With the release of the blockbuster movie “The Avengers” there has been a renewed focus on Jack Kirby and Marvel. It is not surprising that fans of Jack Kirby would continue to complain about how little he received for his part in the creation of the Marvel universe compared to how much the company benefited. The discussion has even made it into the more popular media. This is a good thing because you do not have to be a Kirby Cultists to believe an injustice has been done. And it is not just about the money. Yes the various movies have included mentioning Kirby but always towards the end of the closing credits. Open any Marvel comic today and you will only see credit for Kirby as a creator in Captain America (and that thanks to Joe’s Simon’s last legal battle with Marvel).
While I am pleased that there is renewed attention to how Kirby was treated (and how his estate continues to be treated) I am always a little perplexed about some of the response. Perplexed but not surprised. Logically one might think that the opposite of the Kirby Cultists would be Lee Cultists but such is not the case. I do not think I have ever come across a fan of Stan Lee who was not a fan of Kirby as well. No the other extreme is occupied by comic book fans with rather puzzling motivations. I never truly understood their position because none of them seem to be able to provide an explanation that is remotely logical. For example take the recent posting by Scott Kurtz (Where Credit is Due). I will not provide a rebuttal of Kurtz’s arguments. One valiant attempt to refute Kurtz has appeared (Scott Kurtz is still Scott Kurtz) but I think even that writer would agree that he did not cover all of Kurtz’s points. Not because of the soundness of Kurtz’s arguments but rather of the over abundance of inaccurate, inconsistent and illogical claims. I have no idea were the vitriol from Kurtz and the ilk comes from but it certainly is not supported by their writings. Which leaves me to believe that their anger comes from some other source that they either do not recognize or want to publicly acknowledge.