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Jack Kirby - King Of Comics

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Purple Jim, Nov 18, 2016.

  1. Manimal

    Manimal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Southern US
    [​IMG] Jack paying the bills at the table he used for a thousand years.
     
  2. Brodnation

    Brodnation The Future Never Dies because Tomorrow Never Knows

    Location:
    Canada
    And another problem is Jack's account of writership may be from a flawed perspective. John Romita Sr. (another famous artist at Marvel from that time) said this:

    "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."

    So it's very possible that Jack's story of Stan Lee giving him story outlines and doing everything but putting the dialog in the balloons and Stan's story of collaboration on the idea and in the final script for the page could both be accurate. Since according to John Romita Sr: Jack never read the final product.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021
    N. Parkinson and trumpet sounds like this.
  3. Beyond Mania

    Beyond Mania Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Incredible cover. I have to read this.
     
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  4. Panther

    Panther Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    I view it in completely the opposite way. Neither Ditko nor Kirby did anything hugely popular after breaking with Marvel -- that's a fact.

    Lee's Spider-Man became massively more popular after Ditko left. Also, you can't really expect Stan Lee to write a lot of successful stuff after about 1970 since... he had stopped writing the comics.
     
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  5. Spencer R

    Spencer R Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oxford, MS
    I didn’t say anything about the popularity of the characters they created after they left Marvel, I said they kept on creating new characters and concepts after they left Marvel. And that’s a fact.

    What did Stan Lee ever create without Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko?
     
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  6. Mirrorblade.1

    Mirrorblade.1 Forum Resident

    He created Darkseid...
     
  7. beccabear67

    beccabear67 Musical Omnivore

    Location:
    Victoria, Canada
    Jack Kirby started The Fly for Archie in the late '50s as well as Challengers of The Unknown for DC around the same time. They did okay at the time but minus the Stan Lee scripts they aren't reprinted or lauded or remembered much, not like The Fantastic Four, Thor, The Hulk, The X-Men and Nick Fury Agent Of Shield a few years later at Marvel are, and reprinted over and over. Later runs of Devil Dinosaur, Machine Man, Captain America, Black Panther and The Eternals at Marvel with Jack writing were mostly disappointing in a number of ways. But I do agree that without a truly creative partner's input Stan Lee isn't so tremendous either. Fantastic Four past around #67 to #100, deliberately minus co-creator Jack contributing ideas, are just treading water or revisiting with past guests; the biggest idea in that bunch may be The Invisible Woman giving birth... it actually picks up when Kirby leaves because Romita and John Buscema were more involved.

    It's too bad they couldn't figure out a way to give Kirby more of a slice in the late '60s, they really did blow it there, and that's not just Stan Lee, and also in not returning at least some of his original art to him later with no strings when his wife Roz was needing medical treatment. The bad publicity couldn't have been worth whatever they got from the guy in those circumstances, and that is where a lot of people made vows to boycott. There was no binding arbitration process for the bottom rungs of publishing. A veteran of WWII he deserved better, but Kirby did quite well working in animation where he'd gotten his first work as an artist way back in the 1930s! Kirby and then Lee both enjoyed a California lifestyle. Stan Lee often shone a light on Jack 'King' Kirby as well over the years and that shouldn't be overlooked. Kirby didn't want to be a front man or sales man, a Funky Flashman, he wanted to make comics. He helped Pacific Comics get off the ground, one of the first color comics publishers in comic specialist shops, which gave Dave Steven's Rocketeer it's first audience, but his own Captain Victory and Silver Star, like those late '70s Marvels he was allowed full charge of which I mentioned, didn't set the comic book world on fire... not like those early '60s Marvels with the Stan lee dialogue and cover blurbs did, or as the original Captain America with Joe Simon did, before the U.S. was even in the war and before little Stanley Leiber even worked at a comics publisher.
     
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  8. Joseph LeVie

    Joseph LeVie Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Florida
    I don’t think anyone’s mentioned Mike Royer’s inks on Kirby. Those were actually my favorite with Chic Stone following. I also loved the occasional Dick Ayers inking.

