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Stan Lee questioned on lack of Jack Kirby credit on Avengers film

Stan Lee

With Marvel’s The Avengers arriving amid the controversy surrounding DC Comics’ Watchmen prequels and a new development in the prolonged battle over the rights to Superman, it was probably only a matter of time before Stan Lee was cornered about the apparent lack of film credit for his longtime collaborator Jack Kirby.

During an interview to promote The Avengers, as well as the documentary With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story, Moviefone asked the legendary writer and editor about concerns — more like complaints, actually — that his co-creator’s name appears nowhere on the $220 million movie. Lee seemed genuinely perplexed, replying, “I don’t know how to answer that because in what way would his name appear?” before offering that “it’s mentioned in every comic book; it says ‘By Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.’”

Pressed, Lee said, “you’re talking to the wrong guy because I have nothing to do with the credits on the movies. I’m credited as one of the executive producers because that’s in my contract. But Jack was not an executive producer. So I don’t know what he’d be credited as. Again I know nothing about that, I have nothing to do with the movie’s credits. You’d have to talk to whoever is the producer of the movie.”

It’s probably not a fair question to ask of Lee. While he’s made cameo appearances in nearly every film based on his Marvel co-creations since 2000′s X-Men, and is listed as an executive producer, that credit was negotiated years ago by Lee’s lawyers (along with a much more tangible percentage of profits). And despite his chairman emeritus title and lifetime salary, he doesn’t wield any actual power at the company.

Still, fair or not, the question once again highlights the issue that Lee was in a position to make deals for credits and profit shares, while Kirby never came close. It’s undoubtedly an uncomfortable matter for Lee, made clear by his attempt to pivot away from the question. “Is there anything you want to ask me about the documentary,” he told Moviefone, “because I thought that’s what I was supposed to be talking about.”

UPDATE: According to some who have seen The Avengers, Kirby’s name does appear, in the end credits.

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64 Comments

Mans got a point.Its in his contract.I’m sure if Jack Kirby was still alive and with us he would be mentioned in the movies.Its sad but its kind of like a “outta sight outta mind” thing.Kirby is no longer with us so its easy for ppl to overlook his contributions.Thats why its important for us,the fans,to let ppl know about his contributions.

I wonder how many times Kirby’s name comes up in With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story. Or Steve Ditko’s. Stan has a history of glossing (or skipping) over the magnitude of their contributions, and I’ll be interested to see if that continues…

@Mike T.

It’s true that the survivor gets to tell the story, which in this case is Lee. But even when Kirby was alive he was getting short-shrift. Kirby was also not as savvy or connected as Stan on the business side of things, and he (and his family) lost out big time as a result.

I think it’s a fair question. While he might not have any power within Marvel’s current leadership, if Stan Lee came out in favor of Kirby getting credit and/or Kirby’s family getting some recompense, it would be a big PR win for the Kirby family.

Not saying he has to do it or that I think any less of him for not doing it — for all I know, his contract forbids him from weighing in, or he might just not agree that Kirby deserves a credit — but I think it’s perfectly OK for the issue to be raised.

Personally, I wish interviewers would bring it up in every interview about the movie, with Joss Whedon, Robert Downey Jr. and on down the line. As much as I love those guys and their work, it’s a strange world when they’re probably earning more from the Avengers than Jack Kirby ever did.

“It’s probably not a fair question to ask of Lee. While he’s made cameo appearances in nearly every film based on his Marvel co-creations since 2000′s X-Men, and is listed as an executive producer, a credit negotiated years ago by Lee’s lawyers (along with a much more tangible percentage of profits).” – This. And I don’t think he tried to pivot away as much as just get back on point. He has no control over the movie credits beyond what his lawyers negotiated for him. Attacking him for something out of his control is ludicrous. Like he said, the credit is in the comics.

Kirby and Ditko were offered the same deal Stan took. Stan never stole anything from these guys or screwed them out of anything. What happened to Kirby was wrong yes, but hardly Stan’s fault. I’m sure there is a part of Stan that wishes he would have sued for ownership rights instead of taking that salary for life. I don’t know why some fans think Stan needs to take every Kirby and Ditko fan out for ice cream every time he does an interview.

