You can never go wrong with Jack Kirby

201205230031 You can never go wrong with Jack Kirby
I usually don’t comment on my activity or lack of it any more, but I have pressing matters which preclude commenting on some of the big stuff going on—I’m still working on that damn TCAF report—including the ongoing Jack Kirby/Avengers/creators rights matter. Or the matter of the day as I like to call it. I’ve been saving up my links and girding my loins. I guess I feel a bit defensive about it because not commenting on something is often attacked as condoning this or supporting that. My thoughts are complex and I don’t want to dash something off; it’s too important for that.

I guess the short version is “Viva Jack Kirby!” You can’t go wrong with that.

In the meantime, here’s a post from The Secret Sun: The Avengers, or Jack Kirby Conquers the World.

The aliens, the ultra-violence, the tech, the vision– that’s all Jack. The self-sacrifice, the superteam as bickering family, the old New Deal liberal morality– that’s all Stan. This Whedon guy knows his stuff and knows it well enough to translate from the sunny, optimistic Sixties to the grim, dour Twenty-Teens. Not an easy task.

Comments

  1. I think its more pointed than that. The final villain in Avengers (oh go see it already) corresponds with THE (Kirby) villain who would have to threaten a Justice League movie. And he also has weird yellow-y techno-alien creatures who ride sky-sleds and emerge out of a spinning, circular portal. Coincidence?

    I think Marvel chose this villain, and thus the wonderful Kirby conventions, not only because it was a good idea, but because it now completely precludes any JLA movie trying the same. He is a weird Avengers villain, certainly not THE Avengers villain, so it begs the question. Either way you look it it, its brilliant, which from Marvel these days is just another day at the office whether you like them or not. And yes, a large part of that is Kirby. But I think you’ve found the middle ground perfectly. The past can never be ‘corrected,’ ever, especially when the primary people are gone.

    But Kirby can still be celebrated.

  2. Brad, ****** was Joss Whedon’s idea. I would guess Dismarneyvel went along with it, though.

  3. Ok, I didn’t know that. It just seems like it would be a really hard sell to the execs who might/would say “Who?” So maybe it is just Kirby being Kirby. Regardless, it works out great for them.

    All that being said, a certain item related to ****** was on display at Comic-Con like 3 years ago. Coincidence?

    -Kremlinologist-for-a-Day

  4. Johnny Memeonic says:

    If you can write paragraphs about the villain in question without once mentioning the name of his actual creator (and the man primarily responsible for his characterization), then it may be time to seriously evaluate your unhealthy level of Kirby worship.

  5. “The self-sacrifice, the superteam as bickering family, the old New Deal liberal morality– that’s all Stan.”

    Yeah, because it’s not like any of that stuff showed up in any of Kirby’s solo work or anything.

    @Johnny: On the one hand, that’s fair.

    On the other, the character in question does have a few things in common with Darkseid.

  6. Bryan Uhlenbrock says:

    Do we still need to avoid spoiling anything for anybody that reads this site? I suppose some of us haven’t yet seen the movie, but darned few of those intend to see anytime soon…and I expect virtually NONE of us can’t figure out who is being referenced by the clues given here. Is it really so hard to say (character name deleted) out loud???

  7. >> Yeah, because it’s not like any of that stuff showed up in any of Kirby’s solo work or anything.>>

    What I was going to say, yeah

    a lot of people tend to assume that the SF gosh wow must be Kirby and the humanity must be Stan, but if you look at their earlier work, there’s a ton of humanity and emotion and interpersonal dynamics and morality and such in Kirby’s work, and Stan’s no stranger to big cosmic scope.

    kdb

  8. Johnny Memeonic says:

    On the other, the character in question does have a few things in common with Darkseid.

    The only thing in common with Darkseid is his place as the go-to “big cosmic bad guy” of his universe. Nothing else about the characters is the same once you stop and think about goals, movtivations, backstory, etc.

