4 pages from FF # 57 (Dec 1966). Not very good scans in my files — such was the nature of exchanging comics scans back in 2005-or-so when I got the bulk of my Kirby scans from other collectors — but this still should give you a nice taste of the terrific art in this classic story.
Greg Theakson has Lee’s “plot” for this story in his Jack Magic Volume 2. It’s literally one sentence that says something like “Doc Doom wants to take Silver Surfer’s board” which meant that other than that detail, Jack probably had to come up with every single other story element in that book. Can anyone out there imagine working with an artist and not making it crystal clear in the credits that the artist came up with 99% of the story? Plus Jack may have told Lee that was his plan for FF # 57 and that Lee typewritten “plot” was just part of the editorial process — a one page piece of paper that discussed what Jack was doing that month. Maybe Greg will let me post that synopsis here. The image in his book is really hazy, I can barely read it. Can’t imagine what happened there — not sure if there was an error in publication or Greg might have used a really low resolution scan.
I know a lot of you think I’m way too harsh on Stan Lee, but I can’t help but seriously question that guy’s integrity. Stan’s compromise to start using “Produced by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby” in no way shape or form suggests the real division of labor in the Kirby/Lee relationship. Jack Kirby wrote and illustrated this story. Lee added the text based on Jack’s illustrated story and Jack’s margin notes. If Lee did tell Jack to have Doc Doom want Silver Surfer’s surfboard? That ain’t a plot — that’s an editor handing out a job assignment. If I told Charles Chaplin to do a story about a tramp running around with a dog, should A Dog’s Life say “Produced by Rob Steibel and Charles Chaplin?” Gimmie a @#$%ing break.
Here’s a gag I did on the subject — the credits for the Chaplin film if Lee had been able to get his greedy paws on it:
If at the end of his life Jack hadn’t finally cracked and started to speak out about the authorship subject, even with the evidence in the margin notes, comics scholars and fans might still wrongly assume FF # 57 was a Stan Lee story.