Time for some Kirby Dynamics Breaking News!
Ever since I started looking at Jack’s work and discussing him online back in 2002, I’ve been like a black sheep in the comic book collecting community. Criticizing Stan Lee is virtually verboten in the hobby if you want to get a job working for Marvel comics, and trust me… everybody involved in comics fantasizes about working for Marvel comics.
If you even dare to criticize Lee or Marvel you are looked upon as a nutcase, a “fanatic” who refuses to follow the rest of the herd.
And people genuinely love Stan Lee — I’ve gotten emails from Lee fans who told me terrible stories about their childhoods, they suffered through horrible mental and physical abuse, and Stan Lee got them through it. Stan’s comics saved their lives and when I goof on Lee — like the posts on Stan Lee Signature Cow Patties — they get very, very angry at me. They hate me — I’ve gotten tons of hate mail from extremely upset Lee fans over the last decade. And trust me, I have a heart, I feel terrible for those people who had abusive childhoods. I sincerely told them my prayers are with them.
Then I politely asked them to consider not reading my weblog any longer if it causes them stress or pain. I mean that. I’m not trying to hurt people.
I still contend if Lee tells the truth he can be a hero to ALL MANKIND! Not just fans of his from the 60s. That is my goal. I’m trying to save your hero!
I guess If I had just pretended Lee created a few of the characters by himself and if I had not made fun of him, maybe comics fandom would have embraced me?
Awww. Nothing like a group hug. C’mon everybody, let’s hug. Forgive me.
Sadly, for me and the majority of comics fans, a group hug was not to be. I will be forever shunned by the main herd.
There they are! They’re all headed to the new Avengers movie. Look at ‘em go.
When I entered the online Kirby conversation in 2002 I thought a shake-up was needed. I thought the dialogue on the Kirby/Lee authorship debate had stagnated: the collectors who were in their 50s, 60s, and 70s were bored by the subject and making lazy assumptions about Kirby/Lee that I thought were wrong. For example they would make arbitrary Kirby = 70% and Lee = 30% of the credit distinctions that I thought were lame and overly-simplistic — so I decided to take an extreme position for the purposes of debate. I said maybe it was possible Jack pitched the characters. Maybe at least one? And since Lee defines that act as “creation” maybe Jack created a character? Maybe Jack deserves 100% of the credit for creating at least a few of the characters?
That did not go over well…
Many comics experts are arrogant, they think they are infallible (and you see this in all academic disciplines, scholars develop pet theories they will defend until death); most comics historians are very intellectually conservative so afraid to rock the boat; many say they are waiting for Lee to pass away before they go on record with bombshell info (if they ever release it since they want to write forwards in Marvel books); there was a huge generation gap so my sense of humor was considered blasphemous; many comic book fans worship Marvel like religious extremists so historians decide not to risk offending the people who might buy their books; and I can think of 50 other reasons I was not exactly welcomed to the debate. But I wanted to add my voice to the Kirby dialogue. A change was needed. Jack deserved better than a bunch of old men who were bored by comic books giving up on looking at the history thereby shutting the book on Kirby.
Mainly I was disgusted that virtually everybody in the hobby let Lee and Marvel get away with it. Everybody in the hobby from the guy who makes Lee’s toupee, to the guy directing the new Iron Man movie, to the guy who sells the toys in Best Buy, to the guy working at the comic shop were all making tons of…
But no one was willing to stand up for Jack and challenge the Lee/Marvel narrative?
Of course several people have done that over the years: you all know who you are (and I’m sure you all have reams of hate mail from Lee’s fans to prove it just like I do). I respected those few Kirby historians who were willing to challenge the established groupthink and I decided to add my voice to theirs… with some black comedy added to it. I’m not a professional journalist, I’m a goofy blogger, so you’ll have to forgive the lack of profundity at Kirby Dynamics. Consider me the Dr. Strangelove of comics blogs.
As you can see, I am deranged. I’m crazy. hahahahahaha! Thinking Jack even created a single 60s Marvel character is insane! Lee created everything. That’s a fact! Repeat after me:
Lee created everything.
Lee created everything.
Lee created everything.
Lee created everything.
Ahh, doesn’t everybody feel better now? It’s so much easier to just adhere to the popular point of view, right? Submit like everybody else to the popular philosophy.
