Monthly Archives: January 2013

Thor 162, pg. 17 Pencil Scan

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Thanks to Rand Hoppe for posting new upgraded Kirby pencil scans over at the Kirby Museum Facebook page. I encourage you to check it out once in awhile. There are always new things being posted there.

For those of you who don’t do Facebook I’ll continue to post some of them here as well. This is page 17 from “Galactus Is Born,” Thor 162, March 1969.

1111 Using film terminology, this is a great example of Jack Kirby as the uncredited Writer/Director of this page: Jack is like a movie director telling you the story with his visuals; he is the writer of the story using text to tell Lee what is happening in his story in the margins. For example, notice in the final panel Jack writes that Galactus feels the urge for cosmic energy, and Lee includes that information in a word balloon. Lee just uses different words, like “living energy” instead of “cosmic energy.” I could pull a homeless guy off the street and if he followed Jack’s directions he could easily add captions to this page.

If you consider Lee’s text was written after Jack wrote and illustrated the story (so for the sake of argument please ignore Lee’s word balloons for a moment) I’ve said before that in this phase of the process Jack Kirby is the Principal Author of this page, and of this story. Jack is the writer and artist of his penciled stories.

When Lee adds captions, I believe Lee does deserve a writer credit and an editor credit. Therefore, Stan Lee is the Secondary Author of the story, in the same way I would be the Secondary Author if I added word balloons to this page. So the accurate credits on a story like this should read:

Jack Kirby: Writer/Artist

Stan Lee: Writer/Editor

If the True Believers in the 60s were confused by these credits, Lee always could have clarified the division of labor in his monthly Bullpen Bulletins. This is an accurate, fair, honest, chronological way to express the division of labor in the Kirby/Lee collaboration as opposed to the published “Smilin’ Stan Lee and Jolly Jack Kirby Production” credit which is completely misleading especially considering Lee’s pattern in the early 1960s of listing himself as the Writer/Editor and Jolly Jackson as nothing more than a “Penciler.”

2013-01-30_165356Quite frankly, considering the frustration he must have been feeling around this period, and the passion Jack had for his work, one has to wonder if Jack found the “Jolly Jack” nickname kind of annoying, if not insulting.

Luckily we have a few Kirby pencil scans like the one at the top of the post with margin notes intact, so after looking at a page like this, although I certainly don’t expect Marvel to ever change the credits on the Kirby/Lee stories, anyone who knows anything about the subject of comics history will know there needs to be a HUGE asterix next to the credit boxes in all of the stories Jack Kirby worked on with “Smilin’ Stan.”

Here is the published page.

Thor 162-17

There is a lot of spectacular art in this story. The published version is vastly superior to the reprints — this is one of those rare books where the printing is pretty solid throughout this book. At least in the copy I used to own and the scans I have.

Thanks to Rand Hoppe and Tom Kraft for scanning the pencil photocopies and for sharing them with us at the Kirby Museum Facebook page. To me, sharing those kinds of source documents online is one of the best ways to set the record straight when it comes to giving people accurate information so they can reach their own conclusions when discussing the Kirby/Lee authorship debate. Stan Lee and Marvel may never acknowledge Jack Kirby as the creator of his 1960s characters and the Principal Author of his stories, but as long as scans like this are floating around on the internet… anyone with half a brain who sees them is going to know the truth.

NICE Expo 2012

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Above , the famous image of Jack and Alan Moore from TJKC.

Here’s an email from Russell Payne I never got a chance to post from last year where he talks about the NICE expo last year and Alan Moore’s talk. Funny to read some of the comments underneath the video clip at the YouTube site. I get a lot of those types of emails here too. :-) Thanks to Russ for sending in the email and link, and sorry it took me so long to post it.

Hey Rob

I’m back from the NICE expo.

Jack Kirby panel went really well, Shaky Kane (Bulletproof Coffin artist) and Biff (Ace Comics) sat on the panel with me and we were asked questions about Kirby and then took a Q&A session with the audience. There was a good turn out, more people than I’ve had on previous Kirby panels. Got a great reception and an enthusiastic round of applause at the end. Loads of people came up to me after and over the next day to chat about it and about Kirby. There’s still a lot of love out there for Jack and his work.