And Don Heck was the artist who created two of the movie avengers but it doesn’t seem like any of these fanboys even know who he is.

Well said Josh.

It’s not a fair question for Stan. The film is not billed as “Stan Lee’s The Avengers”. And he almost always mentions his co-creators, every time he is asked about the comics or characters.

Stan did make it publicly known that he was angry about the credits to the old 80s Captain America movie. It said “created by stand lee,”

@ Paul Allen:

Both Kirby and Ditko are mentioned in the documentary and while it has been over a year since I saw it, I vaguely remember that they were recalled with due respect to their role in history.

While any number of people can accuse Stan Lee of “glossing (or skipping) over the magnitude of their contributions”, this time at least, the fact is that the documentary is called “The Stan Lee Story”, not “The Stan (and Kirby and Ditko) Story”.

The Moviefone article is factually wrong when it states that “his name appears nowhere on the credits of “The Avengers.”‘ I just saw the movie (it opened here, in France, today), and Stan Lee & Jack Kirby are credited as creators of the comics in the final credits.

Josh, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko were NEVER offered anything like the contract that Stan Was offered. And yes, it would be a huge deal if Stan would just say “I would love to have Jack’s name on the credits. I don’t have the power to do so but I agree that his name should be up there.” One day more and more people will realise that it was Jack behind most of these characters and not Stan. How could Stan have thought up the character for Thor and given it to Jack to draw, when Jack Kirby already used a Thor character twice before dating back years… Look at the facts. It is just soooo sad that Stan Lee gets all this acclaim and credit while his partners do not. As far as credits in comic books. Most of the books do not say created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby so that information is wrong as well.

As Josh pointed out, Stan got a similar offer and he TOOK it. It’s not his fault others didn’t. That doesn’t mean the company is morally good, but people forget that no one forced anyone necessarily to sign or not sign without looking or thinking ahead. If you sign a raw deal, yeah, the company has moral wrong for being underhanded and shady and trying to screw you, but YOU, as the person signing it HAVE to accept some responsibility for your own actions.

It’s also not fair to blame Stan for “being in a position” to profit from credits on these movies, considering Jack died over a decade before the first Marvel Studios film even came out and half a decade before even X-Men was released by FOX.

Bad form, Stan.

Well, color me perplexed at the notion that it’s “unfair” to ask Stan Lee this type of question. If anyone knows or should have an opinion on what Kirby deserves credit for at Marvel, then surely it’s Stan Lee.

It’s journalism, and the fact that Lee gets his knickers in a twist so easily highlights the desperate need for this type of question to be asked more often. Maybe, one day, even by the comics press.

Believe you me: Just by continuing to ask these questions, no matter what answers you might or might not get, you will contribute to making the comics industry a little better.

@Josh: “Kirby and Ditko were offered the same deal Stan took.”

Huh? What on Earth are you talking about?

Kirby was NEVER offered anything like a million dollars a year for the rest of his or his wife’s life (whichever survived longer). He wasn’t even offered a position as editor — probably because his family didn’t own Marvel.

Ditko was, purportedly, offered some compensation for Spider-Man — when the movie came out, in 2002, some 40 years after he’d done the original work. He DID refuse, and that’s a fair point to make. But that still kind of skips over the 40 years where Stan Lee had a much, much better deal than he did.

@Charles: Kirby didn’t sign squat until a decade after he’d actually done the work. And if you want to talk about honoring contracts, Marvel never lived up to its end of the bargain by returning his art.

Oh, and Stan, per the “Where would they put his name?” question: at the beginning of the movie, under “Based on characters created by”. The same damn place it’s been in the last dozen Marvel movies.

Granted, that credit would be a little more crowded than in the other movies, but Iron Man 2 gave a joint credit for Lee, Kirby, Lieber, and Heck and that’s the way it should be.

