Captain America King-Size Annual #3
Doom is the Black Star! Captain America versus the Thing from Beyond the Stars! Double-Sized Dynamite from the House of Ideas!
Cover by Jack Kirby awith Frank Giacoia inks. More Captain America - the Classic Superhero
Jack Kirby by Jack Kirby
King of Comics - NY Times
A review of the Mark Evanier "Kirby King O' Comics" book (Abrams; $40.00) over at the New York Times, written by John Hodgeman, where he discusses Kirby's DC 'New Gods' concept and stories:
"It was a cosmic “epic for our times,” with one foot in ancient myth and the other in the wildest science fiction. And unusually for a comic book story, it was designed to be told slowly, over many years, and to come to an end.
But it was also a personal epic. Kirby, as you ought to know, was the King. He got the nickname while working at Marvel comics, where, with Joe Simon, he created Captain America. Later, with Stan Lee, he helped fashion a completely new, psychologically rich aesthetic in comics, reviving a flagging industry and unveiling a pantheon of pop-culture deities — the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, the Silver Surfer — that still walk the earth today.
But Kirby’s share of the riches they generated was modest. Like nearly all comics artists of the day, he worked for hire. Born in 1917, Kirby (né Jacob Kurtzberg) was a pugnacious child of the Depression-era Lower East Side and thus far more likely to favor a sure paycheck over a smartly negotiated contract. (Often, there were no contracts at all.) By the end of the ’60s, fights with Marvel over money and growing resentment over Stan Lee’s celebrity led Kirby to an unthinkable defection to the competition.
DC, by contrast, offered him vast creative latitude and an almost overdetermined amount of credit. “KIRBY’S HERE!” shouted bold sunbursts on the cover of early Kirby issues. The Fourth World was to be his liberation — the place where he would at last get to do his own thing.
The results were startling. Kirby fans already knew that his art was muscular and kinetic, and in this collection, he’s at the height of his powers. His characters are always in motion, leaping and punching at impossible angles, straining at the panels that try to contain them. Kirby’s writing was the same way. His stories were linear — even primitive. But there is something powerful and melancholy and personal that weeps in Orion’s epic, city-smashing rages.
At other times, though, the pages cannot seem to keep up with Kirby’s astonishing imagination. Concepts, characters, subplots and themes are wildly thrown into the mix like drunken punches and then abandoned, never to be seen again: A whole city “hewn from the giant trees of a great forest”! Space giants lashed to asteroids! Werewolves and vampires living on a miniature planet in a scientist’s basement (a planet with horns on it)!
Jack Kirby Art
Jack Kirby - Devil Dinosaur #2, May 1978
Kirby 1978: Devil Dinosaur #5
"Neither Man nor Monster can long survive in the Kingdom of the Ants"
Steve Bissette calls for Marvel boycott
over their treatment of Jack Kirby
* I don’t question the legal logic Marvel’s attorneys made, and the court decision reflects. However, nothing is being said about the conditions under which Kirby signed, and was pressured to sign, the contracts presented. I don’t think “extortion” is too unfair a word to use, particularly in the very public case of the Marvel artwork “return” contracts.
That is a moral issue here, and Marvel’s pattern of decades of effectively slandering, maligning, and dimissing Kirby and his legacy is, too.
* If, in the 1970s, Neal Adams and Jerry Robinson hadn’t rallied around Siegel & Shuster, who had multiple signed settlement contracts with National Periodicals to wield against them, agreements they had signed over their lifetimes (agreements they and their legal reps—like Albert Zugsmith—had negotiated), nothing would have changed.
Adams and Robinson brought to the public the moral case, the moral outrage, over the treatment of the creators of Superman.
At that time, the legal matters were considered “settled.”
C’mon, folks: Jack changed a century, the medium, the industry, our lives, and Marvel.
Let’s change how the rest of this onfolding story goes.
* The very public pattern of undercutting Kirby’s legacy as a co-creator of properties of great value to Marvel Comics (see Stan Lee’s and Martin Goodman’s revisionism on Captain America) dates back to 1947, and the first edition of Stan Lee’s “The Secrets of Comics” pamphlet.
Aug 2, 2010
Jack Kirby Family loses legal case against Disney/Marvel
The judge cited the 'work for hire' laws in play at the time of Kirby's employment at Timely/Marvel, also the 1909 Copyright laws which controlled the legal landscape of the time in question (these laws have since been overhauled several times. For more on this, see this page on the Superman Copyright Wars involving the Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's family fight with Warner Bros/DC Comics).
