TCJ ARCHIVE

Jack Kirby Interview

PRE-WAR CAREER

GROTH: You worked at this newspaper syndicate when you were 18; after that you worked as an assistant to Max Fleischer.

KIRBY: Yes. I was in the Fleischer studio.

GROTH: How did that come about?

KIRBY: I applied for it, and I was never really turned down for anything. I just did things as well as I could, and I was accepted. Then I went to work with the Fleischer brothers, and they did animation. It was an assembly line. In order to draw a figure taking a full step I would draw six pictures and then pass it along to some other fellow. Then he would make the other step. This long table — lots of people working at that table…It was a factory in a sense, like my father’s factory. They were manufacturing pictures.

GROTH: You didn’t like that?

KIRBY: I didn’t like that. I wanted to do my own.

GROTH: How long did you work at the Fleischer studios?

KIRBY: Not very long. I’m an individualist. I always felt that I wanted to do what I wanted to do.

GROTH: Which animated features did you work on?

KIRBY: I worked on Betty Boop and Popeye.

GROTH: You were an in-betweener. Can you tell me what an in-betweener did?

KIRBY: An in-betweener penciled in the action in between a full step. In other words the man before you would begin knowing the full step. It might take three or four pictures. The in-betweener would draw the in between steps. He would draw the segment of taking that step. Animation was done in this type of way. The right way. It still is the right way in many places. I work for animation houses [now] but in an individual sense. I would conceive a story, I would conceive characters, everybody else did the animation.

GROTH: You must have visited your father’s factory?

KIRBY: Never. But I did see other factories.

GROTH: What factory did your father work in?

KIRBY: It was a garment factory.

GROTH: It’s funny, my father is roughly your age and he grew up in New York, too.

KIRBY: I would admire your father because like myself he was the right guy for the right time.

GROTH: You both grew up in New York at the same time.

KIRBY: Yes, and we might have been drafted together. That was a horrible thing to be drafted because you began to meet people that you didn’t like. You found yourself in trucks with people from different parts of the country. Now remember, this was a time of very little communication. There were very few people who owned automobiles so nobody traveled back and forth across the country unless it was by railroad. Planes wouldn’t do it.

GROTH: You were drafted?

KIRBY: I was drafted.

GROTH: What year would that have been?

ROZ KIRBY: We were married in ’42.

KIRBY: Yeah, I was drafted in ’42.

ROZ KIRBY: I was married to you…

KIRBY: Yeah, I know you were married to me!

ROZ KIRBY: We were married in ’42, and you were drafted next year, ’43.

KIRBY: Middle of ’43. Yeah, because I took basic training down in Georgia at that time. After taking basic training I found myself on the bus going to Boston to a POE—port of embarkation. Who’s sitting next to me in the bus but Mort Weisinger of DC.

GROTH: Did you know him at the time?

KIRBY: I knew Mort very well. I knew everybody at DC.

GROTH: Now you were drafted when you were 26. Can you describe your comic book career prior to your being drafted?

KIRBY: I was doing very well. I was doing Captain America.

GROTH: You went from the Fleischer studio to where?

KIRBY: I went from Lincoln to Fleischer, from Fleischer I had to get out in a hurry because I couldn’t take that kind of thing. I began to see the first comic books appear. I can remember them hanging from the newsstands.

GROTH: I think you worked for Victor Fox. Would that have been the next place you worked?

KIRBY: Victor Fox was another syndicated house.

GROTH: What did you do for Victor Fox?

KIRBY: I did comic strips.

GROTH: You assisted on something called “Blue Beetle” I believe.

KIRBY: Yes, I did the “Blue Beetle” and a thing called “Socko the Seadog”. I had already met Joe Simon.

GROTH: And “Abdul Jones”.

KIRBY: Yes. I did a variety of strips for small syndicates.

GROTH: Can you explain how you got these jobs?

KIRBY: I just went up and applied for them and got them.

GROTH: Just knocked on doors?

KIRBY: Yes.

GROTH: Did you work in their studio?

KIRBY: Yes. It would be like a loft really. They were large lofts, plenty of space.

GROTH: How many people would be working in one of these places? Would it be a whole row of artists?

KIRBY: Yes. Maybe five or six people, sometimes more. It depended on how big a company it was and who the artists were. They were beginning to discover comics just

like we were except they were exploring the business end of comics. Now the business end of comics is an entirely different type of thing.

GROTH: Was this a nine to five job?

KIRBY: Yes.

GROTH: Were you paid per piece or per hour?

KIRBY: I was paid per week. A flat weekly rate.

GROTH: And you were expected to turn out an adequate number of pages?

KIRBY: Yes, they wanted a certain amount of pages so they could pass them to the next fellow.

GROTH: Did you pencil from a full a script?

KIRBY: I’d try to be innovative. I’d give them my version of it. They’d pass my version along to be completed. Somehow it always worked.

GROTH: Tell me if I’m wrong — the studio created these comics and then sold them as a package to publishers who requested them from the studio.

KIRBY: Yes. Sometime they’d have their own magazines like Jumbo, they’d publish them in association with others.

GROTH: When you were working for studios would you create things out of whole cloth or were you given specific assignments?

KIRBY: We created things out of whole cloth. I was creating things all the time. Joe [Simon] spent a lot of time with the Goodmans who owned…

GROTH: Actually, I meant when you were working in a studio.

KIRBY: Oh, before Joe I was improvising my own material all the time.

The Dreamer featured one of Will Eisner's takes on Kirby ©1986 Will Eisner

GROTH: The studios were owned by Victor Fox and Eisner and Iger — were these the people…

KIRBY: These were the business people.

GROTH: And these were the people you dealt with directly?

KIRBY: Yes. I dealt directly with them. They told me what they wanted done, gave me space in which to work.

GROTH: What was your attitude to comics like when you were working in the studios?

KIRBY: I felt the comics grew because they became the common man’s literature, the common man’s art, the common man’s publishing.

GROTH: What was working in a studio like?

KIRBY: Well, the Eisner-Iger studio — they were very energetic people, they were fine business people, making phone calls all over the place to people I’d never heard of. They were running a business. They wanted things done a certain way. Victor Fox was a character. He’d look up at the ceiling with a big cigar, this little fellow, very broad, going back and forth with his hands behind his back saying, “I’m the king of the comics! I’m the king of the comics!” and we would watch him, and of course we would smile because he was a genuine type. You’d see his type in a movie, and you’d recognize him.

GROTH: How old a man was he at that time?

KIRBY: At that time he would have been in his 40s.

GROTH: Do you know what he did before that, where he came from?

KIRBY: No, I don’t.

GROTH: He was supposed to be something of a crook. Did you ever have any bad experiences with Fox?

KIRBY: No. I don’t think Fox sharked any of the people who worked with me. We were small fish to Fox. He was a man with big ambitions. I think he moved to Canada, never heard from again. Maybe he wanted to become king of Canada and never made it.

GROTH: What was he like to work under as a boss?

KIRBY: He was very good to work for as a boss. Fox never bothered you. Fox liked production. We turned out the amount of pages he wanted, and he’d publish them. Like most of the fellows we got along fine. I couldn’t picture myself liking a guy like Fox, but I did. I genuinely liked Victor Fox.

GROTH: Did you ever see Fox socially?

KIRBY: No, I never saw Fox socially. You couldn’t, there was too big a gap. Fox would never mingle with a guy like me. Like I said. Fox was ambitious.

GROTH: What was working for Eisner and Iger like?

KIRBY: Eisner and Iger were energetic, efficient, and they weren’t out to be friendly, they were out to produce. Eventually, we all became personal friends. It was time for thorough professionals. Eisner and Iger wanted to expand like everybody else. They were in business — I was part of that business and I had to produce for them. So I did my best to produce.

GROTH: Did you deal directly with Iger or Eisner or both?

KIRBY: I dealt more with Eisner.

GROTH: How did you hook up with Joe Simon?

KIRBY: Going up to these offices we’d meet up, a lot of us also going to do business with these people. I had never met a guy like Joe. I had never met a guy from Syracuse, New York. I’d never met a guy who wasn’t a New Yorker. Joe looked like a politician. I said, “Gee, isn’t that wonderful?” Joe was an impressive guy. He still is. He got square deals for us, where in the past to get a square deal was an unknown quantity. Comics as a business became a real thing for all of us. I never knew anything about living with lawyers, but if you don’t live with a lawyer, you’re going to be on the bottom of the pile.

GROTH: Back then when you were working for the shops, and then you hooked up with Joe Simon did you and he create —

KIRBY: Yes we created jointly.

GROTH: Now. When you did this, you apparently weren’t aware of the financial ramifications — that people were going to make a lot of money on these things.

KIRBY: Oh, we were aware of it, but I didn’t know how to do business. I didn’t know where to begin to do business. I was a kid from the Lower East Side who’d never seen a lawyer, who’d never done business. I was from a family that like millions of others where doing business was concerned I was completely naive.

GROTH: Had you ever thought of going to the publishers and saying, we think this work is worth more than you’re paying us to produce it?

KIRBY: We didn’t know the value of it because Joe got the sales figures. I began to learn about sales figures. Comics were new and spreading very fast. I was just getting paid a page rate.

GROTH: Were you aware that the companies were making a lot of money on these, and you were just getting a page rate, just a fixed rate?

KIRBY: Yes. I accepted that fact because I was bringing in more money. Don’t get me wrong — the more money the books made, the more money I received, and I was feeling great. My purpose was what my father’s purpose was — to make a living and to have a family. I was going to do the right thing. My dream to me was to have money to support it and to live in the kind of house I liked.

GROTH: Did it dawn on you that the publishers you were working for were making a whole lot more money than you were off your work?

KIRBY: I didn’t care. I couldn’t conceive what they were doing in those offices. I couldn’t conceive of working with accountants. I couldn’t conceive of working with sales people. I couldn’t conceive of distribution. I couldn’t conceive of it because I couldn’t envision it. I’ve never run a business, I’ve never run a big business, and comics were growing fast. Superman had that kind of a business. They had every kind of accoutrement you could use for a big business.

GROTH: Did you resent the publishers?

KIRBY: No, I didn’t resent them. In fact, I got along well with them. When I wanted a little more money, they gave me a little more money.

ROZ KIRBY: They threw you bones.

KIRBY: Yeah, they threw me bones, and the publishers liked me.

GROTH: I bet.

KIRBY: I got along well with them.

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223 Responses to Jack Kirby Interview

  1. Pingback: When comics history attacks: Read Gary Groth’s controversial Jack Kirby interview | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment

  2. BradyDale says:

    I would love love love if you made a one page version of this so I could put it on Instapaper and read it on my Kindle…

  3. Grady Hendrix says:

    Agreed!!!

  4. Joey Manley says:

    Today, across the street from 480 Lexington Avenue, where DC’s offices used to be, and Jack Kirby went to be drafted into the Army, you’ll find Midtown Comics.

  5. Nick Marino says:

    Really glad you posted this. A great read. THX!

  6. Goodman says:

    When you republished this interview in book form, you included an editorial note mentioning that some of Jack’s claims… um… weren’t exactly true. It might have been nice to have included the note here, given the inflamatory nature of the interview.

  7. Dan Nadel says:

    That’s not accurate. Gary Groth published a note saying that some of the claims were possibly exaggerated (Groth never said they were not true), a thought I echoed upon publishing this on Monday.

  8. Kim Scarborough says:

    Yeah, I don’t believe some of this. That bit about Stan Lee didn’t even do the dialogue… that’s pretty shaky. Lee’s weird nerdy/hipster dialogue is pretty distinctive, and the style was the same in the stuff he did with Ditko (and Ditko has never claimed that Lee didn’t write the dialogue).

    Also, I doubt very much that Kirby designed Spider-Man. Put Spider-Man next to a bunch of Ditko superheroes and a bunch of Kirby superheroes and it’ll be obvious. Ditko was the one who didn’t like capes, and would give characters whole-head masks whenever possible. It’s hard to recognize now because we’re all so used to him, but Spider-Man’s costume is really weird. Nobody but Ditko would have designed something like that when told “do a spider-themed superhero”. Black web designs on red, with arbitrary solid blue patches on the sides, blank white eyes, and webbing under the arms?

  9. patrick ford says:

    What is apparent to me every time I see comments on the interview is that many people comment on it without having read it.
    What is really going on in the interview is Kirby is ripping Lee to bits, making clear he has no respect for Lee as a writer or as a man.
    The interview is a conversation, in conversation there is almost always use of hyperbole, comments which are exaggerated for humor (even if it’s an insulting humor), and comments which might be understood by the participants but might not be understood by the reader.
    Since Kirby commented in the interview as well as other interviews that Stan dialogued the stories in the printed comics it ought to be apparent that in saying Stan had someone in the office fill in the balloons Kirby was simply heaping scorn on Lee. As to Kirby’s claims that he wrote the dialogue, isn’t it clear Kirby is describing the dialogue he wrote on the pages as a guide for Lee?
    Kirby says he created Spiderman, well he did create a character called Spiderman who is a teenage orphan with spider powers. Kirby said he also created the costume. Again he did create a Spiderman costume, and could very easily have remembered creating the costume used in the published comic book.
    Why is Kirby so angry with Lee? Maybe it’s because Lee took the whole writers page rate when Kirby was creating the characters and plots. Meanwhile Kirby was being paid about half what artists at DC were being paid for penciled art.
    This issue has become a major topic in the current lawsuit. Lee and Marvel now contend Kirby didn’t create any of the characters, and that Kirby wasn’t involved in the plots. The reason for this revisionist history on the part of Lee is obvious. If Kirby wasn’t paid for writing how could his writing possibly be work-made-for-hire?

  10. patrick ford says:

    Dick Ayers (Alter-Ego Magazine): “Stan said, ‘I can’t think of a story for Sgt. Fury. We won’t have an issue unless you think of something.”
    when Ayers requested a plot credit Stan told him, “Since when did you develop an ego? Get out of here!”
    Ayers wrote a wordless story (And not a Word was Spoken) for Two-Gun Kid #61.
    Ayers submitted a payment requisition to Stan for the plot feeling he should be paid more for writing the wordless story. Stan and Ayers argued, and Stan agreed to pay Ayers for five pages of lettering.

    Stan Goldberg interview with Jim Amash from Alter-Ego Magazine edited by Roy Thomas.

    GOLDBERG: “Jack would sit there at lunch, and tell us these great ideas about what he was going to do next. It was like the ideas were bursting from every pore of his body. It was very interesting because he was a fountain of ideas. One day Jack came in and had this 20-page story and proceded to tell us he was having his house and studio painted. I asked, “Where did you draw the story?” Jack said,”I put my board on the stair banister, and drew it.”
    GOLDBERG:” Stan would drive me home and we’d plot our stories in the car. I’d say to Stan,”How’s this? Millie loses her job.” He’d say,”Great! Give me 25 pages.” And that took him off the hook. One time I was in Stan’s office and I told him, “I don’t have another plot.” Stan got out of his chair and walked over to me, looked me in the face, and said very seriously, “I don’t ever want to hear you say you can’t think of another plot.” Then he walked back and sat doen in his chair. He didn’t think he needed to tell me anything more.”
    JIM AMISH:” Sounds like you were doing most of the writing then.”
    GOLDBERG: “Well, I was.”One time I was in Stan’s office and I told him, “I don’t have another plot.” Stan got out of his chair and walked over to me, looked me in the face, and said very seriously, “I don’t ever want to hear you say you can’t think of another plot.” Then he walked back and sat doen in his chair. He didn’t think he needed to tell me anything more.”
    JIM AMISH:” Sounds like you were doing most of the writing then.”
    GOLDBERG: “Well, I was.”

    Steve Ditko’s letter to Comic Book Marketplace magazine published in issue #63. :

    In your Comic Book Marketplace #61, July 1998. page 45, Stan Lee talks about “…a very famous scene…” of a trapped Spider-Man lifting heavy machinery over his head. The drama of that sequence was first commented on and popularized by Gil Kane. Stan says “I just mentioned the idea…I hadn’t thought of devoting that many pages to it…” I was publicly credited as the plotter only starting with issue #26. The lifting sequence is in issue #33. The fact is we had no story or idea discussion about Spider-Man books even before issue #26 up to when I left the book. Stan never knew what was in my plotted stories until I took in the penciled story, the cover, my script and Sol Brodsky took the material from me and took it all into Stan’s office, so I had to leave without seeing or talking to Stan.
    Steve Ditko, New York

    Wally Wood:
    WHAT MAKES STANLEY RUN?

    Once upon a time, many years ago a young man, born the son of a
    famous comic book publisher, decided to become rich and famous. He
    had no idea of how to go about this at first, lacking both the
    brains and talent to achieve this goal. But he was driven by one
    emotion, rather TWO .. ENVY and HATE. Envy for the people
    who were responsible for his enviable state, and hatred for the people
    who could DRAW. Comics are, after all, an artist’s medium. I’ve
    never read a story in comics that I’d bother with if it were written
    in novel form.

    Did I say Stanley had no smarts? Well, he DID come up with two sure
    fire ideas… the first one was “Why not let the artists WRITE the
    stories as well as draw them?”… And the second was … ALWAYS SIGN
    YOUR NAME ON TOP …BIG”. And the rest is history … Stanley, of course
    became rich and famous … over the bodies of people like Bill and Jack.
    Bill, who had created nthe character that had made his father rich
    wound up COLORING and doing odd jobs.

    And Jack? Well, a friend of mine summed it up like this .. “Stanley
    and Jack have a conference, then Jack goes home, and after a couple of
    month’s gestation, a new book is born. Stanley gets all the money and
    all the credit… And all poor old Jack gets is a sore ass hole.”

    Wally Wood letter to John Hitchcock:
    Wally Wood:

    Dear John;

    I read your comments on Ditko with interest. Knowing Steve, and his philosophy, well, I can’t help but agree with your conclusion. The Question was definitely giving Steve’s position on the issue of credit . . and other things. I envy him, and I can’t agree with him . . I want the credit (and the money) for
    everything I do! And I resent guys like Stan Lee more than I can say! He’s my one reason for living… I want to see that no-talent bum get his…

    Stan Lee (Origins of Marvel Comics):
    “Myself when born was christened Stanley Martin Lieber— truly an appellation
    to conjure with. It had rhythm, a vitality, a lyricism all it’s own. I still remember one of my earliest purchases being a little rubber
    stamp with my name on it, which I promptly stamped on every book and
    paper I owned— and even on some I didn’t.”

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  12. Bobby Trosper says:

    What a load then, and what a load now. I have no doubt Jack Kirby is comics most influential artist; I know he plotted the stories, spun the ideas, and even wrote some of the dialogue, but overall, he could not write worth a crap. His run at DC, and later on, Marvel, in the seventies is full of great concepts and characters, that could not say a decent word of dialogue if his life depended on it. And have we forgot how different his art looks without Joe Sinott or even Vince Colletta inking his stuff? Read any book of his seventies Captain America run and you will see the ugly truth.

    The truth is : Jack Kirby is a great artist, who made Marvel what it was, but he got screwed, just like everyone did, and the boss’ nephew, Stan Lee, got his name on every book for a long time after…..

    We still don’t know how much Stan Lee wrote, edited, changed, or took credit for. And we never will.

  13. Goodman says:

    POSSIBLY exaggerated? And your “thought” was echoed where? Most folks on the net seem to be linking directly to this page. Your “thought” seems the equivalent of printing a newspaper correction in the back of the classifieds.

  14. Jeet Heer says:

    Well, this is all a matter of opinion but I myself generally prefer the comics Kirby wrote in the 1970s (particularly the Fourth World stories) to the 1960s ones with Stan Lee’s dialogue. But reasonable people can disagree with that.What can’t be disputed is that Kirby had many decades of creativity before and after the 1960s (i.e. co-creating Catain America, solidifying genres like romance comics, and the slew of ideas in the 1970s that still inspire spin-offs). The exact extent and nature of the Lee/Kirby collaboration can be disputed endlessly but there have been educated attempts to sort it out (notably a long-running series on the topic in The Kirby Collector). The general upshot of all this is that Kirby’s contributions to both Marvel comics and comics at large is immense, and still underappreciated. Which, along with the inequitable economic rewards for his labors, explains the anger Kirby expressed in this interview and elsewhere.

  15. Jeet Heer says:

    A question for Goodman: do you go around demanding a correction everytime Stan Lee claims that he was the mastermind behind Marvel comics while Kirby and Ditko were talented artists hired to carry out the Lee vision? Because Lee often makes claims of this sort, and rarely gets challenged on it or corrected.

  16. Goodman says:

    If you can link to an actual interview where Lee pisses all over his co-creators the way Kirby does here, explicitly denying their contribution the way Kirby does here, I’ll be happy to suggest an editorial note be appended to it correcting the record. Kirby says “Stan Lee and I never collaborated on anything! I’ve never seen Stan Lee write anything. … It wasn’t possible for a man like Stan Lee to come up with new things — or old things for that matter. … Stan Lee is essentially an office worker, OK?” This doesn’t exactly jive with the recollection of anybody else who worked there (including earlier Kirby interviews). Kirby actually says Lee did “nothing” to warrant his name being on the stories. Good luck finding an interview where Lee says his contributors did “nothing” to warrant their name being in the credits, but if you find one I’d warrant Groth would definitely insist that an editorial note regarding the falsity of the statement was warranted (and he’d be correct).

  17. patrick ford says:

    I’m with Jeet as are many other people. Not only do I think Kirby was a better writer than Lee. It’s my opinion Lee is one of the absolute worst writers I’ve ever read in my life.
    Kirby is without doubt one of the best writers ever to have worked in mainstream comics, and by far the best writer ever to have worked in the super hero genre, which isn’t a good way of expressing just how great a writer Kirby was, because super hero comics are the bottom of the barrel in terms of comic book writing. Kirby was a very rare exception who transcended the medium. His dialogue was one of his greatest attributes.
    Lee’s dialogue is quit frankly overripe tripe.
    I often wonder if the people who say they like Lee’s writing have read anything by him since they were 12. Go read something by him right now. It’s marshmallow fluff of the worst possible kind.

  18. patrick ford says:

    Goodman is operating under the assumption Lee had anything to do with what Kirby did at home, and then sold to Marvel.
    Lee did rewrite Kirby’s stories, characters, and dialogue, which explains why silver age Marvel comics are unreadable junk.

  19. Goodman says:

    Yes, Stan Goldberg did plot Millie the Model. Here he describes returning to Marvel in the early 60s:

    “I started doing teenage books and the first book was called Kathy the Teenage Tornado. I took over the Millie the Model books, the Patsy books, but at the same time STAN WAS WRITING FANTASTIC FOUR, SPIDER-MAN AND ALL THOSE BOOKS. I was doing the initial colouring on all those books; I was creating the colour schemes on all those characters. Jack Kirby was turning so much out, along with Steve Ditko and there were so many good guys. They were doing it just to get a pay check and little did we know what was happening out there. Slowly and slowly Stan was getting some information, fan mail was coming in and then it just took off. So all through the ‘60s I did the teenage books, all the key books of all the first group of superheroes and villains that came out. That was my stint up there and it was all done on a freelance basis. Stan had no staff at that time. I would come in everyday and I was practically his staff, I’d do a lot of production with him. We had a grand time and we both had a nice relationship with each other. It was basically just he and I and then things started getting busier and busier and before you knew it Stan said to me, ‘Would you believe what’s happening?’ and for the next fifty years every time we email or talk to each other we say, ‘Could you believe what was happening?’ And before you know it fifty years have gone by.”

    An interview with John Romita Sr:

    CBA: Did you see Jack when he came into the office? Did you talk to him?

    John: Oh, yes. We used to go out to lunch at the Playboy Club; sometimes four or five of us. We used to have wonderful conversations; I treasure them. You may have heard I used to drive home with them; whenever he was in for a story conference, Stan would drive Jack home. My house was on the way, so they’d drive me home, and then take Jack home. Sitting in the back seat of Stan’s convertible with the top down, going up Queens Boulevard, listening to them plot stories, I felt like I was sitting behind Cecil B. DeMille’s director’s chair. It was the most wonderful thing; I felt like a kid back there.

    CBA: In the past, you’ve told that great anecdote about realizing they weren’t listening to the other!

    John: I knew that even when I heard them plotting in other instances! [laughter] Jack would say, “Stanley, I think I’ve got an idea. How ’bout this?” Stan would say, “That’s not bad, Jack, but I’d rather see it this way.” Jack would absolutely forget what Stan said, and Stan would forget what Jack said. [laughter] I would bet my house that Jack never read the books after Stan wrote them; that’s why he could claim with a straight face that Stan never wrote anything except what Jack put in the notes. He was kidding himself; he never read them.

    CBA: Did you see any of the problems Jack was having?