Ungoliantschilde

April 25, 2012 at 9:19 am

Kirby’s contributions to comics can never be forgotten… But it’s not Stan’s fault. It’s really, really not his problem. Every single one of the Kirby fanatics out there LOVE to dump on Stan. But – and here’s the part where I got flamed – Kirby NEEDED Stan Lee’s editing and writing. Don’t believe me? OK, how about the Eternals? How about the 4th World? How about that crap series coming out of Dynamite? The King had amazing ideas, but he didn’t have a lot of focus on how to use them.

Kirby is, and always will be, the greatest penciler in the history of comics. He produced amazing stuff with every publisher under the Sun. That being said… Deals negotiated in the ’60s aren’t unfair because they’re making a ton of money now. The contracts were all signed, and everyone got their cut. Kirby had a long standing feud with Marvel, so the fact that he didn’t get more credit from the later reprints is kinda easy to understand.

It’s the same deal as Alan Moore not getting a cut of the Watchmen Prequels: When he negotiated the contract with DC, nobody knew that Watchmen would be a hit. If Comic Book companies knew what would catch on before it was published, they’d only publish stuff that catches on.

All of Kirby’s relatives that are constantly griping about this stuff seem to have a lot of free time on their hands. Not to mention the money. Perhaps they should be focusing on their own accomplishments, as opposed to bitching about not getting enough money from their inheritance.

“As Josh pointed out, Stan got a similar offer and he TOOK it. It’s not his fault others didn’t.”

No. By just about every account, Stan–by virtue of being management, the face of the company, *and* the nephew of the company owner–got an offer *nobody* else got. Both Kirby and Ditko were verbally promised things that were reneged on and, in the case of Kirby, that led to Marvel’s attempt to withhold 88 pages of Kirby’s original art until he signed a retroactive contract ceding all rights.

By contrast, Stan continued to receive pay and compensation, given relatively low-key, high-paying sweetheart jobs. And that was before his lawyers re-negotiated his contracts.

It’s been openly acknowledged in previous books either written by Stan or published by Marvel that Kirby created (at the very least) The Silver Surfer and Ditko created Dr. Strange. Not “even” co-created. But *created*.

This will probably mean very little to you without the links that would allow you to go look all this up on your own and verify what I’m saying, but really: what you’re saying is so extremely unlikely to be anything close to the truth, you might as well be saying that Kirby and Ditko don’t deserve recognition or compensation because Marvel discovered they were spies for Dr. Doom.

@Ungoliantschilde: Fourth World has proven to be a pretty valuable property for DC; they’ve overexposed the hell out of Darkseid. He’s appeared in some half-dozen different TV series, as well as being the Big Bad in their massive New 52 relaunch. (Marvel seemed to think he was a pretty good character too, seeing as it’s got at least two derivatives of him, Thanos and Apocalypse.)

Some (not “every single”) Kirby fans go overboard in condemning Stan and downplaying his contributions. But it’s a two-way street: what memorable characters did Stan ever create without either Kirby or Ditko on the co-creator credit? Stripperella?

And for God’s sake, why does everybody keep saying Kirby signed a contract? HE DIDN’T. Not until a decade later when he was trying to recover some of what (he felt) Marvel had cheated him out of.

Your last paragraph is just a series of mean-spirited conjecture about Kirby’s children and you should be ashamed of it. The depiction of the Kirby family as a bunch of spoiled layabouts is a cruel smear; they are adults with lives and careers who just happen to believe, as their father did, that he was treated unfairly, and who are pursuing legal action as a result. That’s their right, whether or not you agree with the merits of the case.

(An addendum to my earlier post: I’m seeing posts elsewhere saying that I’m wrong and there aren’t “Created By” credits at the beginning of the Marvel Studios films, and come to think of it the only place I clearly remember seeing them is on the Spider-Man films, which are by Sony. So I could be mistaken on that score. I DO remember seeing closing-credit mentions of Kirby in Iron Man and Captain America, and if Kirby’s name isn’t at least in the closing credits of this movie then yes that’s a pretty serious oversight.

And by “oversight” I don’t actually mean oversight, because I can’t imagine everyone just forgot about him.)

