Monthly Archives: July 2011

2001 Treasury Art

This is from Jack’s 2001: A Space Odyssey Treasury. I’m not sure if this is from a reprint that I haven’t seen, or maybe a fan re-colored this or adjusted the color levels. Kirby/Giacoia art. I zoomed into a few segments below.

 

Excerpt From Stan Taylor’s Kirby Biography

Stan Taylor is one of my favorite Kirby Historians. He’s written some great articles on Jack and he’s writing a very comprehensive book on Jack’s life. I asked Stan if he would consider sharing an excerpt from his book with all of us and he was gracious enough to do so. I added the photos. Thanks Stan!

Excerpt From Stan Taylor’s Kirby Biography

By Stan Taylor

While plotting Avengers #4, the world changed.  On Nov. 22, 1963 the world wept for a young lost leader. 

America lost its innocence that day, Jack and Roz sat glued to the TV set like all Americans, sobbing for the end to Camelot. It has been said that Jack Kennedy’s murder robbed us of our innocence.  Comic books seemed to become a little harder in the immediate future. Flo Steinberg: the Marvel gal Friday remembers. “It was the first time I ever saw everyone at the whole company listening to the radio.  It was a very sad time.  Things changed.” America needed a hero.

On Dec. 10, 1963, CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite aired a segment about the Beatles phenomenon in England that was filed by their U.K. correspondent, Alexander Kendrick. This was the first official commentary on the group in the U.S. The story contained a clip of the band performing “She Loves You” along with some interviews.

This clip created a strong and favorable impression on Marsha Albert, a 15-year-old girl from Silver Spring, Maryland. She would later be acknowledged by the Washington Post as the Beatle fan that kick started the whole “Beatlemania” craze on USA radio. 
     

However, Walter Cronkite recalled it differently: “In the wake of the [John F. Kennedy] assassination story, nothing else was happening in the world, at least in the United States — stuff that was important, that is. So we actually had an opportunity to use it. “I was not entirely thrilled with it myself, to tell you the truth. It was not a musical phenomenon to me. The phenomenon was a social one, of these rather tawdry-looking guys; we thought at the time, with their long hair and this crazy singing of theirs, this meaningless ‘wah-wah-wah, wee-wee-wee’ stuff they were doing.”

On Feb. 7th the Beatles land at Kennedy Airport in the USA. The young Liverpuddlians are greeted by 3,000 screaming fans. A reporter for the Saturday Evening Post noted: “Anyone listening to a pop radio station in New York would hear a Beatle record every four minutes and anyone listening to a juke box might hear one right after the other.” Beatlemania had arrived!! 

Feb. 9, 1963, the Beatles debut on the Ed Sullivan Show in New York; 50,000 fans apply for 728 available seats. An estimated 73 million viewers watch that night. 


America’s mourning period has officially ended.  The collective mindset has been diverted. The country was caught up in a new craze.  Camelot gave way to Liverpool.  Paul recalled the feeling the band felt while taping. “FEAR, FEAR, FEAR! ‘Cause you know, if somebody made the mistake of saying, ‘Oh, you know how many people are watching this?’ If someone had mentioned 73 million – Ohhhhhhh! So it was very very nerve racking. But you know, by then we had so much practice, that the nerves didn’t show. I can see them when I watch it. I can remember it.”

Avengers #4 hit the stands in Feb. 1964.  It opens with Submariner in a rage, he throws a huge block of ice bearing the body of a man into the sea-simply because some Eskimos were worshipping the figure in the iceblock.  

Caught in the ocean currents, the huge iceblock began to melt and when the Avengers cruised nearby they saw a figure floating in the ocean.  When they rescued the figure they recognized the costume the figure was wearing.  It was the long lost costume of WW2′s greatest hero, Captain America. 

But Cap wasn’t dead, just frozen in a state of suspended animation and the thawing revived him. This was the real Cap, not a pretend villain.   Cap awoke in a fright, reliving the last few seconds when his partner Bucky had died when a plane exploded.  The connection between the Golden Age Timely, and the new Marvel universe was now complete; Cap, Torch and Submariner had all returned, and this time for more than 3-4 issues.

As the Avengers explained to Cap what had happened in the last 18 years, he regained his full strength and fighting form. The Avengers asked him to join, thus Simon and Kirby’s iconic hero was once again brought back, this time to be drawn by the only hand to ever do him justice- Jack Kirby.  One leader lost, and one reborn, once again Captain America coming to America’s rescue in our darkest hour.

Kirby Lawsuit Dismissed Part 2

One of the things I’ve never understood is the hatred I’ve seen directed at Jack and his children over the Disney/Marvel vs. Kirby matter. I can understand the feeling that Marvel/Disney legally owns all of Jack’s creations, and I can also understand fans who want to get more Marvel movies and toys so they feared the lawsuit might slow down that process, but I don’t get the ferocious anger I’ve seen directed at Jack’s family on various internet chat sites. It’s almost as if a significant part of the population needs someone to direct their rage at.