    John: I had heard all of the inside stuff, like from the Herald-Tribune article that insulted Jack, that he thought Stan was a part of. Stan could not convince him of that, and certainly could not convince Roz that Stan hadn’t encouraged the writer to make fun of Jack. I know for a fact that Stan would rather bite his tongue than say such a thing, because Jack’s success would’ve been his success. There’s no reason to run Jack down. Stan had the position; he didn’t have to fight Jack for it. I don’t think Jack ever wanted the editorial position; if he wanted credit, he deserved credit. Stan used to give him credit all the time; he used to say most of these ideas are more than half Jack’s. Why they would think Stan would try to make him look bad in print is beyond me; but from that time on—which is very close to when I started there in the middle ’60s—when the Herald-Tribune article came out, there were very strained relations, and I thought it was a matter of time before Jack would leave; but I thought he would never leave, because I always figured if I had a success like Fantastic Four and Thor and Captain America, I don’t think I could leave; so I always assumed he’d stay grumbling, but Carmine made a deal Jack couldn’t refuse.

    CBA: Stan is a well-loved guy, and he takes a lot of heat, but he’s also a showman and he has that hyperbole.

    John: Oh, he’s a con man, but he did deliver. Anyone who says he didn’t earn what he’s got is not reading the facts. Believe me, he earned everything he gets. That’s why I never begrudged him getting any of the credit, and as far as I’m concerned, he can have his name above any of my stuff, anytime he wants. Every time I took a story in to Stan—and if Jack were reading it, he’d have felt the same way—I had only partial faith in my picture story. I worked it out and I believed in the characters, but I was only half-sure it was going to work. I always had my misgivings. By the time Stan would write it, I’d start to look at that story and say, “Son of a gun, it’s almost as though I planned it,” and I’d believe a hundredfold more in that story after he wrote it than before—and if Jack would’ve allowed himself to, he would’ve had the same satisfaction. I sincerely believe that.

    I think Stan deserves everything he gets. Everyone complains, including me sometimes. I used to say, “I do the work, and Stan cashes the checks.” [laughter] It was only a half joke, but it’s the kind of a grumble you do when you’re tired.

  20. patrick ford says:

    A large measure of Kirby’s contempt for Lee can probably be put down to the fact that Lee was in effect stealing from Kirby by not paying Kirby for plotting.
    After Ditko demanded payment and credit for plotting Spider-Man, Lee’s anger was so great he quit talking to Ditko.
    In the early 60’s Kirby often wrote (and drew) 100 pages a month. Even if Kirby had been paid only a dollar a page for plotting, one hundred dollars a month in 1962 was a substantial sum of money.
    People tend to dislike people who are stealing from them. Yes Kirby could have quit like Steve Ditko (never married, no children).

  21. Jeet Heer says:

    Um, I think there is a difference between the work Stan Goldberg did plotting and drawing Millie the Model, however admirable it might have been, and Kirby’s essential role in conceptualizing, designing, drawing, and plotting the adventures of Captain America, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Thor, the Silver Surfer, the Avengers, etc. etc. Kirby built the foundations of the Marvel Universe, for whatever that’s worth, and for many years his essential role was downplayed and belittled by Lee and by many journalists who glibly echoed Lee’s version of events. That belittling of Kirby’s imporance is the background for this interview.

  22. patrick ford says:

    The thing that is so telling about the Stan Goldberg story is Lee’s intimidation, as well as the fact that Millie the Model is exactly the sort of thing Stan Lee was known for writing until the 60’s. We have Stan silently getting up out of his chair, walking across the room, staring Goldberg in the eye, and ominously telling him, “I don’t want to ever hear you say you don’t have a plot again.” If Stan was leaning on Goldberg for plots on the type of material Lee was best at, what are the odds he had anything to contribute to Kirby, a man who was a life long reader of science fiction.? In fact all Stan did was apply shallow Archie comics style dialogue and cardstock characterizations to super heroes. Stan’s characters had no depth; his dialogue was nothing more than overwritten “elephant joke book” hackwork.
    Kirby had a prototype of the FF dynamic as far back as the 1940’s with the Newsboy Legion: Big Words (Reed), Scrapper (Ben), and Gabby (Johnny).
    The characters and dialogue Kirby created for the Fourth World are so far beyond the teenage Archie, Veronica, and Betty tropes in the 60’s books Lee dialogued that they can’t even be fairly compared.

  23. patrick ford says:

    BTW Jeet it’s actually gotten far worse. In Lee’s deposition from the current lawsuit Lee’s says even the crumbs of credit he brushed off the table were done to appease Kirby. Lee now says Kirby was barely involved at all in plotting the stories, and had no role in creating the core Marvel characters. Lee was directly confronted with prior statements from interviews, and the “Origins” books, and Lee now says:
    “So I tried to write these — knowing Jack would read them, I tried to write them to make it look as if he and I were just doing everything together, to make him feel good. And we were doing it together.
    But with something like Galactus, it was me who said, “I want to do a demigod. I want to call him Galactus.”
    Jack said it was a great idea, and he drew a wonderful one and he did a great job on it. But in writing the book, I wanted to make it look as if we did it together. So I said we were both thinking about it, and we came up with Galactus.”

  24. wce says:

    Stan Lee actually mentions Kirby’s writing experience/ability in a mid-Sixties letter page or column. It sounded rather favorable in tone. I think it was to alert readers to a comic Kirby scripted himself at that time without Lee. How sincere, we don’t know. The tone in the radio skit they did for MMMS suggested that they might’ve conversed over the phone and were on friendly terms in the early Sixties. But if Kirby was faking friendship with Lee prior to the newspaper article that made Kirby look foolish, which triggered their falling out, and Kirby really in fact hated Lee continuously, from the very first day he met a teenaged ‘rat fink’ Lee playing the flute, despising him as he did later in old age–we don’t hear this in the voice on the record. So what happened to destroy a great collaboration? Kirby’s character as man is called into question by Kirby’s contradictory relationships with Lee and Marvel if he hated Lee as this awful cheater and liar and yet was willing to work with him on one last Surfer comics and then they fall out again. Kirby would have to be a complete fool to trust Lee again with the Surfer book if this man, this monster, is in fact a true image of Lee. Yet he did, didn’t he. So there is more to this than a Lee bad, Kirby good, Hulk mentality.

    In the record, Kirby is playing along, coning the fans as much as Lee does into thinking the Bullpen comradery is real. Maybe the feeling was real for Kirby, once. Kirby’s voice sounds unscripted. Others weren’t available for the record. Couldn’t Kirby have called in sick, too and not show up, if he hated Lee so much at that point, if Lee really never wrote anything then and stole complete credit, so Kirby here is not only a great cartoonist but a fine actor as well. He is as much a liar as Lee is, if you will. So we have here colleagues, collaborators eventually falling out over what: growing fame, money, perhaps jealousy by one or the other man or both, artistic rivalry. Kirby is older than Lee. Kirby didn’t like editors. One is the boss, the other the employee. There is a lot going on here psychologically that is too complex for simplistic thinking.

    Throughout the early Sixties Lee continuously praises the artists and their contributions in and out of the letter pages. But Lee later begins to take more credit and we eventually end up with him being mistaken for a cartoonist by some reporters–a Walt Disney of comics–and he doesn’t quite let the cat out of the bag until he is pressured into doing so long after the harm has been done to his collaborators. At the time of Origin’s, maybe it was payback for Kirby mocking him in an issue of Mr. Miracle? Or Lee mistook his voice, persona as Marvel comics, as meaning sole creator?

    But if we believe Kirby is the total victim we have to believe Kirby, a survivor and veteran of war, was so afraid of unemployment, risks, that he would do anything to keep his job. But Kirby’s actual behavior contradicts this and suggests something else besides fear is at work here. Kirby seems to be realizing and discovering or recognizing once more or more fully a profound interest in being an artist, that comics can be a deep form of self expression.

    Kirby was in the business in its heyday when it probably was a lot meaner. He knew of Siegel and Shuster’s setbacks and losses; also he must’ve recalled his own lost case over Sky Masters; he never came to Simon’s defense during Simon’s attempt to regain copyright to Captain America; it seemed that copyrights and original art weren’t that important to him then; he must also have known about Bob Kane’s sweet heart deal with DC that kept his name on comics that Kane never even drew or wrote. Kirby ran a shop himself with Simon and must’ve had to calculate his share over what he would pay his colleagues. He was an employer once. He was once a boss himself of sorts with Simon’s help. Yes, Kirby admitted that an abiding fear, a result of childhood poverty, was behind his genius and output but was it fear that made him leave Marvel at that point. If you are afraid of losing work why not suffer the indignity some more and keep on working. It wasn’t fear. Pride and artistic ambition gave Kirby the courage to break free from Marvel and take the risk. It wasn’t security Kirby wanted then. It was freedom. Artistic freedom.

    He left Marvel for a better deal with DC. And when things soured at DC, he was able to make a better deal to come back to Marvel. He bargained for creative freedom rather than licensing and or some other forms of compensation besides a paycheck. And when editors and others began to interfere at Marvel, he sought freedom elsewhere. It wasn’t even his original art at that point, just freedom to write and edit his own work. He wasn’t thinking it seems even about future movie deals, toys and such until he saw or realized his mistake when it was too late.

    It seems to me then that if Kirby at this point in his career was really afraid of unemployment or causing harm to his family economically and socially, he would’ve kept his mouth shut at both places and just slaved away like many other artists, Gene Colan for example. Even at Marvel on his second go around, he could’ve kept quiet. It seemed Kirby got ambitious, he found his voice and wanted to express himself, so he risked getting creative freedom at both houses instead of trying to obtain a better contract on his creations or moving into story boarding sooner than later or some other commercial art field beside men in funny tights. He also loved those men in funny tights and conceptualizing.

  25. Goodman says:

    >[Kirby's] dialogue was one of his greatest attributes.
    >Lee’s dialogue is quit frankly overripe tripe.

    Well, it takes all kinds. Lee’s dialogue was in almost every Marvel comic of the 60s, when Marvel became such a huge success. Many of us thought that the freshness of it was what set Marvel apart from other superhero comics, such as those DC published (and it’s what took Marvel to number one). Those comics are still available in hardcover in masterworks and still enjoyed. (I’m currently rereading the Captain Americas Lee did with Gene Colan.)

    Kirby’s dialogue was what got me to stop buying Captain America as a kid. I wasn’t the only one. The book took a big hit in sales when Kirby returned.

  26. patrick ford says:

    Silver Star #2
    Darius Drumm: Oh…Been watching me have you? Then you know that the flame of hate lies in free domain…And those nasty, crawly, snapping demons who brought poor Custer to his doom…were more than fanciful creations.

    (Drumm produces a bizarre hand puppet which is an extension of his own hand. It speaks for Drumm as a ventriloquists dummy while Drumm rolls his eyes insanely):

    “Let him create miracles—Who is born to the task.”
    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_8ie37mgxIXA/RvnVGPjl4tI/AAAAAAAABwY/Sa708W_j_ps/s400/Darius+Drumm+sez.jpg

    Drumm: Well—! Can you imagine how I feel at this moment! You–You–Obsolete old fool. Using me as maudlin pap for your own regrettable act. Stupid old mechanic. Builder of classic lives that tear up the roads of the brain—like vehicles of pain.
    Classic passions!
    Classic irony!
    Classic vengance! Eh, Dad…?
    It was like Genesis—Like the Big Bang—First darkness everywhere, and then light and sight and wisdom—And that smug ruthless face of yours dad.
    Ours was a classic vendetta from the beginning.
    The subject of “battered wives” was rarely discussed at the time—And there I was—About to be born of one.
    But that didn’t elate you, you backwoods big mouth. You were the Grand Moogah! The Dean of Discipline–The Prophet of the “Foundation For Self Denial.”
    Naturally it set off your awesome rhetoric!
    It was good enough to cover up mother’s so called “accidental bruises” and focus all attention on the emergence of a new life…!
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_8ie37mgxIXA/RvctiPjl4sI/AAAAAAAABwQ/K1NP0h_Px3M/s400/Ugly+Baby+Drumm.jpg

  27. James says:

    Massive popularity in one’s time is not always the barometer by which art must be judged.
    The Marvel books were hugely popular, but it is my feeling that Jack made by far the most significant narrative contribution to the stories on the ones he did with Stan. I will conceed that Lee’s copywriting and blurbing had some impact on the product, but Jack provided not just the art but the entire articulation of the stories, short of the actual choices of words on the page. In looking at those books now, I prefer Jack’s actual choices of words in the New Gods material and in all the other comics he did in his return to Marvel and for Pacific later. Lee’s captions and balloon are to me now nearly unreadable, and it is hard to deny that whatever imagination and creativity Lee claimed to have disappeared at exactly the same time that his partnership with Jack ended.

  28. Goodman says:

    >Throughout the early Sixties Lee continuously praises the artists and their contributions in and out of the letter pages. But Lee later begins to take more credit and we eventually end up with him being mistaken for a cartoonist by some reporters–a Walt Disney of comics–and he doesn’t quite let the cat out of the bag until he is pressured into doing so long after the harm has been done to his collaborators.

    I wish folks could provide some actual examples of this. As you say, Lee frequently praised his collaborators in the sixties, and I thought he was pretty clear about their role in Origins of Marvel Comics in 1974. So where are the quotes of him taking all the credit? Is he really to be held responsible if a journalist mistakes him for a cartoonist?

    This is Stan in 1968:

    “Well, what we usually do is, with most of the artists, I usually get a rough plot. … Now this varies with the different artists. Some artists, of course, need a more detailed plot than others. Some artists, such as Jack Kirby, need no plot at all. I mean I’ll just say to Jack, ‘Let’s make the next villain be Dr. Doom’… or I may not even say that. He may tell me. And then he goes home and does it. He’s good at plots. I’m sure he’s a thousand times better than I. He just about makes up the plots for these stories. All I do is a little editing… I may tell him he’s gone too far in one direction or another. Of course, occasionally I’ll give him a plot, but we’re practically both the writers on the things. ”

    Now, Stan clearly considered the scripter of the book to be the “writer”. But he never seemed to shy away from the contribution the artists made to the plots- Kirby in particular. (By Fantastic Four 56 in 1966 they dropped the writer/artist credits, and gave Lee and Kirby a joint “produced by” credit, as they had done on occasion before that.)

  29. patrick ford says:

    Lee was called for two long depositions as part of the current lawsuit. A small percentage of those depositions were included in filings by Disney and Toberoff at the Justia Law site.
    There is enough there to see that Lee is now saying Kirby’s contribution to the plots and character creation were minimal. Lee says at one point that during story conferences Kirby “didn’t always just sit there, sometimes he had something to say.”
    Because Disney asked Lee’s depositions be placed under a Protective Order only small portions approved by Disney have been posted.
    If the case goes to trial Lee’s full trial testimony will be public, and that will leave no doubt about what Stan’s version of events is.
    Lee and Disney are clearly very concerned about the fact Kirby was not paid for writing plots, and character creation while at Marvel in the 60’s.
    Lee has also gone so far as to make the absurd claim that he always paid for rejected pages in the 60’s. This statement was quickly disputed in sworn declarations by Joe Sinnott (who pointedly added he had no doubt the stories and characters were created by Kirby), Dick Ayers, Gene Colan, Jim Steranko, and Neal Adams.
    Disney is resisting a declarations from Stan Goldberg saying his name wasn’t given to Disney in a timely matter.

  30. patrick ford says:

    Wce, Some artists may have been happy being praised by Stan in the LOC. Sounds kind of pathetic to me, but if all they wanted was a pat on the head I guess that’s their business.
    Kirby certainly resented Lee taking the full share of the writing page rate. As did Wally Wood.

    Wally Wood’s letter to John Hitchcock.

    Dear John;

    I want the credit (and the money) for
    everything I do! And I resent guys like Stan Lee more than I can say! He’s my one reason for living… I want to see that no-talent bum get his…

    Stan Lee (Origins of Marvel Comics):
    “Myself when born was christened Stanley Martin Lieber— truly an appellation
    to conjure with. It had rhythm, a vitality, a lyricism all it’s own. I still remember one of my earliest purchases being a little rubber
    stamp with my name on it, which I promptly stamped on every book and
    paper I owned— and even on some I didn’t.”

  31. Goodman says:

    Here, let me help you out. Here’s more from that deposition, where he hardly talks down Kirby’s contributions —

    MR. TOBEROFF: Q. Please turn to Page 83, and go to the first column on Page 83, about halfway down the page – a little more than halfway down the page.

    You’re quoted as saying, “You know, very often, in fact, most of the time after we got started, the artist did most of the plotting. I would just give him a one-liner, like, ‘Let’s feature Dr. Doom and he goes back in time’ or something. And whoever the artist was, he’d practically do the whole story. But when I would get the artwork back, and I had to put the copy in, very often there were things that I thought didn’t work or were foolish or didn’t make sense or something.

    “Instead of having the artist redraw and go through a lot of trouble, the thing that was the most fun for me was to find out how I could take that discordant element in the story and make it seem as if we purposefully did that to embellish the story. You know what I mean? And turn it into a good story point. It was like doing a crossword puzzle.”

    Do you have any reason to believe you didn’t say that?

    STAN LEE: No. I’m proud of that. That was pretty clever.

    Q. And does that accurately describe a successful Marvel method?

    STAN LEE: Yes. With some artists. Some artists I had

    Q. And turning over to the next page of the article, up on the actually the crossover page 37, there’s another document that’s recreated that says, Synopsis for Fantastic — Synopsis for Fantastic Four No. 8 “Prisoners of Puppetmaster.”

    Do you recognize that as another of the synopses you created in connection with Fantastic Four?

    STAN LEE: I hadn’t read that for so many years, but, yeah, that seems to be mine. I didn’t even know this was in here. Wow. Yeah. See, instead of telling him page by page, I would say, Devote five pages to this, five pages to that, and three pages to that. Yeah.

    Q. That was typical of how you were working utilizing the Marvel method?

    STAN LEE: Yeah. Sometimes I wouldn’t even be this specific. And I wouldn’t have cared if Jack devoted, let’s say, six pages to this and he changed that to three pages. Just so he got the idea what I had this mind. But he was good at making his own changes, and very often he’d improve them. But, yeah, this is mine.

    Q. Let’s go to another character, The Silver Surfer.

    STAN LEE: Oh, yeah.

    Q. Could you tell us how the Silver Surfer came about?

    STAN LEE: Right. I wanted to have a villain called Galactus. We had so many villains who were so powerful.
    I was looking for somebody who would be more powerful than any. So I figured somebody who is a demigod who rides around in space and destroys planets.

    I told Jack about it and told him how I wanted the story to go generally. And Jack went home, and he drew it. And he drew a wonderful version. But when I looked at the artwork, I saw there was some nutty looking naked guy on a flying surfboard.

    And I said, “Who is this?”

    And he said — well, I don’t remember whether he called him the surfer or not. He may have called him the surfer. But he said, “I thought that anybody as powerful as Galactus who could destroy planets should have somebody who goes ahead of him, a herald who finds the planets for him. And I thought it would be good to have that guy on a flying surfboard.”

    I said, “That’s wonderful.” I loved it. And I decided to call him The Silver Surfer, which I thought sounded dramatic.

    But that was all. He was supposed to be a herald to find Galactus his planets. But the way Jack drew him, he looked so noble and so interesting that I said, “Jack, you know, we ought to really use this guy. I like him.”

    And I tried to write his copy so that he was very philosophical, and he was always commenting about the state of the world and: Don’t you human beings realize you live in a paradise. Why don’t you appreciate it? Why do you fight each other and hate each other? And I had him talking like that all the time. And the college kids started to love him. And whenever I would lecture at a college, and there was a question-and-answers period, it was inevitably the Silver Surfer that they would talk about the most. So I was very happy with him.

    But that’s how it happened accidentally. I mean, I had nothing — I didn’t think of him. Jack — it was one of the characters Jack tossed into the strip. And he drew him so beautifully that I felt we have to make him an important character.

  32. Pingback: stop! kirby time! « The Mule Abides

  33. patrick ford says:

    Stan Lee’s 2010 deposition.

    STAN LEE: Yeah. Sometimes I wouldn’t even be this specific. And I wouldn’t have cared if Jack devoted, let’s say, six pages to this and he changed that to three pages. JUST SO HE GOT THE IDEA THAT I HAD IN MIND.

    STEVE DITKO’S letter to Comic Book Marketplace magazine published in issue #63. :

    In your Comic Book Marketplace #61, July 1998. page 45, Stan Lee talks about “…a very famous scene…” of a trapped Spider-Man lifting heavy machinery over his head. The drama of that sequence was first commented on and popularized by Gil Kane. Stan says “I just mentioned the idea…I hadn’t thought of devoting that many pages to it…” I was publicly credited as the plotter only starting with issue #26. The lifting sequence is in issue #33. The fact is we had no story or idea discussion about Spider-Man books even before issue #26 up to when I left the book. Stan never knew what was in my plotted stories until I took in the penciled story, the cover, my script and Sol Brodsky took the material from me and took it all into Stan’s office, so I had to leave without seeing or talking to Stan.
    Steve Ditko, New York

  34. Goodman says:

    Howard Chaykin said of Wood “he was just an engine of rage. I really can’t put it any more specifically than that.” He was incredibly talented… and an angry self-destructive alcoholic who ultimately shot himself. I don’t think you can blame Stan for that.

  35. Jeet Heer says:

    Sure, Wally Wood was a “self-destructive alcoholic” but he was hardly alone in his anger towards Stan Lee. As we’ve seen, Ditko and Kirby were also angry at Lee and for the same reason: that he took credit for work that they did. And other cartoonists — Gil Kane and Stan Goldberg — have echoed or corroborated these compaints. Or were Ditko, Kirby, Kane, Goldberg (and indeed virtually everyone who drew anything for Marvel in the 1960s) also “self-destructive alcoholics”. Its odd that so many “self-destructive alchoholics” would end up doing freelance for the same company.

  36. patrick ford says:

    Keep in mind Wood had enough intelligence to be completely unimpressed by Lee putting Wood’s name on the cover of Daredevil rather than crediting, and paying Wood for writing Daredevil.
    It’s incomprehensible to me that you will hear people say, “Stan made the artists stars.”
    That is not only a great insult to the artists (it’s a way of saying they would be forgotten without Lee’s cornball hype).
    What kind of man would be impressed by a man who took money which rightly should have been their’s, but “repaid” them by making them a star.
    Reminds me of a certain story in Little Orphan Annie where she was singing for a smooth talking “nice guy” manager who was robbing her blind, while making her a star.
    And how great an insult is that? It isn’t even the creator’s ability which makes them a star, it’s the promoter.

  37. the skrauss says:

    Why don’t you just cut and past the text into a word documant then make a PDF?

  38. Pingback: The King and The Man « CO2 COMICS BLOG

  39. Neal Kirby says:

    Though my opinion may be viewed by some as non-objective, I can say that my father spoke the truth in this (Gary Groth) interview. Stan Lee hasthe advantage since my father’s death in 1993 of being the last man standing.

    He has been able to say, calim, invent whatever he wants without fear of rebuttal! Is it conceivable that Stan Lee, with little knowledge of mythology, much less Norse mythology could come up with the premise of Thor as a super hero? Isn’t it much more likely that my father, whose studio on Long Island was filled with books on history and mythology, of which his favorite was Norse mythology, would be much more likely to have created such a character? I could go on as such concerning almost all the Marvel characters. What bothers me the most, however, is that Stan Lee is rewriting history in his favor, and young people now are starting to view him as the lone creator of the Marvel characters. There have been many injustices in the 80+ years of comic book history; this without question is one of the greatest. Neal Kirby

  40. patrick ford says:

    Stan Lee: “Myself when born was christened Stanley Martin Lieber— truly an appellation
    to conjure with. It had rhythm, a vitality, a lyricism all it’s own. I still remember one of my
    earliest purchases being a little rubber stamp with my name on it, which I promptly stamped on every book and paper I owned— and even on some I didn’t.”

    Lee’s 2010 deposition

    Stan Lee: I wanted to have a villain called Galactus.
    I was looking for somebody who would be more powerful than any. So I figured somebody who is a demigod who rides around in space and destroys planets.
    I told Jack about it and told him how I wanted the story to go generally. And Jack went home, and he drew it.

    Lee, in The Origins Of Marvel Comics describes how he supposedly created Thor :
    “The only one who could top the heroes we already had would be a Super-God, but I
    didn’t think the world was quite ready for that concept yet.
    So it was back to the ol’ drawing board. I must have gone through a dozen pencils and
    a thousand sheets of paper in the days that followed, making notes and sketches, listing
    names and titles, and jotting down every type of superpower I could think of.
    But I kept coming back to the same ludicrous idea: the only way to top the others would be with a Super-God.
    As far as I can remember, Norse mythology always turned me on.
    Historians of the future will wish to note that Larry Lieber acquiesced when asked if he’d pen a new superhero strip for the greater glory of Marveldom. Let the record show that Jack Kirby did likewise when offered the illustrating chore.”

    Kim Aamodt: I really sweated out plots, unlike Jack Kirby. Jack just ignited and came out with ideas, and Joe’d just kind of nod his head in agreement. Jack’s face looked so energized when he was plotting that it seemed as if sparks were flying off him.Joe was on the ground, and Jack was on cloud nine. Jack was more of the artist type; he had great instincts.