Kirby didn’t need Stan Lee when he and Joe Simon created Captain America. He didn’t need Lee when he created Challengers of the Unknown and he didn’t need Lee when he created Thor the first two times he used him… Kirby and Lee made each other better, that is a fact, but Stan is living his dream on the crushed ideals and dreams of others.

Steve and Jack were offered emeritus positions at the same time Stan was. I have no idea what the compensation was but the offer was there until the day Jack died.

A lot of people on Twitter are holding up Stan Lee’s responses as “Stan Lee takes all the credit – AGAIN!” which he’s not really doing, here. I’m well aware he’s done exactly that at other times, but this is just his garden-variety shilling. He seems to say that Executive Producer is his only credit, so it doesn’t sound like there’s a “The Avengers created by Stan Lee [not Jack Kirby]” title card.

this movie should have Kirby and Simon’s name attached in some manner, as well as Don Heck and others i’m sure.

I’m not a fine of the “well no one forced them to sign” thinking but to blame Stan for the mistakes of a company he’s had little say in for the last 35 years is nuts.

Josh, they were never offered emeritus positions. Never. It would have been amazing if they were. When Marvel was bought (multiple times) the new owners only knew Stan Lee and as long as they had him, they figured they didn’t need anyone else. It was a horrible oversight and led to Jack leaving for DC.

“But it’s not Stan’s fault. It’s really, really not his problem.”

The point of asking questions in an interview is neither to assign fault nor to wrap your subject in cotton.

It’s to learn stuff and get at issues that seem worth discussing. And even if you get a “no comment” on stuff like this, it can still speak volumes.

Ungoliantschilde

April 25, 2012 at 9:53 am

Thad:
“Fourth World has proven to be a pretty valuable property for DC; they’ve overexposed the hell out of Darkseid. He’s appeared in some half-dozen different TV series, as well as being the Big Bad in their massive New 52 relaunch. (Marvel seemed to think he was a pretty good character too, seeing as it’s got at least two derivatives of him, Thanos and Apocalypse.)”

Granted. Other writers have turned his ideas into working, usable concepts… The key phrase is “OTHER WRITERS”. Kirby’s 4th World was a masterpiece, but it’s only considered that now. At the time, it confused people and didn’t sell. It’s been rebooted numerous times, and it didn’t really catch on as a working concept until Morrison & Porter’s run on JLA featured the New Gods quite heavily.

I’ll say it again: Kirby is the King because of his ideas and his pencils. His stories? Not so much.

“…But it’s a two-way street: what memorable characters did Stan ever create without either Kirby or Ditko on the co-creator credit? Stripperella?”

Yeah, I completely agree with you on that. Stan isn’t all that creative on his own. His creator owned stuff… Um… Sucks. A lot.

And finally, I’ll address Kirby’s family:

Have any of Kirby’s relatives produced anything in the comic book field? Ever? If so, was it as good as Jack’s? I don’t seem to recall EVER seeing Kirby’s family produce ANYTHING except lawsuits and complaints/requests for monetary compensation from Work for Hire contracts completed in the 1970s. I’m sure they have plenty of stuff they do on their own… I am merely suggesting that they should stop looking for more money as compensation for what their Grandfather did.

The same goes for Seigel & Shuster families:
“If Comic Book companies knew what would catch on before it was published, they’d only publish stuff that catches on. ”

Finally,
Of COURSE Stan, Jack, and Steve needed each other! That’s called a business relationship. Stan can’t draw, and Kirby can’t write. It was a collaboration. The deal was made, and I’m sure that everyone agreed on it at the time – otherwise, the work wouldn’t have been produced!

Hey I thought Mark Millar created the guys in that movie!

While it would be nice for Stan Lee to say “Kirby should get equal billing” it’s not going to happen. That’s on Marvel Studios not Stan Lee in my opinion.

David-
I’m going by the information on the Siuntres’ word balloon podcast. It’s usually pretty reliable.

@R.T.
Kirby is not consistently credited in Marvel comics, if ever.

@Petey
I’m glad they’re mentioned in the documentary. I suppose my bigger problem is that we’ve been hearing “The Stan Lee Story” ad nasuem for the last 40+ years.

