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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 30 July 2011 at 3:20pm | IP Logged | 1  

 Michael Todd wrote:
...So...the story Stan used to tell about trying to think up a new Super-Hero then noticing a fly crawling on a wall, then going down a list of insect names until he comes to "Spider-Man" is it untrue? Was it a pitch from Jack Kirby with the name of "Spider-Man" that was what prompted the character?...

Hard to say. Maybe Stan came up with the idea as he described and went to Jack, who recalled the character Joe Simon had been working on, and suggested that kind of story. And maybe Stan chose to go a different way because that's not how he envisioned his Spider-Man? Or maybe Jack brought up the idea and Stan went a different way, regardless. It's hard to say, and we'll probably never know exactly how the character we know now as Spider-Man came to be, but I am sure that the character we do know is not the one Jack says was his character.

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Robert Bradley
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Posted: 30 July 2011 at 3:46pm | IP Logged | 2  

I have a hard time finding either Stan or Jack's recollections 100% believable.

Stan is well-known for his bad memory (which he himself had admitted to a number of times) and Jack's stories changed in some instances over the years.

Sure, it would have been great if Kirby (as well as Romita, Sinnott, Ditko, Ayers, Heck, and many others) would have profited more from their work in the '60s, but unfortunately, under the system that was being used at the time (and as JB notes - used by Kirby when he ran his own shop) that wasn't the case.

And just because we might think they deserved more doesn't mean they were legally entitled to it.

It was very interesting to read the decision in the link that Jason posted.



Edited by Robert Bradley on 30 July 2011 at 3:49pm
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John Byrne
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Posted: 30 July 2011 at 6:38pm | IP Logged | 3  

...So...the story Stan used to tell about trying to think up a new Super-Hero then noticing a fly crawling on a wall, then going down a list of insect names until he comes to "Spider-Man" is it untrue? Was it a pitch from Jack Kirby with the name of "Spider-Man" that was what prompted the character?...

++

Hard to say. Maybe Stan came up with the idea as he described and went to Jack, who recalled the character Joe Simon had been working on, and suggested that kind of story. And maybe Stan chose to go a different way because that's not how he envisioned his Spider-Man? Or maybe Jack brought up the idea and Stan went a different way, regardless. It's hard to say, and we'll probably never know exactly how the character we know now as Spider-Man came to be, but I am sure that the character we do know is not the one Jack says was his character.

••

You seem to both be forgetting the third corner of this "triangle". Ditko has described how the character of Spider-Man came to be created, and his version jibes with what Stan has said since the beginning. Given what we know of Steve Ditko, I very much doubt he would back up Stan's story unless it was TRUE.

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Eric White
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Posted: 30 July 2011 at 8:53pm | IP Logged | 4  

Yeah...... on this one I'll go with Lee and Ditko's version when it comes to the creation of Spider-Man.
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Jason Czeskleba
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Posted: 30 July 2011 at 10:03pm | IP Logged | 5  

The part of Stan's story Ditko does not corroborate, however, is how the first Spider-Man story was created, including his origin, the specific nature of his powers and how they work, his personality, etc.  If I'm not mistaken Stan says he came up with the plot and everything in it entirely by himself, doesn't he?  Ditko says he came up with the concept of web shooters but says nothing about how the story was plotted or what he contributed to that first story.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 31 July 2011 at 4:12am | IP Logged | 6  

If I'm not mistaken Stan says he came up with the plot and everything in it entirely by himself, doesn't he?

••

You are mistaken.

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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 31 July 2011 at 11:02am | IP Logged | 7  

 John Byrne wrote:
...You seem to both be forgetting the third corner of this "triangle". Ditko has described how the character of Spider-Man came to be created, and his version jibes with what Stan has said since the beginning. Given what we know of Steve Ditko, I very much doubt he would back up Stan's story unless it was TRUE...

True, I did forget! Thanks for reminding me.

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Michael Todd
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Posted: 31 July 2011 at 11:03am | IP Logged | 8  

And I never knew.
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Jason Czeskleba
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Posted: 31 July 2011 at 12:00pm | IP Logged | 9  

 John Byrne wrote:
You are mistaken.


Yes, I guess I was thinking of the Fantastic Four.  Stan does say (in his deposition) that he wrote the plot synopsis for Fantastic Four #1 without any input from Kirby.  Regarding the first Spider-Man story, I can't find any comments from Stan about how the story was plotted.  His oft-repeated story is that he came up with the character, gave it to Kirby, didn't like the way Kirby's visuals looked, so he then gave it to Ditko instead.  That implies that Ditko's only contribution was visual, though of course it doesn't explicitly state it.  Has Stan ever discussed the specifics of the plotting of the first Spider-Man story, and whether Ditko contributed to that plot? 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 31 July 2011 at 12:28pm | IP Logged | 10  

I guess I was thinking of the Fantastic Four. Stan does say (in his deposition) that he wrote the plot synopsis for Fantastic Four #1 without any input from Kirby.