    Walter Geier: Jack Kirby was great about that; he always came up with the plots. Jack had a fertile mind. Joe used to sit there when the writers came in for conferences. They sat there and made up the plots for the writers. Jack did most of that. Joe would say something once in a while, but Jack was the idea man. Joe didn’t talk much. He could come up with decent plots, but it was usually very sketchy stuff. A lot of times Joe would say, ” Awww…you figure out the ending.” Jack would give me the ending, because he was good at figuring out stories. It was not hard to work with Jack. They were Jack’s plots. I just supplied the dialogue.

    John Romita: Jack got a chance to knock the stuff out, and use his own characters. Jack used to surprise Stan with new characters almost every time he turned in a story. Take Galactus who devours planets. Instead of knocking down buildings, Kirby is talking about eating planets.
    I told him once he threw away more ideas than I could think of. His throwaway bin was probably worth millions. I can imagine going through his wastebaskets, and “coming up” with all the ideas he didn’t use.

    Stan Goldberg: “Jack would sit there at lunch, and tell us these great ideas about what he was going to do next. It was like the ideas were bursting from every pore of his body. It was very interesting because he was a fountain of ideas.
    Stan would drive me home and we’d plot our stories in the car. I’d say to Stan,”How’s this? Millie loses her job.” He’d say,”Great! Give me 25 pages.” And that took him off the hook. One time I was in Stan’s office and I told him, “I don’t have another plot.” Stan got out of his chair and walked over to me, looked me in the face, and said very seriously, “I don’t ever want to hear you say you can’t think of another plot.” Then he walked back and sat doen in his chair. He didn’t think he needed to tell me anything more.”
    Jim Amash:” Sounds like you were doing most of the writing then.”
    Goldberg: “Well, I was.

    Joe Sinnott (2010 legal declaration in support of the Kirby estate) :
    I got to know Jack Kirby’s work, and remarkable creativity quite well and witnessed his characters and stories as they evolved.
    There is no question in my mind that Jack Kirby was the driving force behind most of Marvel’s top characters.

  41. ScottGrammel says:

    For all of Kirby’s incredible output and amazing creativity throughout his long career, the fact that only the characters at least nominally the creation of the Lee/Kirby team have shown any real long-term commercial viability speaks to the valuable contribution that surely was provided by Stan Lee in some way, shape, or form. Did his contributions wax and wane, with Kirby and with others? I’m sure. Did he overstate his individual accomplishments at times? Hell, I think even Stan would readily admit that. But for all that Pat Ford would maybe like to bury Lee alive under the sheer tonnage of his anti-Lee message board postings — and re- and re-postings — and perhaps try to even some old score by denying Lee any credit whatsoever, I think a more reasoned and reasonable view will eventually prevail.

  42. Jeet Heer says:

    “The fact that only the characters at least nominally the creation of the Lee/Kirby team have shown any real long-term commercial viability speaks to the valuable contribution that surely was provided by Stan Lee in some way, shape, or form.” Um, what about Captain America? Or the genre of romance comics (which flourished for decades and which Kirby helped found and shape). For that matter, the New Gods and Darkseid, although not blockbuster characters like Captain America and the 1960s Marvel crew, are still very much part of the DC universe and constantly revived.

    I think Lee’s scripting and editing did contribute to the popularit of Marvel comics in the 1960s, and he should get credit for that. But I think Patrick Ford’s point is not about commercial popularity but about artistic value. He thinks that the work Kirby did solo is artistically better than the ones that have Lee’s dialogue, narration, and (often light) editing. I agree with Ford, although I realize that this is a minority position.

  43. Ali Almezal says:

    I guess I’m also in that minority position. I once tried reading Fantastic Four reprints but it got unbearable after a while. I did prefer Etrigan and New Gods to anything I’ve read from the Lee/Kirby pair.

  44. patrick ford says:

    I’d say the long term viability of the characters speaks to the fact that a series of expensive super suit movies have been made which for inexplicable reasons people go to in large enough numbers to justify still more movies.
    My assumption is the movies have almost nothing in common with what Kirby created alone at his home, and passed along to Lee.
    The point I’m making is that Kirby was not paid for plotting the stories he sold to Marvel. Lee pocketed the full writers page rate, and as a result Lee is now in the position of having to say he created all the characters himself and simply had Kirby draw the story presented to him.
    As far as the writing in the published comic books goes; it’s sleep inducing hackwork on the lower rung of the very low standards found in typical super hero comic books. The only appreciation I could see a person having for it would be along the lines of opening a wraper of red licorice whip vines for a child and getting a nostalgic whiff of the freshly opened package. It might be transporting, until you bit into one and thought, “I used to like this stuff?”

  45. ScottGrammel says:

    Jeet Heer: “Um, what about Captain America?”

    Well, first, I’ve read that CA was initially created by Simon. Second, it’s hard for me to separate CA’s present commercial vitality from, again, the Lee/Kirby collaborations that reintroduced and re-conceptualized the character with the whole man-out-of-time and survivor’s guilt aspects that writers have been dining on for the past half-decade now.

    As for DC’s efforts over the last four decades to find a way to make Kirby’s 70’s characters commercially viable, some very talented people have wrestled and tussled and wrangled with those properties with very little finally to show for it. I may find those Kirby/Royer 25-centers to be some of my favorite comics of all time, but the comics and characters were simply never successfully conceptualized. The Forever People have no powers, no purpose, no motivations, no conflicts, no characters, no relationships. They do have a weird super-car, though. As for Mister Miracle, I’d guess the only people who’ve ever experienced genuine suspense at his theoretically oh-so-dangerous escape acts has been his dwarf assistant and giantess girlfriend (judging by their frequently expressed anguish). Orion rides a strange handle-bar-like thing, wears a red suit, and has a secretly mean and ugly face. The Demon isn’t conflicted by his dual identities, isn’t tormented by his eternal life, isn’t wracked with romantic feelings or human desires that he cannot follow, doesn’t feel torn between his demonic nature and his role as a guardian of mankind.

    That stuff that isn’t there in the above characters? That’s some of the stuff Stan Lee brought to the table.

  46. ScottGrammel says:

    That should’ve been “past half-century” in that second paragraph above.

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  48. Robert says:

    I have to agree. Knowing that Kirby loved mythology and science fiction books, I could see the Thor concept as a comic book coming from him. What gets me is how Lee would say in early interviews, “I got an artist to draw”( what ever character he was promoting)on video without mentioning Jack Kirby. This is especially true of some of the Marvel cartoons on VHS from 1966. They were what we now call motion comics. I remember them because I purchased them back in the mid 1980’s. I’d be thinking to myself, when is Jack Kirby’s name going to come up in those interviews?

  49. B. Alan Heisler says:

    You’re all so obsessed with this Lee vs. Kirby thing. The facts are beside the point, guys. The work that was done stands on its own merit. They were great comics, made by great men. We all enjoyed them, and the entertainment they provided to us. Let whatever happened between Lee and Kirby, lie between Lee and Kirby. We have the comics to remember, and the inspiration they have given us.

  50. patrick ford says:

    B. In my case it’s different, because I think Silver Age super hero comics are absolutely dreadful aside from the artwork.

    I am not, and never was a Marvel, or super hero fan, didn’t read any of the 60’s Marvel stuff until years after it was published.

    And while I love the writing and art of Jack Kirby, it’s despite him having worked at Marvel in the 60’s. Super hero comic books aren’t something which I gravitate towards, and everything I like about Kirby has nothing to do with Marvel.

  51. Allen Smith says:

    I keep saying, as a thirteen year old, I loved Stan Lee. Then I grew up. I don’t find all of his writing awful, but it simply doesn’t hold up. On the other hand, Kirby’s writing, not being based on any fake attempt to be hip and with the times, does hold up pretty well, along with

    the art. I’m not inspired by any of Stan’s writing.

  52. V.K. Sularia says:

    Not exclusively. See “Captain America.”

  53. victimblue says:

    I don’t care what anybody says….Kirby is Marvel. Those Hollywood movies are making marvel money… thanks to Kirby.There’s no doubt i got into comics because of of Kirby’s art. If a comic was drawn by Kirby either marvel or DC, i would have bought it. His art spoke to me. I knew it was a guarantee story with plenty of action. I make sure my kids know who really is the godfather of Marvel…..and it ain’t Stan Lee

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  55. Ken says:

    great read ..

    Stan Lee’s modus operandi seems apparent .. be the middleman for everybody. a pass through for talent. and take credit for everything.

    Anyhow, sooner or later, Jack Kirby will get credit for his creations. Stan Lee will be seen as a liar and a manipulator who as Jack points out here .. took advantage for himself whenever he could.

    Not that this is unusual .. it’s human history. It’s the 1% exploiting the 99%. like my daddy always said .. “it’s not how you play the game that counts .. it’s who gets to count the money first” ..

    Jack Kirby was a great talent .. who created entertainment empire .. and he got workman’s wages for it .. and the people he made wealthy deny him credit for it.

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  57. Justin Poppiti, Esq. says:

    After reading this interview and conducting my own research, I am convinced that Kirby created most of these characters without Lee’s help. And, Lee was power hungry to slap his name on all of the comics and greedy for taking more money than he should have. But, it would be incorrect to assert that Lee didn’t do some of the writing.

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  62. Michael mela says:

    The marvel masters of the comic book silver age, kirby, ditko, romita, buscema, and the list goes on, forever unending, will always be remembered till the end of time. Theres something wrong, althoug we weren’t there when it happened, kirby’s understatement for lee, and even ditko’s characters (as polish) shows how he thought of them, the thing is kirby was a free mind, lee was a guy who wanted to control the direction, theres the problem imagine if FF, spidey,hulk,e.t.c weren’t successful, who really created such ‘crap’ might not really be argued today. The thing we aren’t seeing here is that rather than do whats right lee didn’t give kirby enough credit ( but how can a guy who doesn’t trust his own memory. . . .) and kirby was wrong for saying he didn’t do anything at all. Kirby would have outrightly protested when he was given the role of only artist not writer or plotter for many years on many titles before he finally left marvel. And all this problems ,arguements,’false statements and accusations’ , because the players on both sides in the lee vs artist who drew the first appearance of some character refused to give some respect,credit,honour, human dignity to his fellow man, worker, co-creator, artist, writer, inker ,colourist,plotter. I rest my case.

  63. Bobby Trosper says:

    …I find it amazing that Kirby and other artists who worked for Stan, trashed him so publicly, and yet did not turn down an opportunity to return to work at Marvel after leaving. In fact, I would say that working in comics is not a priviledge, but an opportunity, and that it takes either real talent or real production skills to have a run, let alone a career. Jack and Stan both had careers in comics, are iconic figures, and regardless of Marvel’s inability to do what is morally right, both cashed their checks from Marvel. Everyone does what they have to do to support their family; some folks work their whole life, and have no legacy in their field of work. Kicking at Stan’s or Jack’s is like kicking a giant; the giant does not care or notice. The publishing business is , a business, and there will always be business practices that are morally wrong in every field of work. Kirby was a artist, a conceptual genius, and a legend in the industry; but i still think his best work was with Stan Lee.

  64. darrell epp says:

    ‘Kirby was a artist, a conceptual genius, and a legend in the industry; but i still think his best work was with Stan Lee.’

    Hi Bobby, I think you are wrong. Just off the top of my head: The Glory Boat, The Pact, The great scott free bust out, 2001, the eternals, Street Code, The Demon, the one where Kamandi finds a tribe who treat Superman’s suit as a religious icon and are awaiting his Second Coming, OMAC…! Comics Jack did without Stan, and the very finest you could hope to find. In fact I think Kirby is one of the very greatest WRITERS in the history of comics. Some people might not agree. Have a good day.

  65. hah says:

    good luck in your imaginary world darrell

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  67. Chris says:

    There is a documentary out about Stan Lee, “With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story.” In it, Stan himself relates the story of how Steve Ditko requested co-creator acknowledgment for Spider-man from Stan. Stan eventually typed up a note specifically stating Steve co-created Spider-man. This begs the question why would Steve need this? Was he afraid Stan would rewrite history and claim complete creation of the character, or was he concerned that Jack might? Somewhere on the net, you can see the first few pages of Kirby’s version of Spider-man. I think technically Jack could always say he originated Spider-man since he drew the first images, but it’s not at all like the Ditko version. I think Jack gave himself the shaft by not taking credit where credit was due early on. As Jack points out, Stan created nothing before or after Jack. Jack only had moderate success without Lee’s influence. They were like the Beatles–never as good apart as they were together.

  68. Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko created the Marvel Universe. Neither of them had, or needed, a “co-creator”.

  69. NYJ says:

    Wow. Kirby is just so full of garbage here, and not just about Stan. So much of this is obviously fantasy – he’s pissing all over Ditko, Simon etc. SO many lies. How about the fact that Kirby never had any success that wasn’t connected to Lee or Simon? Roz claims Stan didn’t do anything without Jack, but really it’s the otther way around- Jack never had one major successful book/character on his own, and his ‘writing’ at DC – and then in Cap after failing at DC and crawling back to Marvel- proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jack didn’t write the Marvel books, while Stan kept creating hit characters with other artists for years. Disgusting. The King’s crown is more than a little tarnished, and his family’s greed doesn’t help.
    Regardless, their opinions don’t matter nearly as much as the people who were actually there- Romita, Thomas, Ditko, etc. all of whom acknowledge Stan as, at the very least, CO-creator/writer/co-plotter.

  70. NYJ says:

    “As Jack points out, Stan created nothing before or after Jack.”

    Wholly, entirely inaccurate…Stan created major characters with a wide variety of creators. Jack had no successful characters or books other than those created with Lee or Simon (yes, even the Fourth World didn’t catch on until other writers started developing them- Kirby’s much-heralded arrival at DC led to failed book after failed book and within 4 years he crawled back to Marvel). It’s also worth noting that by the time Kirby left Marvel, Stan had ceded much, if not all, of his writing and editing duties to Roy Thomas, so he had no cause to be creating new characters anyway. BTW, Thomas, not Lee, instituted the ‘Stan Lee Presents’ legend on each Marvel title page.

    “I would bet my house that Jack never read the books after Stan wrote them; that’s why he could claim with a straight face that Stan never wrote anything except what Jack put in the notes. He was kidding himself; he never read them. I know for a fact that Stan would rather bite his tongue than [insult Jack], because Jack’s success would’ve been his success. There’s no reason to run Jack down. Stan had the position; he didn’t have to fight Jack for it…Stan used to give him credit all the time; he used to say most of these ideas are more than half Jack’s…

    Oh, [Stan's] a con man, but he did deliver. Anyone who says he didn’t earn what he’s got is not reading the facts. Believe me, he earned everything he gets. That’s why I never begrudged him getting any of the credit, and as far as I’m concerned, he can have his name above any of my stuff, anytime he wants. Every time I took a story in to Stan—and if Jack were reading it, he’d have felt the same way—I had only partial faith in my picture story. I worked it out and I believed in the characters, but I was only half-sure it was going to work. I always had my misgivings. By the time Stan would write it, I’d start to look at that story and say, “Son of a gun, it’s almost as though I planned it,” and I’d believe a hundredfold more in that story after he wrote it than before—and if Jack would’ve allowed himself to, he would’ve had the same satisfaction. I sincerely believe that. I think Stan deserves everything he gets. – John Romita, Sr.

  71. Kim Thompson says:

    Whether Stan Lee took other cartoonists’ creations and massaged them into success through his scripting and editing is quite a different issue from whether Stan Lee actually really created anything. (If there’s a major character or set of characters that originated in Stan Lee’s typewriter in anything close to its finished form, I’m not really aware of it. Someone illuminate me.)

    Of course, Jack Kirby’s bitterness and bad memory led him to some pretty unreasonable credit-hogging on his side as well.

    Most commentators seem to decide to be on Team Stan or Team Jack and that’s the end of it. (NYJ is clearly Team Stan, with a vengeance.) If you’re on Team Jack, then Stan Lee’s writing sucks and his editing compromised what might have been far more brilliant work (“and have you read, I mean really read, CAPTAIN VICTORY?”). If you’re on Team Stan, then the Fourth World stuff was an abject commercial and critical failure and only his Marvel work has value (“those Romita SPIDER-MANs — even more awesome!”). Taking a middle position that acknowledges Stan Lee’s editorial/writerly/semi-co-creatorly skills and also acknowledges Kirby’s astonishing gush of creativity and brilliance is a great way to get yourself yelled at by both sides.

  72. Allen Smith says:

    My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that Stan’s writing had a surface appeal that, for the most part, doesn’t hold up well for me now. It, and he, appear to be shallow. But, let’s face it, most comics are light entertainment, not intended to last for the ages. At least in the writing part. The art, well, that’s great and has great impact, whether it’s by Kirby, or Romita, Sr. I understand that other tastes may differ.

  73. patrick ford says:

    The number of mainstream comic books where I don’t like the writing and do like the artwork is probably close to 99%. The idea a person should automatically like Steve Ditko and Lee about the same, or Wally Wood and Bill Dubay, or Toth and some nameless writer, or Kubert and Gardner Fox, or Moebius and Jodorowsky is not something I can relate to. In fact if you go beyond comics there are lots of examples I can think of where I am not a fan of both people who are commonly viewed as a “team.” I like John Lennon and have no interest in McCartney. I like Keith Richards in spite of the fact I don’t like anything Mick Jagger has to contribute.

  74. Frank Santoro says:

    Zing!

  75. Tony says:

    “The idea a person should automatically like ____ and ____ about the same…”

    Groth & Thompson… Nadel & Hodler… Gilbert & Jaime… Khosla & Stone…

  76. Tony says:

    Random order, eh, doesn’t reflect my preferences one way or the other.

  77. Tony says:

    Which I do have. Preferences, I mean.

  78. Kim Thompson says:

    Wait, what? Is anyone suggesting that anyone should “like Ditko and Lee about the same”? I’m not — at all. I’m just saying that the opinions as to the creative contributions of each side of the Lee/Ditko and Lee/Kirby collaborations, both in terms of quality and in terms of impact, seem to pool on the extremes, to “Kirby and Ditko just drew up Stan Lee’s brilliant creations” or “Stan Lee just spewed a bunch of shitty words onto Kirby and Ditko’s brilliant creations and took all the credit.” I mean, if it’s a binary choice I’m being forced to make I guess I’m more aligned with the latter (as I’m sure most everyone here except NYJ is), but I still think Lee’s editorial/managerial/scripting contributions were significant and positive and deserve to be credited.

  79. Allen Smith says:

    Stan already has credited his own talents. Ad infinitum.

    Allen Smith

  80. patrick ford says:

    Well I was just having a similar discussion with someone about Jim Shooter and proposed an article title which could be equally applied here. STAN LEE OUR MUSSOLOINI: HE MADE THE TRAINS RUN ON TIME.

  81. patrick ford says:

    Kim made clear “about the same” was a misreading on my part. I really should have said there is no reason why a person who likes (say) Stan Lee should like Steve Ditko at all. And to keep this in an area where people are working as a perceived or actual team (Lee and Ditko were not a team, they worked independently from one another, and after Ditko demanded payment and credit for plotting Lee refused to even speak to him), use my earlier example. I like Lennon and have no use for Paul, Ringo, or Yoko. George I’m neutral on. So with Ditko; I like Ditko, and have no use for Denny O’Neil at all. This applies across the board. There is never a reason why a person who likes creator “A” should like creator “B.”

  82. Kim Thompson says:

    Of course. Which doesn’t mean it’s reasonable to push back by dismissing Stan Lee’s talents, skills, or achievements as nonexistent out of sheer vengefulness. If Stan had been a model of modesty, crediting the overwhelming share of creativity (properly) to Lee and Ditko et al., would people be so insistent on pushing Lee’s score down to zero?

  83. Allen Smith says:

    Kim, it’s fair enough to not dismiss Stan Lee’s talents out of vengefulness. But suppose one dismisses his talents after a genuine examination of his work, and finds such work wanting? And, more to the point, what do we know is his work, when he didn’t credit the artists with what they were doing along with drawing the stories? The waters have been muddied.

  84. James says:

    One could hardly blame Kirby for seeking vengeance, if that was what he was doing in the interview—he was the injured party and it never got any better. He died with his grievances unaddressed. I tend to believe he spoke the truth as he understood it, he wrote the stories he drew by the definition that counts: he articulated the characters and events and the manner in which the story progressed from beginning to end, in his drawings and in the notes that he wrote in the margins of the pages. He did this in the days when Joe Simon was inking him and later, when Stan Lee was overwriting him. (BTW I’m not interested at all in Lee’s text, it is among other faults sexist and nearly unreadable and doesn’t hold up nearly as well as Kirby’s own. )
    Lee always claimed he had a bad memory, but he didn’t let it stop him from testifying in a way that was contrary to many his own previous statements, in a way that also opposed the testimony of other artists who had created themselves the stories that he overblurbed and then took full credit and pay for writing, just so he could fuck his old partner’s family one last time in a court of law and deny them any scrap of compensation out of the billions of dollars made from the properties based on Jack Kirby’s efforts. No one denies that Lee was an effective salesman or editor, or that he had a way with a turn of phrase that put an appealing gloss on the Marvel comics of the 1960s. But the evidence indicates that Lee didn’t create those concepts, or anything before or since, and there is nothing defensible about the way he has taken more credit than he deserved for work that other people did, while never speaking up for his “collaborators” in any way that counted for all these years.

  85. Kim Thompson says:

    Hey, I find very little to disagree with here. (We need NYJ back to get any kind of real conflict going.) I think you can look at the 1960s Marvel stuff and the 1970s DC Fourth World stuff, pick either as superior, and consequently credit Stan Lee with wizardly editorial/creative acumen or damn him for glibness and compromise. I’m saying that perhaps sometimes this judgment (which isn’t necessarily a 100% either/or proposition) may be tainted by a visceral loathing for Stan Lee’s (fairly undisputed) self-serving, both personal and corporate, villainy.

    I may someday sit down and re-read all this material and discover to my shock that I’ve flipped and now prefer the mad, explosive, heedless burst of creativity of NEW GODS et al. to the slick, managed FANTASTIC FOUR.

  86. Scott Grammel says:

    With Stan Lee, Kirby created the Silver Surfer. Without Stan Lee, Kirby created the Black Racer. Just saying.

  87. patrick ford says:

    Silver Surfer/Black Racer? I’d take the Black Racer story every time. It’s far better than the Lee rewrite which saw print. If Kirby’s intent for the Surfer had reached print things might be different.
    http://kirbymuseum.org/blogs/effect/a-failure-to-communicate-part-two/
    In 1972 Goodman commented on the failure of the Lee Silver Surfer comic book. Palm Beach Post reporter Don Geringer’s article quoted Goodman as saying (wryly says Geringer), “I think psychologically the average reader didn’t care enough about surfing. So we got a thumbs down.”
    That quote is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read, and almost makes me like Goodman. I mean…Silver guy on a surf board, black guy on skis…whatever floats your boat. I see no difference. It’s super heroes right. You know…guys that wear underwear and fly around. As Kirby said, “It’s just a surface thing.”

  88. Allen Smith says:

    Didn’t Kirby create the Silver Surfer also? And did a good job of it until Lee took the character away from Kirby and turned the Surfer, for a while, into a whiny little bastard?

  89. Kim Thompson says:

    The Surfer vs. Racer discussion is the “Kirby with or without Lee?” argument in a microcosm. I’m a Surfer guy myself, although obviously not the horrible whiny post-Kirby solo-comic Buscema-drawn one, whose only merit is that it did generate a classic Gotlib parody strip. Just for the panel where the Surfer has to take a leak and whips out his dick, and it’s a faucet. I’d like to think Harvey Kurtzman saw that and said “Bravo.”

  90. patrick ford says:

    I’m more of a Surfer-Racer-Batman-Green Lantern who cares type. They are all suits of clothes hanging in a wardrobe.
    I’ve always felt characters picked up their credo from exposure. After something is around for awhile people get used to seeing them and they no longer look ridiculous. And as far as I’ve ever seen the typical fan hand wringing over the Black Racer has to do with people freaking out because they think a black guy on skis is ridiculous in a genre where a silver guy on a surf board is believable. It’s the same thinking Gilbert Hernandez mocked recently in his interview where he pointed out an out of touch review of SPEAK OF THE DEVIL had complained the story was not realistic. It doesn’t really make sense to go to fantasy genres like super heroes or B-movies in comic book form, and start complaining that Ma Kent could never have made that Superman costume because the fabric is supposed to be invulnerable so how did she cut and sew it?

    Anyhow the Surfer as conceived by Kirby Kirby: I went to the Bible. And I came up with Galactus. And there I was in front of this tremendous figure, who I knew very well, because I always felt him, and I certainly couldn’t treat him the same way that I would any ordinary mortal … and of course the Silver Surfer is the fallen angel. Galactus in actuality is a sort of god. He is beyond reproach, beyond anyone’s opinion.