There seems to be a remarkable symettry between the Superman case that has been fought and refought for decades, and the plight of the Kirby heirs (in fact, the same attorney team under Marc Toberoff is working for both family groups). Toberoff is appealing the decision.
At stake are the ownership of Captain America, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, The Avengers, Iron Man, Hulk, The Silver Surfer and Thor, along with a number of other characters making the entire list estimated at over three-dozen (I haven't seen a complete list).
Marvel/Disney had filed against the Kirby family in January 8, 2010 (defendants: Lisa R. Kirby, Barbara J. Kirby, Neal L. Kirby and Susan N. Kirby).
Many names of Comic Book history were drawn into this case. Take a look at thisdocket entry from August 16, 2011:
"CLERK'S JUDGMENT That for the reasons stated in the Court's Memorandum Opinion and Order dated July 28, 2011, Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment is granted; defendants' cross-motion for summary judgment is denied; plaintiffs' motion to strike the expert reports of Mark Evanier and John Morrow are granted; plaintiffs' motion to strike the declarations of Sinnitt and Steranko are denied, and judgment is entered is favor of plaintiffs'; accordingly, the case is closed. (Signed by Clerk of Court Ruby Krajick on 8/8/11) (Attachments: # 1 Notice of Right to Appeal)"
And this one from March 26, 2011:
"DECLARATION of Gene Colan in Opposition re: 60 MOTION for Summary Judgment.. Document filed by Barbara J. Kirby, Lisa R. Kirby, Neal L. Kirby, Susan N. Kirby. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A (Filed Under Seal), # 2 Exhibit B (Filed Under Seal), # 3 Exhibit C (Filed Under Seal), # 4 Exhibit D (Filed Under Seal))(Toberoff, Marc)"
Evanier's exhbiits on behalf of the Kirby's in interesting stuff. here for example is Evanier discussing Jack Kirby's refusal to sign the four-page release forms Marvel gave him in order to release his original artwork back to him:
DECLARATION of Mark Evanier
Disney joins Marvel in fight against Kirby estate claims
CBR reports that Walt Disney is throwing their legal team into the fight against the copyright claims made by the Jack Kirby estate:
"The Walt Disney Co. has waded into the legal battle over many of Marvel's best-known characters, filing a memo in support of the publisher's efforts to dismiss copyright claims by the heirs of Jack Kirby.
Marvel sued the Kirby children in January, seeking to invalidate notices sent almost four months earlier to terminate copyrights to such characters as the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, Thor, the Incredible Hulk, the X-Men, Iron Man and Spider-Man. The Kirby family responded in March by suing Marvel and its new parent company Disney."
"I have heard the word - - it is Battle!" (page 108)
New Jack Kirby book from
Art Book Publisher Abrams
Kirby: King of Comics
by Mark Evanier (Author), Neil Gaiman (Introduction)
$40 list price; approx $26 from amazon.com
This is a nice, large "coffee table" style art book full of Kirby artwork, a biography by Evanier, and a general plug for Kirby and his status as major pop-culture influence proposed by famous writer Neil Gaiman.
Very nice binding and printing job, superior to the "Omnibus" Kirby books that have been coming out over the last year or so.
if you like Kirby, then you already know you'll like this book. If not, seeing his labors splashed large might not make any difference. Kirby's impatience with anatomy, details of storytelling is as evident as ever. But Kirby's grand scope, his ideas and his ability to make any shaped panel or page work as a window into a violent, cathartic super-world is on display. As almost all Kirby literature is, the book is part history, and also part tribute.
There's nothing like real analysis of Kirby as an artist here; only as a cultural force and as an inspiration to other people within and without the comics industry. There is also a biography of his life.
Cover to the Abrams Kirby Art Book:
Jack Kirby Art
Jack Kirby - Kamandi #23, 1974
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby The Wonder Years, TwoMorrows Publishing, 128 Pages amazon.com
Marvel Comics Encyclopedia - 400 Pages, amazon.com
Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book - 320 Pages. By Josh Raphael and Tom Spurgeon at amazon.com
Ronin Ro biography of Jack Kirby - 304 Pages at amazon.com
Kirby King of Comics by Mark Evanier, Neil Gaiman introduction amazon.com
Related pages Marvel Comics
Article at Hero Complex by Neal Kirby "Growing up Kirby"
Page created April 2011 | Updated Aug 2014