Monthly Archives: May 2012

A Few Links

Coming up soon, I’ll be presenting some guest posts by readers, then I’ll get back to the business as usual of showing Jack’s art, although I see so many new Kirby blogs popping up I’m tempted to retire. 😀

Here’s some links sent in by readers where a few other sites discussed some of the goings-on here at Kirby Dynamics during Stan Lee month. My thanks to these bloggers for checking out the site and commenting, and thanks to readers for sending in the links and for sending in so many other great items like all the great Kirby scans and feedback on the site.

Marvel Boycott Diary: Passover Edition

http://frequential.blogspot.com/

Item! …at the Jack Kirby Museum, Rob Steibel has been using his Kirby Dynamics blog for the past week for a series where he pretends to interview Stan Lee about his collaborations with Jack. It’s a great series. Rob’s premise is twofold. He argues that since the judge’s decision in Kirby family’s case against Marvel hinged entirely on Stan’s testimony and claims that he created Marvel, and because nobody ever seems to ask Stan any hard questions about the conflicting stories he’s told over the years, there are a lot of unanswered questions. The whole thing is done with a sense of humour since the

http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

Stan/Jack credit question is such a tired debate for so many fans. Rob summarizes the series in his last post but there are many diversions including a debate with Greg Theakston and a summary of the debate on facebook. Along the way, much is made of the infamous “synopsis” of Fantastic Four #1, which Stan and Marvel claim is proof of Stan’s arguments. If you are at all interested in these matters, you should really read everything here.

With Great Chutzpah…

http://timebulleteer.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/with-great-chutzpah/

In the midst of the imbroglio over Alan Moore and Before Watchmen, Rob Steibel’s Kirby Dynamics blog reminds us that Marvel’s record of caring for creators isn’t any better.

In a new documentary about Stan Lee, “The Man” takes sole credit for creating the Black Panther when history indicates that some guy by the name of Jack Kirby had just as much – if not more – involvement in conceiving the character.

Lee also claims credit for The Falcon, when the idea – as originally revealed in the forward to a Marvel Masterworks Captain America volume – apparently originated from the mind of Gene Colan.

Guess those constant cameos in every single Marvel film, cartoon and video game weren’t enough to stroke Stan’s ego


The Daily Kirby

Thanks to a reader for sending in a link to yet another new Kirby blog.

http://dailykirby.blogspot.com/

Recently the author of this site is highlighting Jack’s two-page spreads.

The Marvel of Age of Comics

A reader just let me know one of the sites I mentioned earlier is operated by Tom Brevoort: http://themarvelageofcomics.tumblr.com/

If you want to see all the art on the site just click on the “archive” button in the box off to the right and you can see everything on the site.

I guess tumblr.com is a new version of blogspot/twitter where people are exchanging images.

Kirby Influences?

Just spending a few minutes following some of the links on the last couple websites I showed you today, I see there are a lot of interesting posts out there on Jack and his work. Here’s one I thought was worth checking out:

http://abstractcomics.blogspot.com/2012/04/kirby-slash.html

The author compares a piece of Kirby art to another piece of art.

I don’t agree with all of the pairings — I don’t know if Kirby was influenced by those particular pieces of art for his own work in the examples given — but I think the first example is spot on, and the second comparison is compelling although I suspect the similarity between those two might be a coincidence based on the low angle of the composition.

These two are intriguing but only Jack would really be able to tell us if he used either of these specific works of art as the inspiration for his own image.

It’s really amazing to me how many people are out there blogging about Jack’s work. Wonderful to see Kirby art providing so many people with inspiration and food for thought.

More Kirby Art

Here’s another site with a lot of Kirby artwork.

http://themarvelageofcomics.tumblr.com/

I wish these sites gave you the ability to go through the archives month-by-month, the only way to look at everything is to go through the weblog page by page. You can see some examples in this blog where the author transcribes some of Jack’s margin notes. Here’s a few examples. I’m not sure who the author of the site is, but the text is his/hers. I’ll post some more examples of these in the future.

Splash page to the Captain America story from TALES OF SUSPENSE #94 by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott. Based on the change to the inking credit, it seems likely that Sinnott wasn’t intended to be the original inker, but was a last-minute replacement. A note at the top indicates that the job was due completed 9/19.

