Robot 6

Comics A.M. | Comics fall short of 100K mark; tribute to Kirby from his son

Flashpoint #1

Publishing | Despite the debut of DC Comics’ Flashpoint and the release of the second issue of Marvel’s Fear Itself — big summer events for both publishers — no comic sold more than 100,000 copies in the direct market in May. Fear Itself #2 led Diamond Comic Distributors’ list of Top 300 comics with an estimated 96,318 copies, a decline of some 32,000 copies from its first issue. But it’s the debut of Flashpoint in the No. 2 slot, with an estimated 86,981 copies, that ICv2 says “has to be considered disappointing.” However, the retail news and analysis website is quick to point out that several stores have indicated they sold out of their initial orders of the book, suggesting it may have been under-ordered by event-wary retailers. ICv2 also notes a 17.3 percent drop in the Top 300 comics before explaining the situation isn’t as grim as that figure may suggest. However, it cautions, the same can’t be said for the graphic novel category, which was down just 6.2 percent from May 2010 — a month in which no title sold more than 5,000 copies. John Jackson Miller has further analysis. [ICv2.com]

Jack Kirby

Creators | In a piece titled “Happy Father’s Day; Glad You’re Not Here,” Neal Kirby pays tribute to his father, the late Jack Kirby, in the process exposing some of the bitterness over the way the comics legend has been credited in recent movie adaptations: “If [you're] unfamiliar with the comics industry, and just enjoy super-hero movies, you will notice my fathers’ name on some screen credits, usually buried at the end of the movie; sometimes, as in the recent Thor release, coming third after someone who had no hand in the characters’ creation other than being the editor-in-chief’s brother. Unfortunately, for the past several years, some in the comics industry who have had the benefit of longevity have used the opportunity to claim to be the sole creator of all of Marvels’ characters. Must be great to be the last man standing. It would seem that being backed by the public relations department of a large corporation buys access into the 24/7 news cycle.” [CO2 Comics Blog]

Chris Claremont

Creators | Christopher Irving profiles Chris Claremont, covering his time as an editor at Marvel, his move to the “All New, All Different” X-Men, and his collaborations with Dave Cockrum and John Byrne. [Graphic NYC]

Creators | Alex Dueben talks with Trina Robbins about editing Miss Fury, a collection of comic strips written and drawn by Tarpe Mills in the 1940s. [Suicide Girls]

Creators | Batman Incorporated artist Chris Burnham chats about his career, fan criticism, artistic style, influences, and working with Grant Morrison: “Although Grant leaves much of the dialog unwritten, he’s fairly specific in his panel descriptions. Most of the little things are Grant’s. He’s not Alan Moore or anything, but when he’s describing a new character or setting he’ll give a couple paragraphs of description.” [Mindless Ones]

Comic-Con | Tom Mason rounds up some companies looking to hire people to oversee their presence at Comic-Con International — probably not this year’s event — and other conventions/trade shows. [Comix 411]

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Comments

31 Comments

Flashpoint #1 was bare bones and didn’t have much. For being the main mini series that started this whole event, it feels most of the exciting events happen outside this mini. I’m not surprised of the drop off, with people waiting for reviews before picking up.

Just a question, was Jack Kirby hired as a artist for hire when at Marvel?

Didn’t Larry Leiber write the scripts? Isn’t that moderately important? Jack should be ahead of Larry, I agree, but Larry was more than the “editor in chief’s brother.”

Or was Neal there? I don’t know. Just repeating facts here. I need to stop talking before I say something for which I will be excommunicated.

It also doesn’t help that the even is a Flash event… It would have done better if it has been a Batman, Superman, or Green Lantern event. Simply put the sales for the Flash franchise don’t merit the event status. If they’d sold it like Crisis where it was a universe-spanning event that might be one thing, but they tied it for months to FLASH, then extended it to the rest of the DCU….

Agree with NerdyLish — the marketing for FlashPoint did not indicate that its effects would be any more widespread than those of Blackest Night or Batman RIP. It wasn’t hyped as a universe-changing event that one must read even if she doesn’t buy Flash books. No surprise that the orders were somewhat lean.

I knew Kirby was old, but I never realized the part he played in creating Norse mythology.