    And yes, I’m aware Darkseid was the inspiration for his creation, but again, the big bad guy status is where the similarities end.

  9. Synsidar says:

    And yes, I’m aware Darkseid was the inspiration for his creation, but again, the big bad guy status is where the similarities end.

    I agree; the similarities between Darkseid and 2081141519 aren’t greater than they would be between two serial killers in two genre novels. Godlike megalomaniacs all resemble each other.

    SRS

  10. THANOSTHANOSTHANOS.

  11. Now let’s see if A2 has any “special thanks” given to Jim Starlin, whose work has evolved and developed the character the most over the years.

  12. >> Now let’s see if A2 has any “special thanks” given to Jim Starlin,>>

    A1 did.

    kdb

  13. Dave Elliott says:

    Kurt, it says a lot when I could find Jim Starlin’s special thanks but I couldn’t find Kirby’s co-creator credit.

    If I hadn’t heard it was there I’d have sworn it was black type on a black background.

  14. Jesse says:

    Heidi, I am very interested in reading your thoughts. You are really building the suspense.

  15. >> Kurt, it says a lot when I could find Jim Starlin’s special thanks but I couldn’t find Kirby’s co-creator credit. >>

    What does it say other than that you caught that bit of the credits? I missed the Kirby credits the first time, too, and caught the Starlin, Heck, Lieber and others — but largely, I expect, because people were getting up and leaving and blocking my view of the screen now and then.

    Kirby’s credited twice — both for the Avengers (with Stan) and for Cap (with Joe Simon). Personally, I think the Avengers credit, at least, should have been in the opening titles, and should have had a fat check involved, but the fact that you saw one credit and missed the others mostly says you were looking when one of them went by and not when the others did.

  16. I actually think their motivations can be quite similar (anti-life/death). In many ways ****** can more interesting because of that. But I think it is sort of irrelevant here — you put up a big purple/grey guy on a rocky landscape with a boom tube and buzzing parademons on the screen and Joe/Jane Theatergoer will now automatically think *****.

  17. For the last time, KIRBY, STAN LEE AND JOE SIMON are all credited RIGHT AFTER THE CAST. They are as high as they could possibly be…BUT in small type. It is NOT in the usual “Special thanks” place, but far more prominent. I need to make a video of a bootleg of the film just to prove this!

  18. You think that was the last time, Heidi?

    Really?

  19. Yeah I must have said that three or four times here on the Beat….without once saying THANOS!

    It seems to be a meme that people believe now. Like Obama being born in Buffalo, NY.

  20. Johnny Memeonic says:

    I actually think their motivations can be quite similar (anti-life/death).

    The goal of wanting to control every mind in the universe is in fact very different from the goal of killing all life in the universe.

  21. @Johnny Memeonic

    I don’t see much difference in what you say.

  22. Johnny Memeonic says:

    A = mind control the universe
    B = murder the universe

    Mind control does not equal murder.
    A does not equal B.

    I don’t know how much simpler this can be made.

  23. Take away individuality and free will. Take away life.

    They’re technically not the same thing, but they don’t seem all that practically different. That may be why people are using words like similar instead of words like identical.

  24. Saying that Darkseid was the first evil alien overlord/invader is just ridiculous. Kirby doesn’t deserve THAT much credit.

    And NONE of the Kirby creations that he wrote had even 1/10th of the personality and “family” feel as they did when Lee was scripting them. Actually, leaving Kirby out of it entirely, compare the “camaraderie” of Lee’s characters to those of the other comics writers at the time: it’s obvious that Lee was truly gifted at giving these characters personality.

    I love Jack Kirby and it’s always nice to see his influence championed. But Lee’s characterizations (via dialogue and captions) go relatively unrecognized. HE helped change everything too, and he changed things that Jack couldn’t.

  25. Wwow, you might enjoy reading some of the stuff Kirby did before Stan, if you think none of his characters had much family feel or personality.

