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Topic: Q for JB: Memoir? Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Mark McKay
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Joined: 16 April 2004
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Posted: 05 February 2023 at 5:37pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

JB,

I seem to recall you mentioning a memoir years ago, and struggling to get it published because it was too similar to a work of fiction at that time. (Crazy!)

Any thoughts on reigniting it?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 05 February 2023 at 6:16pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

First, there was no “struggle”. I wrote it as a kind of “pipe cleaning” exercise, and showed it to exactly one publisher. At the same time CAVALIER AND CLAY was published, a kind of roman a klef of the early days of the comicbook industry. So I felt that particular pot had been stirred.

I still feel the same way, basically.

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Brian Miller
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Posted: 05 February 2023 at 7:58pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I know you don’t usually read fiction but did you ever read KAVALIER &
CLAY?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 05 February 2023 at 8:36pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

No.
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 06 February 2023 at 3:30am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

How about posting the pages you've written here?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 06 February 2023 at 2:49pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

No.
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Dave Kopperman
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Posted: 06 February 2023 at 3:34pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Kavalier & Clay bears zero relation to reality, unless Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were cousins, Jack Kirby grew up in Europe and escaped the Holocaust in a coffin, and Stan Lee was a closeted gay man and this was all info that only Michael Chabon was party to (although Kirby and Lee exist as real-world walk-on characters as well).  It's the clef-iest roman à clef that ever existed, and was a deeply annoying read to boot.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 06 February 2023 at 4:11pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Was it Lee and Kirby? I understood it was Siegel and Shuster.
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Marc Foxx
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Posted: 06 February 2023 at 4:16pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

It's been years since I read it, but I felt it was more early days Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, with the creation of The Escapist instead of Captain America.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 06 February 2023 at 4:18pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

It’s a pretty broad sampling of the talent of the time, with historical accuracy a very distant consideration.
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Dave Kopperman
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Posted: 06 February 2023 at 4:30pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

There's a certain lumping in of traits from different people on the main characters.  Kavalier's escape-artist skills come from Steranko, but also serve as an easter egg for Kirby via Scott Free.  Since Sammy Clay is a New York Jew, and the whole thing centers on New York (and some other things I don't quite recall), I took him to be more of a Lee stand-in than anyone else.
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Dave Kopperman
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Posted: 06 February 2023 at 4:32pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

All of which is to say, an honest memoir by an industry insider from the 70's through today would be pretty welcome, but I completely understand why you wouldn't want to pursue it.
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