Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Purple Jim, Nov 18, 2016.
His imagination will never be matched.
Dr. Strange was Ditko's baby but Kirby did this great cover for Strange Tales #183.
Isn't that great!
How appropriate, to revive this great thread near Labor Day Weekend, a holiday reminding us of what good workers have to go through for respect in their jobs...even when there is already universal praise for what it is they do! Stan Lee's "Marvel Method" led dozens of talented artisans to co-create the masterpieces of our youth...while only paying them for being cartoonists, while he took the public parade-waves as the "writer". In most cases, Lee's "writing" was only "written down" as notes taken BY the artists: guideposts to help them fill-in the "yadda-yadda" of the plot, and then Shyster Stan* would fill in the balloon space they left for him in what was, only by then, a coherently-crafted story.
But it wasn't the "Marvel Method" that hurts, as much as knowing how little he was able to properly profit from his own work, most of his tastiest examples having been given away right out of the archives before the comics world realized what a gold mine they were sitting on. That's a story for another time, but a thread celebrating Jack isn't complete without mentioning the support of half the comics industry still working then, but most vocally Neal Adams, Frank Miller and Garry Trudeau. The tactics surrounding "work-for-hire" clauses you had to sign on the back of a paycheck and policies and contracts designed to single out Kirby's unique risk to Marvel's success, should always be highlighted as significantly as Jack's square jaw lines, huge female legs, unrealistic hands and the awkwardness of poses and perspectives that also brought a power to his drawings no other artist could compete with. Jack made all these quirks of both the industry and his own drawing quirks work for him in the long run, even as he suffered day by day, knowing what his tribulations had earned back so many other artists and creators later on, was still costing him.
To the public at large, Jack Kirby was no Lilly Ledbetter; but that fist crashed through a helluva lot more than just walls and bad guys.
(*before you admonish not to speak ill of the dead, our dear departed Mr. Lieber has at least had the opportunities up until this past year, to make any apologies and clarifications he wished to make about Marvel Comics' truer history; The King left us long before he found a more complete reward for his efforts)(but yes, they are both sorely missed).
Sadly, this remains relevant today, more that 55 years after it was published.
The way ALL the artists were treated was awful, as was the financial compensation. Unfortunately, this was standard operating procedure within the ENTIRE industry, not just Marvel. The problem grew exponentially when dealing with the creative genius of a Kirby or Ditko.
Stan Lee's blatant, self-serving, bordering on criminal, way of stealing the spotlight with his corny schtick is another, completely separate, disgrace. IMO, he knowingly stole money from Kirby & Ditko, from the very beginning to the day he died.
And yet....whenever I see him do a cameo in a movie it puts a smile on my face, go figure!
THANOS omits the Kirby touch ala Galactus, big face, muscular definition.
I think it is more relevant today than 55 years ago and even back in December, 2016 when I first posted it. Remember tiki torches in the news?
At the end of the story, the Hate Monger was unmasked and revealed to be:
Hulk vs The Thing ?
Was that a FF title or Hulk own comic ?
This may be for another thread but it was Lee's grandstanding boisterous style that appealed to me when I first thumbed through a Marvel comic at the newsstand as a pre-teen (Incredible Hulk #1). At the time I considered Stan Lee's dialogue to be the main appeal of Marvel comics although I did love Kirby's work. The FF was the epitome of fantasy fiction for me from 1963 - 1968.
It first happened in a couple of early issues of the FF.
Thx. Believe The Thing was beaten ( if memory serves me well). The Thing was my favourite in the silver age FF Marvel comics.
The color /artwork really stood out on this title.
Dig the blurb!!!!
I read somewhere that Lee's dialog for the Thing was inspired by Kirby.
"The word “holocaust” appears in the Fourth World saga with chilling regularity. So too do death camps, torture devices and atomic blasts. Forever People #3, one of Kirby’s finest single issues, even begins with a quote attributed to Hitler: “That is the great thing about our movement – that these members are uniform not only in ideas, but, even, the facial expression is almost the same!” Underneath stands a crowd of people, all of whom wear the same blank expression, all victims of Darkseid’s Anti-Life propaganda."