••

Indeed he does. And when Roger Stern was an editor at Marvel, the desk he was given happened to have been Stan's, formerly, and in it Roger found two things. One, he called "Stan Lee's Magic Thesaurus", which I assume is self-explanatory, and the other was a copy of that original FF plot. That has now been reprinted many times.

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Roger A Ott II
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Posted: 31 July 2011 at 12:59pm | IP Logged | 11  

I absolutely wanna see Stan Lee's Magic Thesaurus.
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 01 August 2011 at 12:48pm | IP Logged | 12  

I always wondered what happened to those original Kirby Spiderman (note the lack of a hyphen) pages.  We all know where the final AF#15 Spider-man pages ended up but these Kirby pages are conspicuous by their absence (keeping in mind that a LOT of Jack's pages from that era are 'missing').  I've never seen nor heard of any pages coming up for sale or trading hands.  Many years ago I asked Mark Evanier if he knew of them and he came up empty.

It's possible the pages were destroyed or given away but I have my doubts.  The minute the Ditko Spider-man character took off you would think they'd hang onto what technically is a prototype of the character, if not for historical purposes then at least to recycle the costume design or the character as a villain.


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Knut Robert Knutsen
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Posted: 01 August 2011 at 12:59pm | IP Logged | 13  

I don't think it's too far fetched that it went in the trash. Larry Lieber, in his deposition, testified to picking up some early Kirby Hulk pages from the trash at the Marvel offices, where Kirby put them after Stan Lee rejected them and refused to pay for them.

If unused pages were saved back then, it was usually because someone was a fan of the artist in question (like Lieber) or because they wanted to use the back of the paper.

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Andrew W. Farago
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Posted: 01 August 2011 at 1:05pm | IP Logged | 14  

Here's Steve Bissette's take on the lawsuit.


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John Byrne
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Posted: 01 August 2011 at 1:31pm | IP Logged | 15  

Here's Steve Bissette's take on the lawsuit.

••

Extraordinarily naive, for one who has been floating around the business for as long as Steve.

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Pascal LISE
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Posted: 01 August 2011 at 2:31pm | IP Logged | 16  

From Steve Bissette's blog :

… Stan Lee
’s Secrets of the Comics pamphlet, which asserted that Martin Goodman alone created Captain America.

---

RIP Jack.



Edited by Pascal LISE on 01 August 2011 at 2:34pm
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Andrew W. Farago
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Posted: 01 August 2011 at 5:30pm | IP Logged | 17  

Kurt Busiek weighs in, during a lengthy, ongoing conversation on The Beat:

"But the people saying Kirby was employed by Marvel so Marvel owns everything are making bad assumptions. Employees aren’t paid on a piecework basis. Employees have taxes deducted from their checks. My agreements with Marvel and DC make it very clear that I’m _not_ an employee, but a “supplier.” The work-for-hire provisions of those agreements have nothing to do with the idea that I’m an employee (I’m not) but with specific contract terms spelled out and agreed to in advance — stuff that, we’re told, has to be signed before work commences because otherwise DC and Marvel don’t own the WFH material we do. And no such agreements were apparently signed before Kirby commenced his various Marvel works.

"This isn’t as simple as “they paid you money so they own everything forever.” That’s not how copyright works in the US (and most other places). In the absence of an agreement that says differently, if you get paid money for the publication rights to something you wrote or drew, the guy who paid gets first-printing rights in English, and nothing more.

"So before you say 'He was working for them so they own everything forever,' study up a bit. If that’s what the law said, there wouldn’t have been a case to begin with."


Edited by Andrew W. Farago on 01 August 2011 at 6:33pm
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Dave Phelps
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Posted: 01 August 2011 at 6:10pm | IP Logged | 18  

Rob Ocelot: "The minute the Ditko Spider-man character took off you would think they'd hang onto what technically is a prototype of the character, if not for historical purposes then at least to recycle the costume design or the character as a villain."

The problem is that "the minute [the] character took off" was probably four months after the pages were tossed...

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John Byrne
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Posted: 01 August 2011 at 6:14pm | IP Logged | 19  

"…there wouldn’t have been a case to begin with."

••

There wasn't.

Or is the title of this thread too subtle for some people?

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Paul Kimball
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Posted: 01 August 2011 at 9:02pm | IP Logged | 20  

Sigh.
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Pete York
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Posted: 02 August 2011 at 2:46am | IP Logged | 21  

 Andrew quoting Busiek wrote:
...And no such agreements were apparently signed before Kirby commenced his various Marvel works...