Kirby’s border notes read:

AIM GUY SAYS—YOU DIE—YOU’LL TROUBLE AIM NO MORE—

CAP SAYS—WELL WHY DON’T YOU SHOOT? GET IT OVER WITH—

And a tiny note in the corner seems to be Stan working out some dialogue:

AIM REBORN

MODOK—THIS IS YOUR MASTER SUPREME

A page from the Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD story in STRANGE TALES #146, layouts by Jack Kirby, pencils by Don Heck and inks by Mike Esposito.

A number of Kirby’s border notes remain:

RIP OUT MACHINERY—WIRING (words missing) OFF ELECTRIC BARRIER

SHIELD AGENTS SURGE FORWARD. TECHNICIANS ARE DEAD. FURY SAYS THIS IS A BREAK BUT DANGER IS STILL GREAT. (words missing) WITH ARTIFICIAL MEN RUNNING AMUCK

DUM DUM LOOKS AT

FURY, FOLLOWED BY MEN, SAYS NOW WE’LL SEE WHAT THIS WEIRDO OPERATION IS ABOUT—IF WE LIVE THROUGH THIS

MAN MAKES SPEECH—HE SAYS A.I.M. INDUSTRIES IS NOT A BUSINESS—BUT A CABAL OF GREAT MINDS—GEARED TO BENEFIT WORLD

A great page from one of the best of the early X-MEN issue, layouts by Jack Kirby, pencils by Werner Roth and inks by Dick Ayers.

Lots of Kirby border notes still visible on this one:

HAND SHOOTS OUT OF DARKNESS AND NAILS CYCLOPS.(KEEP FIGURES ALMOST SILHOUETTE WITH DRAMATIC HIGHLIGHTS)

CYCLOPS REACTS—SHOOTS FORCE RAY FROM WHERE BLOW CAME—BUT HITS NOTHING

HAND SHOOTS OUT FROM BEHIND CYCLOPS AND BELTS HIM GOOD

CYCLOPS IS DOWN. HE TRIES TO SHAKE OFF BLOW. HE LISTENS FOR ADVERSARY BUT CAN’T HEAR HIM. IT’S AS IF HE VANISHED.

CYCLOPS BLASTS RAY IN ALL DIRECTIONS

CYCLOPS LISTENS. HE MADE ALL ROUND SWEEP OF THE ROOM. IF HE HIT ANYONE HE DIDN’T HEAR HIM FALL.

CYCLOPS TRIES TO GET

HAND COMES OUT OF

And Stan has notes for production man Sol Brodsky:

SOL—COULD ARM BE MORE VAGUE?

SOL—MORE VAGUE?

Jack’s Drawing Board

The Museum Facebook page has also been showing some great Kirby-related images recently. Above is a photo of Jack’s drawing area. Jack must have smudged graphite all over every inch of his house — look how gray the back of that chair is for example. Pretty simple set-up when you consider all the gadgets contemporary digital artists use.

This is kind of a bleak image, especially without Jack in it working on a new piece of art, but obviously this approach worked for Jack — he focused on the page in front of him and probably didn’t even notice the blank wall in front of him. I think he had a TV in there somewhere to keep him company or a radio. I recall reading somewhere that Jack had used an old dining room chair for many years, so it looks like at some point he upgraded to that office chair.

You would think something like this would be in the Smithsonian, it would work well in a  little display on comic art and would probably inspire a lot of people. Maybe one day they’ll do a presentation on comics history and they can borrow this from the Kirby family for that show.

It’s probably a good thing the Kirbys still own all of this: the Smithsonian has so many hundreds of thousands of important pieces of art and history, this would probably be packed away in a box somewhere conceivably forever if they had it.

Warehouse scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark

From: Eric Stephenson of Image comics

Here’s an email making the rounds someone just forwarded to me:

From Eric Stephenson of Image Comics:

YOU’RE WITH STUPID NOW

James Sturm wrote a great piece about why he’s boycotting the Avengers film for Slate, and while I recommend reading that, what I really want to bring people’s attention to are the moronic remarks in the comments section. It’s essentially the incoherent rambling of people with no sense of history and no sense of right or wrong, people content to mindlessly carry water for the all-too common notion that we should all just lap up whatever shit comes down the pipe.The comment that best sums up the relentless ignorance and negativity for me is this one:

“Wait, so we should boycott Marvel because it acted like a company?

