Stan and Jack seen together c. 1964

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One of the holy grails of the blogosphere (at least this blogosphere) has been a picture of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby together to run whenever one of those “Stan did this” or “They made another movie based on Jack Kirby’s characters” comes up. Up until now, this semi-obscured photo from a San Diego Inkpots banquet was the only thing we had:

201301071158 Stan and Jack seen together c. 1964
Although Stan looks like the Stan of today, you can hardly see him behind Jim Steranko’s hair—admittedly a common hazard.

Thanks to Marvel: The Untold Story author Sean Howe, however, many more photos of the Stan and Jack duo have been put online—and at the height of their powers. Here’s one: Stan Lee, age 42, and Jack Kirby, age 48.

stans lee  jack kirby 1964 Stan and Jack seen together c. 1964

That would be 1964 just when things were taking off—the duo had just co-created Spider-Man, the Avengers, the FF, the X-Men, The Hulk, and Iron Man. Wow. This Stan is hardly recognizable, however: a receding hairline, meaty chin, and lack of aviator sunglasses as effective as disguise as Batman’s cowl. The Stan we know and love is a product of the second half of his life—which began when he was nearing 50. So rebranding can be done later in life, if you have the verve and longevity of a Stan.

As for Kirby…well, looking at photos from his entire life, it’s pretty clear, he was always Jack Kirby. And always will be.

Comments

  1. Stan has a copy of that photo, and it’s been published several times. Currently on Tom Brevoort’s Tumblr:
    http://themarvelageofcomics.tumblr.com/post/39067771685/stan-lee-and-jack-kirby-at-a-cartoonists-dinner

    Standing third from left is John Pierotti, who did sports cartoons. Fourth dude is unknown, at least to me and anyone I’ve asked. If anyone can help ID, pls advise!

    Jim McLauchlin

  2. Dean Haspiel says:

    I think that’s Gil Kane standing all the way to the upper right.

  3. The man seated on the right is Jud Hurd, the editor of Cartoonist Profiles, a pro-zine that mostly featured articles about NCS members.

  4. fantastic find, heidi–mucho thanks! next, a pic of stan and steve together, please.

  5. “co created Spider-Man”

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  6. Johnny Memeonic says:

    I think it was Ditko who was always the co-creator of Spider-man. In fact, isn’t the latest issue of Amazing Spider-man’s Ditko variant cover the unused original that Jack Kirby redid for the famous Amazing Fantasy #15 cover?

  7. george says:

    http://unabridgedmarvel.tumblr.com/post/39051387251/seanhowe-happy-90th-birthday-to-stan-lee

    Here’s an interesting shot of Stan from circa 1954, to judge from the comics behind him. He does look a bit like Jack Lemmon, as Gene Colan used to say.

  8. Great detective work there, Sherlock. A better copy of that photo appears on page 147 of Mark Evanier’s KIRBY: KING OF COMICS published by Harry N. Abrams. I know, we can’t except you to be aware of a small-press book like that. And that book correctly puts the date of the photo at 1966. A photo of Jack Kirby at age 48 from 1964 would be quite a find (hint, 1964 – 1917 = 47).

  9. Great picture, but this is NOT from 1964. More like 1974, judging from ages and wardrobe.

  10. Oh, never mind – now I get it. The second one is supposed to be ’64! Got it. :)

  11. BTW, the bald man on Stan’s left in the back row is Will Eisner.

  12. the guy in the lower left–just the arm and shoulder showing–that’s me.

  13. patrick ford says:

    These kind of things (“Ditko shook Stan’s hand in the ’80s!!!) which seem to confirm the myth of the “happy bullpen” (in fact there wasn’t a bullpen period until after 1963) sure do seem to lend comfort to people. The fact is people like Ditko and Kirby were mature men who knew how to behave in public. Aside from the Ditko shook Stan’s hand story there is a story Jim Shooter likes to tell about a heartwarming meeting between Lee and Kirby when they shook hands. Jack Kirby himself was interviewed by Mark Borax at the same comic book convention. Borax had heard Lee and Kirby had shook hands and was so excited by the idea he asked Kirby about it.