@Josh
What is your source for this? In all the history I’ve read, I’ve never heard of any offer to Kirby that equates to the offer Stan got.

@Ungoliantschilde
I certainly would never say that Kirby did it all by himself. He and Stan made magic together. However, Stan has benefited greatly in finance and stature, and I would say in exaggerated proportion to what he actually contributed. What’s ironic is that people get all up in arms about the Kirby heirs wanting something they didn’t work for (which, by the way, isn’t really what their lawsuit is all about) are also quick to defend Stan, who’s been plenty of credit for doing more than he actually did.

According the Word Balloon (I know I’m gonna get tons of crap for this but I think it was during a Bendis interview) they mention that Stan, Jack, and Steve were offered some sort of salary for life. I’d imagine stan’s was a great deal more, yes. But it was still there. Heck Jack was probably the smart one because Stan gave up his rights to sue.

Ungoliantschilde

April 25, 2012 at 10:14 am

Paul:
Wait, so Kirby’s heirs DON’T want money? Are you sure? What do they want then? Do they want reprints with Kirby given full credit? OK, what about the sales of those reprints? I suppose it would all go to the publishers… Right?

Stan Lee is guilty of being the boss and the public face of the House of Ideas. They all worked together, and they all collaborated. Who wrote what is obviously a matter of contention, but this is a debate that pops up every time Marvel does something with a creation from the ’60s.

I work in finance. I don’t remember what contracts or work I did last WEEK… I certainly don’t want to argue about the decisions from last week.

Every time Stan opens his mouth, he gets pig-piled for not crediting his collaborators enough. Fine: Stan didn’t do it on his own. What Stan DOES do is publicity. It’s like Van Halen firing Diamond Dave for being an ego-maniac: WHAT THE “EFF” DO YOU EXPECT?!

Ungoliantschilde

April 25, 2012 at 10:20 am

Also, what *exactly* did Stan have to say about the movie? This whole article is about a fan-boy with a blog asking Stan to apologize or explain something he had nothing to do with. He wrote the Avengers with Jack back in the ’60s. If Jack was alive, I’m sure he’d be in the movie too. Why is it Stan’s fault that the Marvel production office didn’t put Kirby in the credits?

Personally? I just want to see the movie.

@Josh: “I’m not a fine of the “well no one forced them to sign” thinking but to blame Stan for the mistakes of a company he’s had little say in for the last 35 years is nuts.”

Well, he’s supported the company line in court. I think we absolutely CAN blame him for that.

I also think he’s got a bully pulpit and could, if he wanted to, make a fuss about Marvel’s treatment of other creators. At the very least, when someone asks him a question about a credit like in this interview, he could say “Jack didn’t get a creator credit? That doesn’t sound right to me; I’ll see who I can talk to about making sure that he and Joe and Don and my brother Larry all get creator credits in the movie.” Credit doesn’t cost a thing.

I find it very unlikely that he’s unaware of the controversy that’s been generated by creator credits, and the lack thereof, in movies over the past 40 years.

@Ungoliantschilde: I’ve heard conflicting reports on Fourth World’s actual sales. At any rate, its cancellation remains a point of contention decades later.

If Kirby’s long-form storytelling was confusing to readers of the day, I think that’s more because of the time and the audience than any fault of Kirby’s own. Long intersecting stories are standard in modern comics.

And even if things meandered a bit and his dialogue wasn’t always top-notch, there were plenty of good books in there; The Pact is probably the best and is a standalone, self-contained story. His work on Jimmy Olsen was offbeat but accessible and well-suited to the character’s history.

And while I won’t discount Morrison’s work, Darkseid’s wide use predates it considerably. The Great Darkness Saga was published in ’82, and he appeared on Superfriends a few years later; Timm and Dini started using Fourth World characters in, if I’m not mistaken, the second season of the Superman toon. And again, Marvel had already introduced a couple of derivative characters in the meantime.

Re: the standard canard of how people shouldn’t be looking for money based on what their grandfather did: then maybe Roy Disney III and Bob Iger should quit their jobs and sell their stock.