“I feel for the Kirby family, but if I boycotted every company that did everything anti-ethical I’d be, like, living in a hole in the ground and trying to weave clothing out of bark. No corporation is clean, period.”

Except… that’s not exactly true. In fact, I’d argue it’s quite far from the truth.

While I certainly don’t adhere to Mitt Romney’s mistaken notion that corporations are people, too, I likewise don’t buy into the belief that all corporations are inherently evil. It’s not a black and white world, and there’s good and bad on both ends of the spectrum. What’s more, there’s are stark differences between evil and greed, between malevolence and irresponsibility. I would never argue that Marvel is evil, but as I’ve noted in the past, I think the fact Jack Kirby has never been rightfully credited or adequately compensated as the co-creator of many of Marvel’s most popular characters is not only reprehensible, but incredibly irresponsible.

Beyond that, though, this ongoing resignation to blindly accept things as they are, no matter how bad, is both frustrating and disturbing. Once upon a time, the United States was a country that celebrated individual achievement, yet in this thread of comments, we have dozens of people not only defending Marvel’s historically poor treatment of a man who literally saved the company for all but certain doom, but denigrating him in the process. There is absolutely no respect or compassion is shown for a man who worked himself up from poverty to follow his dreams. No sympathy for a man who literally survived the battlefields of Word War II and then returned home to become one of the greatest figures in the history of American comics, only to be treated so shabbily by the company he helped transform from sinking ship to soaring titan.

At one point – and I’m paraphrasing here – someone says he never cared for Kirby’s artwork, so who gives cares if Marvel gave him a raw deal. There are people arguing they Kirby knew the deal when he “signed up” to work for Marvel, seemingly unaware of the fact that Stan Lee knew the deal as well, but was somehow rewarded differently. One commenter goes so far as to repeatedly insist Kirby was not involved in the creation of characters like The Avengers at all, despite the fact there is ample evidence to the contrary.

Remarkably, there are other, even less informed opinions aired in this thread, and it’s something of a testament to just how pointless comments sections seem at times. It’s just people talking to be heard, regardless of the fact they clearly don’t understand what they’ve read and have nothing of value to say. It’s a sad commentary not just on Internet culture, but on our society as a whole when people wear their ignorance and intolerance almost as a badge of honor. Mob rule by a bunch of people in “I’m with stupid”shirts, all so willfully clueless they never stop to think the person next to them is wearing one, too.

“Wait, so we should boycott Marvel because it acted like a company?

“I feel for the Kirby family, but if I boycotted every company that did everything anti-ethical I’d be, like, living in a hole in the ground and trying to weave clothing out of bark. No corporation is clean, period.”

What utter bullshit.

I addressed this somewhat in an earlier post, but seriously, when did we become such a cowardly society? When did we decide nothing is worth fighting for? That there is no right and no wrong – that morals, ethics and manners are essentially meaningless?

I don’t think boycotts are the answer to every problem, but you know what? I don’t begrudge people like James Sturm or Steve Bissette for advocating them. Boycotts can be effective, and a lot of good has been done, not just in this country, but around the world, when people have come together to their voices heard. Meanwhile, name a single great advance that was the result of cynical fools shaking their heads in contempt while someone else stood up for what they believed to be right. Nothing ever changed by just sitting back and accepting bad behavior.

And from my perspective, buying into the notion that Stan Lee was the sole creator of the Marvel Universe is encouraging bad behavior. As Sturm points out in his piece, Marvel was not a one-man show. Jack Kirby co-created those characters. Steve Ditko co-created those characters. But Lee received much better treatment than either of them, and with Marvel’s full support, has engaged in more or less re-writing an important chapter the history of comics. And I don’t say that as someone with an ax to grind with Stan Lee – it would be stupid to suggest his contributions were not valuable, but it’s equally dumb to perpetuate the lie that he did it on his own.