    It sounds like I’m in the minority, but, I loved Jack’s plotting and writing. His characters spoke to me. I loved his last bit of sixties Marvel artwork better than his earlier artwork, thought his early to mid-seventies DC work started to really move to another level (Kamandi was a real sleeper of a book and the whole fourth world books were amazing and DC letting take over and weird up Superboy was daring) and then my favorite Jack period was his late seventies Marvel work. The pacing of the stories, the cinematic feel, panel numbers based on flow of story (I would bet good money that there more one panel pages (or, even two page spreads) in his later Marvel run than any other artist or any other period of time). I enjoyed his characterization in those stories. Sersi was sexy. Captain America was interesting again. The Falcon has never been done better. Extreme close ups of characters. Perspectives from all angles. Breaks in the fighting for philosophic discussion followed by more fighting. I couldn’t get enough of Jack’s late seventies work. I probably own all of it bought from a little newsstand that probably kept ordering more numbers of titles because of my appetite (and thinking back on it, the owner probably didn’t charge me sales tax, because I used to get four 25¢ for a dollar - I spent all of my allowance there, so, I guess he gave me a break).

    Kirby is my favorite (okay, sometimes George Perez is my favorite, but, he’s very heavily influenced by Kirby).

    Edit: I thought about this more. If I were to have blown up artwork of either of them, it would have to be Kirby’s.

    I love them all though and appreciate them for their work, up until the sloppy years of the eighties where the works of JRJR and Sienkowitz (or whatever his name was) pushed me towards independent comics.

    On a side note, I was trying to think of how many characters there were that were always chomping a cigar (Fury, JJJ, Thing, Fury, Howard) and how much of that was influenced by Jack.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
  9. Joseph LeVie

    Joseph LeVie Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Florida
    Crap, I forgot about Pablo Marcos. He might possibly be my favorite Jack inker. He and Royer are way up there.
     
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  10. Hagstrom

    Hagstrom I HATE BILLY JOEL

    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
  11. smilin ed

    smilin ed Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham
    I think my favourite inker depended on the character. Sacrilege, I know, but I preferred Colletta on Thor (diminished backgrounds and all), though I also loved Bill Everett's brief stint and in the early years, Chic Stone and Dick Ayers. For Cap, it has to be Giacoia and Shores and for the FF, Sinnott. As his work became looser, expressionistic and more blocky in the 70s, I still preferred Giacoia for that brief stint on Cap.
     
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  12. eeglug

    eeglug Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL, USA
    Ha, it looks like he's using Dr Ph Martin Inks! (Sorry, art geek digression)

    [​IMG]
     
  13. I absolutely love Fantastic Four #90 - #93:

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. badfinger54

    badfinger54 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Victoria, TX USA
    [​IMG]
    A very recent recreation of the 'title splash' page to TALES TO ASTONISH #34. I used to love stumbling across those early Marvel/Atlas 'monster' comics used when I was really into collecting. Loved the look of the Kirby/Ayers monsters and the Ditko stories. Rendered over printed 'bluelines.' I don't re-pencil it from scratch. On Facebook I am in a few Kirby groups and it gives me a greater appreciation of the inking job Mike Royer did. LOVED Kirby and Chic Stone! Royer was pretty darn faithful to the pencils and brought power to them. Sinnott was great, but an excellent overall artist who would make the faces more refined technically. Royer was more faithful.
     
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  15. beccabear67

    beccabear67 Musical Omnivore

    Location:
    Victoria, Canada
    I think Kirby had little talent for dialogue, it was often quite stiff in the ones I read where he scripted. Considering how extremely talented he was in many other areas it's not a big fault. Steve Ditko's own writing was almost stark straight even clumsy polemical but it has a strange charm, so I can imagine others finding Kirby's equally charming. I think maybe the original Omac #1 had a lot of that sort of odd charm. :)
     
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  16. Manimal

    Manimal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Southern US
    I was wondering the same thing, so is that what he’s using? Cool
     
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  17. Whizz Kid

    Whizz Kid Forum Resident

    That story arc was always one of my favourites too... :agree:

    but didn’t it bug you just a bit that the whole premise (Skrulls fascinated by and replicating 1930s American gangster culture) was a blatant rip-off of the Star Trek episode ‘A Piece Of The Action’, which originally aired the previous year?
     
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  18. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    As you know, the Marvel Method means the work is created plot first, then artwork, then dialogue. But within that method, who does the plotting can vary widely. In some cases the writer and artist came up with the plot together, but in some cases the writer or artist came up with the plot by themselves, with no input from the other. You are correct that lots of artists liked the freedom of drawing from a plot rather than from a full script. But in cases where the artist co-plotted or came up with the plot entirely by themselves, they most definitely were treated worse than at other companies. This is because in the 60s Marvel's artists were not paid for co-plotting, and Stan paid himself his regular page rate regardless of whether or not he helped with the plot. In other words, the artists were co-writers but were not paid for their writing work, and Stan paid himself as the full writer even in instances where he was only the co-writer.

