We’re doing this over. Same script, only we’re calling him the Fly instead of Silver Spider." Joe Simon and Jack Kirby reworked the character to become the Fly as a property for Archie Comic Publications. It is also noteworthy to point out that Joe Simon had asked Jack Kirby about his WILL EISNER’S SHOP TALK comment. In THE COMIC BOOK MAKERS, Simon asked Kirby why he would make a claim that Joe was "Spider-Man’s father", and according to Simon, Kirby told him: "I had no work… I had a family to support, rent to pay… what else could I do?" It appears that Jack Kirby was indeed in possession of the SPIDERMAN logo that Joe Simon created. Again, from THE COMIC BOOK MAKERS, Joe Simon states that "[Stan] Lee called Kirby in and asked him if he had any comic characters lying around that hadn’t been used. As I learned years later, Jack brought in the SPIDERMAN logo that I had loaned him before we changed the name to the Silver Spider."   Mark Evanier confirmed to me of the existence of a SPIDERMAN logo: "Jack definitely did have the SPIDERMAN logo that Joe Simon had designed. He showed it to me when I first met him."
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Jason Czeskleba
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Posted: 23 May 2018 at 6:32pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

 Matte Hawes wrote:
Stan's detractors want to continue to put forth that he never gave credit, which is beyond ridiculous in the face of the evidence. You can argue he didn't specify EXACTLY who contributed what to a creation in every instance, but he definitely credited his partners.

Yes, it would be ridiculous to say he never gave anyone credit.  As has been noted, he was a pioneer in putting credits into comics in the first place.  However, it is a valid concern that he often did not give his collaborators credit for their contributions to the story, and (probably more importantly to them) they were not paid extra for having to co-plot in addition to drawing.  This is something that several of his collaborators had a problem with, not just Kirby.  I think it is a valid point of criticism.

We don't know for sure, but it seems to me a reasonable hypothesis that the change in the format of the credits starting with FF #56 (going from "Script: Stan Lee, Art: Jack Kirby" to "Produced by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby") was done because Kirby was unhappy about credit.  This change occurred shortly after the Herald-Tribune article that is well-known to have upset Kirby.   

 
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 23 May 2018 at 7:21pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

"they were not paid extra for having to co-plot in addition to drawing"

This makes it sound like they were forced into something, but it may well have been what the artists preferred as a looser more flexible approach... more enjoyable, and less work than trying to make something visual in a thou shalt not deviate sort of formal script by perhaps a non-visual writer.

I can relate this to musicians and song-writing credits; often '60s groups would work up a song a member or two had brought in and make contributions, but not get a credit, nor think of asking for one. Later on it became more of an awareness to credit everyone even if it became a list of as many as seven names, this was when rock music was considered a legitimate and perhaps lasting art with more than a juvenile audience. Comic books as I say were considered as ephemeral as the latest hit pop or rock song, actually more so for awhile as another artist might cover an old song a lot more often than a publisher would reprint an old comic in the earlier half of the '60s.

I think a lot of redress did go Jack Kirby's way, and that there were a lot of things that could have been done better, especially at the time when his wife was in need of medical attention. You may have heard of various instances of redress in the music business such as an artist now being credited for a work they'd been left off before, or royalties paid for the borrowing by one artist from another (think Led Zeppelin and various older blues creators). The pendulum rightly has swung from what was a situation of some people getting the short end, but it doesn't need to swing to some other extreme, nor vilify everyone who did get credit and compensation in the old state of affairs.

Or maybe some people just like to vicariously be part of a good grievance and victim story?


Edited by Rebecca Jansen on 23 May 2018 at 7:22pm
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Jason Czeskleba
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Posted: 23 May 2018 at 7:56pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

 John Byrne wrote:
"Hey, Jackie Boy! I've got an idea for a series about four people with superpowers. Whadaya think we should call it?"


Sure, that's possible.  Given what we know about their working relationship though, I think the more likely scenario is that he would solicit Kirby's opinion about the characters and story itself, or that Kirby would offer then unsolicited.

And again, regardless of Stan's statement in Origins of Marvel Comics, I think the bulk of the evidence supports the greater likelihood that Kirby had input into what ended up in the FF #1 plot synopsis. 


Edited by Jason Czeskleba on 23 May 2018 at 8:19pm
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Jason Czeskleba
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Posted: 23 May 2018 at 8:11pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

 Rebecca Jansen wrote:
This makes it sound like they were forced into something, but it may well have been what the artists preferred as a looser more flexible approach... more enjoyable, and less work than trying to make something visual in a thou shalt not deviate sort of formal script by perhaps a non-visual writer.


Some artists did enjoy the creativity involved in working via the Marvel Method.  But several artists who worked with Stan Lee expressed unhappiness with the amount of writing they were asked to do and the lack of direct compensation for it.  As I noted, Kirby was not the only one.  Ditko, Wally Wood, Joe Orlando, Stan Goldberg, and Dick Ayers all talked about being frustrated with the situation.  Goldberg and Ayers did not leave, but they both talked about confronting Stan and being rebuffed. 

It's true that they were not forced to take those jobs, and they could have left and attempted to find work elsewhere.  Regardless, that doesn't change the overall ethical question of whether it was right for Stan to pay himself his full page rate when he was working as a co-writer, and to not pay or credit his co-writers for their writing work.  It's not my intention to vilify Stan, but I do think this is a fair point of criticism.  I don't think that he should be considered exempt from all criticism whatsoever or held completely blameless for the unhappiness of several of his former collaborators.


Edited by Jason Czeskleba on 23 May 2018 at 8:20pm
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John Byrne
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Posted: 23 May 2018 at 8:39pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Sure, that's possible. Given what we know about their working relationship though, I think the more likely scenario is that he would solicit Kirby's opinion about the characters and story itself, or that Kirby would offer then unsolicited.

•••

What do we "know" about their "working relationship"?

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