Monday, March 08, 2004

I see where that ugly old Stan Lee-Jack Kirby "who did what" debate has reared its head again. Personally, I always thought it was pretty obvious, no matter what either said. They both came up with story ideas, and it seems plain that the ones Kirby didn't come up with he took and ran with, and Lee wrote the dialogue- sometimes from suggestions from Jack, and sometimes ignoring his dialogue altogether (as many of the art examples published in Jack Kirby Collector have shown). For confirmation, one merely has to scan the awkward words Kirby had coming out of his 70's DC characters' mouths, not to mention the equally awkward and stilted-sounding captions and cover copy. And I drew these conclusions from my old Kentucky home, so far away- so why does this debate still flare up so often?

It seems to me that if Kirby overstated how much he actually did, and tried to take credit for more about the Marvel glory days than he actually did in the heat of the struggle to get his artwork back from the Shooter regime, perhaps it can be attributed to frustration at seeing "created by" and "Stan Lee presents" slapped on everything that came from Marvel for nearly two decades. Plus, as I've read elsewhere, both gentlemen's admittedly poor memories. I think we can safely give Kirby the benefit of the doubt in this case.

I've never felt Lee was the bad guy in all this, and I give him a lot of credit for the great stuff he did at Marvel for that six or seven year period. I know damn well, as great as Ditko was as an artist, he didn't write that snappy dialogue for Spider-Man, nor did Don Heck or Gene Colan write any Iron Man or Avengers dialogue. He's been willing to give credit where credit is due in a lot of places, so good on him. But let's not let the pendulum start swinging back and start jumping on Jack Kirby, either. In fact, if there was ever a horse that deserved a cessation of hostilities and a decent burial, it's that one.


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