    This is simply not true. Stan never wrote full scripts for Kirby or Ditko on their superhero work together. In the early days they would have a verbal plot conference in which they both would discuss and formulate the story, then Stan would type up a plot synopsis which the artist would work from. As time went on Stan stopped typing up the plot synopses and left the artists to work from memory. But the important point is that Kirby and Ditko were co-writers from the very beginning. And as time went on and Marvel got bigger, Stan contributed less and less to the plots.

    Ditko began plotting Spider-Man entirely by himself with issue #18... from that point onward, Stan had no input into the Spider-Man storylines, and did nothing but write the dialogue. And of course Ditko created Doctor Strange and drew the first Doctor Strange story on spec with zero input from Stan. With Kirby, it was a more gradual thing, with Stan contributing less and less until Kirby was doing the plotting entirely by himself around 1967 or so. But the important point is that there never was a time Kirby was not at minimum co-writing the stories he did with Stan.

    And this is true of the other Marvel artists also. Romita has talked about instances in which Stan's entire contribution to the plot was "Hey, let's bring back the Kingpin this month" and Romita would have to devise the entire story by himself from that one sentence. John Buscema said he plotted Silver Surfer #1 entirely by himself. Colan and Ayers have similar stories. Wally Wood quit Daredevil because he was being expected to do all the plotting for no extra money, and Stan would not let him do the full scripting since that took money from Stan's pocket.

    I'm sorry, but the part I've bolded is flat-out ridiculous. Lee would certainly not be "an industry giant" without Ditko or Kirby, because the Marvel characters we all love would not exist. They were (at minimum) co-created. Stan Lee has never created a memorable character entirely by himself. Stan Lee has never even written a classic story without a co-writer. You can't compare solo Kirby or solo Ditko to solo Stan, because there are no post-1960 examples of stories written by Stan without a co-writer.

    I'm not saying Stan did nothing. He had a great ear for dialogue writing, and his dialogue gave the characters unique voices that brought them to life. This skill was especially notable since both Ditko and Kirby wrote dialogue that was stiff and felt unnatural. Stan was also a great editor who brought a sense of unity and coherency to the entire line, and he helped keep Kirby's plots focused and accessible. Based on the work they did together and apart, it appears to me that Ditko and Kirby (and the other artists to a lesser extent) created the raw ideas, and Stan polished them and made them accessible. Both parts are important to success, but I'd say the raw ideas are more important. Ultimately, the problem I have with Stan is that he took credit and money for work done by others, and he unfortunately is still given more credit than he deserves by the general public.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
  19. freddog

    freddog Forum Resident

    Location:
    United States
  20. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    Spider-Man's sales went up after Ditko left, but it stands to reason that is due to the writing and artwork skills of John Romita, particularly the latter. Romita was co-plotting those stories from the beginning, and as time went on Stan's plot contributions got pretty minimal. And regardless of sales, it's notable that what many folks consider the best Spider-Man story ever (issues #30-33) was created entirely by Ditko with no plot input from Stan. Romita's vision of Spider-Man's world was happier and less edgy, which made it more commercially appealing but not necessarily better.

    Anyway, as I noted above Stan never wrote a classic story or came up with a classic character entirely by himself. And he didn't even co-create very many memorable characters without Kirby or Ditko.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
  21. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    Pablo Marcos? Are you maybe thinking of someone else? I don't recall Marcos ever inking Kirby, except for a handful of panels in Kobra #1 which was kind of a hot mess of cobbled-together artwork.
     
  22. Joseph LeVie

    Joseph LeVie Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Florida
    Well, memory’s a fickle thing, but, I thought Marcos inked a lot of those late seventies Marvel covers that Jack did at the time.
     
  23. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    Location:
    New Braunfels, TX
    Yes, Dr. Martin dyes! Works great for the photographic reproduction process for offset presses, terrible as permanent color medium on illustration board. Better photograph it quick for posterity because those dyes will fade over time.

    A little Design School's "Art Institute of Houston" factoid I learned.

    Most likely why Norman Rockwell stuck with oil paints for the Saturday Evening Post mag covers.
     
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  24. Joseph LeVie

    Joseph LeVie Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Florida
    The more I ponder, I think I was putting Pablo’s name on Chic’s work and misremembering Mike Esposito’s work as Chic’s. These are forty plus year memories. It could be that Perez/Marcos reminded me of Kirby/Stone work.
     
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  25. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    Yeah, they tried a lot of inkers on Kirby's final few covers (Byrne, Austin, Simonson among others) but I don't recall Marcos ever doing one. But you're right, Marcos worked over Perez a lot and did a nice job.
     

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