“The same goes for Seigel & Shuster families”

Well, no, because that’s a distinct situation; Kirby’s work was for-hire (or so the courts have ruled), Siegel and Shuster’s wasn’t. Siegel and Shuster created Superman and then sold the rights; under that agreement, Superman would have belonged to National/DC for 56 years.

Now, if you believe DC should honor that original agreement and release Superman into the public domain, then I agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment. Otherwise, however, the copyright extension that allowed them to keep the rights also explicitly allowed creators’ statutory heirs to reclaim those rights after the original term expired.

And regarding your closing paragraph: Kirby and Ditko both claimed that Stan did not live up to his end of the agreement; they both terminated their working relationship with him and quit selling work to Marvel. If you really think they believed (and, in Steve’s case, believe, present tense) that Stan Lee honored the agreements they made, then you have not been paying attention.

@Shawn Kane: You may be joking, but I think you actually have a point. Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch deserve credit in this movie too.

“Have any of Kirby’s relatives produced anything in the comic book field? Ever? If so, was it as good as Jack’s? I don’t seem to recall EVER seeing Kirby’s family produce ANYTHING except lawsuits and complaints/requests for monetary compensation from Work for Hire contracts completed in the 1970s.”

so, what has stan lee’s wife done to deserve a million dollars a year for the rest of her life if she survives him?

Heck Jack was probably the smart one because Stan gave up his rights to sue.

Oh, really?

@Josh: I’m genuinely curious about the emeritus thing being offered to Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. I’ve never heard anything about it, and I’d think that would have been a HUGE deal. (There’s no way Ditko would ever have taken it, though.)

“I’m credited as one of the executive producers because that’s in my contract”

“You’d have to talk to whoever is the producer of the movie”

Earth 2-
I may have misspoke, I meant he signed away his rights to sue for ownership of the characters under the copyright act of 1976. That was my bad.

The interview didn’t go into details only to say that Jack was offered something. I’ve heard other places that Marvel went after Jack to be something like a consultant, someone to mentor younger artists, maybe that’s what Bendis was referring too, I’ve heard that Chaykin actually does that for them now.

Marc – the question has been asked of Stan repeatedly over the years, and he has always been clear that he was a co-creator of these characters and he could not have done it without Kirby, Ditko, Romita et al. I don’t see how hitting him with the same question he has answered already, numerous times, does anything constructive. Especially in a case like The Avengers movie, where both Stan and Jack’s names appear in the credits.

I was more surprised that Stan seems to think that every comic with a Kirby creation has a ‘Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’ credit and not just ‘Stan Lee Presents’.
I admit, I don’t often look at the credit boxes THAT closely, but I will be damned if I have seen that credit.

And I like people asking Stan about this.
He deserves the heat, to be honest.

Thanks for the Spinal Tap video link, I guess.
Pretty cool, song.

@Ungoliantschilde
So, if you have children are you leaving them nothing in your will? If you create something immensely valuable, do you want to bar them from profiting from it in any way? Sure, money is a part of the Kirby lawsuit, but I also think it’s about righting a wrong that was done to their father.

On a different, but related, note, read this:
http://herocomplex.latimes.com/2012/04/09/growing-up-kirby-the-marvel-memories-of-jack-kirbys-son/#/0

Jack worked 12 hours a day, pumping out those amazing pages, partly out of need to create, and partly out of need to provide for his family; a wife who helped him deal with his finances, his children that inspired him.

Seems fair to me.

Jack worked 12 hours a day, pumping out those amazing pages, partly out of need to create, and partly out of need to provide for his family; a wife and children that inspired him, and gave him the drive.

Seems fair to me.

Joseph:

“I don’t see how hitting him with the same question he has answered already, numerous times, does anything constructive.”

Journalism doesn’t have to be constructive. It just has to ask the right questions.

Jack Kirby co-created those characters, but he (or his estate) gets neither money nor proper credit in the new major Hollywood film that’s going to make Marvel — and Stan Lee — millions of dollars.

It would be very odd and very sad if no one were asking about Jack Kirby.