    Jack Kirby (interview with Mark Borax, Comics Interview #41, 1986):
    Like Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard. She wants to give him the kiss of fire, and he says, “Well the kiss of fire didn’t do much for my old man, and it isn’t going to do much for me.” I had the Fighting American say that. I have a lot of fun with satire.
    I can’t understand why there’s a struggle over who did what, cause Stan and I know. Nobody else knows. If Stan would only come out of his hiding place and tell the world everything would go great. It isn’t obscure. He knows it, and I know it.
    There won’t be a resolution. People don’t change. They can’t change. Sometimes it’s too late. You just go on being what you are. Human beings go on being human beings. I can predict everything that Stan will do. I know I can’t change Stan. He says his piece, and I say mine. I could shake hands with Stan till doomsday and it would resolve nothing, the dance goes on.”

  14. George Bush (not that one) says:

    You could make an argument that Stan is the avatar of corporate greed,exploiting the worker for credit and profit,ushering in the triumphant march of Darkseid. Standard Operating Policy in a world where your boss owns you, your free time, your thoughts. Conform Conform .Yes my wife says I read too many Kirby comics.

  15. patrick ford says:

    You can also find pictures of hockey players shaking hands after games.

  16. Johnny Memeonic says:

    You could make an argument that Stan is the avatar of corporate greed,exploiting the worker for credit and profit,ushering in the triumphant march of Darkseid. Standard Operating Policy in a world where your boss owns you, your free time, your thoughts. Conform Conform .Yes my wife says I read too many Kirby comics.

    This is nonsense as Stan Lee himself did not walk away owning anything. He just made a better deal with Marvel for a lifetime salary than Kirby did.

    As far as arguments between the two men go, Stan’s position is clearly laid out in the Jonathan Ross documentary about Steve Ditko, to my knowledge the only time Stan Lee ever dropped his public persona on camera to tell everyone how he really felt. He feels that the writer deserves the lion’s share of the credit for character creation and so, while fine with listing Ditko/Kirby/etc as co-creators, considers himself to be the primary creator of all those Marvel characters.

    And BobH, why are you so butthurt over the picture date being off by two years? I’m sure Heidi knows all about Mark Evanier’s book (great book btw, everyone should read it) since she is an editor for the Publisher’s Weekly comics section.

  17. patrick ford says:

    “Lee feels that the writer deserves the lion’s share of the credit for character creation…”

    That is all that needs be said to show exactly how effective Lee’s endless BS has been. Then as now Lee is seen as the writer, as the guy who came up with the ideas and gave them to “his artists.” And that’s how it’s going to remain forever, because no one cares anymore and Lee’s Origins tales are now accepted comic book history even in books supposed to be scholarly.

  18. George Bush (not that one) says:

    Lee did profit by getting the complete pay for “writing” his comics.

  19. Chris Hero says:

    Jim Steranko always seems like the coolest person who ever lived and the picture above just adds to that mystique.

  20. George Bush (not that one) says:

    I fully believe that Stan was a part of what made Marvel the success it was in the 60’s. But he took home the entire writing check each month for stories that he co- wrote. I call that greed.

  21. Johnny Memeonic, I’m not sure how you’re “sure Heidi knows all about Mark Evanier’s book “, since she clearly didn’t know that it contained a photo she calls a “holy grail of the blogosphere”. Or did I miss the edition of LE MORTE D’ARTHUR where they find out the Grail was in the King’s dishwasher the whole time?

    I’m not “butthurt”, as you so charmingly put it, I’m just mocking Heidi because her math sucks and because she seems so amazed by the existence of a photo which appears in in a more complete form in a book she probably owns.

  22. YOU guys are aware that material that is in a book doesn’t automatically appear on the internet—although Google is trying the change that—right?

    I didn’t say the holy grail of the library. I said the BLOGOSPHERE. Something I am quite familiar with.

  23. If only the technology was available to the common blogger to transfer an image from paper to a digital form so it could be posted on the internet… okay, now I’m just talking wild science fiction, like jetpacks.

  24. …you really should fix that bit about co-creating Spider-Man.

    And also the multiple misspellings of Stan’s name.

  25. patrick ford says:

    Chris Hero: “Jim Steranko always seems like the coolest person who ever lived and the picture above just adds to that mystique.”

    He is pretty cool, but there are other contenders.

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-IQoIz67GAoI/T60LSjCN8iI/AAAAAAAAXU4/Ln6LwJ82rh4/s1600/kirby.jpg

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