    “Fallen angel is a concept that is typically synonymous with a rebellious angel. Biblical commentators use this term as an adjective to describe the angels who are cast down to the Earth…”

    The the Books of Enoch refer to both good and bad Watchers, with a primary focus on the rebellious ones.
    It’s apparent from Kirby’s border notes ( His lost origin of Galactus in Thor) Kirby intended the Watcher and Galactus were of the same race, and knew one another.

    There is a detailed article which displays a lot of Kirby’s pencils and border notes.
    http://kirbymuseum.org/blogs/effect/rough-surfing/

    Lee’s character (because we never saw Kirby’s) is completely illogical. He’s a weepy super sensitive Woody Allen kvetching on a surf board; who also was recently employed as an advance scout by a genocidal planet sucking boss.

    One thing that is interesting about Lee’s Silver Surfer is I think it’s a rare example of Lee actually trying to write something he thinks is good rather than dashing off the old stand-up act he’d been doing for so many years he could do it in his sleep. And the result is cringe inducing. It’s like an episode of I LOVE LUCY where Lucy is convinced she can sing the part of Violetta.

    According to Mark Evanier the Black Racer was never intended for the Fourth World. It was another concept Kirby had dangled at Marvel trying to wrangle a legitimate contract from them. Carmine Infantino was aware Kirby had been showing Lee new characters, but offering them in exchange for a decent on paper contract. Infantino urged Kirby to introduce as many new concepts as quickly as he could out of concerns Marvel had seen the presentation drawings. It’s the same reason those short back-up stories began showing up. The character LONAR for example was not conceived as part of the Fourth World fabric.

    Evanier: The Black Racer was originally to be a standalone character that didn’t intersect at all with the Fourth World. Infantino urged Jack to stick him in there because they knew Jack had discussed the idea with Stan and feared Stan might remember the idea and use it first.

  91. patrick ford says:

    In spite of the clear evidence in Kirby’s border notes which indicate Kirby created Galactus with the Surfer as a key component of his plot when Lee testified for Disney against the Kirby heirs this is what Lee said.

    TSG Reporting 877-702-9580
    Page 71
    1 S. LEE
    2 Q. Could you tell us how the Silver Surfer came
    3 about?
    4 A. Right. I wanted to have a villain called
    5 Galactus. We had so many villains who were so powerful.
    6 I was looking for somebody who would be more powerful than
    7 any. So I figured somebody who is a demigod who rides
    8 around in space and destroys planets.
    9 I told Jack about it and told him how I wanted
    10 the story to go generally. And Jack went home, and he
    11 drew it. And he drew a wonderful version. But when I
    12 looked at the artwork, I saw there was some nutty looking
    13 naked guy on a flying surfboard.
    14 And I said, “Who is this?”
    15 And he said — well, I don’t remember whether
    16 he called him the surfer or not. He may have called him
    17 the surfer. But he said, “I thought that anybody as
    18 powerful as Galactus who could destroy planets should have
    19 somebody who goes ahead of him, a herald who finds the
    20 planets for him. And I thought it would be good to have
    21 that guy on a flying surfboard.”
    25 But that was all. He was supposed to be a
    CONFIDENTIAL PURSUANT TO PROTECTIVE ORDER
    TSG Reporting 877-702-9580
    Page 72
    1 S. LEE
    2 herald to find Galactus his planets. But the way Jack
    3 drew him, he looked so noble and so interesting that I
    4 said, “Jack, you know, we ought to really use this guy. I
    5 like him.”
    6 And I tried to write his copy so that he was
    7 very philosophical, and he was always commenting about the
    8 state of the world and: Don’t you human beings realize
    9 you live in a paradise. Why don’t you appreciate it? Why
    10 do you fight each other and hate each other? And I had
    11 him talking like that all the time.

    20 Q. So, for example, with regard to the Silver
    21 Surfer, who decided to essentially take the Silver Surfer
    22 and make him a separate character?

    23 A. Oh. Me.

  92. Scott Grammel says:

    With Stan Lee, Ditko created Spider-Man. Without Stan Lee, Ditko created the Creeper.

  93. Don Druid says:

    So, nothing Kirby did at DC was a success?

  94. Don Druid says:

    Too bad about the loss of “anti-community pacifier” . . . a pretty hard dig in 1967. Do we take Stan’s version that still works as glib commentary today – or Jack’s, which still works as cutting commentary today?

  95. patrick ford says:

    Kirby gave Doom the machine to deal with Occupy Wall Street. And boy did Lee ever need an editor. Check Kirby’s dialogue in panels two and three and compare to all the excess blather Lee added to it. The Kirby dialogue is how the Lee dialogue would have ended up if Lee had written his first and a decent editor had gone over it. That’s the thing about Lee which gets me. His dialogue is like something Harvey Kurtzman would write to make fun of comic book dialogue. It’s a text book example of bad writing.

  96. Allen Smith says:

    Yes, which means that Ditko had a hand in creating both characters. And was capable and willing to create characters on his own, without Stan. Of course, Stan could and did create characters on his own as well. What was the name of the character that Pamela Anderson played?

    Allen Smith

  97. Allen Smith says:

    Sounds like a classic send up of the Surfer, Kim. Never saw that one.

  98. Allen Smith says:

    Stan’s contribution to the character of the Surfer was to make him a two faced hypocritical sap. A character who’s been shown to be barely aware of humanity, who’s been leading Galactus to worlds to devour, some of them certainly inhabited (although Marvel tried to fudge this by basically ignoring it), becomes post Kirby a character whining about man’s inhumanity to man. Using the most obvious and trite dialogue possible, and contradicting the fact that he, the Surfer, was indeed a fallen angel, having aided Galactus in his journies through the galaxy. Even back in my teens when this version of the Surfer came out, I could see the flaws in both the character development and the sappy dialogue telling us stupid old teenagers, who in Stan’s mind needed preaching to, that being inhumane to one another was wrong. And this is who people today hold up as a great comics writer? Don’t think so. But the True Believers ate it up.

  99. Dustin says:

    One of my favorite pro-Stan Lee arguments is, “No, he didn’t really write anything of note before or after the sixties but he created really great work with Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Moebius, etc.” I mean, sure, but my mom could probably create a pretty good comic if it was being drawn and plotted (or co-plotted) by Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko or Moebius.

  100. patrick ford says:

    Maybe not on his own. A stripper named Janet Clover says Lee based the character on conversations she had with Lee during “private” lap dance sessions. http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2003-07-11/news/0307110390_1_stan-lee-clover-stripper

  101. Allen Smith says:

    That was ten years ago. Wonder how that suit ever turned out? I mean, the very idea that Stan would take someone else’s ideas and use them as his own is ridiculous…:-)

  102. Knut Robert Knutsen says:

    What’s most interesting about the Silver Surfer to me is that as he first appears, where Stan Lee didn’t “know” or have a handle on the character and would have to rely more on Kirby’s plot notes, the Surfer appears to be created from nothing by Galactus, a naive being who has no understanding of the human condition. Which is why meeting Alicia Masters affects him so strongly.

    This classic sci-fi idea of an amoral, powerful being becoming more human through interaction with humans appears to be a recurring motif in Kirby’s solo work and one of the most interesting and challenging of the ideas that superhero comics deal with. It gives the character a potential depth that no-one since Kirby has ever really had the opportunity to explore.

    What Stan Lee does when he puts him in his own book and takes him away from Kirby is to turn him into a human (albeit an alien version), separated from his lover through a supposedly noble self-sacrifice that he seems not to notice has now been undone. So his overly sentimental and melodramatic “motivation” becomes “leaving Earth” and “woe is me, I miss my girl”. Whereas the original Silver Surfer was about “Becoming Human” (which opens up the possibility for a much more interesting exploration of the human condition.)

    Yes, Kirby was full of hits and misses and it often showed that he needed an editor and possibly a good scripter (to be fair, for his 4th World work at DC he apparently did want to hire scripters and work with other artists but was told it wouldn’t happen.) But even his failed ideas were ambitious and unique and a lot of his supposedly failed concepts are solid enough to work as long as one is willing to commit to the concept, however bizarre.

    Stan Lee, I think, did make Marvel a success and he did give a lot of the comics a special sense of fun. But I feel that part of his “genius” as an editor and a marketer was to dumb the books down a little. He replaced challenging concepts with cheap melodrama. Not just with the Surfer. No, they were not as dumb as say 1950s Superman comics (which I love, however silly, but that are likewise dumbed down from the original which could have been a more challenging concept), but they were not what Kirby and Ditko seemed to have wanted to do at that point. And if you track the reported disagreements they had, they were usually about Kirby and Ditko wanting to do something a little more ambitious and Stan Lee making a decision that I don’t doubt was good for sales and more appealing to the majority of readers, but that still impeded them creatively.

    Which means Stan Lee was doing his job as an editor. Might he, as a writer, have wanted to be ambitious, too? We’ll probably never know for sure. But if in an internal conflict between Stan Lee the writer and Stan Lee the editor it was the editor who won , then that’s how it had to be if he was going to keep the job.

  103. Don Druid says:

    I really enjoyed Stan Lee’s dialogue when I was a kid, reading those #1-#5 collections Marvel put out in the 1990s. I don’t so much enjoy it now. I’ve always judged his writing in the same way as I try to judge children’s books. I think Kirby might have pushed kids (and stoners) a little further if he had gotten his way.

  104. Don Druid says:

    I think both Stan’s and Jack’s versions would suggest to the bright young reader that this is the Bull Connor machine, but Jack’s is something that makes me jump back a little, in context – because it identifies the people being attacked as communities. It suggested a lot more at work in “pacification” than just the age-old misuse of “justice” to describe oppression. To me, Stan’s version reads like a mutual and thin critique across both sides of the Cold War – close enough to contemporary liberal propaganda against the Soviets – while Jack’s critique lives and works in America.

  105. patrick ford says:

    What Robert says above is all very similar to how I see it and I think pretty obviously the fact of the matter.
    I would question the “success” idea on a couple of levels. First of all there are people who have the idea commercial success is indicative of creative merit. That argument is very obviously wrong, and there are many, many examples of hugely successful crap, and fantastic work in the arts which didn’t sell very well. The sphere of comics needs no further example than Krazy Kat to demolish the idea that commercial success proves artistic greatness . I’d also point out Lois Lane sold better than Spider-Man until after Lee left the book (of course Lois Lane is arguably a better book than ASM).
    If you just want to look at commercial success for some reason the argument Kirby had no independent success is still empty. In the ’50s Kirby had tremendous success with Romance stories which he wrote, penciled, and inked and the solo Kirby stories were the lead stories in most instances. Simon was not involved in those stories except as a packager dealing with publishers. Simon did write and draw stories on his own during this era as well, but for the most part the two men were not collaborating in the ’50s.
    Kirby was also successful at DC. According to Paul Levitz who has the hard numbers Kirby’s Fourth World books were selling well, better than a lot of things DC was publishing, and right before it was cancelled there was talk of increasing the NEW GODS to monthly frequency. When Kirby began working for Marvel again in 1976 DC revived the NEW GODS right after he left. The Fourth World books were selling well, they just weren’t huge hits, but nothing else DC was publishing was either. The Joe Kubert Tarzan comic sold so poorly DC couldn’t justify Kubert’s page rate on the book and replaced him with low paid foreign artists. The Neal Adams Green Lantern was reduced to a back-up feature in the FLASH. It was just a bad time for comic book sales. Marvel’s sales were going down as well. Both DC and Marvel must have sensed the time for super heroes had passed and assuming it was another cycle as seen in the late ’40s they began reviving the same genres which had replaced super heroes after WWII. Horror, Romance, and Science Fiction/Fantasy books began popping up all over. DC asked Kirby to create two new titles in these genres with the plan they would be passed off to other artists. When the sales figures came in on the DEMON and KAMANDI it was decided Kirby had to remain on those books. KAMANDI was a substantial hit, pretty obvious because DC kept the title going after Kirby quit.
    So the idea Kirby had no independent success is BS. It’s been shot down by Levitz on a number of occasions but the idea keeps stumbling on (Marvel)-ZOMBIE-like.

    The Marvel era is no doubt the worst thing which ever happened to Kirby. On one hand you have the self appointed comic book intelligencia ridiculing Kirby as a fascist-sexist-moron via his association with the stories which were published after having been rewritten by Lee. On the other hand you have the MMMS which views Kirby as the unfaithful bastard who ran away to another company, and destroyed the myth of the happy bullpen. Kirby himself got nothing out of the relationship except a page rate for drawing. His page rate is sometimes reported as “astronomical” but he was paid the same rate as John Romita and Ditko at Marvel (and it’s been said less than Buscema), and he was paid the same page rate as Kubert, Swan, and DC’s other top artists and writers at DC. He was never (there are a few exceptions, two in the ’60s, and a few more in 1970) paid for his writing at Marvel, Lee kept all that, and Kirby was no doubt aware that when Ditko and Wood demanded payment (and in the early ’60s it would have been payment for writing which was more important than credit) and credit for writing.
    Lee cut off Ditko completely (refused to speak to him) after Ditko demanded payment and credit for plotting, and Wood’s relationship went south even quicker. Wood described his feelings in a letter to John Hitchcock.

    ” I want the credit (and the money) for everything I do! And I resent guys like Stan Lee more than I can say! He’s my one reason for living… I want to see that no-talent bum get his…”

    Kirby himself said he should have quit Marvel, but he didn’t have the courage to risk the loss of income having just gotten badly burned by Jack Schiff his editor at DC.
    So bitter are the feelings of the MMMS type fan that there are large numbers of them devoted to proving Kirby never had a success without Lee or Joe Simon. There are even large numbers who insist Kirby didn’t write for the S&K studio even though all evidence shows he clearly did most of the writing. This can easily be discerned from the style of the writing as amply pointed out by people like Martin O’Hearn:

    http://martinohearn.blogspot.com/2012/12/kirby-analyzes-your-dreams.html

    Aside from the style of the text itself, there is ample eyewitness testimony from people who were in the studio that Kirby wrote all the time for S&K. And there is the fact that Kirby’s penciled lettering can be seen on original art pages done for S&K stories penciled by himself, but also on stories penciled by Al Avison, Mort Meskin, and others. Since the S&K Romance comics were very successful the idea Kirby wrote them contradicts the idea Kirby could only have success with another writer and so there are people who insist Kirby was born in Kenya…err…sorry…never wrote anything.
    Then you have people who argue Marvel made Kirby, that if it were not for Marvel DC never would have hired him. They maybe still would have hired a raft of people from Charlton like Sam Glanzman (a writer artist) and Jim Aparo, and Dick Giordano, and many others, but people who identify themselves as “JACK’S BIGGEST FAN” will insist DC only hired Kirby because Stan Lee made him a star. The fact is most people who say they are “JACK’S BIGGEST FAN” are really fans of a pile of Kirby’s old toe nail clippings called Marvel Comics. The man himself, and the thing he was most proud of as a creator, his stories, are the objects of scorn.

  106. TimR says:

    Amazing that Lee, at 90 yrs old, or something like that, is still playing games like this… You’d think that once you get to be that age maybe you’d just be past all that. What’s the downside for him if he just told the court the truth? Maybe not the harsh cold truth as Pat tells it, but just more or less the truth. Would the mouse break his legs or something?

    Re: Pat’s superheroes are “suits of clothes”/interchangeable
    Partly agree, however it’s probably *easier* to fix some characters in the public’s mind… For one thing, certain colors seem to work better than others. Red & blue just happen to feature in the two S’s, and Batman has blue as well. Green characters seem doomed to second-string status, and don’t think about trying to be a top-tier PURPLE character… And if you add up a bunch of “cool” traits into one char., then even second-string artists can maybe make it work.

    btw… I have a one-of-a-kind “poster” enlargement of a Kirby panel from one of his “2001” comics, free to Pat or any Kirby fans. I don’t want to throw it away but to give it a good home. It’s actually on adhesive vinyl such as used for signs nowadays, but looks like (and functional as) a poster. Free except for s&h. Contact info is at my site linked here.

  107. patrick ford says:

    Why does Lee continue on with this? He’s under contract and has been since right around the time Kirby left Marvel for DC.
    It wasn’t only Kirby who never had a contract of any kind with Marvel, Lee never did either until Perfect Film and Chemical offered him one.
    Lee’s contracts were introduced as an exhibit during the discovery process when Disney sued the Kirby heirs.

    http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/new-york/nysdce/1:2010cv00141/356975/65/28.html

    On page two of Lee’s current contract his primary duty is described as serving as a spokesman for Marvel.

    If we look at page 3 of Lee’s current contract you can see Lee has been paid a base salary of one million dollars a year since Nov. 1, 2002, and will continue to receive that salary until his death. Even after Lee dies if his wife outlives him she will be paid a half million dollars a year until the time of her death, and Lee’s daughter will be paid one hundred thousand dollars a year for five years after the time of Lee’s passing.

    https://docs.google.com/gview?url=http%3A%2F%2Fdocs.justia.com%2Fcases%2Ffederal%2Fdistrict-courts%2Fnew-york%2Fnysdce%2F1%3A2010cv00141%2F356975%2F65%2F28.pdf%3Fts%3D1298736722&docid=2eae2b42ebfbfbb6f7911c2503ffed20&a=bi&pagenumber=4&w=548

    Moving on to page four we find in addition to his salary Lee is offered 150,000 stock options, and on page five we see Lee receives many other benefits including first class limousine service, stays in luxury hotels, a full time assistant, 10% of the profits derived from live action or animated television shows and movies, $125,000 per year for writing the Spider-Man news paper comic strip, and on page seven Lee is given ownership of the FEMIZONS.
    The 10% of profits from movies and television could easily eclipse Lee’s base salary, and Lee sued Marvel a few years ago because he felt they were cooking the books and not properly calculating the 10%.
    Moving ahead take a look at page eight. See where it says:

    “Subject to a material breach of this contract you agree to not contest directly or indirectly the full and complete ownership by Marvel and it’s affiliates designees, or successors of all right. title and interest in and to the Property and Rights or the validity of the Rights conferred on Marvel by this agreement. ”

    Now note it continues:

    “…or to assist others in doing so. (my bold) EXAMPLES OF SUCH PROHIBITED CONTESTACIEN WOULD BE APPLYING FOR COPYRIGHT/COPYRIGHT RENEWAL.”

    If Tim would like he can send the Kirby poster to Stan Lee. Lee’s address can be found on page 10 of the contract.

    Now it could be argued that what is Lee expected to do? Piss away a million dollars a year, millions of dollars in payments to his heirs, a private assistant, free luxury hotels and limousines, 10% of TV and Movie profits, and let’s not forget the FEMIZONS. I can easily imagine a scenario where back in 1969 Lee was called into see Perfect Film executives and was told if he played ball he would be well taken care of, and if he didn’t he’d end up with nothing just like Kirby.

    The thing is Lee is responsible for the current situation based on his actions back in 1958-1970. Lee has absurdly claimed he came up with the Marvel Method out of the generosity of his heart. He says he felt bad keeping people like Ditko and Kirby waiting for scripts, and he decided to let them work from a plot he gave to them during a story conference. The fact most comics “journalism” continues to parrot that transparent bit of malarkey causes me to recall Tom Sawyer. Only Lee didn’t really convince Kirby and Ditko, and Wood to do his work for him. Rather Lee has convinced comics fans and journalists that he was doing Wood, Kirby, and Ditko a favor by having them write the stories Lee was paid for. There is strong evidence Lee contributed little or nothing to the stories his WRITER/artists created until they turned the finished pages in to Lee. Many of the very first characters Kirby brought to Lee are easily traced to things he worked on in the 50s during his partnership with Joe Simon. While Kirby’s Spider-Man has only the orphaned teen hero, spider powers, the name, and a mechanical web shooting device in common with the published Spider-Man, what is telling is that it could not be more obvious it was Kirby who brought the character to Lee. No matter if much of it was used or not (and those mentioned elements are not insignificant), no matter if the character was based in part on previous work by Jack Oleck, Joe Simon, and Kirby. The point is that it is a clear indication Kirby was pitching ideas from the start. The same is true of the Fantastic Four. Much is made of a synopsis found in Lee’s old desk in the late ’70s. A synopsis Kirby says he never saw. Roy Thomas said, “Even Stan would never claim for sure he wrote it before speaking to Jack.” Shortly after Thomas made that comment in TJKC #18 Stan Lee showed up in ALTER-EGO magazine insisting he was positive he’d written the synopsis before ever speaking to Kirby. And yet the first issue of the FF and their origin story is again so similar to an earlier S&K creation (The Challengers of the Unknown) that it defies logic to think it wasn’t Kirby who came up with the idea. Lee’s story of Martin Goodman getting the idea for a super hero group after playing golf with Jack Liebowitz was eviscerated by Liebowitz who said in an interview he never played golf, or socialized with Goodman. Kirby has always maintained he began pushing Lee and Goodman to try super heroes in 1958 when he was forced out at DC and began selling work to Goodman. Kirby’s costumed hero book The Challengers of the Unknown followed on the heels of the FLASH at DC and commonly featured characters with super powers. The Challengers was so popular it was featured in the tryout book showcase more times than the FLASH, and was given it’s own title before the FLASH. Based on his experience at DC Kirby felt the super hero was the next popular cycle for comics, and says he urged Marvel to follow suit.
    Again Kirby’s version is entirely logical where Lee’s story has been shown to be false.
    Aside from Kirby both Ditko and Wally Wood have asserted Lee relied on them for plots, and neither of them viewed it as a gift bestowed on them by Lee.
    Dick Giordano described a meeting with Ditko:

    “With Spider-Man…when I was working for Charlton, maybe that’s how we got together now that I think of it—He came up boiling mad. The dispute was he thought he was writing Spider-Man, but Stan was getting the credit. As proof he showed me a chart he had on the wall that said when certain things were going to happen over the next six issue span. Steve felt it was criminal for someone to take credit for something he didn’t do. That’s what led to the break-up with Marvel and Steve. (COMIC BOOK ARTIST #9 pg.42). ”

    Wally Wood commented on his relationship with Lee on several occasions.

    “I want the credit (and the money) for
    everything I do! And I resent guys like Stan Lee more than I can say! He’s my one reason for living… I want to see that no-talent bum get his…

    Did I say Stanley had no smarts? Well, he DID come up with two sure
    fire ideas… the first one was “Why not let the artists WRITE the
    stories as well as draw them?”… And the second was … ALWAYS SIGN
    YOUR NAME ON TOP …BIG”. And the rest is history … Stanley, of course
    became rich and famous … over the bodies of people like Bill and Jack.

    I was coming up with most of the ideas. It finally got to the point where I told him that if he was the writer, he’d have to come up with the plots. So, we just sat across the desk from one another in silence.

  108. Knut Robert Knutsen says:

    A few minor points: A lot is made of Stan Lee’s million dollar salary, but that’s more likely to be an executive salary/pension based on his involvement with Marvel Studios rather than his work as a writer. Also his role as official spokesperson and public face of the company might be valued that way. So it’s not really attached to him “creating” the Marvel Universe. So, while unfair, it’s the standard “executives get all the benefits” kind of unfair, not “two creators treated differently”.

    His contract may bar Stan Lee from assisting copyright renewal bids, but it doesn’t and cannot compel him to perjure himself. Or to face contempt of court by refusing to answer questions. Contracts can only compel behaviour within what is legal.

    If asked a question point-blank on the stand that settlef the argument in favor of Kirby, however damaging it might be to Marvel, it would hardly violate his contract.

    The wrinkle in this is that as Marvel’s only editor at the time it was Stan Lee’s job and duty to make sure all work was produced within work-for-hire guidelines, including his own (for the Femizons etc he had to negotiate with his bosses to get rights, he couldn’t award them to himself). So any “wedge” that existed to undo the work-for-hire presumption would have to allege negligence or improper editorial behaviour on the part of Stan Lee.

    Which is what the Kirby case did. It alleged that Stan Lee acted improperly in asking Kirby to produce pages that Lee then rejected without paying for. This was either due to not communicating clearly to Kirby what he wanted (meaning the work was not done at the company’s direction) or allowing him to submit things on spec (meaning it was not done at their direction and expense).

    This argument could, if substantiated by the direct testimony of Kirby (which is of course impossible) or uncontested by the testimony of Stan Lee, have meant that Kirby could reclaim copyrights to the bulk of all material he produced at Marvel. Possibly even more than a 50% share since he plotted and drew it. But it rests on Stan Lee not doing his job. And when a highly paid employee costs the company millions by not acting within the guidelines, that’s where they’ll try to reclaim it. Or possibly try to shift the lawsuit so that it becomes a claim against Stan Lee instead.

    So in a sense, every dollar given to Kirby by Marvel after a loss based on Lee’s testimony, could technically be money that they’d want to get back from Lee. A lot of commenters I have read seem to think that by siding with the Kirby Estate in this case, Lee would basically hand the family “Free Money”. But what he would in fact be doing is admit to negligent or unethical work practices and possibly expose himself to a tremendous financial liability.

    I have no basis for believing that Stan Lee was lying, but if he were, it is far more likely that he did so to protect his own reputation, cover up his own mistakes and avoid such a financial liability. Not out of malice to the Kirbys or out of loyalty to Marvel’s corporate owners.