Yes… that is so much more relaxing. Joining the main herd. Who wants to be the black sheep in that room, eh?
Along with respectable historians who reasearched the topic way before I ever did, I suggested the unthinkable: that Jack created the 1960s Marvel characters he worked on with Stan Lee, and Jack wrote his 60s stories with visuals (Lee did some editing and added text to Jack’s stories). I’m even willing to admit Lee took part in the process! Maybe Lee did come up with a name or two! All I ever did was say Kirby may ALSO have created a few characters (and I think it’s an accepted fact Jack wrote virtually all his stories uncredited and uncompensated). Is questioning history with a few jokes thrown in that evil? Am I satan?
I was ridiculed and brutally castigated by the old guard of comics collectors/self-proclaimed comics historians for not marching in lock-step with them. How dare I, a guy who can barely type and who has no comic books, question the “giants of comic book scholarship” as one guy called himself and his brethren. I still am ridiculed by that group of guys. It’s a literal good ol’ boys network, and when you add in the new generation of fans who have an orgasm whenever they see a commercial for a new X-Men video game, you are definitely in the minority if you don’t bow down before Stan Lee and Marvel Comics. And that’s fine. I enjoy criticism. I mean that. I like a good dust-up. I’ll wear the black hat. Yee haw.
Comics collectors need a villian? I didn’t mind raising some hell. I didn’t mind being the junkyard dog.
Bow wow wow, yippie yo yippie yay.
So for the last 10 years (and for 4 of them here), I played the role of the bad guy. The evil bastard who dared to question Stan Lee’s fake version of the history in his Origins book and his interviews.
Gee, what I did was soooooooooooooooooooo terrible. I stand beside Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin in the pantheon of all-time human evil.
Well, good news to alla’ yaz hate-az out there… for the most part it’s over. The black sheep is dead, the junkyard dog is buried, the Hitler of comics’ blogs is meeting the fate he deserves.
Off with my head!
Here’s the Breaking News!
Actually the news is not that important, because let’s face it nothing on 99.9999999999% of the internet is important.
And sorry Stan Lee fans, I’m not going to be drawn and quartered for my Lee satire…
The Breaking News is just that I’m going to be talking less and posting more of Jack’s art here, and I’m probably going to stop doing the blog in April 2014 when I hit the 4-year mark. Maybe after that I might do a weekly or monthly “Jack Kirby Sunday” column, but for the most part my daily weblog where I did some unconventional stuff is nearing it’s end. It was fun but I’m too busy doing other things nowadays to talk about comics and Kirby. So in the next few days, I’ll kinda wrap up the meta-thread that has been going on here for about 3 years; I’ll post a few more wacky things; I’m not gonna publish the pencil scans I had queued up because the Museum says they have their own special plans for the material; I still have some reader stuff to post, I promise I’ll get to that; then I’ll transition into Kirby Dynamics phase two.
That’s the news… for the most part the evil dragon has been slayed.
Or more specifically the evil dragon is going to focus on other things, so all you Lee fans will be spared any more Lee satire from this site. Now you all can quit complaining. Maybe you can complain about world hunger or something? Nah, Stan is more important.
And with me out of the way… let the deification of Saint Stan Lee begin.
When you all build your giant solid gold statue of Stan Lee and place in in the center of New York where he created all those great characters you love so much, be sure to put a big fat gold crown on his head, because without voices like mine out there attacking the status quo and challenging the fake Lee/Marvel corporate history so many of you worship, the day will come where future historians will completely erase Jack Kirby from the history and Stan Lee will be known as The King of The Comics.
Or maybe a new generation of comics scholars unafraid to question Lee and Marvel will emerge, maybe the tables will turn, and all the hateful Stan Lee apologists will be the ones who are ridiculed?
I personally hope no one is ridiculed. Can’t we all just get along?
I’d like to see a fair and balanced history on the Kirby/Lee subject. I presented my opinions on the subject, and I found the process very rewarding, so as long as the archives for this weblog exist: I encourage future comics historians and historians of popular culture to study the subject of Kirby vs. Lee and weigh in on it.
One last joke: here’s my suggestion for the Stan Lee: King of the Comics statue. Just put a dollar sign on the crown. That actually does look like Lee from the 70s doesn’t it?