I couldn’t really enjoy this film (and many others that came before) as much as I otherwise might, knowing that the guy who came up with at least half of every character in it never even got as much as proper credit from Marvel. I trust more people would feel the same if they knew about it, and it’s the press’ job to ask Marvel why they’re not taking the steps to make this right. Sounds plenty constructive after all, if you ask me.

The issue won’t be resolved until it’s resolved. Until it is, we need to keep asking why it’s not.

I’m curious about these efforts to torpedo the Avengers movie, from bad publicity to imbecilic calls for boycotts. They’ve been pumping out movies for 14 years, why the concern now? As for Stan Lee has been suing Marvel for years now for this reason or that, why go after him when he clearly has no say or sway?

And I’m amused by this concern for Jack Kirby’s legacy. From the 70s until the day he died people didn’t give two shits about the man so it’s hypocritical for “fans” to demand Marvel care about his legacy when the “fans” themselves didn’t.

You people are as ignorant as you are pathetic.

@David Stephan
“Josh, they were never offered emeritus positions. Never. It would have been amazing if they were. When Marvel was bought (multiple times) the new owners only knew Stan Lee and as long as they had him, they figured they didn’t need anyone else. It was a horrible oversight and led to Jack leaving for DC.”

if Jack so fed with Marvel,why did he back to Marvel later on&created even more,like The Eternals?

Jack Kirby, Joe Simon, and Stan Lee are mentioned in the credits of The Avengers as creators of the characters. (Simon is mentioned in for Captain America.)

Rather than the issue of whether Kirby is or isn’t part of the film’s never-ending credits scroll, I think it’s more interesting to note that most mainstream reviews treat Joss Whedon as the primary creator, and fail to mention any of the actual primary creators, including Stan Lee. That has to have something to do with the PR coming out from Marvel, allowing the critics to get away with treating Whedon as the real creator instead of at best a secondary level one. Only Variety of the reviews I checked include Kirby, Lee, and Simon’s creator credits in its credits section for the film. Hollywood Reporter mentions that Stan Lee was Executive Producer. The other reviews did not mention the primary creators at all.

I made a comment when this story was posted that anyone like me who hangs around for the post-credits scenes in Marvel studio movies has in fact seen the “by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby” credit in the films and that the site that said it wasn’t there was lying. I know people like to get high on self-righteousness around here, but that’s a flimsy excuse for burying the truth.

At least these Moviefone guys had to come out and admit they made it up.

@David Stephan
“He didn’t need Lee when he created Challengers of the Unknown and he didn’t need Lee when he created Thor the first two times he used him… Kirby and Lee made each other better, that is a fact, but Stan is living his dream on the crushed ideals and dreams of others.”
same then?none of it going as successfull as when they were paired together,it couldn’t generate success on its own.
@Thad
“Fourth World has proven to be a pretty valuable property for DC; they’ve overexposed the hell out of Darkseid. He’s appeared in some half-dozen different TV series, as well as being the Big Bad in their massive New 52 relaunch. (Marvel seemed to think he was a pretty good character too, seeing as it’s got at least two derivatives of him, Thanos and Apocalypse.)

Some (not “every single”) Kirby fans go overboard in condemning Stan and downplaying his contributions. But it’s a two-way street: what memorable characters did Stan ever create without either Kirby or Ditko on the co-creator credit? Stripperella?”
some would argue that the Fourth World characters only be interesting when paired up with other DC characters.
they couldn’t stand in ongoing term on its own.

“I couldn’t really enjoy this film (and many others that came before) as much as I otherwise might, knowing that the guy who came up with at least half of every character in it never even got as much as proper credit from Marvel. I trust more people would feel the same if they knew about it, ”

if by “more people” you mean comic book fans. The average person is just watching a movie.

As great as Fourth World is to visit in books like Superman and JLA it’s never really worked as a concept on its own.

Edge-

Well, depending on who you talk to Iron Man was Stan Lee/Larry Lieber or Stan Lee/Don Heck. But there is also The Kingpin, Black Widow, and Hawkeye just off the top of my head.

and then there is a little known character called Daredevil but some accounts say Jack was heavily involved because Bill Everett had personal issues, but there are drastically different accounts.