    The idea that Stan Lee could have aided the Kirby case without any cost to himself is just wrong. Yet it seems to be a subtext of a lot of the debate.

  109. Allen Smith says:

    But, wasn’t the entire Marvel method a case of Stan not doing the job? DC and most other companies used scripts, the writer and/or editor wrote a script, then gave it to the artist to illustrate. Stan’s method had the virtue of saving time, but if that was the method he was going to use, Stan needed to make clear from the very start who was doing what. On the bulk of the stories where he’s listed as writer, if they were done Marvel style, the artist has done the majority of the writing, Stan has been dialoguer/editor.
    I have no idea if Stan got a separate fee for the writing, but I hope it reflected the fact that he was not doing the full job of writing, only a part of it. The artists were doing the rest.

  110. Knut Robert Knutsen says:

    I meant not doing his job as an editor. Not as in “not doing the work”. Sadly, “not doing the work” is not a valid legal argument. Work-for-hire simply means “Giving people money and telling them what to do.” You could give someone a nickel and tell them to make a superhero comic and technically it could be argued as fulfilling the requirements of WFH (though in practical terms there could be a “reasonable man” argument in there). The Kirby case argued that Kirby made comics he wasn’t told to make and wasn’t paid for what they didn’t want.

    The last part is the most damning. Larry Lieber testified to Kirby walking into the office with a 5-page Hulk sequence that Stan Lee (his brother) rejected in the office and allegedly refused to pay for, because he didn’t want that storyline.

    If Kirby had been alive to testify to the exact same thing, that testimony could have given Kirby the preponderance of the evidence. But since the only ones privvy to the plotting conversations between Lee and Kirby were the two of them, their testimony is the “best” or primary evidence. So Lee’s evidence could only really be contradicted by Kirby or a written contract or other solid evidence, not circumstantial evidence.

    Of course, a testimony by Steve Ditko to the effect that he had a similar deal to the one alleged by the Kirby’s could have helped. But I don’t know that they had the same type of deal. Anyway, they burned that bridge when they claimed Spider-Man.

  111. Allen Smith says:

    I knew that Stan rejected pages, but had not heard about the incident concerning the Hulk pages. Message to Stan: if you didn’t like the way the story was written and drawn, why not get up off your overrated ass, and write the thing yourself, you know, as the credits read on the comics, Stan Lee, writer?

  112. patrick ford says:

    People get confused about this all the time. The Kirby case argued Kirby created characters in the form of presentation pages which he then offered to Lee who could either accept (THOR) or reject (the Kirby version of Spider-Man) them.
    If you look at the termination notices you will see they are not seeking copyright to every issue Kirby worked on 1958-1963. The issues mentioned in the termination notices are specific issues where characters created by Kirby first appeared.
    That’s the case. Kirby said he created pitch pages. Lee says Kirby created nothing except penciled pages after Lee had described the characters to him.
    Lee did say “his artists” were expected to create characters, but as Lee described it those characters would be what would be called extras in a movie. The example Lee gave was a scene in a bar. He said the bar would of course be populated and so there would be people (characters) standing around who weren’t described in Lee’s plot. Lee said if the artist happened to draw a “sexy bartender” (maybe he was thinking about Janet Clover, or Hugh Hefner’s brother Keith, or Bob Guccione) Lee might decide to give the sexy bartender a line of dialogue and turn her into a real character. According to Lee “his artists” did create characters all the time, but those characters were things like; a robot, sexy bartender, old man with a cane, cop blowing a whistle, man reading a newspaper, etc. Never a super hero or named character, all those were created by Lee. The only exception to this is the Silver Surfer. The Surfer fell outside the 1958-1963 era covered by the termination notices and was not at issue. Lee may have admitted the Surfer was drawn into a story by Kirby because Lee was so explicit about the story as far back as the 1968 Ted White interview, and Roy Thomas has said on several different occasion he was there with Lee when the art package from Kirby was opened, and says Lee didn’t recognize the character. In any event Lee himself brought up the Surfer during his deposition and said the character played no real role in the story. According to Lee the Surfer was just an extra playing no important role in the plot until Lee decided to make him a real character.

    QUINN (Disney attorney James Quinn): …So, for example, with regard to the Silver Surfer, who decided to essentially take the Silver Surfer and make him a separate character?
    STAN LEE : Oh. Me.
    QUINN: And this is — you talked about it before that artists were expected as part of their job…

    Of course Kirby’s border notes completely contradict Lee’s testimony, the Surfer was central to Kirby plot.

    Unfortunately for the heirs Kirby’s pitch pages are mostly lost. Jim Shooter described holding the Spiderman pitch page “In my hands.” But no one has produced it, not the five page story drew after Lee approved Kirby’s Spiderman based on the pitch page described by Shooter.
    The Kirby Spiderman man concerned Disney and resulted in some highly dubious testimony from Lee during the Dec. 2010 deposition. Marc Toberoff described this in a letter to the judge.

    (3/28) letter to the judge by Toberoff.

    Toberoff: “I cross-examined Stan Lee at a deposition on December 8, 2010. After I

    indicated that I had no further questions, Mr. Lee’s attorney, Arthur Lieberman, requested

    a break even though the parties had just recently already taken a break. At this break, on

    my way to the restroom, I noticed Disney/Marvel’s lead counsel, James Quinn, intently

    speaking to Mr. Lee in a corner separate and apart from the other Marvel attorneys. Upon

    resumption of the deposition, Mr. Quinn asked Mr. Lee very specific questions to which

    Lee immediately responded without any hesitation or reflection.”

    MR. QUINN: You recall that Mr. Toberoff asked you some questions in connection with Spider-Man, and there was some testimony that you gave regarding the fact that you — the original pages that Kirby had drawn -Mr. Kirby had drawn with regard to Spider-Man, that you had rejected them?
    STAN LEE: Right.
    Q. Did Mr. Kirby get paid for those rejected pages?
    STAN LEE: Sure.
    Q. And did you have a practice at that time with regard to paying artists even when the pages were rejected by you or required large changes?
    STAN LEE: Any artists that drew anything that I had asked him or her to draw at my behest, I paid them for it. If it wasn’t good, we wouldn’t use it. But I asked them to draw it, so I did pay them.

    Marvel paying for rejected pages is contradicted by Sinnott, Ayers, Colan, Steranko, and Adams, in new declarations of support filed by Toberoff, and other artists in past interviews have said they weren’t paid for rejected pages.

  113. patrick ford says:

    Lee testified he was paid a salary for his duties as editor and a page rate for his writing.
    If Lee had to split the writing page rate with Kirby, or Wood, or Ditko that would have cut into Lee’s income. After Ditko insisted on being credited and paid for plotting Lee became so angry with Ditko he would no longer speak to him.
    I’ve always thought these comments by Stan Goldberg are compelling.

    Stan Goldberg: “Jack would sit there at lunch, and tell us these great ideas about what he was going to do next. It was like the ideas were bursting from every pore of his body. It was very interesting because he was a fountain of ideas.
    Stan would drive me home and we’d plot our stories in the car. I’d say to Stan,”How’s this? Millie loses her job.” He’d say,”Great! Give me 25 pages.” And that took him off the hook. One time I was in Stan’s office and I told him, “I don’t have another plot.” Stan got out of his chair and walked over to me, looked me in the face, and said very seriously, “I don’t ever want to hear you say you can’t think of another plot.” Then he walked back and sat doen in his chair. He didn’t think he needed to tell me anything more.”
    Jim Amash:” Sounds like you were doing most of the writing then.”
    Goldberg: “Well, I was.

    What is interesting in this case is the clear contrast of Lee intimidating Goldberg, pressuring him to plot Millie just the kind of comic book which was Lee’s forte prior to the Silver Age, and Kirby described (as he always is) as a wellspring of ideas. Then you look at a near identical statement from Wood where Wood said he told Lee if Lee was going to be paid for writing he needed to start writing. Wood says Lee just stared at him in silence. Right after that Wood was gone.

  114. James says:

    My favorite assessment of Stan Lee came from Bernard Krigstein, who worked with Lee enough to know whereof he spoke. In his 1962 interview with Krigstein, John Benson, who is no Kirby admirer, asked him: “I guess you know that Stan Lee has been the spearhead of the so-called current revitalization of comics.” Krigstein replied: “I’m delighted to learn that. Twenty years of unrelenting editorial effort to encourage miserable taste and to flood the field with degraded imitations and non-stories have certainly qualified him for that respected position” (from Squa Tront #6, 1975).

  115. TimR says:

    I see, so Lee does have both carrot and stick concerns. Plus his wife and daughter he probably wants to see very well provided for.

    Pat, I think I get the joke about the poster — you’re saying Lee already profits from all this Kirby work, why not take the poster too? ha. I think it’s kind of a neat image FWIW — maybe 6 or 7 years ago I scanned in a Kirby panel at 600 dpi and had it printed out on a large format printer at a sign shop. The details blew up very well, so you can see all the dots, and printing irregularities. The viewer gets a greater appreciation of the inker’s craft for one thing (I think it’s Sinnot, can’t remember), to see the lines that large. Free to anyone who will cover s&h. You can keep it on its backing paper, or peel it off and squeegee it down onto something…I think it was outdoor rated vinyl, so… put it on your car maybe… :-)
    Maybe if I charge $10 PLUS s&h that will make it more desirable? It would be a hassle to mail…

  116. Allen Smith says:

    The one thing in all of this is that I understand perfectly why Stan Lee would want to have his wife and daughter provided for. But: Kirby also has living children.

  117. patrick ford says:

    Tim, One panel blown up large kind of a Lichtenstein look I take it? What a great idea, that sounds like a really nice one of a kind piece. I’m sure you could sell it for good money on e-bay. The fact that it is sort of like a giant sticker makes it even more appealing.

  118. TimR says:

    Yes kind of a Liechtenstein look — but much better crafted than anything Liechtenstein ever did! Not that he’s a complete slouch, and he was doing something different, but I think the top comics guys had a subtler sense of line and design.

    Somebody contacted me though so the poster is no longer available.

  119. TimR says:

    Poster no longer avail.

  120. Chris says:

    “Wholly, entirely inaccurate…Stan created major characters with a wide variety of creators.”–NYJ, referring to the post-Jack era of Stan’s creative history.

    I can’t think of any, but I am thinking back to my childhood. NYJ says Stan turned over most of the writing chores to Roy Thomas before Jack left Marvel, so whom did Stan create post-Jack?

    I can think of one: Stripperella. I took a look at Wikipedia, trying to figure out if this cartoon was a “success” or not and found this tidbit:

    “In 2003, ex-stripper Janet Clover, aka “Jazz”, aka “Stripperella”, filed a lawsuit in the Daytona Beach, Florida circuit court against Viacom, Stan Lee, and Pamela Anderson, claiming she is Stripperella’s true creator and Stan Lee stole her idea when she discussed it during a lap dance. ”

    Is there a pattern here?

    By the way, does anyone have a good web site that has sales figures for comic books. Jack claimed his DC books always sold, and I would like to take a look at an authoritative source.

  121. Kim Thompson says:

    As I said,

    “If there’s a major character or set of characters that originated in Stan Lee’s typewriter in anything close to its finished form, I’m not really aware of it. Someone illuminate me.”

    I remain unilluminated.

    But of course NYJ’s “created major characters with a wide variety of creators” leaves a lot of wiggle room. If John Romita came up with a super-villain, his powers, and the plot of the story, and Stan then spent 20 minutes writing glib dialogue for him, yes, you could argue that that was a co-creator situation.

    The anecdotes about cartoonists who were discourteous enough to suggest to Stan that he actually write something are pretty amusing.

  122. Allen Smith says:

    Agreed. When had he previously shown he could write?:-)

  123. Daniel C. Parmenter says:

    The Willie Lumpkin strip with Dan DeCarlo?

  124. patrick ford says:

    Chris, None of those figures are public at the moment. Here’s what Mark Evanier has said a few dozen times.
    TJKC: Why did DC really cancel the Fourth
    World books? Was it due to bad sales?
    EVANIER: That’s what they said at the time,
    that’s what the former publisher still
    says. For years, I’d heard his successors at DC say that Jack’s Fourth World
    books were among many that they felt
    should have not been cancelled, that
    sales did not warrant it and you have to
    expect some new books to take a while to
    catch on. For the Kirby tribute book we’re
    putting together, Paul Levitz, who is now the
    publisher, specifically dug into the DC files,
    looked up the numbers, and gave me a quote that
    they were mid-range books. They were selling better
    than some books that were continued, according to Paul.
    So everyone can believe whatever they want.

    Another factor which very likely influenced the reported sales of certain “Hot Books” in the ’70s has been described by large comic book dealers of that era. Robert Beerbohm and Phil Seuling both reported things like the Kirby Fourth World, the Neal Adams GREEN LANTERN and the Kubert TARZAN were selling exceptionally well for them. Beerbohm has pointed out in the days before the Direct Market comic book dealers who moved large numbers (Robert Bell, Beerbohm, Seuling, Rogofsky…) would not haunt newsstands and buy comic books off the rack. Instead they went to local distributors and bought bundles direct from the distributor. This was in the thousands of copies for the largest dealers. Beerbohm reported there was a large New York mail order dealer who sold CONAN #1 in lots of one hundred copies for years after the book came out.
    There was nothing wrong with what the dealers were doing, but the distributors having sold copies outside the newsstand distribution system reported those copies as unsold and destroyed. DC unintentionally enabled this fraud by accepting a written accounting rather than the old practice where unsold copies had either the whole cover or top half of the cover torn off and returned to the publisher for a credit. Neal Adams pointed out the GREEN LANTERN comic book was being covered in NEWSWEEK and TIME magazine, yet sales were going down even as the book was getting that media coverage.

  125. patrick ford says:

    I can’t believe Lee created anything until after Ditko, Kirby, and Wood gave him their finished pages. That is the point when Lee went to work, after Ditko, Wood and Kirby were finished with their part.
    Make no mistake Lee’s contribution to the published comic books was huge. And I believe it was Lee’s persona more than anything else which brought Marvel up from the low end of the industry in terms of sales to fairly close to the top. The way he created the impression it was team Marvel vs Team DC was just as important (if not more so) than his writing style. Such was the force of Lee’s personality he would say his dialogue was the first ever to feature words of more than two syllables, that it was intended to be realistic, that it was written in the style of respected films, when in fact it was much closer in tone to the BATMAN television show. John Romita said he tried to build up the personalities of the characters in Spider-Man, but Lee insisted on writing them as “Betty and Veronica.” If Lee wasn’t the face and voice of Marvel it would not have been the Lee?Romita SPIDER-MAN which was their only book in the top ten best selling comics. The Lee/Romita SPIDER-MAN had to have been the most white-bread thing Marvel was publishing, it sold far better than the FANTASTIC FOUR or THOR, just not as well as ARCHIE, SUPERMAN, SUPERBOY, LOIS LANE, or BETTY AND VERONICA.

    1969 Comic Book Sales Figures
    Average Total Paid Circulation as Reported in Publishers’ Statements of Ownership

    Title Publisher Avg. paid circ.
    1) Archie Archie 515,356
    2) Superman DC 511,984
    3) Superboy DC 465,462
    4) Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane DC 397,346
    5) Betty and Veronica Archie 384,789
    6) Action Comics DC 377,535
    7) Amazing Spider-Man Marvel 372,352
    8) World’s Finest Comics DC 366,618
    9) Batman DC 355,782
    10) Adventure Comics DC 354,123
    11) Archie and Me Archie 345,869
    12) Fantastic Four Marvel 340,363
    13) Life with Archie Archie 326,488
    14) Reggie and Me Archie 276,275
    15) Walt Disney’s Comics & Stories Gold Key 272,672
    16) Archie Giant Series Archie 271,699
    17) Thor Marvel 266,368
    18) Incredible Hulk Marvel 262,472
    19) Flintstones Gold Key 258,821
    20) Archie’s Pals ‘n’ Gals Archie 253,206
    21) Daredevil Marvel 245,422
    22) Captain America Marvel 243,798
    23) Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos Marvel 242,897
    24) Brave & Bold DC 242,501
    25) Avengers Marvel 239,986

  126. Scott Grammel says:

    Knowing that he’d been around the Marvel Bullpen during some of the prime Lee/Kirby years, I asked Gary Friedrich at a convention not long ago about the whole “Stan takes credit for what others created” idea so prevalent these days. Unfortunately, the con was closing for the day and we were getting rushed out, and, as well, Friedrich’s voice was raspy and weak and just hard for me to understand, but I did hear his first comment quite clearly. “Stan worked all the time,” he said, shaking his head.

    Someone should really track him down and get his take on the controversy. He’s obviously not a Marvel Zombie, he’s fought his own battles over his Marvel creations, and, as a writer and not an artist during that time, he wouldn’t have any reason to indulge in zero-sum creation math for his own benefit.

    All I know is that, when I do the thought experiment of imagining comics history without Stan Lee at Marvel in those key early years, I just don’t believe any of it would’ve happened. At all. So, no Fantastic Four, no Hulk, no Spider-Man, no Iron Man, no X-Men — none of it. The enormous conceptual leap from Kirby’s Green Arrow and Challengers of the Unknown comics to the Lee/Kirby Hulk and Fantastic Four comics happens with Lee or it doesn’t happen at all. Nothing that Kirby did before then prepares us for the imaginative and visual boldness of the Lee years; nothing he does after has the conceptual and foundational solidity of the Lee years.

    My favorite Lee/Kirby story has John Romita sitting in the back seat of Lee’s car as Stan drives Kirby (in the front passenger seat) and Romita home after work. During the drive Stan and Jack are theoretically plotting the next Fantastic Four issue together, but what Romita sees and hears is two creators so excited about their own individual visions and ideas that neither can hear the other for their own talking.

    The Marvel Method was such an inherent and horrible victimization of artists by writers that Neal Adams, one of the loudest and most insistent voices for creators rights in comics, purposely came to Marvel from DC to work within that methodology.

  127. patrick ford says:

    Freidrich wouldn’t have a clue as to how Kirby worked. There was no one sitting in during meetings between Kirby an Lee. That Romita in the car story gets recounted so often because it’s the only description of Lee and Kirby talking there is as far as I’ve seen. And it was not a formal story conference.
    The only other instance where a Lee/Kirby story conference has been described is the one described in the infamous New York Herald story. Roy Thomas sat in on that but said in TJKC #18 he had never sat in with Kirby and Lee before, and never did again. He didn’t take notes, didn’t participate, and had no idea why Lee had asked him to sit in. Kirby told Mark Evanier and Steve Sherman the “conference” was a staged event having nothing in common with the usual meeting and that he felt certain Lee was making a fool of himself jumping around and pretending to throw punches. Kirby said little or nothing not wanting to participate in what he saw as an act put on for the reporter.
    1958- mid-1963 there was no staff at all. The so called “bullpen” was described by Lee’s brother Larry Lieber. ” It was just an alcove, with one window, and Stan was doing all the corrections himself; he had no assistants. Later I think Flo [Steinberg, secretary] and Sol Brodsky [production manager] came in.”

  128. Knut Robert Knutsen says:

    Or maybe Neal Adams came to Marvel because he WANTED the job of plotting and designing the stories. Maybe he wanted to be a writer (with or without scripting duties) and was willing to accept less than ideal terms for the opportuinity. DC was always very hesitant about letting people both write and draw stories, and especially about letting artists move into writing. You might say that guys like Frank Robbins were examples of the opposite, but he had quite a track record as a writer before coming to DC.

    I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that Neal Adams in any way approved of artists not getting paid or not getting credit for the work they did plotting out the stories without asking him. And he’s still around, so you can.

  129. R. Fiore says:

    One possible interpretation is that Lee left as much of the plotting to the penciller as the penciller was capable of doing. Producing the copy would have been plenty of work for one man.

  130. Scott Grammel says:

    Well, yes, my “purposely” presupposes that Adams “WANTED” to try co-plotting the comics, then doing the layouts without further guidance, with the writer then adding captions and dialogue — which, essentially, was the Marvel Method as people knew it.

    Adams had just previous to this been writing (with credit, so one assumes with full payment as well) the Deadman stories in Strange Adventures. So, again, we here have an avid advocate for creator’s rights leaving a situation where he is being paid in full for writing and drawing a comic so that he can co-plot and layout a comic without payment beyond that for penciling.

    The idea that he simultaneously found this arrangement to be outrageously unfair and purposely sought it out is inherently ludicrous.

  131. Scott Grammel says:

    Pat Ford is, of course, correct that Friedrich did not witness events at Marvel first-hand before he was employed there. I guess I should’ve stipulated that I assumed no knowledge acquired by impossible mental powers on Friedrich’s part.

  132. patrick ford says:

    Even when Freidrich was there he would have no idea what went on between Lee and Kirby. As I said no one knows except Lee and Kirby. No one was every in a story conference with them except for the one time staged event for the benefit of the reporter from the New York Herald where Thomas says he assumes he was asked to sit in as a witness. People have this image in their mind of “The Bullpen” and it’s not based on reality. Aside from that one incident I’ve never seen an account of a Lee-Kirby story conference. The one person who was there on occasion was Sol Brodsky who is no longer around to describe what went on. Mark Evanier did extensive interviews with Brodsky and says Brodsky told him that Kirby’s version of how the meetings went confirms what Brodsky recalls. Evanier was close to Brodsky and employed Brodsky’s daughter Janice Cohen as his assistant for a number of years. Evanier commented on his Brodsky interview.

    “ME: The answer is that Brodsky did the interview on “background,” meaning that I promised never to print it. It’s full of a lot of stuff that he wouldn’t want published, especially while certain people or their loved ones are still alive. His daughter has asked me to respect that. “

  133. Knut Robert Knutsen says:

    As is the idea that one can simply assume that he had no problems with the Marvel method, especially as Kirby, Ditko, Wood appear to have experienced it.

    Neal Adams is still alive and apparently in good health , still possessed of his mental faculties and his memory and as far as I understand it still available for interviews. So there’s no need for us to guess at how he felt about the Marvel Method, if anyone wants to know they can ask him.

    I think his views on that might be interesting. As would be the views of many other creative people working at Marvel during that period. Maybe, as you seem to suggest, they found it unproblematic, perhaps they saw problems but accepted them as the cost of doing business.

    With creators who are dead, we have to speculate based on what we have. With the ones still alive, let’s ask them.

  134. Kim Thompson says:

    I think Lee “created” as in “thought up” little or nothing at Marvel but worked his ass off as a manager, editor, and final scripter in the company, and those contributions were hugely important to both Marvel’s quality and success, and he should be credited for that, regardless of his failings. If e.g. Charlton had hired Kirby to write and draw FF, THOR, and HULK and Steve Ditko to write and draw SPIDER-MAN and DOCTOR STRANGE they probably wouldn’t have lasted a year. (They might arguably have been better, more idiosyncratic comics.)

    You guys are also scrambling the Lee technique of having the artist fully plot and pencil the work and then scripting it, vs. the “Marvel method” employed by post-Lee writers of writing a full plot (as opposed to the traditional full panel-by-panel script) and then doing the actual “writing” on the pencilled pages, which allowed the artist greater freedom in breaking down the pages, for good (artists creating more visually exciting work) or for ill (artists emphasizing the wrong things or literally leaving too little or wrong room for copy, or misjudging the pace and jamming a longer conclusion into a page and a half). I can certainly see Adams embracing the greater flexibility of getting a plot to work from as opposed to a more constricting panel-by-panel script, and the minor additional labor of conceiving the page breakdowns from a plot rather than a script more than compensated for by the lure of being able to more fully engage himself creatively, and this not at all being at variance with his creators-rights stance. And it’s a far cry from Stan’s having the artist come up with the entire story and then (implicitly or explicitly) taking credit for it or only grudgingly handing the credit (in Ditko’s case by giving him a plotter credit and in Kirby’s place by changing the credit to an undifferentiated “by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby” credit).

    Surely there are writers and artists around who were working in the 1970s for both Marvel and DC who could address the “Marvel style” plot-draw-write style vs. the traditional script-draw style. There were enough artists bopping back and forth between companies to suggest that they appreciated and accepted both approaches.

    I this I remember a story about a CONAN artist being offended because Roy Thomas just tore a Robert E. Howard story out of a paperback and handed it to him and said “Here’s your plot,” but I think I also remember Roy denying the story. I suspect some artists would be perfectly happy with this (and it obviously wouldn’t involve their being stiffed out of “plotting” credits).