Maybe if more people knew how hard Jack worked on all the Marvel intellectual properties, they’d feel his family at least deserves something? Or maybe a significant part of our culture wants 99% of the wealth to belong to a tiny handful of corporations? I still hope Marvel and Disney will give Jack’s Family a small settlement — I’d love to see a happy ending to this, but it’s beginning to look like the happy endings we see in Disney movies aren’t a reflection of how they treat their creators.

I guess Disney/Marvel and the people who tell Jack’s family to @#$% off can celebrate today. Here are a couple typical comments at the end of the second article I posted earlier to give you a glimpse into the Disney/Marvel vs. Kirby dialogue taking place in cyberspace. I obscured the profanity for those of you who are offended by that kind of language.

http://www.screened.com/news/marvel-wins-big-in-jack-kirby-estate-lawsuit/2665/

Comments to article:

“Marvel Wins Big In Jack Kirby Estate Lawsuit – Comics studio wins summary judgement in a case that could’ve cost them millions.”

Burrobean on July 28, 2011 at 2:18 p.m.
 
While this decision may follow the letter of the law, it still doesn’t feel like justice. Kirby deserved far better treatment by Marvel, and so does his family. Anyone remember Kirby’s battle with Marvel to get his original art back? They fought him tooth and nail on that one.
 
VioletEyedDragon is online on July 28, 2011 at 2:19 p.m.

the instant i heard about this Kirby lawsuit i thought it was nuts.  its great the judge didnt waste anymore time letting the Kirby estate try to steal hard-earned money.

Om1kron on July 28, 2011 at 2:38 p.m.

Um, if Jack Kirby created the characters why does his greedy ass family need any of the money he supposedly deserves for any kick backs I don’t understand how in the hell that’s supposed to work. It’s not like he OWNED a part of Marvel, the guy made a few characters that happened to weather the storm and now his offspring want some kickbacks.

@#$% them!

MrMazz on July 28, 2011 at 5:25 p.m.

they paid him to create and draw and he was paid for his services. Coming back years later asking for a new deal because the IP holders have turned it into something more successful isn’t right.
 
Xaviersx on July 28, 2011 at 5:55 p.m.

Those old companies are sure having to deal with some old issues . . almost putting Marvel in reboot territory with its distinguished competitors who dealing with creators heirs and dodging control/money issues. Interesting how two companies that can’t get along are kinda back to back in close fights. Of course, they have big backers in their parent companies. Either way, it’s established that creators should create their own IP outside of contracted work and bring to backers as a creator owned IP, or understand that they are creating and/or working on company owned/work for hire stuff and may only see critical reward besides work pay. So, at least today’s waters aren’t muddy.
   
mike20 on July 28, 2011 at 6:30 p.m.
 
Lawsuits like this shouldn’t even make it to court.

Doctorchimp on July 28, 2011 at 9:33 p.m.

Except Kirby is @#$%ing dead and this is just his family wanting some greedy cash.
 
Kirby was hired to make characters for Marvel and he did just that.

Kirby Lawsuit Dismissed

Thanks to all the readers sending in news that apparently the Kirby suit against Marvel has been dismissed. Here are a couple sources reporting on it:

‘Incredible Hulk’ Copyright Is Marvel’s in Ruling Against Co-Creator Heirs

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-28/-incredible-hulk-copyright-is-marvel-s-in-ruling-against-co-creator-heirs.html

By Don Jeffrey and Chris Dolmetsch – Jul 28, 2011 8:32 PM ET .

(excerpt)

Walt Disney Co. (DIS)’s Marvel Entertainment owns the rights to the Incredible Hulk and X-Men comic-book characters, a federal judge said, ruling against the heirs of the superheroes’ co-creator Jack Kirby.

The children of the late cartoonist didn’t have the legal right to terminate the comic-book publisher’s copyrights for the characters, U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan said today in a court order. Marvel said it owned the rights because Kirby was an employee of the company.

“This case is not about whether Jack Kirby or Stan Lee is the real ‘creator’ of Marvel characters,” McMahon said in her order. “It is about whether Kirby’s work qualifies as work-for- hire under the Copyright Act of 1909.” The Kirby works “were indeed works for hire,” she said.

The decision affects the rights to the characters in movies as well as comic books. The 2008 Marvel-produced film “The Incredible Hulk” grossed $263.4 million worldwide, according to boxofficemojo.com. Burbank, California-based Disney bought Marvel last year for $4.2 billion.