Shawn Douglas

June 14, 2011 at 7:57 am

At our store many Flashpoint #1’s went unsold. Then by the second issue customers went back and grabbed the first issue. Thus Flashpoint went from doing “ok” the first month to doing exceptionally well the second. I think fandom was unsure about this series and now it’s been getting better word of mouth than Fear Itself among fans.

I think the Flashpoint books are a lot of fun, and I’m glad sales have picked up the second month in.

“Or was Neal there?”

Given that Jack Kirby worked from home, and Neal was living with his father when he created the stories in question, then I’d wager that yes, Neal was there.

j_n_m_walking

June 14, 2011 at 8:08 am

I think it’s just the economic dirge that’s finally affecting comic book fans also.

I think this DC relaunch is a suicide run. DC Comics may become defunct in 2012

Flashpoint was hyped, if you guys remember that DC said there would be only one DC issue in August (I think); said issue being issue 5. Its Geoff Johns event; of course it was designed to be a major event! And look at the artist attached to it.

In addition to all of this, many of the comic centred sites gave this event a lot of run way before the actual series came out.

I think to deny this was meant to be universe is disingenuous.

Yours sincerely,

Von Slaich.

sorry that should have said universe changing.

Apologies.

von Slaich —

Flashpoint #1 orders were made in February, for a May 11 release. It was only announced on May 13, *after* the release of Flashpoint #1, that Flashpoint #5 would be the only issue released in the last week of August. There is no way retailers could have known that when ordering Flashpoint #1 for the racks.

Johns writing wasn’t surprising–he was already writing the main Flash book with sales in the 60K range. There was no obvious reason to go nuts with Flashpoint orders. The hype you mention did get retailers to increase their orders by 50% over the regular Flash series. That probably seemed sufficient at the time.

Larry scripted many of Thor’s early stories in Journey Into Mystery, including the first appearance of Loki and Heimdall in JIM #85.

I have event burnout, and specifically avoid ordering books related to big events. In recent years, they have become more and more boring—and complicated (which doesn’t mean interesting).

I also hate it when a monthly that I do enjoy jumps onto the event bandwagon, as those stories always suck. For example, I greatly regret my last year’s of Green Lantern comics (I’m a mail subscriber to that series). What a waste of my money….

Flashpoint and Fear Itself marks the “return” of the event model and each one seems intent on making events even more tedious than they ever were before.

Matt Fraction writing an event was always a mistake. He’s overrated as a superhero comic writer due to his success before coming to mainstream superheroes. Fraction doesn’t have the plotting skills to pull off a major event. But everyone seems intent on making him a superstar off a very thin resume.

Flashpoint is yet another example of DC leaving the editing to the fans. This “Make your own story by reading what you want” crud is so old. Reading all the reviews to just keep up with what’s relevant is old. I’m not 10 anymore, I’m not reading some Flashpoint mini just because my favorite character is in it.

I guess the low sales numbers for May give the final justification for DC’s September “relaunch”. Whether the direct market is collapsing or whether that was just a temporary glitch because of high gas prices, you can’t deny that something is going wrong. It *is* possible that going day and date digital will boost comic store sales – people find out that the new issue of Batman is out, so they go get a “real” copy. But it’s definitely a gamble.

“I knew Kirby was old, but I never realized the part he played in creating Norse mythology.”

Hilarious! Very good, much-needed (but probably futile) effort at deflating some of the pomposity from these endless credit-kvetchfests.

Like some multi-generational game of “telephone”, you can almost imagine what the Grand Tale of Woe and Aggrievement Kirby descendants will still be wailing about decades from now.

“My great-great Grandpa Kirby created Superman an’ nobody paid him! In fact, THEY made HIM pay THEM for creating him!”

How tiresome.

Some people are showing their ignorance. If you had any understanding of the “Marvel Method” of creating comics back then, you’d know that the artists did most of the work. Stan Lee was a promoter. He wasn’t a good writer, and you can look at the early issues of Spider-man, at the point at which Steve Ditko left and John Romita Sr. came aboard and you’d know while Lee provided the (mostly terrible) dialogue, it was the artists that did the actual plotting and storytelling.