  135. patrick ford says:

    Based on what I’ve read what Lee contributed depended on the other person assigned to a book. Why is the Lee/Buscema so uninteresting? Well it had basically the same plot issue after issue. It was not all that different from the TV show Kung-Fu. Kwai-Chang-Surfer rolls into Blackrock and has a bad day. He tries soul searching and reason to no avail and the thing plays out in predictable fashion. Why was it like that? Probably because Buscema wasn’t interested, particularly after he says he tried something he thought was ambitious in SILVER SURFER #3 and Lee ripped the story apart, causing Buscema to complain to John Romita he hated the business. So Lee probably gave Buscema plots like, “Good guy can’t reason with bad guys, have him shoot some rays and fly around.” So Buscema gave Lee 20 pages of the Surfer floating around on his board gesturing like a tour guide. With nothing going on Lee filled up those pages with word balloons containing platitudes.
    Daredevil is kind of the same from what I’ve seen in the sense there is not a whole lot going on, so little that Gene Colan could spend a page on the hero opening a door. I’ve never paid much attention to the Colan Daredevil but my vague impression is their are lots of scenes of cars driving around, and noir interiors. Colan got a lot of heat from Jim Shooter for doing the same things Lee allowed him to do. It may have been Lee found Colan’s stories easy to write, because there was a lot of opportunity for “entertaining” dialogue. A Kirby or Ditko plot would be much more eventful, maybe hard to follow based on their notes, and not have the breathing room which allowed Lee to write jokes and soap.
    With someone who had lots of story ideas like Ditko or Kirby it makes no sense Lee who was leaning of Stan Goldberg to plot Millie would be plotting for them aside from an occasional “The fans like Dr. Doom can you put him in the next issue.” What Lee did do with Ditko and Kirby was rewrite their plots after they had finished their story and turned it in. This was also a problem for Gil Kane, Bob Powell, and Joe Orlando. Orlando told Mark Evanier he had to do so many redraws to fit Lee’s revised plot it was like drawing two books.

    Joe Orlando: I had a story conference with Stan and we hashed it over. He really didn’t seem to have any ideas, but we worked out a plot, and he sent me the synopsis. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. In one line, Stan indicated that he wanted a three-page fight sequence, in a garage, or whatever. Nothing else. So I called and asked him what I should do. He said, “You know, throw some tires around, do something with some oil, make it up as you go.” Well, that didn’t help. I’m not used to working that way. I like a full script.

    Dick Ayers: Stan said, ‘I can’t think of a story for Sgt. Fury. We won’t have an issue unless you think of something. When I asked for a plot credit Stan told me, “Since when did you develop an ego? Get out of here!”

    Gil Kane: Why doesn’t he plot his own damn stories.

  136. R. Fiore says:

    We start out here with Stan Lee claiming more credit than he deserves, and some wind up overcompensating by denying him any credit at all. The bugger factor it seems to me is that Stan was the boss, the one who ultimately had the power to accept or reject a piece of work. Jack Kirby was a veteran freelancer, and as such was aware of the need to sometimes give the client what he’s looking for. Therefore you can’t rule out the possibility that Stan had a hand in developing the characters. There was no cordon sanitaire keeping him from having an influence. What people wind up doing is claiming that Stan had no creative ability whatsoever and thus couldn’t have created anything, which is more a matter of faith than anything you can prove. One difference I notice (or perhaps imagine) between Marvel and post-Marvel Kirby is that while both deal with superheroes with problems, in the Marvel era the superheroes have the problems of people whereas in the post-Marvel era the superheroes have the problems of gods.

  137. R. Fiore says:

    Looking at your Stan Goldberg story it occurs to me that what Stan might have been saying “Oh for the love of God don’t tell me you can’t come up with plots anymore!”

  138. Allen Smith says:

    Well, admittedly it’s an odd thing. Obviously, in a strip like Spider-Man, the problems of people, more specifically Peter Parker, were compelling enough to hold my interest. In the other Marvel strips, not so much. That’s why I enjoyed Kirby’s gods with problems schtick. The majority of Stan’s stories, if I wanted people with problems, I didn’t need his stories, I’d turn on a TV soap opera. But, there’s nothing wrong with soap opera if one likes it. I just wanted something different.

    Allen Smith

  139. Allen Smith says:

    Patrick, I believe those sales figures must be lies. I’ve read, in different forums, where people credit Stan Lee with saving comics, yet these figures show that Stan Lee “written” books couldn’t even outsell Archie Comics. And this in 1969, when Stan’s writing stint on Marvel Comics was nearing its end! How dare you!:-)

    Allen Smith

  140. R. Fiore says:

    The point is not so much that one is better than the other as one is Lee’s and one is Kirby’s. Maybe.

  141. Allen Smith says:

    I’ll concede you that one. Anything with DeCarlo drawing it had to be good.

  142. Scott Grammel says:

    I do think that the question of plotting/writing credit should be tackled separately from that of plotting/writing compensation. As in any employment situation, if for whatever reason an employee thinks or feels that his total compensation isn’t adequate considering the totality of his work requirements, the simplest and best way to resolve that would be to request an increase in pay. The artists at Marvel weren’t being paid in either writing money or drawing money; there was just money.

    I think a likely complicating factor is suggested above by Kim, which is the idea that many of the artists might’ve actually enjoyed the greater freedom and control AND simultaneously wished that there was additional credit and/or compensation involved.

  143. Kim Thompson says:

    Yes, but again, let’s distinguish between the Stan Lee “You come up with a plot and give me 20 pages” method (or its variant, the one- or two-sentence “plot” that includes things like “they fight for three pages”) and the Roy-Thomas-and-up “Here’s your plot” method. I’m sure most cartoonists under the former system would eventually have become exasperated with being handed that extra work load without credit or compensation, but doing the page breakdowns based on a plot rather than a script doesn’t involve any kind of credit dispute, and the additional workload is not particularly onerous, and compensated for by an added degree of graphic freedom.

  144. Kim Thompson says:

    Actually, if you read those figures closely, the only DC books outselling Marvel books featured the (at the time) unbeatable colossuses Batman and/or Superman. Second-tier Marvel comics like Hulk, Thor, and Daredevil were therefore outselling every single other DC comic. (Spider-Man beating Batman at this juncture alone is sort of impressive, for that matter.) And Sgt. Fury beating every single non-Batman-or-Superman DC comic?

    Archie is Archie, and outside of that equation.

  145. Allen Smith says:

    True. But whether one is “better” is simply a matter of taste. Can’t say that your taste is any better or worse than mine, it’s simply taste. As for Lee’s writing, enjoyed it a lot in my teen years, which are four decades and more past, so I can’t account for why I don’t like Lee’s writing anymore. They say familiarity breeds contempt, perhaps it’s because the Lee style has been at the forefront for so long that it got boring? I shouldn’t do this self analysis in public….In addition, while I think that Kirby and Ditko and the various artists showed they have talent when they were doing things on their own, Stan has never done much at all on his own, so the question, “how much talent did Stan Lee ever have” is always a question. Did he ever write any form of prose stories, novels, plays, etc. where his undiluted talent was on display? I’m not aware of it if he did.

  146. Allen Smith says:

    Again, what you say is true, Kim, but it doesn’t negate the questionable claim by some that Lee saved the comics industry. Admittedly, that Sgt. Fury outsold many DCs is a great example of Lee’s effectiveness at establishing the Marvel “brand”, so that if you liked one Marvel you’d likely enjoy them all. I get that. But, “quality” and branding are two different concepts, I daresay Sgt. Fury the comic book wasn’t any better qualitatively than the DC comics it was outselling. But, again, quality is a slippery concept, all we can do now is look at objective data like sales and each draw our own conclusions.

  147. patrick ford says:

    It’s true that it was pretty much the Superman books selling well for DC. Batman is there and I would assume Detective isn’t in there because DC didn’t publish a statement of ownership in Detective that year.
    Spider-Man may possibly have been Marvel’s best selling book because it was a lot like an Archie comic book, or it may have been because it had TV exposure in the form of a popular cartoon show.
    I think there are a few things of interest.
    Marvel’s sales were more bunched up than DC’s and that is almost certainly owed to the team Marvel loyalty generated by Stan Lee’s promotional abilities. The fairly limited number of titles Marvel was publishing made it possible to be a fan of Marvel, to purchase their whole line and be a Marvel guy, not a DC guy. Because Lee was the only editor the whole line had a pretty consistent tone as opposed to DC which was divided up into editorial fiefdoms. Lee used many of the same devices which had worked for E.C.. The editors, writers, and artists were promoted as personalities, even down to production people. There was a fan club, and house adds playing up the idea the company and it’s fans were something like a family or private club. The success of this tactic is reflected in the sales position of the late ’60s Dick Ayers Sgt. Fury which was apparently selling better than Sgt. Rock which featured Joe Kubert.
    Personally I’m not a fan of DC or Marvel comics, but I am pretty familiar with some and have also sampled the odd issue of METAL MEN or the HULK and seen enough I’m convinced there is no valid argument Marvel comics were in any way better than DC. They were all just run of the mill comic books with not much to recommend them aside from the artwork. There are people who thrill at the Lee/Romita Spider-Man and scoff at Jimmy Olsen or Lois Lane, but there are people like Dan Clowes and Drew Freidman who are fans of the DC comics. I know I find a Bill Finger/Dick Sprang Batman comic book from the Jack Schiff era to be more readable than the O’Neil/Adams Batman. It isn’t that ’60s era Marvel and DC comics are not great examples of writing, it’s the fact they are just not an entertaining read.
    Marvel did not set the world on fire. The ’60s was on the whole a very bad time for comics sales and by the end of the decade Marvel’s sales were sinking along with those of other publishers, Marvel and DC were looking around for answers, reintroducing old genres which had replaced super heroes after WWll, and looking for some answer to try and retain rack space on newsstands. Things only continued to get worse through the ’70s and without the specialty shops catering to a niche audience the established comic book industry might have vanished. If Jim Shooter and Roy Thomas are to be believed Marvel was on the verge of shutting down until it was saved by a property they didn’t own. The STAR WARS comic book which Marvel paid a fee to publish sold so well it kept the company going. If Marvel had gone under all it’s heroes would be as well remembered today as Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, and Trigger. I am absolutely positive no more than a couple hundred thousand people had ever heard of IRON MAN prior to the recent film version. In other words without the movies old men would mumble about Roy, and Dale, and Trigger, in their dreams, and no one would know what they were talking about.

  148. patrick ford says:

    Kirby talked about this issue at length. He saw no difference between gods and men or monsters and men, except the fact that Gods and Monsters had greater power. Despite their power Gods and monsters, and kings, and beggars will always behave like men.
    Kirby’s entire interest as a writer was human nature. He explored it as early as the ’40s in the NEWSBOY LEGION stories where a team of four boys living in Suicide Slum deal with day to day problems like, not having any money, being harassed, trying to raise money for a poor woman with a sick child, not having decent looking clothes, and so on. The group was comprised of an intelligent kid called Big Words, a tough guy with a Brooklyn accent named Scrapper who argued constantly with a hot-headed provocateur named Gabby who talked too much, and a peacemaker named Tommy. Later in the early “50s Kirby wrote, penciled, and inked the best romance comics ever to see print. Rather than glamour Kirby’s stories were set apart by strong women characters, and stories played out against a backdrop which often highlighted the social position of the characters and how their place in society’s class system played a large role in the way they were treated.

  149. Allen Smith says:

    Lee certainly did work hard, and has earned what he’s gotten from Marvel. Others also worked hard and have not gotten what they’ve merited from Marvel.

  150. Alexvanderpoolstyle says:

    The Inhumans show up a couple years into the Fantastic Four run at which point you get sense author is more interested in “problems of gods” than those of humans. There is also of course Thor. I don’t think there is a clean split between problems of people/problems of Gods that matches up with Marvel/Post-Marvel.

  151. Chris says:

    As I understand it, a lot of fledling artists worked from Jack Kirby plots. Does anyone know if Jack was paid for that?

  152. patrick ford says:

    Chris, Here’s what happened. Stan Lee was being paid a salary as editor and a freelance page rate for writing. The more pages Lee wrote the more money he was paid. Lee knew Kirby had always been a writer. Kirby wrote just about everything he drew during the ’40s and ’50s, and wrote many stories for other artists employed by the Simon and Kirby studio. Kirby was such a prolific writer he supplied most of the plots to writers employed by Simon and Kirby.
    Employment opportunities for comic book writers and artists were very tight in the late ’50s early ’60s and Lee recognized he could exploit the leverage he had. Lee had Kirby, Wood, and Ditko writing stories which Lee would edit or rewrite and then collect the full writers page rate. Marvel’s page rates for artwork were only around half of what DC was paying.
    As Marvel gradually began adding titles , and with Kirby already producing as many as a hundred pages a month Lee began trying to find artists who could write, and who would accept Lee taking their share of the writers page rate. This didn’t always work out. Some artists either couldn’t or wouldn’t plot and for a time Lee brought in people like Jerry Siegel, Robert Bernstein, and Ernie Hart to write scripts.
    If you go back and look at the stories where Kirby is credited for layouts it becomes apparent what was going on. In every case where Kirby is credited with layouts Lee is credited (and of course more importantly paid) for either the plot, or the script. The math is very simple. The more pages Kirby plotted/wrote the more instances where Lee collected the full writers page rate, or was paid and credited for plots by Kirby. The idea of having Kirby supply layouts had nothing to do with enforcing a house art style. That’s simply Lee’s absurd cover story. Lee also likes to say he came up with his M.O. out of some deep concern that “his artists’ might be left without work while waiting for a script. This would be too funny for words in a world outside comics where people see through transparent BS, but in comic book land Lee’s ridiculous explanations are parroted as the accepted history.
    Kirby doing layouts was something Lee devised as a way of getting paid for more pages of writing/plotting being done by Kirby, while Kirby got a greatly reduced rate, less than half of what he was paid for penciling. Figure it this way. If Kirby was able to pencil 80 pages a month he would be paid for 80 pages of pencils and Lee would be paid the full writers page rate for 80 pages of writing. If Kirby was able to increase his story production to 100 pages a month by, penciling 50 and doing layouts for 50 then Lee would be paid for 100 pages of writing while Kirby’s income would drop slightly. If Lee wanted more Kirby artwork it makes no sense he would assign Kirby to layouts which would cut down on the number of pages Kirby could pencil. The Kirby’s layouts were little more than panel breakdowns with the roughest of drawings.
    http://kirbymuseum.org/blogs/effect/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/TalesOfSuspense_70_p10-1024×793.jpg

  153. Scott Grammel says:

    The recent Lee/Moebius Silver Surfer reprint contained Moebius’ comments on creating the comic Marvel style. I was just skimming the book in-store, but I read enough to see that he drew the comic from Stan’s six-page plot outline, to which Stan then added captions and dialogue. Moebius so enjoyed this process that he hoped to do his next Blueberry albums similarly (which, as he says, is of course closer to how he did his own solo works). It’s a fairly lengthy piece, so I’d be curious to hear from someone who’s read the entirety of it.

    I’ve never read the comic myself, so whether Moebius should or shouldn’t be happy with it I’ll leave to others.

  154. T Guy says:

    Yet strangely Bob Haney managed to produce all that copy for The Brave and The Bold in the 1950s and 1970s while also plotting the stories. More. Robert Kanigher produced all the copy for the Sgt Rock lead feature in Our Army at War while also plotting it and editing the rest of the mag.

    No, it is only Stan who found writing the copy to be all he could handle.

  155. Chris says:

    By the way, Neal, do you draw?

  156. Chris says:

    Neal, do you or any of the sibling draw?

  157. R. Fiore says:

    Bob Haney was one of the worst writers in the history of comics.

  158. patrick ford says:

    The competition was fierce. It’s like a ten foot ladder with only a top and bottom rung.
    My particular distaste for Lee’s text style is probably the same reason many people like his style. He’s a huge in your face personality sort of like Wolfman Jack, or some other AM Radio station DJ who talks over the start and finish of the songs. I never listen to the radio to avoid that and the commercials.
    Which reminds me. I haven’t listened to jazz on the radio in ages. I’ve got a ton of LPs and to be honest I’ve gotten so lazy I almost always listen to music on u-tube through headphones. R. might be able to answer something I’ve thought about though. You know how “all” jazz DJs use the same delivery? Very laid back and quite, deep voice, words slowly enunciated? Where did that come from?

  159. Benjamin Garrett says:

    Patrick is correct in my opinion, and unlike him, I was (and still am) a true fan of Silver Age Marvel comics.

    Take off the ideological/partisan blinders and read what Kirby is saying in this interview about the caste system in comics. One needs to understand what the reality of that ghetto of the Madison Ave publishing/advertising/commercial art industry was in order to fully grasp his meaning.

    Comic books were the lowest rung of the ladder, universally considered schlock material produced for juveniles and cretins. A freelance comic artist was the lowest of the low…no better than a roach scurrying around for crumbs of work, and he considered himself lucky when he could find it.

    This is why Romita often recounts his astonishment that guys like Ditko or Kirby would actually leave successful strips, no matter how Stan was playing them. These men were mostly lower class kids raised during the great Depression, who as adults worked in an industry in which you were never far from finding yourself back out on the street. It was still better than the factory, which was your other option.

    Stan was a relative of Martin Goodman, who was the publisher. If you wanted to freelance for Marvel/Atlas, well then you needed to play along to get along. Kickbacks scenarios to the gatekeepers were hardly uncommon, particularly in those days, particularly small, struggling industries with very limited openings. It was just the way things were. Nobody liked it, but nobody thought it was unusual either.

    Stan was the gatekeeper at Marvel; and Marvel/Atlas was a tiny operation in a ghetto industry.
    If you wanted to pencil for Marvel, you knew the score with Stan. The origin of what only later became widely known as “the Marvel Method” had nothing to do with giving the penciler greater creative freedom to break down a book (though, that proved a beneficial byproduct)…it was merely a scheme devised by Stan by which he’d be compensated on top of his salary as editor.

    The pencil artist would do the actual writing work without compensation, thus the page rate for that would go to Stan, which is how he padded his editors income. If you wanted the assignments, you plotted the book for Stan and cashed your check for the art you turned in. That was the game.

    This is what Jack is referring to when he says that there was nobody to complain to. If you wanted the assignments from Marvel, you had to play along with Stan, you as a freelance roach weren’t gonna go knock on Martin Goodman’s office door to bitch that Stan had this set up. This is the advantage that Stan had of which Kirby speaks. Stan sought out artists to bestow the limited slate of assignments who could plot and write the work wherever possible, so that he could take credit in order to get the page rate.

    The actual writing credit was a secondary concern, only necessary as a cover for Stan getting what amounts to kickbacks from artists. Later when the Marvel Super-Hero Universe took-off, the credit became worth far more than the page rate…and Stan was smart enough to use his advantage to claim he was the creator of everything.

    As opposed to comic books; in real life the bad guy often wins.
    He goes home with all the glory and money and the masses adore him.

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  161. GMKalos says:

    I think people are loosing site of the end result here, successful Marvel comics were produced end result. Comics are not novels or paintings there comics. In these modern times where every idea has been re done or re vamped and computer generated art is so prevalent, we tend to value an idea over an image but back then the image was far more valued, because seemingly it was harder to create. If a bunch of guys were sitting around spit-balling ideas in the office as far as im concerned whatever was taken away from those meetings were the creation only the guys in that particular meeting would be able to recant whos idea was the suit, or the attitude one character would have. Its like two parents fighting over why the child looks more like, face it in the heat of the moment a miracle was born ie the FF. I think the fact that Stan could decimate Jack’s Character in his old age as Jack clearly did here in his old age, speaks volumes about the type of man Stan is and how bitter Jack was not appreciating how lucky he was to even be a part of this whole thing as Stan seems to be. It seems like Jack wanted only more money and more security as Stan wanted more success and fame. Personally i like Spider Man because of his levity while in horrifying situations that seems to interest me. But thats the point something appealing like the art, or the dialog, or the lettering, all of which dont seem to hold up now a days, these attributes of a comic are what make a comic successful or not. We have a bunch of men talking drawing eating going to the playboy club living it up all have their own agendas but create these comics that were over-analyzing contributing in the end result never the less, if i were in the car ride home with Stan lee and jack Kirby or at the office and said oh we should give him a web shooter too in the heat of a discussion with these legends birthing this character would i say i created Spider-Man??? – Hell Yea!

  162. GMKalos says:

    I think that Stan Lee thrived on the success of Marvel it was just the right set of circumstances for him to succeed, he seems like a showman and an exaggerator which is clearly read in the 60’s insightful deep somewhat campy text of the comics. As for Jack he did exactly what he wanted to do and made money to support his family and live happily raising healthy children, and living comfortably in his own villa while creating worlds threw penciling these amazing fantastic un-real art that nobody has ever seen or could conceptualized. But it was the balance of the images and text that eventually created the end result.

  163. GMKalos says:

    Steve Ditko was a better Artist in my opinion its just appeals to me more, i’m not even Polish lol???

  164. Chris says:

    What major characters did Stan create on his own without a “co-creator”?

  165. Chris says:

    After reading much of what is here, I come to the conclusion that Stan Lee got his job by being related to the publisher and kept it by leeching credit from creators and writing some dialogue along the way to justify his position. He was probably the weakest member of any Marvel creation team-up…about as powerful as Millie the Model while Jack Kirby was a creative powerhouse that needed a little reining in from time to time. However, Jack’s creative period peaked before he left Marvel, so we saw less quality from him at DC. I admit I did enjoy his art more than his storytelling at DC. His story ideas didn’t fit the times very well after the 60’s.

  166. James says:

    Stripperella?

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  168. Chris says:

    In another post of mine, I related the story from Wikipedia that a stripper sued Stan for stealing the idea she told him during a lap dance.

  169. James says:

    I’m firmly with Darrell. And, we are not the only ones who believe that Kirby’s solo works will weather the test of time far better than will his “collaborations.”

  170. Jeet Heer says:

    I also completely agree with Darrell. Kirby’s best work was the solo comics he did in the 1970s (although I think the 1940s/1950s romance comics are nearly as strong). I realize that there is a divide here: there is a contingent that loves Kirby/Lee and another set that loves the 1970s work. I don’t see any possibility of converting one side to the other position, so I think this is a case where we have to say “there’s no disputing taste.”

  171. Lightning Lord says:

    I just love Kirby as a whole, from early Captain America to Silver Star and everything in between.

  172. Rob Barrett says:

    What Lightning Lord said. We live in a glorious moment where we don’t need to choose between Kirby eras.

  173. Dorian G. says:

    “Jack had no successful characters or books other than those created with Lee or Simon (yes, even the Fourth World didn’t catch on until other writers started developing them- Kirby’s much-heralded arrival at DC led to failed book after failed book and within 4 years he crawled back to Marvel).”

    In other words, you only consider characters successful if they sell well. Not really a way I’d want to live my life as a reader.

  174. e says:

    Seems that everyone here misses a (maybe THE) VERY big part of the Marvel story and it’s success in the sixties. And that is Lee being a great pitchman and promoter, and I mean that in a very good way. Without his promotion, passion and salesmanship, none of ‘who did what when’ matters a bit, and I believe Marvel would have faded as so many other comic book creators had before. You can be cynical if you like and say that Lee did it for his own ‘ego’ but even if that were true, it wouldn’t matter. Why does his hard earned success have to be a ‘bad’ thing. Why do folks always have to tear another down to try to lift themselves up? Lee created letters columns, fan clubs, nicknames, ‘bullpens’, etc. to spark reader involvement and increase sales. He put artist, inker and letterer credits right there with his on books when it was not done in the industry. He brought the name of the other creative talent to the readers. He did appearances and used his great sunny personality to engage the world in Marvel comics. Kirby drew and never lifted a finger to promote. While Kirby was leaving the company (and many other companies, multiple times over the years) for more fame and money elsewhere, Lee stayed, through thick and thin, and there were PLENTY of thin times. Kirby (and all other artists) were grown men and worked for terms known to them. For them to later say I want more money for what I did then is dishonest. Ditko acknowledges this and is on record as such. If the Lee bashers were so damn good and Lee so bad, those whiners should have banded together and struck out on their own. And some artists did just that; some succeeded, but most didn’t and came back to Marvel where Lee put their insults aside and hired them back. Lee’s success and money didn’t come from writer’s wages, it came from great passion and work on many fronts to make sure Marvel comics were the success they became.
    So forget trying to decide if the writing, plotting or art is what made Marvel successful then. That was what created the comics that I loved as a kid, but it gets nowhere without Lee and his tireless passionate promotion. What I remember from my childhood Marvel infatuation was due in part to the content for sure, but it was Lee’s soapbox, MMMS, etc. that made me feel like part of a mythical universe and made me care. Perhaps if Kirby had tried more to be a part of the passion and not the pissing he could have had all he thought later he should have had. ‘Nuff said :) !

  175. patrick ford says:

    Darcy Sullivan from TCJ #152: …everything in a Marvel comic book sounded like the manic persona Lee assumed.
    Lee addressed the reader as a smart consumer, generating brand awareness and promoting the idea one book’s success ought to rub off on another. The reader was told that appreciation of (read purchase of) this comic book placed him/her in an in-group of hip cognoscenti. The direct address of the line implied that the reader was a member of the group. A “pilgrim” Flattery like this got Marvel everywhere.
    Lee suggested the reader was a part of a club of connoisseurs who were too intelligent for comics.
    This massive denial helped Lee court a literate young audience, who historically gave up on comics some time during puberty. He sold his inherently pre-adolescent product. Marvel constantly noted that college students read comics. Despite Lee’s protestations, most creators—and certainly KIrby—knew they were making kid’s comics. Stan Lee says in the introduction to the Les Daniels book, “We fashion stories for adults which can be read and enjoyed by younger readers.” This is just part of Lee’s canny hype. Marvel stories respected the readers intelligence if the reader was 6-13; anyone else was just along for the cheap high.