“We are pleased that in this case, the judge has confirmed Marvel’s ownership rights,” Disney said in a statement e-mailed by Zenia Mucha, a spokeswoman.

In 2009, Kirby’s adult children sent 45 notices to Marvel to terminate license renewals for the characters in comics published from 1958 to 1963. Marvel sued in January 2010, seeking a judgment that the termination notices were invalid.

“We respectfully disagree with the court’s ruling and intend to appeal,” Marc Toberoff, a lawyer for the Kirbys, said in an e-mail. “Sometimes you have to lose to win.”

Kirby, who died in 1994, also created or co-created the Fantastic Four and the Avengers. His heirs said their father was a freelance artist paid by the page who received no benefits from Marvel. Stan Lee, who worked for Marvel as an editor, is credited as co-author of the Hulk.

Kirby’s adult children, Lisa, Barbara, Neal and Susan, asked the court to declare the termination notices valid because their father owned his work.

“The uncontroverted evidence shows that Marvel had no legal obligation to purchase Kirby’s artwork, and that Kirby, who worked out of his basement and paid for his own supplies, bore the financial risk of creation not Marvel,” they said in their motion for summary judgment.

Marvel said in court papers that Kirby granted the company rights to the characters in 1972 and that his children waited too long to make their copyright claims.

Marvel Wins Big In Jack Kirby Estate Lawsuit – Comics studio wins summary judgement in a case that could’ve cost them millions. By Matt Rorie - July 28, 2011

http://www.screened.com/news/marvel-wins-big-in-jack-kirby-estate-lawsuit/2665/

(excerpt)

Toberoff was leading the estate of Jack Kirby, who famously co-created much of the Marvel universe with Stan Lee, in a lawsuit against Disney, Marvel, Sony, Universal, 20th Century Fox, and Paramount Pictures. So, basically, every major studio in Hollywood. Why? Well, in the aftermath of the Superman ruling, it must’ve made sense to the Kirby heirs that they owned part of the rights to whatever Kirby helped create, a list of characters that includes the X-Men, the Avengers, Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, The Fantastic Four…the bulk of the Marvel universe, that is, with the exception of some of the Steve Ditko co-creations like Spider-Man and Doctor Strange.

Toberoff apparently didn’t manage to repeat his success in his lawsuit against Marvel, however; his suit was summarily dismissed today. The Kirby heirs were seeking to terminate Marvel’s copyright over their father’s creations and retain a portion of all of the profits stemming from their use starting in 2014. Depending on their definition of “portion,” that could’ve wound up earning them, and costing Marvel and their partner studios, hundreds of millions of dollars in the future. This affects the comics, of course, but the bulk of the money that Marvel’s making now is no doubt coming from film projects and copyright licensing.

Unfortunately for Toberoff and the heirs, U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon thought that Kirby’s works were made on a “for hire” basis, which means that they aren’t considered to be under the same laws that allow creators to re-obtain the rights to their creations after a certain amount of time. In her words (as quoted by Variety):

“McMahon concluded that “none of the evidence” submitted by the Kirby heirs “makes so much as a dent in the ‘almost irrebutable’ presumption that the Kirby Works were works made for hire.” She said that they had not “raised any genuine issue of fact necessitating a trial.”„This is a clear-cut victory for Marvel, although we’ll see what longer-term ramifications it has. With millions of dollars at stake, I’d bet that Toberoff and the Kirby heirs try taking a different tack in their legal battle going forward.

Chaykin Does Kirby

Here’s an email from Kenn Thomas:

The attached are from The Hulk color magazine #21, June 1980. Chaykin says these are depictions of Kirby. Thought you might want to consider them for Kirby Dynamics or just enjoy seeing them. The same issue has a letter from Doc Vassalo.

Chaykin is a bit of a self-loathing comics artist, and maybe the self-loathing goes deeper. In this interview book (Brandon Costello’s Howard Chaykin Conversations)  he says “I remember when the Fourth World stuff came out I was smoking so much dope that I couldn’t care less. I was never a huge fan of Kirby’s work in that period anyway–for me the first issues of Fantastic Four, that’s the shit. The Fourth World stuff was just too fucking weird for me. Looking back as a fan–not a professional, as a fan–I always felt that the great irony of his career is that he spent almost his entire life being associated with tall, better looking Jewish guys…”

Barda Commissions

Thanks to Frank F. for these comments on the Young Brides # 6 post:

Hey, Rob,

Could be the inks were by S/K studios–the assembly line way. One guy outlines the pencils in ink, another spots in the blacks and shading and then some touch up and tweaks by another guy. Those guys could be Joe, Jack and Mort Meskin and whomever else was working in the studio at that time that had art chores.

Frank also sent this in responding to the Big Barda illustration:

Have you been to the WhatifKirby site lately? These are on there in the Recreations Gallery.