This is clearly explained in the decision. What's also clear is that Kirby needed better representation. Like say the guy who wrote that crafty assignment of copyright in 1972 that Kirby signed: assigning all rights Kirby might have had in the works to 'Marvel' without explicitly acknowledging Kirby actually had any rights to assign, while also getting Kirby to agree that all work he had done for 'Marvel' up to that point WAS work-for-hire. As the decision says, the assignment 'talks out of both sides of its mouth'. That the Kirby Heirs were trying to use this document to make their case suggests there really wasn't much of a case, at least in this specific claim. Why is the anger over what's 'fair' or not being concentrated at Stan? I mean 'burning in Hell' seems a bit misplaced.      
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John Byrne
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Posted: 02 August 2011 at 3:48am | IP Logged | 22  

Why is the anger over what's 'fair' or not being concentrated at Stan?

••

Over the years, attending conventions, I have found myself the target of all manner of fan ire that had nothing at all to do with myself or my work. (In one extreme case a guy started lecturing me most intensely about the way Gil Kane drew NOSES, and how much the guy didn't like it!) It has to do with who's available -- and for some of these people, I happened, at that moment, to be the only one available, so I got all their complaints about Marvel, or DC, or the industry, or anything else that was bugging them.

By making himself such a visible representative of Marvel -- the face of Marvel, if you will -- Stan has of course opened himself to attack from the microbrains who are unable to distinguish between the system and someone who works within the system. And it should never be forgotten that Stan, for much of his career, was the latter. He did not create the system, he worked within the system. Just like Jack Kirby.

Years ago, Peter Sanderson summed it up best, when he pondered what might have happened if it had been Stan who left Marvel, and Jack who stayed. Who then, Peter asked, in the minds of the fans, would be "good Marvel daddy," and who "bad Marvel daddy?"

(Keeping in mind, yet again, that Kirby had run his own company according to the extant rules of the system, so we have no reason to believe that sweeping reforms would have come to Marvel under his watch, any sooner than they did under Stan's.)

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Pascal LISE
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Posted: 02 August 2011 at 5:40am | IP Logged | 23  

JB said :
Just like Jack Kirby

---

Not exactly.
Unless I'm mistaken, Kirby was a freelancer which wasn't the case for Stan Lee.

---

JB said :
Kirby had run his own company according to the extant rules of the system, so we have no reason to believe that sweeping reforms would have come to Marvel under his watch, any sooner than they did under Stan's

---

Who articulated such a thing?
Many of us just pointed out the fact that creators and especially Kirby have been screwed by the "system".

What makes Kirby UNIQUE is that he's the corner stone on which modern Marvel house has been built.

No other single creator comes close to how much valuable he has been to Marvel or the whole industry.

For this, he got rewarded with the contempt of a soul less corporate?
Blind suits.
They wouldn't know where to look at for real values outside the cash figures they are so eager to stick their tongues over.

The value of a so called creative compagny is in the people and creators working for it.

The existence of such a system doesn't necessarily justify its continuation, especially one based on such bad practices.

But I know better.
As a reader, I know what Kirby's creations meant for me.
I know from whom the Ideas of the House of Nothing came out.

Marvel means nothing anymore.
Creatively, they slowly dried up years after years from the moment Kirby quit them. To the point where I have only been buying reprints of Kirby and Ditko works since a couple of years.
Soon I will happily leave this corporate entity behind me.
They got nothing of value to propose me anyway.


Edited by Pascal LISE on 02 August 2011 at 5:56am
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John Byrne
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Posted: 02 August 2011 at 5:49am | IP Logged | 24  

What makes Kirby UNIQUE is that he's the corner stone on which modern Marvel house has been built.

••

A cornerstone. He worked in collaboration with Stan Lee AND, much as the more maniacal Kirby-boosters would wish it otherwise, it was SPIDER-MAN that put the company on that map. And, again, much as some would wish it otherwise, Kirby had nothing to do with that character.

+++

No other single creator comes close to how much valuable he has been to Marvel or the whole industry.

••

Spider-Man. Steve Ditko. Remove these from the equation, and do we still have Marvel?

If there is one thing that infuriates me more than perhaps any other swill I see and hear from some corners of fandom, it is this eagerness to erase Steve Ditko. Perhaps it is because Ditko had the same "deal" with Marvel that Kirby had, but, unlike Kirby, has accepted (albeit bitterly) the situation as it is, not tried to wish it into something it never was.

So Ditko MUST be ignored, or the house of cards built by Kirby's supporters quickly falls apart.

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Pascal LISE
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Posted: 02 August 2011 at 5:55am | IP Logged | 25  

I never forget to mention DITKO even when I'm supposely only making a point about Kirby.

Still, you are correct, Steve DITKO is too often ignored or forgotten.
Kirby and Ditko are the cornerstones of Marvel.


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