  176. patrick ford says:

    STAN LEE (March 3, 1967):

    “The letters pages are one of our most successful devices. It also established a rapport between ourselves and the readers, and I’m happy to say most of our readers feel that we’re all friends. When they write a letter, they don’t say, “Dear Editor.” They say, “Dear Stan and Jack,” “Dear So-and-so.” They call us by name.
    This is kind of cute, too, because, as I mentioned to you earlier, I think before we were on the air, we sort of think of the whole thing as one big advertising campaign, with slogans, and mottos, and catch phrases, and things that the reader can identify with. And besides just presenting stories, we try to make the reader think he’s part of an “in” group.”

  177. Paul Slade says:

    Your argument seems to be that we should prefer the sizzle to the steak.

  178. e says:

    No, that Lee was not only a big part of the steak itself, but that without the rancher to raise the cattle and bring it to market, there isn’t any steak. And slamming the rancher is a good way for a butcher to go out of business.

  179. patrick ford says:

    What’s the cow get out of the deal? It’s the cows dead flesh which is on the plate.

  180. Chris says:

    I never bought a single comic book because of Stan’s “promotion.” I followed artists. I think I read his column once or twice and thought each time that he was a big goofball. (“Excelsior!”) Kirby and the rest of the artists promoted their work in a substantive way: with their covers and splash pages. That’s what prompted readers to pull the comic from the rack. When did they have time to make public appearances? Jack was more or less chained to his basement desk while he worked on multiple books.

  181. Chris says:

    And would I have given up the promotion pages in each comic for another page or two of art? In a heartbeat.

  182. Chris Duffy says:

    To me, Stan is living proof that the editor is the most and least important involved in every project at the same time. Razzle dazzle and promo pages are worthless; but simultaneously they are priceless if they are effective; and Stan used the voice he created to sell the idea of “Marvel Comics” to the world (the comics reading world AND the outside world, though in different ways). It works (worked?) until you are maybe 12 years old, but it has or had a strong hold. (Not to everyone, clearly, but I’m speaking for myself and friends in 3rd through 6th grade, before we really realized there were significant differences between comics.)

    Oh, no, I got sucked in again!

  183. e says:

    So the script does not matter at all? And I didn’t buy a single book because of Stan’s ‘promotion’, or ‘Stan’ at all for that matter either. Not the point. I bought them because they looked cool as well (props to the artists for sure), but also for the stories and plots. Those stories are largely due to plotting beforehand and scripting, which Stan and others did. My thing isn’t just about Kirby or any artist, or other plotter or writer for that matter. It is about this Stan having to be ‘bad’ because Kirby and others later finally thought they ought to have been given more back when. To imply Lee had oodles of time while Kirby was ‘chained’ is not serious. Lee had to manage, deal with upper management, art direct, edit, write, and THEN find time to promote. Kirby could and did, break these ‘chains’ and jumped ship to other publishers many times, always to be back. We only have the chains on us we choose to allow. Lee went through many tough times and saw it through. You are entitled to your opinion that you bought the books solely for art, though I believe that would be a small minority. The simple fact that there was a very successful letters page, soapbox, MMMS, buttons, etc. etc. shows that most people looked at the whole experience, not simply looking at the art. I know I did. It wasn’t just a lofty ‘art is all’ for a kid, Marvel books were just COOL in all aspects. In the end tho, I love Jack Kirby’s art, but I don’t have to slam Lee to enjoy it.

  184. e says:

    Not sure I see a point per se, but I agree with some of your post. Editors are a very important link in the creative publishing chain. Art, plot, script, editing, promotion all matter. Promotion is not a dirty word. Without selling and promotion no art will ever be seen. Only when we can pick up a book can we argue over how good or bad it is. As to whatever point about age, for me, I dug those books when I read them in the sixties and I still love rereading them now.

  185. patrick ford says:

    The trouble with these kinds of discussions is they involve people with very different sensibilities. On one hand you have fans of Jack Kirby who are either not fans of Lee at all, or are marginal fans of Lee. On the other hand it’s a near given that every fan of Marvel and Lee is a fan of Kirby’s Silver Age Marvel work.

    My interest is in Kirby. I have no interest in Lee or Marvel. The argument that without Lee Marvel would not have thrived and we would have no IRON MAN movies today doesn’t mean anything to me. I just don’t care.
    Kirby had a long career before and after Lee. The “Marvel years” are just an unfortunate phase of that career.

  186. Chris says:

    E wrote:
    “So the script does not matter at all? And I didn’t buy a single book because of Stan’s ‘promotion’, or ‘Stan’ at all for that matter either. Not the point. I bought them because they looked cool as well (props to the artists for sure), but also for the stories and plots. Those stories are largely due to plotting beforehand and scripting, which Stan and others did. My thing isn’t just about Kirby or any artist, or other plotter or writer for that matter. It is about this Stan having to be ‘bad’ because Kirby and others later finally thought they ought to have been given more back when. To imply Lee had oodles of time while Kirby was ‘chained’ is not serious. Lee had to manage, deal with upper management, art direct, edit, write, and THEN find time to promote. Kirby could and did, break these ‘chains’ and jumped ship to other publishers many times, always to be back. We only have the chains on us we choose to allow. Lee went through many tough times and saw it through. You are entitled to your opinion that you bought the books solely for art, though I believe that would be a small minority. The simple fact that there was a very successful letters page, soapbox, MMMS, buttons, etc. etc. shows that most people looked at the whole experience, not simply looking at the art. I know I did. It wasn’t just a lofty ‘art is all’ for a kid, Marvel books were just COOL in all aspects. In the end tho, I love Jack Kirby’s art, but I don’t have to slam Lee to enjoy it.”

    The only writer I remember from my youth was Chris Claremont, and I bought his stuff because John Byrne was the co-plotter and artist. When Byrne went on to do his thing, Claremont’s work suffered. Actually, “e,” when I make MY point, it IS the point. I am the sole expert on what my point is. If you’ve read about Kirby and Lee’s working relationship, then you know that sometimes Lee literally phoned in the plots to Kirby who suggested dialogue in the margins that Lee put his spin on. Lee expected artists to do most of the storytelling. My “opinion” that I bought the books for the art is not an “opinion” at all. It is fact. What is a “successful” letters page? Out of the thousands of kids reading comics, enough wrote in to fill a page? Is that successful? I got a bigger kick out of the x-ray specs ads than a letters page. Lee was related to the publisher, so having to “deal” with him was probably pretty easy. It was evidently Stan’s job to promote; it certainly wasn’t the artists’ job. The trouble is, “e,” that Stan promotes Stan as much or more than he promotes Marvel and his co-workers. Now that Kirby isn’t around to say otherwise, expect Stan to take more credit than ever. Why did Ditko demand a letter from Stan saying that Ditko co-created a character? He knew Stan’s character and penchant for self-promotion. Stan contributed, but Stan didn’t contribute as much as you and Stan think he did. That’s the issue, for me.

  187. e says:

    I will leave you all to your anger, over and out

  188. Chris Duffy says:

    Fair enough, Patrick!

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  190. Chris says:

    An excellent book, which seems to lack bias, is Sean Howe’s Marvel Comics: the Untold Story. A childhood dream of mine was to be a comicbook artist and writer–only a lack of talent held me back–but this book shows just how miserable life could be for Marvel artists and writers, even the successful ones. Howe covers the Lee-Kirby controversy through the years very well, but that’s a small part of this book. It takes you inside Marvel Comics and shows the backbone of Marvel, its continuity, is also what limits its moving forward with characters. It’s a great read. I also read Charles Hatfield’s Hand of Fire: The Comics Art of Jack Kirby. He has an interesting chapter or two, but overall his writing is tedious: it seems that he writes the same idea in three different ways and instead of discarding two sentences he keeps all three. I purchased the Kindle version of both and read them on my work computer. Living the dream!

  191. Chris says:

    I think the fairest division of work for Jack and Stan would be what John Byrne and Chris Claremont typically used on The X-men: co-plotters, words, and art.

  192. Richard says:

    What a great read!

    thanks.

  193. Chuck Gower says:

    Some of my response to this topic has included thoughts mentioned in this blog: http://www.dialbforblog.com/archives/48/

    The rest of it, I have taken from a response I gave in another forum, but thought would be of interest to repeat here:

    Stan Lee and Timely, Atlas, Marvel, whatever they were calling themselves at any given time to hide from paying their artists, writers, and creditors was not a ‘homage’ type of publisher, but rather, a straight copy cat type of publisher.

    If you look at their history leading up to the FF, they didn’t create anything ‘somewhat’ influenced by something – they straight out copied it. The editor/writer of all of this?
    Stan Lee.

    The blog states that Stan must have read ‘Doc Savage #77′ to get the idea for ‘Cosmic Rays’. (Which I’m having trouble confirming. According to http://www.urbin.net/EWW/SF/PULP/doc_list.html – ‘The South Pole Terror’ was Vol. 8, #2 – the 44th magazine from Oct. 1936 – though the 1974 Bantam Book it’s featured in is #77 in the series. He must be mistaking the numbering with the book.)

    Now Stan has often stated that he simply created words or phrases that sounded entertaining (The Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth!), despite fans sometimes pointing out to him, that some of those phrases actually came from some source. At which point Stan would always play it off as if it must have been embedded in his subconscious.
    (In the real world, we all view these type of people suspiciously)
    In contrast, Jack stated for years that he loved to read, in particular the Sci-fi magazines, of which he drew much of his inspiration.

    Maybe that’s a toss up, but knowing these things, I would’ve thought ‘Cosmic Rays’ sounded more like something Jack would’ve used.
    ———————
    And this point is a little vague, so I find I can’t remind people enough: Before Kirby came to Marvel there were no big monsters books, giant robots, or alien races that look similar to each other. Kirby was doing that BEFORE he came back to Atlas, and Atlas WASN’T doing it until Kirby worked there.
    Ditko added his unique vision to it, but it was Kirby would brought it to Marvel/Atlas.
    ———————
    As stated elsewhere, that FF ‘script’ could’ve appeared at any time during the creative process, and doesn’t really prove anything other than, IF Stan wrote it prior to Jack’s input, he was simply copying concepts from the Challengers of the Unknown.
    Now, IF, Stan’s input was what he copied from those Doc Savage stories and relayed to Jack, then that makes a great deal more sense.
    Jack had his concepts from COTU, and Stan did what he’d done for 20 years, copy other creators ideas, and simply added that to the mix. (Along with a fantastic sense of showmanship and presentation).

    You have to remember, for 20 YEARS, Stan created NOTHING of significance to the world of comic books. He simply did what his publisher/brother in law wanted, which was to see a concept that was successful for someone else, and then copy it. (Goodman’s company faced legal action on three different occasions where they took someone’s published story, changed the names of the characters and title, and republished it as their own)
    This was Marvel/Timely/Atlas’s method of operation.
    ————————————
    Not only did Stan create nothing of significance for 20 years previous to the Marvel Silver Age, but he created nothing of significance for the last 43 years after his and Kirby’s split. It’s still puzzling to me, that this guy is given as much credit as he’s given.
    What true CREATIVE FORCE does this? Real creators create until the day they die. It’s what they DO.
    Not prostitue themselves to remain in the public eye so they can cement the idea of their significance.

    Stan had a voice, that many still hold in their childhood memories as vital – I’ll never deny the power of that – but he didn’t have as much to do with the creation of the Marvel Universe as he pretends.
    If Stan hadn’t been there, it would never have been as successful or as remembered.
    If Jack hadn’t been there, it wouldn’t have existed at all.
    ————————————
    The reason Stan tells the Justice League of America story in relating the origin of the FF is this:
    1) It steers any examination of his Doc Savage thievery away from the conversation, 2) It steers any comparison to the COTU away from the conversation (and thus, Jack’s far majority hand in the creation process, and 3) It makes it look like the corporate structure is what composed the whole thing… THUS: Stan Lee, representing Marvel Comics, created the idea and assigned it to the marvelous art duties of Jolly Jack Kirby to draw.
    It’s no wonder a MAGICIAN like Steranko loves Stan Lee so much.
    Yoinks.
    ————————————
    Some say that the failure of the 4th world comics, is proof that Jack needed a creative partner to be successful (or at the very least a dialogue writer), BUT, according to Paul Levitz, when he was working on his 75 Years of DC Comics book, he was asked to look into the reported sales numbers from that period to see just how good, bad, or indifferent those numbers were for Jack’s books. HE says the books were ‘middle of the pack’ and that their were plenty of other books that should’ve been cancelled before the 4th World books.
    And it makes sense, because the collected editions of those stories still sell just as well as many of the Marvel Silver Age collections.
    What if the Fantastic Four would’ve been cancelled after 12 issues? Would it be anywhere near as reprinted as the Fourth World Omnibi?
    ————————————
    Incidentally, that latest Jack Kirby Collector issue, focuses on much of the politics and behind the scenes drama of early 70’s DC Comics that Jack walked into.

    Thanks!

  194. Deadpool says:

    Uh…did you read the whole article and comments. Even Lee says that Kirby flat out created the Silver Surfer. So your comment is invalid!

  195. Deadpool says:

    Captain America #3

  196. Andy says:

    But the John Buscema Surfer is great, and a candidate for Lee’s best writing (not a long list admittedly, but still)

  197. Trey says:

    did you read the interview? Kirby was getting 40 dollars per page

    4000 dollars a month IN THE 60s

  198. Deadpool says:

    Well I have been rereading my old Captain America run (including Tales Of Suspense) and you can read right there where Stan would say something like (power phrasing here) Jack just loves drawing these these old world war II scenes but we’ll get to the story here in a minute. Almost every issue of TOS started that way. Then read the Steranko issues of Cap. Steranko’s writing style was very “here and there” as in one page something is happening and then next page seemed like you skipped a page or something. Just read Steranko’s issues of Captain America and then read the issues of Nick Fury that he’s actually credited as writing and drawing and tell me there is a difference. I see none. Both books appear to have been written in the same style. As for other things. Stan does credit Wally Wood with the redesign of Daredevil and it’s noted on the first page of issue #5 “We in the bullpen felt he should be allowed to do so, and we sincerely hope that you will agree!” and in #6 Lee seems to think that the villain in this issue is so much like the villain in issue #4 he makes note of it. If he felt Mr. Fear was so much like “The Purple Man” why would he put him in the issue? And let’s not even think about how these books “read” Do the Wally Wood issues of Daredevil sound nearly as “Campy” as the Lee/Kirby Captain Americas? NOT AT ALL!!! It’s almost as if, I don’t know, someone else wrote these books altogether. And as for the 4th world stuff and Kirbys return to Captain America. They were not as well wrote because he was not “with the times” here he was writing things just the way he had done in the 1940’s through the 1960’s and it just didn’t read as well for those times (same with all his later stuff). It would be like asking Shakespeare to write Star Wars. “Doth though turneth to the Darketh side” “Doeth, doeth not. Nee thy try not.” So, in my humble opinion, compare the writing to what was coming out at the same time from Marvel. Just as it is today. Pick ANY book from Brian Michael Bendis and they all read like Brian Michael Bendis books…a lot of “talking heads” and no action. Another thing that sort of surprised me reading through all the comments. Not a single person even mentioned the “Stan Lee Imagines the DC Universe”. Which, in the end, was the move that got him the million dollar a year salary from Marvel. And my final point. Which strikes me the most. Creators create! That’s what they do (as someone else on here said) till the day they die. I mean where are the novels, short stories or even articles for that matter. Even look at this little tid bit. Stan Lee will not be in the Guardians of the Galaxy because “I didn’t create those characters.” But by that logic he implies that he created Captain America because he was in those movies…

  199. T Guy says:

    1. Was that 1961 or 1969?

    2. Marvel’s rate was half that of DC. Can anyone confirm that, say, Swan, Kubert and Infantino – DC’s star artists – were on $80 a page?

    3. Page rates mean zero. 21 pages ( a full-issue story and a cover) would bring the artist $840. The ten per cent royalty which is standard practice in the publishing industry, as enjoyed in the nineteen-sixties by Ian Fleming and Agatha Christie, for example, would have brought in $2, 000 for Lee, Kirby and the inker to share for each issue of the FF – $2, 400 from issue No. 3, when the cover price increases to 12c. And even more once the circulation grows from 200, 000 copies an issue to 365, 000.

    That’s $1, 200 for Kirby for each of the first two issues of the FF.

    More working out notes for you:

    The royalty for the creators is 10% of the cover price of every copy sold. Unlike Agatha Christie, Kirby has to share this with others.

    30% of the money to the creator.
    30% to the writer
    30% to the penciller
    10% to the inker.

    I am assuming that Stan and Jack split the creation and writing money 50/50.

    $4, 000 a month in the early 196os is seriously gypping Kirby. I had not realise duntil I did the maths. I wonder if he ever did?

  200. patrick ford says:

    Does the article say Kirby was making a page rate of $40 per page? If so I’ve never noticed it.

    GROTH: Did your page rate increase substantially in the ’60s as the work became more popular?

    KIRBY: Yes, it did. My object was to help the publisher to make sales. That was my job. It wasn’t a job of being a Rembrandt.

    ROZ KIRBY: It wasn’t that big an increase.

    GROTH: Do you remember approximately what it went to from the beginning ’60s to the late ’60s?

    ROZ KIRBY: I don’t remember what the page rate was.

    GROTH: Do you think your page rate doubled during the ’60s?

    ROZ KIRBY: I don’t think it doubled.

    KIRBY: I don’t think it doubled, but it gradually grew, and it grew faster than it usually did.

  201. Jane says:

    I’m a huge fan of Kirby…just not at the expense of Lee.

    I appreciate that, later in life, Kirby may have told others that the plotting conference witnessed by a journalist was not indicative of the norm. Lee also said this, stating Kirby usually provided a lot more ideas in the conference.
    The plot outlined in the article was clearly used by Kirby, with Kirby adding all the story details. In other words, it was a textbook example of the ‘Marvel Method’ that Lee has always described since around 1964 (in a fanzine)…and which was explained in a 1966 Bullpens page for all Marvel readers at the time to see.

    The use of the Marvel method with two active collaborators is reinforced by Kirby himself in the humorous backup for Fantastic Four Annual 5 (‘This is a Plot?’) clearly showing Lee/Kirby brainstorming a plot together. It was written entirely by Kirby.

    Even Marvel’s old secretary, Flo Steinberg, can verify Lee’s version:

    “Well I would not be in his office while Stan was having his writers conferences, but I could hear them. And people would go in, like Steve Ditko, or Jack Kirby…or Don Heck…”

    They would talk, and voices would get raised in excitement, and Stan would be acting out what he wanted the characters to doing or saying, their actions, motivations. And there would be jumping around…”

    Not to mention John Romita’s numerous references to hearing Lee/Kirby plotting the FF while catching a lift home with them.

    Sadly, much of the controversy is the result of comments by an older Kirby (who had been very ill and embittered over a dispute with Marvel) that are very different to what he stated in earlier interviews.

    Consider this quote from Jack Kirby in 1969 (printed in Nostalgia Journal nov/dec 1976), when asked who was responsible for various aspects of the Thor strip, him or Lee:

    “Both of us in a way. I researched it and gave my version of it, and Stan gave his version of it. Stan humanized it in a way where, for instance, I might be concerned about Thor’s relation to the other gods. I might bring up a Ulik or I might bring something out of the wild blue yonder…And Stan would come down to Earth and find Thor’s relationship with Earth people”

    To these quotes from the early 1960s…from Jack Kirby Collector 54:
    “An idea can come from me, it can come from Stan, it can come from a reader…”
    “We’ll build a plot around that type of story. I feel that Stan is very wise in looking over letters from readers and keeping tabs on the progress that the character is making.”

    Yes…they all correspond exactly with Lee’s description of the Marvel method. But compare them to these quotes from Kirby in 1989:

    “Stan Lee and I never collaborated on anything! “

    “…I dialogued them. If Stan Lee ever got a thing dialogued he would get it from someone working in the office”

    “Stan Lee is essentially an office worker, OK?”

    To me and other readers of the time it was obvious the radically different Marvel style started in the early 1960s on the Fantastic Four. Similarly, whenever Stan wrote a post-1961 story with whatever artist – Kirby/Ditko/Colan/Ayers/Romita/Buscema etc it always had that same style. This element was simply never present in Kirby’s solo work after he left Marvel, nor in Ditko’s solo work…even though both continued to produce comics immediately after leaving the company.

    This wasn’t because Kirby ceased to be a creative dynamo. His characters/ideas were still unequalled…but his solo execution/approach was very different and simply didn’t achieve the ‘popularity’ test (it would left to other writers to make his characters/ideas ‘big’ at DC).

    The younger Kirby recognised this. When asked in the 1969 Nostalgia Journal interview why DC, with such great characters, couldn’t compete with Marvel, Kirby noted “Stan will look at all the characteristics of a character”.
    Despite some occasional differences in recollections, Steve Ditko’s views generally support Lee rather than Kirby. He’s on record as stating he produced the first Spider-Man story from Stan’s synopsis (which Ditko also noted was very different from an earlier Kirby version)…and that he worked from Stan’s plots prior to that story. As the Spidey issues went on, Ditko took over the plotting. Ditko’s article on the creation of Spider-Man can be found in various publications, including TwoMorrows’ ‘Comic Book Artist’ magazine. This first-hand testimony alone would assure Stan’s standing in popular culture.

    If you wish to read more first-hand accounts of Lee’s importance at Marvel see ‘Romita and all that jazz’ (essentially a long interview with Romita) and ‘The Stan Lee Universe’ (lots of first hand accounts from artists/staff who worked with Stan…includes a Lee/Kirby interview). And, of course, read the Ditko article and the early Kirby or Lee/Kirby interviews. There is no real need to speculate on the contributions of Lee and Kirby…most of it is on record and provided directly by the people who were actually there at the time.

  202. patrick ford says:

    Kirby always said the same thing about writing the stories on the penciled pages he sold to Lee.
    All anyone need do is look at the Mark Herbert interview from 1969 or the Tim Skelly interview from 1971.
    Or the story Kirby created for MISTER MIRACLE #7.
    The idea a short humor feature in FF Annual #5 represents anything more than a short humor feature is hard to take seriously. I mean Kirby and Lee are shown wearing space helmets in one panel.
    Flo Steinberg “confirms” nothing. She says she was not in the room and heard raised voices. That could mean a lot of things. Some of them pretty obvious. Romita’s accounts of Lee and Kirby are limited to two car rides. These rides where on the way home from the office where Kirby has a private meeting with Lee.
    There is no way of knowing if the plot Lee told Nate Freedland was created on the spot by Lee or if it was on penciled pages Kirby had recently delivered to the office, or if it was a plot Kirby has suggested to Lee. On the other hand “Reggie hits on Midge and Moose gets mad” does sound like a Lee idea.
    Ditko is also on record as saying that while Lee brought him the revamped Spider-Man he does not know if the revised character and plot were Lee’s ideas or perhaps something given to Lee by Kirby. In fact Ditko says that twice.

  203. patrick ford says:

    Any disputes arise not from the credits Stan Lee “gave” but from the credits he didn’t give. It all boils down to writing credit and payment. Credit for the artwork has nothing to do with the disputes.

    For example Lee put Wood’s name on the cover of a comic book. Well Wood had been placing his own name on the cover of comic books dating back to the ’50s. So what was Wood’s dispute with Lee?

    Wally Wood: “He was being paid for writing and I was
    being paid for drawing but he didn’t have any ideas. I’d go in for
    a plotting session and we’d just stare at each other until I came up
    with a storyline. I felt that I was writing the book but not being paid for writing.”

    WW: “I guess Stan Lee couldn’t stand having me do the whole thing. I do remember that that was his way of dealing with me asking for writing money if I was pencilling. He had me ink other guys who didn’t want to share the writing money. He said it was because the book was going monthly and he didn’t think I could pencil and ink both but I think it was just because I wasn’t going to write the book for nothing.”

    WW: “But remember that issue of DAREDEVIL I wrote? Stan said it was hopeless and that he’d have to rewrite the whole thing. Then I saw it when it came out and he’d changed five words, less than an editor usually changes. I think that was the last straw.”

  204. george says:

    And everything Wally Wood said was the gospel truth, right?

    Wally Wood was a great artist. He was also a temperamental alcoholic who had made himself difficult to employ. Before going to Marvel, he had stormed away from Mad magazine after a dispute with Al Feldstein.

    It didn’t matter who the editor was. Wood always found something to gripe about. Small wonder he ended his days drawing porno comics. I guess the editor left him alone on those.

  205. george says:

    Patrick Ford said: “Kirby had a long career before and after Lee. The “Marvel years” are just an unfortunate phase of that career.”

    The period in which Kirby created (or co-created) his most popular and enduring characters is “just an unfortunate phase”? That’s a bizarre thing to say.