If you look over the creations of Lee and Kirby after their partnership ended, you’ll see that Kirby went on to remap the DC Universe with the mind-blowing concepts of New Gods and the 4th World books. The best idea Lee had since breaking up with Jack Kirby was Stripperella. Kirby and Ditko were the chief architects of what would become the Marvel Universe, with Jack being the main creative engine. It is evidenced simply by the fact that when Kirby left Marvel, Lee had to hire an army of creators to replace him. And it is doubly evidenced that when Kirby left, Lee pretty much quit “creating” new titles and characters.

Jack’s son is correct. Stan Lee is chiefly a shuckster-hustler. True, Marvel would not have become Marvel without him, but it had more to do with his talent for creating publicity and almost nothing to do with his writing or concepts.

Can’t stand Stan Lee, he’s awful.

The best idea Lee had since breaking up with Jack Kirby was Stripperella.

This comment makes She-Hulk sad.

Has there ever been another individual that has benefited from the passage of time like Jack Kirby? He was know as a terrible artist through out the industry for most of his career. Even while he was with Marvel in the sixties. At that time Marvel was basically a mom and pop operation. Not the mega-corporation it is today. Stan took a chance on Jack. Stan gave him the nickname King. In a time when other companies did not give writers and artists credit, Stan had the people working for him listed. Stan always made sure they had credit. As much as it will burn up the Kirby family, Jack would have pretty much faded with time it not for the fact that Stan put Jack’s name on those early books. Stan was the editor at the time. Everything went through him. He knew Jack could produce his work on time. Jack had already burned bridges at DC. He seemed to do that a lot. With Marvel’s success it paved the way for Jack to get a very nice deal at DC. Someone posted about Jack’s “Fourth World” after he left Marvel. They failed to mention what a huge failure it was at the time. It was not until other writers and artists took those characters that they gained some level of success. When it did not work out with DC once again { what a surprise} he went back to Marvel. With a very nice deal. He was allowed to write, draw, and edit his own books. They did terrible. Critically and sales wise.He was known by another name. Jack the Hack. Anyone that would scream that Kirby was such a creative person should truly read the things he has written. Wonder if you will still feel the same.

Once again everyone was against him. The big two had screwed him over again and again. Even though Kirby was not much of a writer and artist, he seemed to live in this fantasy world where he created everything and everybody was trying to take advantage of him. They had stole his work. He created everything. Did not matter if he was even working for the company or had anything to do with the character. Kirby had even claimed in an interview that he created Superman. He was a stickler for credit. Much like Rob Liefeld. Never mind the other artists that worked hard to breathe life into these creations. Kirby did it all in his mind.

Then he screamed and cried about the return of his artwork. No one cared about the original artwork until the seventies. When the collectors market turned white hot. It was worthless up until that point. There are reports of companies using it to soak up spills in the office. It was given away to anyone that would take it. Work that in today’s market would go for considerable amounts of money. Most younger readers do not understand that for much of the comic book mediums life cycle, it was considered throwaway entertainment. Kids bought them for a dime. Read them. Then traded or tossed them away. The collectors market would not come until the seventies.

Much is made of Jack Kirby’s battle over the return of his artwork. Much less is made about the actual facts. Kirby’s artwork would have been returned much sooner if his lawyers had not attempted to strong arm Marvel. Any time you get an attorney involved with a dispute, things are going to get messy.Much has been made about the fact that Marvel asked him to sign a release form different from everyone else. What is not reported as much is the fact that Kirby insisted on it. He also wanted it to say in that paperwork that he would get full credit for everything he worked on. He wanted Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s names taken off of their creations. Replaced by his. Because much like Rob Liefeld….Jack Kirby was a stickler for credit.

I can only guess as to why Neal Kirby wrote that statement. I do have my suspicions. The Kirbys stand to profit greatly if they are allowed to rewrite history. The facts that Jack worked under a work for hire agreement. The fact that some of the characters they are listing in their lawsuit he had nothing to do with. The fact they want to do away with creator credit for the individuals that worked hard and laid the groundwork for the comics we know and love. It does not seem as if the truth really matters to them. All they seem to really be concerned with is great big sacks of cash and a great big smudge on the history books.

I urge everyone that read this to do some research and find out the facts. Do not let some people wash away the true history of comics. I also urge people to read some of the past interviews of Jack Kirby. Also check out the depositions given in this current Kirby lawsuit. I also would like people to dig up how Kirby was always wanting to sue someone. Including Johnny Carson. I guess the fruit does not fall far from the tree.I have never read an article where Stan Lee does not mention Kirby’s work. Not once. Never does he say I created everything. Never does he say me, me, me! I did it all. With no ones help. If it is out there I would love for someone to send me the link. Now read what Kirby says in his interviews.