(UK) Credits as I remember them….

Executive Producer : Stan Lee
Based on The Avengers created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Captain America created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby

Any comic fans want to get angry at Disney for ignoring Don Heck’s legacy (co-creator of Iron Man, Hawkeye and Black Widow). Or what about Mark Millar as the film’s a condensed version of his Ultimates volume 1?

Thank you Mars, why would people think this was an option. Joe Simon and Jack Kirby won the right to be credited on EVERYTHING with Captain America 5-10 years ago.

It would have been a breach of contract if Kirby was never mentioned. Then again, I suppose it is too much assume that people learn about what they are getting indignant over.

Wao…… What a wonderful article and debates here…..

I think we should think better that ’60s is different with this 90-2000′s….
Everybody knows better about contract and rights ….. But in ’60s… If we dont have a good lawyear or the right knowledge about how to sign contracts, what to put on the contract before we seal the deal…. This thing will happen.

The contract is contract… We can not deny or sue it….. Because it is signed already!

The thing we can do as a fanboy is just realize it…..

by federal laws, the kirby family is seen by the court as jack kirby himself, in the event that he is deceased. this is true of any creator, from bob kane & siegal & shuster, to mark waid, michael turner, jim lee, e.c.t. as long as there are direct, legally adopted, or by blood descendants, they have the legal right to those characters. –if you create something, im certain that you would want your lineage to make a profit off of it. –why shouldn’t the heirs have profit? legally, they do…its coming. and it will be soon.

@Rob: “They’ve been pumping out movies for 14 years, why the concern now?”

A couple of reasons. One, last summer’s summary judgement against Kirby’s heirs is a strong indication that they’ll never get anything through legal channels and their last hope is the court of public opinion. And two, Avengers is the biggest movie yet to be based on Kirby-derived characters.

“From the 70s until the day he died people didn’t give two shits about the man so it’s hypocritical for “fans” to demand Marvel care about his legacy when the “fans” themselves didn’t.

You people are as ignorant as you are pathetic.”

That’s kind of an interesting segue from claiming that people didn’t care about Kirby in the 1970′s to the 1990′s to calling everyone else ignorant.

Kirby did plenty of fondly-remembered work in the 1970′s. As for the 1980′s, he galvanized a strong fan and creator backlash against Marvel for the way it treated him.

@Edge: “if Jack so fed with Marvel,why did he back to Marvel later on&created even more,like The Eternals?”

Because Stan Lee and Martin Goodman were no longer running Marvel.

“some would argue that the Fourth World characters only be interesting when paired up with other DC characters.
they couldn’t stand in ongoing term on its own.”

Well, I disagree, but even if that were the case, so what? What’s that got to do with whether or not Kirby created a lasting, much-used line of characters for DC?

@Red Comet: They may not have been lying, they may simply have missed it. I didn’t see Kirby’s name in the credits, and I was LOOKING for it.

As I said up at the top of the thread, I believe that the Marvel Studios pics should have the same prominent “created by” credit right at the beginning of the movie that the Spider-Man movies did. (Indeed, in my first post I said that I’d seen Kirby credited on Marvel Studios movies — I must have misremembered.)

@Edge: “if Jack so fed with Marvel,why did he back to Marvel later on&created even more,like The Eternals?”

Because Stan Lee and Martin Goodman were no longer running Marvel.

Actually Stan was still publisher at the time Jack starting working for Marvel again and, by all accounts was still heavily involved in the publishing side. Stan didn’t stop working on the books day to day until round about the time Jim Shooter took over in 1978.

@Peter: I stand corrected, though by that point Roy Thomas was EIC and Kirby was pretty consciously not collaborating with Lee on any of his projects.

@Peter ‘Actually Stan was still publisher at the time Jack starting working for Marvel again and, by all accounts was still heavily involved in the publishing side. Stan didn’t stop working on the books day to day until round about the time Jim Shooter took over in 1978.’

Stan Lee spend most of the 70′s courting hollywood and failing. He was not heavily involved at all; he didn’t even know who the new X-men were several years after their creation.

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