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We Survived

Nice to see all of you.

So, on the site today:

* Ken Parille writes on Jack Kirby and Chris Ware:

As allegorical fantasies, Kirby’s galactic operas were as interested in 1970s America as in imaginary goings-on in deep space. Yet Kirby’s greatest theme was even closer to home: his own power, his imagination, and his process of creation.

* And in that spirit, we present the complete text of Gary Groth’s 1989 interview with Jack Kirby. This was quite controversial at the time of its publication, with many complaining that Gary had let Kirby talk too much, and make overreaching claims. But to my mind, it’s a fascinating record of the artist in twilight, weary of his battles and fed up with getting so little credit. If he overreached in places, one can hardly blame him. In any case, here it is, and it’s worth reading in light of this summer’s movies.

Elsewhere:

Interesting exhibition opening this week curated by William F. Wu: Marvels and Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in American Comics, 1942-1986. The curator notes:

I themed the collection around a set of eight Asian archetypes — the ones that remain most iconic and resonant with perceptions of Asian Americans even today… The archetypes are obviously negative ones, given the timespan of the archive. But their repeated appearances in the comics ends up being an amazing launchpad from which to explore the historical pressures and precedents that led to their inception.

Jeffrey Catherine Jones’ passing has been noted several places. The best piece I’ve seen is Tom Spurgeon’s, in which he examines the larger context for Jones’ life and work. Here’s Tom on the “Studio” period:

The legacy of that much talent doing what was collectively very good work at a point of almost monolithic and degrading corporate influence over the kind of art they wanted to do has provided The Studio with a legacy that can be embraced even by those that didn’t particularly care for the artists’ output.

And David Apatoff takes a close look at a single painting.

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One Response to We Survived

  1. patrick ford says:

    Lot’s of old time Marvel fans whine about Gary’s Kirby interview, but in my estimation Gary if anything should have encouraged Jack to say more. There isn’t one place in the interview where Kirby went to far. It’s more that some of the quotes were out of a full context. There is also an interview with Kirby by Mark Borax from about the same time period where Kirby expresses the same attitude towards Lee, and Borax is actually trying to encourage Kirby to more or less “kiss and make up” because it would make the fans happy. Kirby will have none of it.
    Jack Kirby:
    (interview with Mark Borax): “I can’t understand why there’s a struggle over who did what, cause Stan and I know. Nobody else knows. If Stan would only come out of his hiding place and tell the world everything would go great. It isn’t obscure. He knows it, and I know it. There won’t be a resolution. People don’t change. They can’t change. Sometimes it’s too late. You just go on being what you are. Human beings go on being human beings. I can predict everything that Stan will do. I know I can’t change Stan. He says his piece, and I say mine. I could shake hands with Stan till doomsday and it would resolve nothing, the dance goes on.”
    I guess the most common complaint is Kirby saying, “Stan never wrote anything.”
    John Romita understood what Kirby was saying, and if you read the whole interview it should be obvious to anyone what Kirby meant. Romita said Kirby could say that because, “I’d bet my house Jack never read the printed comics.”
    Kirby was saying he wrote a story and submitted it to Marvel. Since Kirby is unhappy throughout the interview with how his stories and characters were taken from him and changed, it should be obvious to anyone what Kirby is really saying is, “Stan never wrote anything for me.”
    Keep in mind that while Kirby was writing the stories, he wasn’t being paid for plotting them, and Marvel was paying horrible page rates at that time, about half of what DC was paying. I can’t think of any way to look at the situation, but to say Lee was stealing the money for plotting which should have been paid to Kirby.
    The people who were upset by the interview are all 60 year old men hung up on a nostalgia for something which never existed. The happy bullpen of the 60′s.
    My favorite quote from the interview.
    Jack Kirby: “There wasn’t any excitement. It was a horrible morbid atmosphere. If there was any excitment, it was the excitement of fear.”

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