The persistent influence of Jack Kirby | Peter Hoskin
Kirby not pleased with the pay cheque “it’s clobbering time “.
The splash page from the Captain America story in Tales Of Suspense #59
Such a powerful illustration, classic Kirby.
I grew to like reading Jack Kirby comics, but as a kid we had a Fantastic Four #77 around and I couldn't make much sense of it. It was partly because it was in the middle of a longer story, but his panels were so kinetic, so much drama going on, but I would look at the panels and pages and enjoy that aspect. There was also a Neal Adams Deadman I just couldn't figure out how to read. I was used to Scamp, Little Lulu, Dennis The Menace and Archie. Reading a run of '60s Fantastic Four now I can appreciate all the ideas he was contributing, must be a record for ideas per page in those first sixty to seventy issues; and the dialogue by Stan Lee was pure enjoyment, especially with the Thing!
Yeah, I don't buy any of this.
I know it's the popular thing the past 10 years or so to paint artists as the poor victims of the American comic-book industry and writer / editors like Stan Lee as the evil masterminds. But I don't think so.
Of course, compared to other industries or compared to today, ALL comic book artists at the big American companies were underpaid and under-appreciated, Kirby being no exception. But the Marvel artists were not treated any worse than the other companies. I bet there were several artists who preferred the 'Marvel method' of drawing pages from a rough story outline, and not being restricted by formal scripts.
Also, the whole "Stan Lee did nothing and artists like Ditko and Kirby" did everything is totally false. In the case of early Marvel titles like Fantastic Four and Spider-Man, Lee did write proper scripts, as I understand it, for large periods of the series. The entire legacy and canon of those characters is based on Stan Lee's scripts. Only after the series were established and successful did he start letting Ditko and Kirby plot and initiate stories. (I might add that if you go back and look at the 100+ issues of FF that Kirby drew, the quality drops enormously when Lee started giving up control of storylines to Kirby. And Spider-Man became far more popular after Ditko quit.)
Lee would still be an industry giant without Ditko or Kirby (though certainly Kirby's contribution to early Marvel was huge), but what would Ditko and Kirby's legacies be without Lee? I think, much, much worse. Every single thing Ditko did aside from his collaborations with Stan Lee are forgettable. Kirby might have had a great career anyway without Marvel, but I don't think he would anywhere near the legend he is without it.
Finally, for me personally (and I don't think I'm alone in this), it is very much Stan Lee's scripts and character-types that made the early Marvel comics so appealing (I came to these in the 1980s when I was a little kid).
I think Lee was very good at creating a certain jauntiness with the dialogue and an attempt to catch the vibe of the times; on top of that, he seems always aware of his audience and the need to engage them and make them feel part of the club and didn't speak down to them. He knew he was on to something and that he was pushing the boundaries. However, if I can forgive the poor treatment of the artists at the time, it's the fact Lee knew he's dealing with two key people here - two key people involved in the creation of the characters, not hired hands in the way some of the other artists were. And, of course, this went on long after they'd left.
This was originally used on Strange Tales #130, which appropriately for this site has a Beatle reference:
It’s a borderline miracle that Kirby and Ditko achieved what they achieved in what was widely regarded as a throwaway medium for kids, printed on cheap paper, selling for 12 cents a pop, under the “work for hire” system that denied them any ownership of their creations.
I think Lee’s dialog was a part of the Marvel magic - all you have to do is read Kirby’s Fourth World work for DC to see that he could have used a helping hand from Stan or some other wordsmith to help polish his clunky dialog, even if Kirby’s underlying concepts were interesting.
But any notion that Lee was an equal with Kirby or Ditko on the model of the Lennon/McCartney team is dispelled by looking at what each of those men created after their partnership broke up. Kirby and Ditko kept on creating new characters and concepts without Lee, but without Kirby and Ditko, Lee created next to nothing.
So bad to the bone, the giant has the same vibe for me as the Space Jockey in Aliens.
Separate names with a comma.