As much as some people love Kirby’ work and will always make excuses for him. The bottom line is that he is the Rob Liefeld of his time. Terrible writer….check. Terrible artist….check. Going from place to place and always blaming others on why he was showed the door….check. Taking credit for someone else’s work…check. If it quacks like a duck….

Googam son of Goom

June 14, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Come on James are you trying to alter reality with the Cosmic Cube again?

Wow–is James really stan lee?!!!!

el_caifan

I didn’t know you go by “James”, Stan. Hi Stan!

Too funny. I did not write that to praise Stan or to bury Jack. I just stated facts. You may not like them. They may not fit into certain peoples agenda, but they remain the facts. I have enjoyed some of Stan’s work. I have also enjoyed some of Jack and Rob’s work. Rob helped to create a lot of characters also. Deadpool and Cable are probably two of the most popular comic book characters created in the last twenty plus years. Most of his characters have thrived with other writers and artists. Supreme by Alan Moore was pretty good. I just think it is very interesting how much of history has been altered to fit others needs. For much of Kirby’s career he was not a well respected artist, writer, or creator. Now people comment that he was the only one that put any work into the Marvel and DC universe. I had hoped that perhaps with my comments people would do some research and look into the true history of the books we know and love. If Jack was truly the only one to work on those books, if he truly did those with no help from anyone else. Why did he not make a big fuss when they first hit stands and all of these other people were credited for his work? He certainly was not one to hold his tongue. I really would like for people to research the true history and see how things really happened. If you want to stay ignorant and take shots at me, well that is okay too. I can take it. I have an ex-wife. I have been called a whole lot worse than Stan Lee.

Hey Kevin – thanks for the linkage; always appreciated!

At what point has Stan Lee EVER taken sole credit for creating the Marvel characters? He always acknowledges that other creators, Jack and Steve particularly, were just as instrumental. I’ve never heard Stan Lee say anything bad about his artists and has always spoken highly of them. I think it’s ironic too that Neal Kirby is accusing Stan of taking credit for everything, yet the Kirby family has no problem trying to say that Jack created Spider-Man, thus robbing Steve Ditko of his credit.

When Ditko left Spider-man, the quality of storytelling dropped a bit, but the sense of fun increased.

When Ditko left to do his own work, it remained very good, but descended into paranoia.

When Kirby left to do 4th World at DC, it was amazingly inventive, but it never stay on track. Read the 4th World stuff… The ideas are amazing, but the story goes off the rails… a lot.

Stan without either of them did decent if not earth shattering work for awhile. His early Daredevil includes probably the best issue that ever had Stan’s name on it as writer, in the fight with Namor.

But the truth is, look at all three of them. Look at their work separate. Look at the work of each of the two artists with Stan. Shockingly enough, the best, most consistent work of Stan’s career is with Ditko and Kirby. The best work of Kirby’s career is with Stan. The best work of Ditko’s work is with Stan. Whatever the system they used was, it worked. Period. And none of them have a real compelling argument that they carried each other.

James, everything that you said is the opposite of what was actually the reality. You say that what you are speaking is the facts, again this is a lie. Jack was not only a GREAT artist but he was also one of the nicest guys in the comics business which is one of the reasons that unscrupulous persons took advantage of him at Marvel and DC.

I could go through your rant sentance by sentance to refute everything that you said but why bother since you are only trolling.

@ Rich

Thanks for clarifying that. Good luck to DC, I hope Flashpoint and this relaunch/reboot/gimmick works them. They really need it.

In regards to Stan Lee – I do agree with some of the other posters above, not once has Stan Lee ever taken sole credit for the many creations he has been linked with. People argue that he was terrible after the artists left him, but then the artists themselves did not do so well either.

I think what I am trying to say is that they worked well in partnership together.

Most of the hate towards Stan Lee is an artifical construct of the non Marvel hive mind.

Let it go guys.

The man is a genius. Simple as. A great spokesman for the industry, and in many ways, the saviour of the industry you claim to cherish and love so much.

Yours sincerely,

Baron von Slaich.

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