Another classic. Was there really anything in comics in the 70s that was “better” than a book like this? Obviously underground comics, and European sci-fi an stuff like that was great, but was either DC or Marvel putting anything out that had this kind of dynamism and energy? I had to buy these books when I was 11-years-old. I might have thought they were unconventional, but the visuals grabbed me. And I guess some would argue today’s stories are more “real” or more “mature” but is there any artist right now doing anything in comics that blows away what Jack was doing in this book? Aren’t we still looking at the greatest comics artist ever still at the top of his game during this period? It’s not just the art, this is a great story. This could easily be the plotline for the next Captain America movie and it would be a smash. Ya’ got the Red Skull, Arnim friggin’ Zola, the hot blonde and the hot brunette, and to top it all off the Monster’s Brain. The guy was producing classics of comics art.
So why the hell were the Marvel Staffers trying to get Jack fired!?
Stupid question. It was for the same reason Marvel continues to marginalize Jack’s creative contributions to the “Marvel Universe”…
The only reason I could see for Marvel not using this story for the Captain America II film is that at this point they probably still want to distance their movies from material Kirby clearly wrote, although I think we’ve shown over the years Jack also clearly wrote all of that 60s material as well. Here’s a few pages:
The phony “kontroversy” by the staffer continues in the Cap letters columns. At least it will be over soon and Jack will leave for animation…
And how about the multiple “armadillo” references and the “our normally erudite letter answers” comments from the staffer. And what’s with this “Awk!” remark being used so much all of a sudden.
Again, I have to point out the absolutely incredible contrast between Kirby’s masterpieces of comics art in these books and the truly idiotic pseudo Stan Lee gibberish from the cretin editing this letters column. I find it astounding. We just witnessed a vendeatta that lasted well over a year where some interns who call themselves “staffers” ran a merciless smear campaign in Jack’s book designed to get rid of him. And they succeeded!
You know the funny thing? In our backwards culture where corporate America has turned our whole world completely upside down, not only do I bet to this day these staffers are proud of themselves for dethroning the King, but I can guarantee you that there are people reading this right now that will applaud them for doing so. Not because Jack sucked and he needed to retire, but because we live in a society that celebrates this sort of behavior. So here’s to you Marvel staffers, congratulations for getting rid of Jack Kirby. Congratulations on building your little careers as “writers” on the rubble you created in these letters columns. You symbolize the transition from what many consider America’s greatest generation to a generation of back-stabbing, spineless cowards focused solely on one thing and one thing only…
Here’s to you, creepy Marvel 70s “staffers”… cheers.
Since now you guys are getting older too like Jack was in the 70s, I could say I hope what goes around comes around… but I wish you all no ill will. I’m not that type of person.
Great to see Jack and Joe’s creation continuing to be such a big part of our culture. I hope the Kirby and Simon families are getting some kind of reasonable royalty on all Captain America merchandise, but as far as I know it’s next to nothing… or nothing.
As I’ve said many times over the years, folks, this is more than me “whining” about how Jack got “screwed.” This is me telling you that all you idiots who consider yourself “pro-big business” and all of you who demonize everyone who criticizes you as “socialists” — just wait until the day comes and your dollars are worthless and your bank accounts are empty. This isn’t about one forgotten artist, it’s about America and the way we allow our corporations to treat all of us.
An incredibly minor change in the tail of the Skulls word balloon. Can’t imagine why that needed to be changed. And all of those blue lines just to have someone white-out the quotations around “Shield.” Great composition by Jack; notice Sharon Carter’s shadow off to the left. And the Red Skull with his back to the reader, slowly and menacingly turning, that big dark shadow behind him.
Looks like Jack spelled “unparalleled” wrong. I’m sure I’ve done the same thing over the years. Remember life before spellchecker? Amazingly, kids nowadays will never know such a time in their lives.
Another great image of Sharon Carter. And she’s not some shrinking violet she’s going toe to toe with one of the most evil Nazis of all time. I like the touch of Jack having the Skull kind of fixing his jacket after Carter just whalloped him with that energy blast.
Not a spectacular stand-alone panel, but still very solid although just a talking head shot. It’s great how Jack has the Red Skull kind of cowering at the bottom of the frame. My guess is Jack probably had three dots at the bottom of the Skull’s caption, and an editor whited that out adding the exclamation point. Pretty pointless and nit-picky change if you ask me, but it doesn’t really interfere with the story. Mainly it’s a shame to see so many Kirby/Royer masterpieces marked up with lots of haphazard blue lines, but I know, I know, back then this wasn’t considered “art.”
This was the panel that made me buy this page. My Kirby original art collection definitely had a “Kirby Grrls” theme to it. Just a kick ass image of Sharon Carter after she kicked the Red Skull’s arse. You can see where Jack had “Shield” in quotes, probably an example of the tug of war going on where Jack wanted to avoid having Howard the Duck and Luke Cage and all the other Marvel Universe characters invade his current mythos. Notice the perfection of Royer’s inks. There is zero white-out on virtually any of his pages unless it’s added by a Marvel “staffer” or editor. Royer was a genuine marksman with a brush. I love this image, if I had any wall space, I’d frame it and hang it up right now. It’s a pretty HQ scan, so feel free to print it out yourself. You’ll see it looks pretty spectacular. Just a wonderful little slice of comic book pop art that, if you ask me, could hang alongside any masterpiece of fine art.
Here’s a link to Jeremy Kirby’s webpage:
Jack Kirby: King of Comics
I encourage you to check it out. Lots of great photos like this one.
And here’s a quick anecdote that relates to how misunderstandings happen amongst comic book collectors or “experts” or whatever. On the old Kirby-l yahoo forum a bunch of people were talking about the original art to the Galactus Trilogy. One collector said he thinks Stan Lee has all of it. The collector based that hypothesis on a story he told us about going to an auction (probably Heritage) and Stan Lee showed up with the original art to a complete Silver Surfer book. The collector told us John Buscema was there with his lawyers and I guess John got his art back (I don’t recall the whole story verbatim. Obviously this is hearsay, I’m giving you a second-hand account of the collector’s first person account).
Anyway, after I read that I said, “If Stan does have the Galactus Trilogy — Jack’s property — what does that say about Stan Lee’s integrity?” Especially considering how wealthy Lee is. Those books would change Jack’s family’s lives if the stolen property was returned to the heirs of the rightful owner.
And man, this one guy on Kirby-l went ballistic. I think he hates my guts to this day over that. He said, and I remember this phrase exactly, he said I was using “weasel words.” How dare I accuse Stan Lee of having the original art to the Galactus Trilogy! That’s slander! Libel!
I tried to explain to the guy, not only did I not say that (the collector said that), all I said was what IF he has it. Apparently just asking hypothetical questions nowadays is offensive to people. It’s slanderous and libelous to ask hypothetical questions based on first person accounts from experts!
And of course the “feud” that developed between me and that individual is a bit deeper than that (and I always find feuds infantile so at some point end them by refusing to participate in them further), but the point is that sometimes I find people in comics (and out in the real world too) can get very angry and offended over nothing, or over miscommunications, so I try and correct those misunderstandings if possible.
When I respect someone like Mark Evanier, who I haven’t spoken to in several years, I at least want to make sure he’s not going to punch me in the face if I see him at a convention. I’m just checking in via Kirby Dynamics.
I suspect this is much ado about nothing, I’m sure he’s busy and that’s great, I wish Mark the best. Buy his book if you haven’t yet.