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Patrick Ford On TCJ’s Re-Publication Of The 1989 Jack Kirby Interview
posted May 25, 2011
The only people who get worked up about the Groth interview with Kirby are people who are ignorant of the situation.
The "Stan never wrote anything" quote has nothing to do with the published books (books about which John Romita said, "I'd bet my house Jack never read the printed comics).
There is only the slightest grain of hyperbole in Kirby's comment. Kirby is saying Stan never wrote anything for him, Stan never gave Kirby anything he could use. No doubt Lee did contribute some direction to Kirby. Things along the line of "The fans like Dr. Doom. Bring him back in the next issue."
The best possible proof of this is Kirby's Spiderman story. How is it that Stan could have written a version of the Kirby/Simon The Fly and asked Kirby to draw it? So you have an example of one of the very first Marvel super hero comic books obviously being generated by Kirby. Sure the eventual published book changed things around, Stan just redid the Rawhide Kid origin (also probably Kirby, by way of Batman). Only a comic book geek could fail to see the similarities between the Kirby Spiderman and the Lee/Ditko Spider-Man. What do you suppose Marvel would do if another company published a comic book called Spiderman, about an orphan teen with Spider powers? Is there a chance Marvel would sue?
As to "Stan had someone in the office fill in the balloons for him."
Well that's just flat out hysterical, and almost as good as my favorite Kirby insult directed towards Stan, "I mean, he could barely spell."
Clearly Kirby knew Stan wrote, he complained about what Stan did to his stories and characters often. So Kirby is just being as insulting as possible towards Stan, and in fact Kirby never saw Stan write (Lee, like Kirby, wrote at home). The fact is Lee was one of the absolute worst writers in the business, and Kirby had zero respect for him.
Lee's contribution was to the printed comics, and that contribution is why many fans love Marvel with a passion. It wasn't Kirby, after all the "white-bread" Romita/Lee Spider-Man outsold everything. My feeling is Lee was a below average writer who far from creating something new in the 60's, simply grafted his "Millie the Model" teen style humor onto super heroes. The idea that Lee added a "human touch" or characterization to Kirby's characters and stories is flat out laughable. Kirby had Big Words(Reed), Scrapper(Ben), and Gabby(Johnny) doing the age old "Three Musketeers" routine back in the 40's.
Stan had no concept of characterization beyond the most basic level Archie comics level.
Even John Romita complained that Stan turned Gwen and Mary Jane into Betty and Veronica. Stan's characterization tissue thin compared to what Kirby was doing in the 70's with characters like Orion, Captain Victory, Darkseid, and dozens of others.
I suppose 60's super hero fans thought Stan was good at characterization because they were used to reading Gardner Fox Hawkman stories? The scripts Fox wrote were so plot intensive he didn't have time for character.
The thing that truly makes "fans" angry is Kirby (in the interview) destroys their little happy land myth of the fun and games Marvel bullpen (a place which didn't exist in the early 60's). The bullpen is part of the warm security blanket old time fans cling to. They loved Marvel as kids, and things which in any way disturb their comfort level make them angry.
Their attitude is very much, "Hey, I just want to have fun with this stuff, and bask in the cheerful nostalgic warmth; things which tarnish that image ruin my special place."