I grew up reading nothing but Marvel comics. I still have tremendously warm feelings for a great many of those characters, and remember many of those stories with incredible fondness. Marvel’s books fill my shelves, and over the course of the last year, I filled an entire spinner rack with the comics from the ’70s that first inspired my intense love of this medium. But I don’t buy Marvel comics today, and I won’t be seeing The Avengers. Not because I’m boycotting it, but because, for all the good feelings I have for those characters and comics of my youth, I have even more respect for Jack Kirby. Without him – without the characters he created and helped create – I wouldn’t be in this business. And more than likely, neither would Marvel.

Sadly, not many people grasp the full scope of Marvel’s poor treatment of Kirby and his family. Even fewer seem capable of comprehending the ridiculous lack of respect for a figure central to Marvel’s ongoing success. Not everybody lives and breathes comics, though, and I understand that, but if that’s the case: Why feel compelled to fill the comments section of an editorial seeking to explain the situation with so much ignorance?

Agree.

Disagree.

Whatever.

But at least know what you’re talking about. And don’t condemn people for having principles, or wishing to see a decades-old wrong made right. It’s just stupid.

Team Cul de Sac

Here is a piece of art by Karl Kesel that will be in the new Team Cul de Sac book which is available for pre-order. It will be out next month. I grew up seeing Richard Thompson’s wonderful work in the pages of the Washington Post, so I was very sad to hear he is suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Proceeds from this book will go to Michael J. Fox’s Parkinsons research project. Here is one of the press releases for the Team Cul de Sac project.

There are about 150 great artists whose work appears in the book. Just a handful of the names you will recognize include Jim Davis, Bill Amend, Sergio Aragones, Mort Walker, Gary Trudeau, Patrick Oliphant, Cathy Guisewite, Tom Richmond, Patrick McDonnell, Lynn Johnston, Bill Watterson, and Robert Steibel.

Okay, so I’m not as famous as Bill Watterson, but it’s a great honor that one of my cartoons was included in the collection. Here is my character Scrap from the Apple Creek Kids with Richard’s character Dill. Kirby-related: you can see a bit of Kirby crackle and a few squiggles there in the waterfall. 😀

One of the things I tried to capture with this piece was the feeling of plunging into the unknown, which is what I think Richard or anyone with Parkinsons must experience when they first learn they have the disease and they have to begin the lifelong process of learning how to deal with the unpredictable effects of Parkinsons on a daily basis — the goal is to hold on for the ride and try and make the best out of the tumultuous journey that lies ahead.

I gave Dill a completely blank expression: he symbolizes that moment of transition — peering over the precipice — do we go from joy to terror, terror to joy? It’s that in-between moment, like a freeze-frame from an old animated cartoon where for an instant the face is expressionless — the features are going from one extreme to the other. My Scrap character’s expression reflects the personality of many of the young people I encounter nowadays: adventurous, totally fearless, seemingly indestructible, but a little naive — just the kind of friend you would want sitting next to you if you are starting a new chapter in your roller coaster life where you’ll have to battle something like Parkinsons disease, in addition to all the other trials and tribulations of everyday life.

I love little details Richard Thompson puts in his work like having Dill wear the helmet when he’s rocking out in his kiddie car in the Cul de Sac Sunday comic below.

If you want to check out a sample of Richard’s incredible body of work, you can visit his website. Richard is one of the best cartoonists in the business.

Here’s the whole list of cartoonists in the Team Cul de Sac collection.