Alan Moore’s talk was fantastic, really great, he came across very well, very affable and likeable, and I agreed with just about everything he said. He did a great bit on Stan Lee and Kirby, at one point he even says he believes Kirby wrote and drew those sixties stories, meaning Kirby’s margin notes, suggesting that Stan just added a few Thees and Thous. It’ll be interesting to see if these comments cause any ripples on the internet.

 Multipletom’s Youtube account has most of the talk uploaded in chunks:

Alan Moore Q & A

Chatted quite a bit to Shaky Kane and RM Guerra who are both massive Kirby fans, absolutely full of enthusiasm for his work. Also saw some original Kirby art, a nice page with Hercules and the eyes of Zeus, I still get a real kick whenever I see original Kirby art in the flesh. I totally failed to remember to take a camera though, so apologies for the lack of photos.A few artists agreed to do something for a charity OMAC piece for the museum, and I handed out the musuem URL to a load of people, so a worthwhile trip.Phew. Hardly slept, up all night talking comics, I need a day of sleep to recover now……Russ

More Kirby Pencil Scan Art

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Here’s another one of the new scans Rand Hoppe posted at the Kirby Museum Facebook page. I loved this image as a kid. How many artists in comics in the 70s or even now could make an entire page that features nothing but machinery and outer space crackle with so much energy! When I get home tomorrow I’ll post a scan of the published page. Royer did a great job on the published version, but Jack’s linework in the black areas here gives the image so much more flow, activity and vibrancy. A lot of artists would have just put a little x in areas they wanted the inker to make all-black. Not Jack. Sketching the lines like that must have been a part of his process in terms of finding the whole image and making the contrast work. Just amazing the passion and time Jack put into a page like this when back at the Marvel offices, creeps trying to take his job away from him were calling him a “hack.” Obviously, I’m a Kirby fan so I’m a little biased, but I think this page is a flat-out comics masterpiece.

Kudos to the Kirby Museum for making these scans. I’m not sure how the first batch of pencil-photocopies were made — maybe TwoMorrows used a xerox machine? But clearly these scans are superior. I’m glad we can see the whole page now as well. TwoMorrows should really consider doing an entire issue of TJKC featuring these types of scans that are more like photographs so we can see the subtleties of Jack’s pencils a little more. To me, this is like seeing brand new Jack Kirby art.

One more request to the Kirby Museum: looking at the scan I posted on 01/24, it looks like you all may have cleaned that up a little?

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Maybe you changed the color setting to make the image black and white? If you folks tweaked the image, please don’t do that. Please show the actual scans like I assume the one at the top of this post is — that scan, although pretty awful in terms of it’s low resolution, is by far the best example of one of Jack’s pencil scans I’ve seen published! It almost looks like a photo of Jack’s pencils. And I hope the Museum will share more of these with us — especially now while there is still a lot of interest in Jack and his work because the Marvel movies are making so much money. And of course, thanks again to the Museum for sharing these.

2001 #7, pg. 7

2001_7_07Here’s the published image with inks by Mike Royer. There is some spectacular artwork in that 2001 series. Looking at the pencils, I realize the colors on this image really take away from it’s impact. If you add a lot of different colors to that machine and add some bright colors to the crackle and speed lines for outer space, this image could be even more eye-popping.

Kirby Museum – Upgraded Pencil Scans

The Kirby Museum is upgrading their scans of Jack’s pencil photocopies. Here’s another great example at the Kirby Musuem Facebook page. Hopefully at some point the Museum will post these at a higher resolution. The scans online don’t need to be publication quality if there is a concern about avoiding some kind of piracy of the images, but it would be easier to really appreciate the subtleties of Jack’s pencilwork if we could zoom in a bit, plus they are already a little fuzzy to begin with.

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Every now and then I get an email from someone who complains about Mike Royer’s inks on Jack, but looking at these pencil scans it’s pretty obvious Mike did a terrific job remaining faithful to Jack’s work. I’m not at my home computer now, but this image looks exactly like the published image to my eye. I’ll post that tomorrow and continue to empty out the mail bag.