    I don’t say that to deny Stan anything, merely to say that the usual reflexive assumption that Stan brought the humanity and Jack brought the cosmic is unfair on both fronts.

    And I just skimmed the comments and must have missed it: Who said Darkseid was the first alien overlord?

  26. Mark Bourne says:

    At least Thanos wasn’t a giant cloud, towhich I’m sure Disney would have made him a giant jello-mold had they thought Joss’ vision to be lacking.
    IMHO

  27. Johnny Memeonic says:

    Take away individuality and free will. Take away life.

    They’re technically not the same thing, but they don’t seem all that practically different. That may be why people are using words like similar instead of words like identical.

    Not to be rude, but this is just using weasel words to try and get around a clear and obvious distinction. Nihilism and totalitarianism are not similar.

  28. Johnny – perhaps it’s not so much weasel words and more a case of you seeing the word similar and trying to say it’s not the same. Similar and the same aren’t synonyms.

    Seriously, people have been noting that Darkseid and Thanos are similar for decades, and that one inspired the other. Is this the first time you’ve encountered it?

  29. Johnny Memeonic says:

    As I’ve already posted, I’m aware Darkseid inspired Thanos, but, again, both being the cosmic megalomaniac foe for their respective universes is where it ends.

    There’s no way to claim the two villains have a similar end goal without, again, saying nihilism and totalitarianism are similar.

    If you do that you’re going to have to make the next big X-men story about every telepath being brought in for mass murder because they “killed” someone every time they mind controlled them.

  30. I have always thought the new gods were Kirby’s best work. Taking Darkseid out of context and the pantheon of the new gods is one of DCs mistakes. It does make him seem more like Thanos. But when read in context with Granny Goodness and Scott Free it is such a different and thoughtful world. Man motheboxes, life-traps, anti-life equations I have always felt Kirby was talking about more than comic villains with that stuff. I may be crazy and no offense to Thanos (a fun villain) but I thought Kirby was trying to tell us about life or at least his life with Scott Free and Darkseid. I typed this on my motherbox with one finger with my daughter on my chest sorry if it’s disjointed…..

  31. I don’t think the anti-life equation can be reduced simply to “mind-control,” but to each his own. I think people will continue to find Darkseid and Thanos similar.

  32. The anti-life equation is not mind control. If you read it as mind control you definitely missed something.

  33. Synsidar says:

    Why compare Thanos to Darkseid? The similarities don’t mean anything. The role of the villain in a particular storyline and the writer’s skill in writing him in that role are of greater consequence than similarities to someone else. Thanos’s goals in Starlin’s WARLOCK series were different than in CAPTAIN MARVEL, and the supporting casts were very different. Englehart used Thanos well in AVENGERS: CELESTIAL QUEST, but emphasized aspects that Starlin didn’t, so the renditions in the three storylines were very different.

    If someone was inspired by Niven’s Ringworld to write a novel about the inhabitants of a Dyson sphere, would people conclude that Niven was owed a credit? They shouldn’t; the structures are both gigantic, but the physics of each are different.

    Analyzing characters outside of the stories that they’re used in isn’t a useless exercise, but it’s not a productive one.

    SRS

  34. Johnny Memeonic says:

    Again, I said Darkseid and Thanos’ goals are not similar. And again, I said the characters are similar in that they are viewed as the go-to cosmic megalomaniacs for their respective universes. Trying to move the goalposts will not change what I’ve said.

    Further, Kirby himself portrayed the Anti-Life Equation as something used to suppress free will and control the minds of living beings. If Kirby himself’s depiction of the ALE doesn’t support your argument then that’s a problem you have with the King, not me.

  35. Irwin Schwab says:

    “My thoughts are complex”

    Uh-huh.

  36. … and then there’s the fact that both Thanos and Darkseid are stocky, stoney guys with grayish skin …

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