Team Cul de Sac book Contributor list

Amend, Bill
Anderson, Brian
Anderson, Mark
Aragones, Sergio
Artley, Steven
Auger, Michael
Basset, Brian
Belefski, Carolyn
Bell-Lundy, Sandra
Billadeau, Jeremy
Bolling, Ruben
Borgman, Jim
Boris, Daniel
Bratton, Doug
Browne, Chance
Burns, Jean
Carillo, Tony
Clark, David
Cole, Michael
Cole, Tyson
Conley, Steve
Conroy, John
Corsetto, Danielle
Cravens, Greg
Curtis, Stacy
Dale, Barbara
Davis, Nikki and Derek
Davis, Jim
Dembecki, Matt
Detorie, Rick
DiPerri, Nathan
Dodge, Jason
Dorkin, Evan
Duffy, Joe
Dunlap-Shohl, Peter
Eaton, Ken
Eliot, Jan
Evans, Greg
Farrago, Andrew
Faust, Craig
Ferdinand, Ron
Feuti, Norm
Fies, Brian
Fishburne, Tom
Fosgitt, Jay
GaliïŹanakis, Nick
Gallant, Shannon
Gammill, Tom
Garrity, Shaenon
Gilligan, Paul
Grall, Caanan
Griffin, Dawn
Guigar, Brad
Guisewite, Cathy
Hagen, David
Hallatt, Alex
Hambrock, John
Hansen, Frank
Harbin, Dustin
Harrell, Rob
Hatem, Rob
Held, Edward
Hinds, Bill
Holbrook, Bill
Holm, Matt
Janocha, Bill
Jantze, Colette and Michael
Jarrell, Sandy
Johnson, Aaron
Johnson, Ian
Johnson, Kerry G
Johnston, Lynn
Jones, Doug
Juliano, Phil
Keil, Birgit
Kellet, Dave
Kesel, Karl
King, Jamie
Kirkman, Rick
Koford, Adam
Konor, Susan Camilleri
Koutsoutis, Constatine
Krause, Peter
Langridge, Roger
LaRocque, Bill
Lazarus, Mell
Leach, “Tiki” Carol
Lemon, J.
Lewis, Donna A.
Libenson, Terri
Lintula, Samuli
Lopez, Rene
Lotshaw, John
Lunsford, Annie
Mahood, Jonathan
Malki, David
Mallett, Jef
Mastronianni, Mason
Mathias, Don
McDonald, Dave
McDonnell, Patrick
McNutt, Kelly
Mitchell, Bill
Mitchell, Bono
Moynihan, Dan
Oliphant, Patrick
Parisi, Mark
Pastis, Stephan
Peirce, Lincoln
Perry, Charles
Piccolo, Rina
Piro, Stephanie
Pittman, Eddie
Polk, Jerrard K.
Price, Hillary,
Reaves, Eric,
Rempe, Scott
Richmond, Tom
Rolfe, D.M.
Rose, John
Satz, Crowden
Schechner, Chris
Schweizer, Chris
Scott, Jerry
Sikoryak, R.
Sinnott, Adrian C
Snyder III, John K.
Soo, Kean
Sorensen, Jen
Sparks, Chris
Steibel, Robert
Stephens, Jay
Sutliff, Joe
Tallon, Sarah
Tatulli, Mark
Thompson, Dan
Tomaselli, David
Trap, Paul
Trudeau, G.B.
Turnbloom, Lucas
Villena, Jose
Walker, Brian
Walker, James Tim
Walker, Mort
Warnes, Tim
Watterson, Bill
Willems, Mo
Wilson, Emily
Wolfe, Ron
Wuerker, Matt
Yoe, Craig
York, Steve
Zinn, David

I hope you all will consider supporting this project. It’s one of those rare occasions where the comics community can come together and pay tribute to a man like Richard Thompson — who is one of the real class acts in the industry — while at the same time we can help to fight Parkinsons.

Monster Blog!

Here’s a pretty cool site many of you might not have seen before:

Monsterblog: Kirby monster stories never reprinted

Tons of great Kirby monster stories posted in their entirety. Here’s a few samples:

In the 4 images above, you can really see the foundation of what would become the distinctive, explosive, dynamic Marvel house style (what I call the Marvel Kirby house style) beginning to take shape. Many comics fans have discussed noticing these books on the stands in the 1960s. They seemed to jump off the spinner rack and punch readers between the eyeballs.

In the next few pages you can see some examples of Kirby the craftsman at work producing beautiful little pieces of comics art, easily transitioning in and out of different storytelling genres.

Here’s the text from monsterblog  introducing the books:

Most of Jack Kirby’s 188 pre-superhero stories have been reprinted; here’s the 39 that have NEVER been, in chronological order. As collectors provide me with scans from their original issues, I’ll be posting these stories on Monster Blog for your eternal enjoyment and edification!

I’m sure if you’ve never seen this site before you’re going to be spending a few hours here. A lot of great treasures. Have fun! 🙂