Here’s a post from Kandou Erik on the discussion with Scott Edelman.
Jack Kirby’s Writing, Scott Edelman Captain America Debate
by Kandou Erik
I was interested to read about this debate going on, over Scott Edelman’s apparent dislike of Jack Kirby’s writing and dialogue. I feel like I have a somewhat in-the-middle perspective about this, as getting to know Kirby’s history – I can see what Edelman is talking about, but I whole heartily disagree. It’s true that Jack’s writing was more stiff than Stan Lee’s scripting — but Jack always wrote the characters honestly and truthfully. For example, his work on New Gods, I noticed that while the dialogue was sometimes unnatural and clunky, over time I developed another perspective of it: just like his art, it’s straight, clean, with exacting edges, and a powerful feel — which might not make for natural dialogue, but it’s honest dialogue. For years having Stan Lee sometimes miss the real point of the dialogue or plot points Kirby was giving him, I think the subject of Jack’s writing, or perceived faults, is a touchy subject.
Regarding so-called Kirby Kultists – who think the King could do no wrong; it’s not that Jack didn’t make errors, or sometimes have off-panel or pages — but, for fans of Jack Kirby, I think those faults invariably become a piece of the overall artistic fabric of his work. His work on Jimmy Olsen, for example, where Jimmy and Superman’s faces where re-drawn; while it was never right to do that to him, those alterations still make a comment about Jack’s art, and the kind of struggles he went through.
Whether this is me giving Kirby “a pass” or not, I don’t care. I simply think if you like the art and the stories, and the power and meaning he brought to them – then you also have to take his faults as well. It’s just my opinion, though. I don’t mean to attack Mr. Edelman’s opinion, either. I just think there has to be a middle-ground between dismissing Kirby’s writing, and praising his art. Especially for comics – the two are pretty inseparable. Plus, really, being raised on the comic-book formula of people stating their actions, thinking out loud, and phrasing things in ways no one actually talks like – Kirby’s writing isn’t that much different from Stan’s. I know many people see a vast difference in their two styles – but I just don’t see it. Yes, with Stan the dialogue is more smooth. For Kirby his dialogue is more direct and matter-of fact. Beyond that, their writing doesn’t seem that much different to me.