    Aside from Captain America, how many Kirby characters from before and after the “Marvel years” (1959-1970) have survived? Is DC still publishing Newsboy Legion or Boy Commandos? They weren’t last time I checked. Aside from comics fans — a very small percentage of the overall population — how many people even know about Forever People or New Gods?

    BTW, Patrick, for someone who claims to have no interest in Lee or Marvel, you sure spend a lot of time posting long, LONG comments about both.

  206. Jane says:

    “Flo Steinberg “confirms” nothing. She says she was not in the room and heard raised voices.”

    And yet her account/views (in that interview and others) corresponds perfectly to what the early Kirby says…and how he humorously presented their plotting conferences.

    “Romita’s accounts of Lee and Kirby are limited to two car rides.”

    Which again correspond with Lee/Flo/Young Kirby accounts…as well as an observation by a journalist., and was the experience recounted by many other artists who worked with Lee. And it stretches credibility that Romita just happened to sit in on the only two occasions where they were plotting together.

    “There is no way of knowing if the plot Lee told Nate Freedland was created on the spot by Lee or if it was on penciled pages Kirby had recently delivered to the office, or if it was a plot Kirby has suggested to Lee.”

    Well you could simply read the article . It clearly describes Kirby taking notes for the FF story that would be produced months later. You can also read the final FF comic to see how much Kirby changed/added. And even the older Kirby never went so far as to state this conference was based on a story he’d already done…instead the older Kirby apparently told others it wasn’t the usual approach (even though he took it home and made a story out of it…in exactly the manner the Marvel Method is supposed to work).

    “Ditko is also on record as saying that while Lee brought him the revamped Spider-Man he does not know if the revised character and plot were Lee’s ideas or perhaps something given to Lee by Kirby. In fact Ditko says that twice.”

    The problem here is that the older Kirby suddenly claimed to have created the character and the costume and giving it to Lee…while at one point crediting Ditko solely with developing the idea (completely ignoring Lee). In response to these claims, Ditko wrote an article stating the original Kirby Spider-Man had a completely different costume and backstory, while providing details of how he and Lee worked together. Subsequent articles by Ditko (referenced in ‘Strange and Stranger’) show Lee as clearly being involved in the plotting/direction of the early book.

    Tellingly, Ditko states “If Marvel’s Thor is a valid created work by Jack, then why isn’t Spider-Man by Stan and me valid created work, our creation?” – so there is no doubt as to Ditko’s views on the matter.

    You’re suggesting Kirby provided Lee with a second character/plot to create the Spider-Man that we know…but there is absolutely no record of him ever saying he submitted the character/plot twice in any interview. He simply said he gave Stan the character and, tellingly, that Ditko developed it (which, of course, Ditko himself doesn’t take sole credit for). And it still wouldn’t explain why Kirby claimed to have created the costume.

    Ironically, Joe Simon has noted that the character Kirby suggested was actually based on a Kirby creation.

    “Any disputes arise not from the credits Stan Lee “gave” but from the credits he didn’t give. It all boils down to writing credit and payment. Credit for the artwork has nothing to do with the disputes.”

    I agree it would have been great to seek Kirby better rewarded financially for his contributions. But I also think police should be paid more than movie stars.

    Unfortunately the later comments by the older Kirby have muddied the waters and are, themselves, a classic example of denying credit where credit is due.

    It is a fact that the Marvel Method was clearly explained to Marvel readers in the Bullpen page in the mid-sixties…and many times after that in various interviews. It was no secret to anyone. Even comic stories showed this (FF 10, DD Annual 1. FF Annual 5). Lee actually provided credits…other companies of the time generally didn’t. Some artists liked this approach…some didn’t. Kirby was one of the artists who did like the approach (he’s stated it was the whole point of being a creator to him) and he stayed with the company for many years. It is generally recognised that Kirby’s contributions to plotting grew as the strips progressed (though you can see from the previous quotes on Thor that Lee continued to be involved as late as 1969)…and the credits became ‘Produced by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’.

    Marvel and its characters became popular…Kirby saw this and realized he wasn’t getting the share that he could have. He then went to DC to try and show that he could go it alone without editorial interference. It didn’t really work. He became more embittered as he saw Lee (who stayed with the company) utilize his other talents (as speaker, writer and eventually the face of Marvel) become richer and richer…having remained at Marvel and being credited as the reason for the company’s success. I understand/appreciate all of that so I do agree in general with your overall position.

    But the indisputable fact is that the young Kirby knew what work he was doing, was friends with Lee (by his own admission) and actively participated in the Marvel Method. Similarly, the older Kirby made claims that Lee contributed nothing (not even dialogue) and that Lee was just a an “officer worker”. I appreciate that Kirby was not well when he made these claims…but they have clearly confused a new generation who simply weren’t there in the 1960s (either in the industry or as a reader).

  207. R. D. says:

    george,

    Stan called, and asked that you stop fucking around on the Internet and get back to work. He wants the pool cleaned and the lawn mowed by morning, he’s got company coming this weekend.

  208. Bill says:

    Enjoyed your version of “Are you his wife, his mother or his bookie?” Cleee-ver!

  209. patrick ford says:

    Steinberg’s account does not correspond to what Kirby has consistently said went on between him and Lee. Asserting a short humor piece (published by a company Kirby was selling freelance work to) is Kirby’s early version of events is not an argument that is very persuasive. Isn’t it natural that people do not go out of their way to anger clients they are dependent on?
    As far as I know Kirby has never explicitly said he created the Ditko Spider-Man. Kirby did create a Spiderman character who was wearing a costume. He also created the first two ASM covers. Kirby has said many times he created the “initial concept” and it was Ditko who developed the published version. There are many comic book professionals that have pointed out the published version of the character did retain quite a few basic ideas contained in Kirby’s version.
    People who think Ditko supports Lee’s claims are not familiar with Ditko’s many, many writings on Lee. I would suggest they seek out at a minimum a collection of essays by Ditko called THE AVENGING MIND.
    Just recently Ditko wrote: “”Comic book fans accepting, believing, spreading, [Stan] Lee’s unsupported claim reveals, exposes, a too willing self-blindness to facts, truths and honesty that dominates comic book fandom.”

  210. patrick ford says:

    Someone would have to point out to me where in the Nat Freedland story it’s mentioned Kirby is taking notes.
    http://www.hembeck.com/Images/More/HeraldTribuneArticles/Marvel6.jpg
    The story does contain a number of inaccurate claims. It ends with Lee telling Freedland that when he was in high school he’d won three writing contest first prizes offered by the New York Herald.
    The fact is Lee never won the contest.
    Lee also makes a number of snide remarks about Ditko during the interview telling Freedland he’ll allow Ditko to write the stories until sales slip. In fact Ditko had already quit in November of 1965 well before the interview was published in Jan. 1965.
    The point about the two car rides described by Romita is what relevance they have to Kirby’s visit to the office. Weren’t the meeting between Lee and Kirby in private in Lee’s office? That’s what Steinberg, Thomas, and Severin have all said. Roy Thomas commented he had no idea why he was invited in during the Nat Freedland interview because he never was a part of the meetings between Kirby and Lee.
    Romita says Kirby and Lee seemed to be paying to attention to what the other was saying. They weren’t swapping ideas, they were talking past one another. My opinion is Lee was putting on an act for Romita just as he did for Freedland.

  211. patrick ford says:

    Jan. 1966.

  212. patrick ford says:

    You might notice I never preface my comments by claiming to be a fan of Lee or Marvel. I’m interested in the business side of Lee and Marvel. The comic books as published don’t interest me at all, aside from the artwork.
    I’m interested in a cartoonists work, not the characters they create. I’ve no interest in ever seeing a Krazy Kat film a Fritz the Cat Film, a Popeye Film, or a New Gods film. Remove the creator from a character and for me the character can only become interesting again if a cartoonist whose work I enjoy begins working with the character.
    Although I am convinced Kirby created the characters and stories on the penciled pages he sold to Marvel, I would never claim what Kirby sold to Marvel is represented by the stories which saw print after the penciled pages passed through Lee. Imagine Kirby’s work as a meal passing through Lee.

  213. george says:

    Patrick Ford said: “The comic books as published don’t interest me at all, aside from the artwork.”

    I hope you go back to school and learn to read some day, Patrick.

  214. Jane says:

    “Someone would have to point out to me where in the Nat Freedland story it’s mentioned Kirby is taking notes.
    http://www.hembeck.com/Images/More/HeraldTribuneArticles/Marvel6.jpg”

    Good pickup Patrick – that was supposed be ‘taking note’ or ‘mentally taking note’– (as Freedland clearly has Kirby nodding, saying “Right”, etc in acknowledgement).

    “As far as I know Kirby has never explicitly said he created the Ditko Spider-Man. Kirby did create a Spiderman character who was wearing a costume. He also created the first two ASM covers. Kirby has said many times he created the “initial concept” and it was Ditko who developed the published version.”

    Unfortunately Kirby was pretty adamant he created Spider-Man and the Spider-Man costume (“I created the costume” in the infamous 1990 Comics Journal interview and referenced by Ditko as part of his response in Alter Ego – The Comic Book Artist Collection). To my knowledge Kirby never stated that he created the origin though. He left the ‘development’ to Ditko (for which Ditko shares credit with Lee).

    Here are some more Kirby quotes:

    “My initial concept was practically the same. But the credit for developing Spider-Man goes to Steve Ditko; he wrote it and he drew it and he refined it.”

    “I presented everything to Stan Lee. I drew up the costume, I gave him the character and I put it in the hands of Marvel”

    You may recall that Shooter even tried to talk to the older Kirby about his claims:

    “P.P.S. Years later, 1986, I had occasion to talk with Jack at the San Diego Con. He insisted that he created Spider-Man. I told him that I’d spoken to Steve Ditko, Sol, and other people who were there at the time, including Stan, obviously, and that they all agreed that Steve’s version was the one that was used, though Jack did his version first. I reported everything I’d seen and heard. We talked about the costume — the bib and belt combo, the stripes down the arms, the mask, the symbols, a very Ditko-esque design. Jack was having some problems with his memory by then, but he thought about it for a minute, then said that maybe Steve should get the credit. He’d be okay with that. A little later, he was onstage and clearly had forgotten our conversation. He and Roz did, however, come to Marvel’s 25th Anniversary Party that evening, which made me very happy. There’s a story about that, too, but it will wait for another time.”

    I’m not sure why you would specifically refer to the ‘Ditko Spider-Man’ (unless you meant to type ‘Ditko Spider-Man costume’ or ‘Lee/Ditko Spider-Man’). Ditko himself, as previously quoted, considers ‘Spider-Man’ a Lee-Ditko creation (he was adamant about this) and he was directly involved. So I don’t think fans like us (with no involvement) could simply term the creation the ‘Ditko Spider-Man’?

    “There are many comic book professionals that have pointed out the published version of the character did retain quite a few basic ideas contained in Kirby’s version”

    I’ve seen Shooter’s recollection of the Kirby pitch, and I’ve seen Ditko’s recollections. Both consider the Lee-Ditko Spidey to be a completely different character. I have to say I’m not aware of anyone else except Kirby and Sol Brodsky who saw both.

    As mentioned earlier, I’m also unaware of any interview in which Kirby claims to have had input to the actual origin plot that Ditko said was by Lee. In fact, as you can see above, Kirby clearly stated that (in his view) it was Ditko who ‘refined’, developed and wrote Spider-Man. In this respect we’re lucky Ditko was around to explain how this refinement, development and writing happened (i.e. a collaboration between Lee and Ditko)

    I personally agree with Ditko’s view (based purely on the elements Ditko describes in his article, with the ‘magic ring’ etc.) that Lee’s new synopsis (presented after he told Ditko they -rather than Lee/Kirby would do Spider-Man) was a completely different tale to the Lee/Kirby version.

    “People who think Ditko supports Lee’s claims are not familiar with Ditko’s many, many writings on Lee. I would suggest they seek out at a minimum a collection of essays by Ditko called THE AVENGING MIND.
    Just recently Ditko wrote: “”Comic book fans accepting, believing, spreading, [Stan] Lee’s unsupported claim reveals, exposes, a too willing self-blindness to facts, truths and honesty that dominates comic book fandom.”

    A good quote…applicable to both Lee and Kirby, I’d suggest.

    But you’d really have to give everyone more context for that quote. We know that Ditko has been upset with some of Lee’s comments (how the person with the idea is the creator, forgetting certain key scenes he recalled from past stories were plotted by Ditko) and has used similar phrases. These sorts of differences are quite common.

    The fact remains, however, that Ditko himself has written his definitive article on the creation of Spider-Man, specifically refuting Kirby’s claims and explaining why he considers Spider-Man a Lee-Ditko creation. He has revised the article before…he’s certainly entitled to revise it again if he wishes. However his descriptions in the article appeared quite definitive and I don’t think he has revised any of the comments that article (at least to my knowledge).

    “The story does contain a number of inaccurate claims. It ends with Lee telling Freedland that when he was in high school he’d won three writing contest first prizes offered by the New York Herald. The fact is Lee never won the contest.”

    You’ll no doubt be aware that this is covered in the book ‘Stan Lee Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book’. For those who haven’t read it, the authors found no trace of Lee being named a winner and therefore noted the story was ‘false’ or ‘greatly distorted’ , ‘confused’ in his ‘misty memory’, or a ‘massage of the truth’ etc. while noting Lee may not be an intentional liar.

    What they found was that Stan won 7th place in the paper’s competition in May 1938, he also won an ‘honorable mention’ (one of a hundred, out of ‘thousands of entries’) and a second honorable mention. As with the authors of the book, I’ll leave it up to others to decide whether he simply mis-remembered this as having won three times (given it was 1938!).

    “Lee also makes a number of snide remarks about Ditko during the interview telling Freedland he’ll allow Ditko to write the stories until sales slip. ”

    With the greatest of respect, that is a purely subjective interpretation. I’ve always read it as being completely in line with Stan’s general patter. If you ever have a chance to speak to him you’ll see that is simply how Lee talks even now(I thought it was also quite evident in many of his interviews and his videos with Bob Kane etc on Youtube).

    “In fact Ditko had already quit in November of 1965 well before the interview was published in Jan. 1965.”

    It’s possible you’re right about the timing, though ‘Marvel the Untold Story’ (which admittedly misses key points, like the documented meeting between Lee/Ditko for ‘Ravage 2099 – in which it is clear that Lee/Ditko had great respect for each other) states:

    ”Shortly after the Herald Tribune piece appeared, Ditko dropped off his pages with Sol Brodsky and announced that when he finished his current assignment he would not be doing any more work for Marvel Comics.”

    In any case…it certainly didn’t seem to be general news at the time of the article. And there is a Youtube segment where you can hear Stan announcing Ditko’s departure to the audience. You and others can judge for yourself whether his comments or tone are snide. The date is given as March 1966 (Stan Lee at Princeton, 1966). You can also see for yourself if Lee actually takes sole credit for stories – or shares them in accordance with the Marvel Method).

    “The point about the two car rides described by Romita is what relevance they have to Kirby’s visit to the office.
    Weren’t the meeting between Lee and Kirby in private in Lee’s office? That’s what Steinberg, Thomas, and Severin have all said.”

    The point is that Romita was verifying that both Lee and Kirby were involved in the plotting of the FF – it wasn’t just a case of Kirby giving Lee the next story. This completely contradicts the statements made by the older Kirby, but matches perfectly the ‘Marvel Method’ espoused by Lee and comments by the younger Kirby during the same period.

    “Roy Thomas commented he had no idea why he was invited in during the Nat Freedland interview because he never was a part of the meetings between Kirby and Lee.”

    Not sure how relevant this is? Lee and Kirby didn’t usually invite journalists to their sessions either. I don’t like to speculate, but Lee may simply have wanted Thomas to be more involved in the visit by the journalist (which would have been a big deal at the time). If I’d been Lee I probably would have done the same.

    “Romita says Kirby and Lee seemed to be paying to attention to what the other was saying. They weren’t swapping ideas, they were talking past one another. ”

    With regard to Romita, in one interview he said “”I heard them plotting in other instances! [laughter] Jack would say, ‘Stanley, I think I’ve got an idea. How ’bout this?’ Stan would say, ‘That’s not bad, Jack, but I’d rather see it this way.’ Jack would absolutely forget what Stan said, and Stan would forget what Jack said. [laughter] I would bet my house that Jack never read the books after Stan wrote them; that’s why he could claim with a straight face that Stan never wrote anything except what Jack put in the notes. He was kidding himself; he never read them.”

    This is interesting because Kirby is clearly described as pitching an idea…not simply telling Lee what the story would be (as the later Kirby asserted). If want a quote from someone verifying that Kirby did, at other times, actually follow plot ideas from Lee then see my earlier quotes from the younger Kirby himself. Again, under the Marvel Method it was clearly acknowledged the ideas may come purely from the artist in some situations.

    “My opinion is Lee was putting on an act for Romita just as he did for Freedland.”

    You did qualify that as purely your opinion…so I have no real issue with this. However I’ll again reiterate that:
    – Lee ended up using the rough plot put forwared by Lee and making key changes, adding detail etc. This is exactly how the Marvel Method was described.
    – Kirby ‘s own interviews at the time (see earlier quotes) are completely in accordance with this Marvel Method approach
    – Lee later said that Kirby usually said a lot more than he did in the conference. He also said that Kirby would come up with whole plots himself, and that he felt Kirby was a better plotter
    – Kirby would later write a humorous story based on a plotting session between him and Lee in FF Annual 5 which is again completely in line with the Marvel Method (it even shows Flo Steinberg, who is on record as saying she sometimes had to tell them to keep the noise down) as opening the door and saying “Oh no, Stan and Jack are at it again!”)
    – You have Stan on YouTube talking about the departure of Ditko and again discussing the Marvel method to a university audience (noting the unexpected appearance of the Silver Surfer)
    – Romita also noted that Lee would on occasion receive pages from Kirby and state there were elements (like the Surfer) that hadn’t been discussed in their conferences – all in line with the Marvel Method
    – Ditko, Colan, Trimpe, Ayers and others (including the younger Kirby himself) have all described working with Stan during the 1960s and their accounts are all in line with the Marvel Method. Trimpe notes “…I listened to what Stan had to say , and before I knew what was happening, the guy is leaping out of his chair, and on his desk, to visually and physically show me the kind of drama he wanted to get across in each panel…(it) was a lot of fun.” No journalist was present at this or any of the similar sessions described by others.

    You’ll appreciate from the above why I can’t possibly agree with your opinion.

    And you’re probably aware of Romita’s take on the situation, but for the benefit of others here it is:

    “I had heard all of the inside stuff, like from the Herald-Tribune article that insulted Jack, that he thought Stan was a part of. Stan could not convince him of that, and certainly could not convince Roz that Stan hadn’t encouraged the writer to make fun of Jack. I know for a fact that Stan would rather bite his tongue than say such a thing, because Jack’s success would’ve been his success. There’s no reason to run Jack down. Stan had the position; he didn’t have to fight Jack for it. I don’t think Jack ever wanted the editorial position; if he wanted credit, he deserved credit. Stan used to give him credit all the time; he used to say most of these ideas are more than half Jack’s. Why they would think Stan would try to make him look bad in print is beyond me; but from that time on—which is very close to when I started there in the middle ’60s—when the Herald-Tribune article came out, there were very strained relations, and I thought it was a matter of time before Jack would leave; but I thought he would never leave, because I always figured if I had a success like Fantastic Four and Thor and Captain America, I don’t think I could leave; so I always assumed he’d stay grumbling, but Carmine made a deal Jack couldn’t refuse.”

    And Patrick, it has been great talking to you. You clearly have a passion for this stuff…but unfortunately I have some busy weeks ahead and will have to leave it at that.

    Please don’t take anything I’ve said personally. I’d like to reiterate that I essentially agree with your view that Kirby wasn’t as recognised/rewarded as he should have been. I agree that Kirby was at least the co-creator for most of the famous Marvel characters…and that he was responsible for many of the great stories/moments. The fact there was a failed Spider-Man pitch does seem to indicate that Kirby was suggesting some characters (at least at some point). The Coal Tiger presentation is another (though it seems Lee changed the name to the Black Panther). I imagine there were many more.

    I actually used to have very similar arguments/views to yours. But then I found all the first-hand interviews – most tellingly the early Kirby and Lee/Kirby interviews that appear to have been eclipsed by Kirby’s increasingly revisionist views (culminating in claims that no one could seriously believe…e.g. Lee never dialogued anything). It took a while…but eventually I had to concede that there was too much evidence from the people who were actually there at the time – including Kirby himself.

    My view of Lee’s contributions has grown considerably after reading all the interview of the time and books like ‘Stan Lee Universe’ (with various testimonies and a Lee/Kirby interview). I’ve also since met Lee on a couple of occasions. I agree that there are public appearances where he could take more time to talk about the actual creative input of the various artists…but he never hesitates to discuss the Marvel Method when mentioned. And it isn’t his role to apologise for Marvel’s treatment of Kirby (I don’t even know if his contract will allow it). Besides, he has plenty of his own contributions to talk about. Lee didn’t have the same creative fire that Kirby had (he candidly states Kirby was a much better plotter)…nor the same passion for comics (he’d almost quit in the early 60s and beyond – see Marvel the Untold Story). But, regardless of who he worked with, (Kirby, Ditko, Ayers, Colan, Romita, Heck, Wood etc) he always managed to produce a ‘Marvel’ story.

    Kirby, before and after Marvel, produced ‘Kirby’ stories. Very different, but full of great concepts/designs and wonderful in their own way. He was a creative genius by all accounts…but he made some wild claims as he got older and more resentful…and as a result recognition of his contributions has sometimes been unfairly at the expense of Lee’s considerable contributions.

    Anyway…you write very well – and you’re obviously doing your research. I hope other readers have also picked up some points on this complicated topic. Good luck with everything.

    (PS: If you haven’t read it, take a look at Joe Simon’s book The Comic Book Makers and see what credit Simon gives Kirby for their collaborations. You’ll probably want to start a whole new thread)

  215. Oliver says:

    To paraphrase Griffin Mill: I was just thinking what an interesting concept it is to eliminate the writer from the artistic process. If we could just get rid of the words entirely — have purely pantomime comics like in the ‘Fahrenheit 451′ movie — maybe we’ve got something here.

  216. Chris says:

    I watched the credits for Captain America The Winter Soldier last night. In small print and late in the credits, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby got their names mentioned. I think they need a little more credit. Stan got his usual executive producer credit and his cameo.

  217. Drake Sinclair says:

    It’s unfortunate that Kirby made his angry statements about Lee, which have given ammunition to the people who believe Lee’s self-serving lies about his role in creating Marvel’s characters and stories. Kirby could have made a comic about it, introducing the Red Skull’s kid sidekick, the Red Herring. The real issue , and the focal point of the Lee/Kirby and Lee/ almost every other artist is Lee’s contention, a contention refuted by Kirby, Ditko, Sinnot, Ayers, Wood, Adams, etc. is that Lee was the wellspring of creativity and ideas from which the pencillers would be given the great privilege of drinking. I’ve seen proof that Lee is lying about this, and I’ll share the link here in a minute. First, I want to compare these two statements from the comments above:Lee, in The Origins Of Marvel Comics describes how he supposedly created Thor : Stan Lee:
    “The only one who could top the heroes we already had would be a Super-God, but I
    didn’t think the world was quite ready for that concept yet.
    So it was back to the ol’ drawing board. I must have gone through a dozen pencils and
    a thousand sheets of paper in the days that followed, making notes and sketches, listing
    names and titles, and jotting down every type of superpower I could think of.
    But I kept coming back to the same ludicrous idea: the only way to top the others would be with a Super-God.
    As far as I can remember, Norse mythology always turned me on.” Neal Kirby: “Is it conceivable that Stan Lee, with little knowledge of mythology, much less Norse mythology could come up with the premise of Thor as a super hero? Isn’t it much more likely that my father, whose studio on Long Island was filled with books on history and mythology, of which his favorite was Norse mythology, would be much more likely to have created such a character?” In this propaganda “film”, Lee, in accordance with the need of the higher self to ultimately allow the truth to emerge, at last unconsciously exposes his lies. His revealing statement comes at 6:07 of the video. All these years later, and he still remains ignorant concerning the most basic facts about characters and stories he claims to have created.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXhUptOiEPE

  218. Chris says:

    Jonathan Ross has a show on YouTube, In Search of Steve Ditko, that features Stan talking about his views on who’s the creator of a character. Even though he gave Steve a signed letter stating that in his opinion Steve is a co-creator of Spider-man, he admits he doesn’t believe that. He states that whoever comes up with the idea for a character is the creator. The guy who draws the character and makes him come to life isn’t part of that process. You can find on the internet Jack’s first sketch of his version of Spider-man with a web gun and big muscles, which contrasts Ditko’s final version of Spidey. Obviously, the artist is part of the creative process by determining the look of the character.

    I wish all parties had kept journals of who contributed what to each character so we could compare notes.

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