Robot 6

Quote of the day | Zak Sally on what Marvel owes Jack Kirby

Kirby's original art for Avengers #16

“I think Marvel Comics should pay for the Jack Kirby Museum. They should fund the thing in its entirety, right now – and not a temporary, pop-up (which would still be awesome), but a permanent, brick and mortar space. what is that – 10, 20 million bucks to do it right? that’s a drop in the bucket. and all profit from the museum in perpetuity could go to the Kirby estate.”

Sammy the Mouse creator Zak Sally, offering an intriguing suggestion on what Marvel could do to pay its considerable debt to Jack Kirby. Sally goes on to say: “I actually believe that, framed in a less rant-fueled, angry setting, a campaign to get Marvel (and Kirby did no small amount of work/ creation for DC, either) to pony up for the museum is a pretty damn good idea, and I would urge saner, more reasonable minds who agree with this idea to put it forth in whatever way they deem fit.” I actually think this is a pretty good idea, too. Donating a considerable sum or outright paying  for the museum would go a long way towards generating considerable goodwill and acknowledge Kirby’s considerable contribution to the company without having to outright pay the family or (I suspect) suggest any possibility of Kirby’s estate having a legitimate claim to the characters’ copyright.

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This will never happen. Marvel might do a “Marvel” museum but they aren’t spending money so someone else can profit. They won’t publish Malibu comic characters because the character’s creators would get like 5% of every issues sales or some such.
Plus, Marvel would insist on recouping the cost of such a building from the initial profits (no doubt to include interest for the time needed to do so).

What capital did Jack Kirby put up when he created these characters?

I love this idea. I think it would be a great win for all parties involved.

Lee, what’s your point? Obviously Kirby didn’t put up any monetary capital when he created these characters. Do you feel that means Marvel owes him nothing? Even if it did, corporations donate huge sums of money to museums, parks, etc all the time. Why shouldn’t a comics corporation donate to create a museum devoted to one of the most important figures in comics?

himself.

“What capital did Jack Kirby put up when he created these characters?”

His time and energy. His rampant imagination, tireless work ethic and speedy turnaround time that cranked out far more pages of content in a week than many artists today can handle in a month.
-r-

I wonder if Marvel paid Jack Kirby while he was working for them…

I feel like everyone assumes that these creators were duped into working for Marvel. That they somehow did not know that Marvel would be making money from their creations, and their ideas.

On top of that, I don’t understand why their estates believe they should receive compensation. Fighting to make sure their father receives credit for his work? Sure, that I could understand. But looking to benefit from work that their father did? Just seems selfish to me.

Doesn’t matter. Shouting at the wind at this point. And creators need to stop bringing up this “goodwill” nonsense. Avengers is going to be one of the biggest movies of all time, and people aren’t standing in line at the movie theaters saying “Well I would go see it, but somebody on the internet said the studio had mistreated Jack Kirby, so let’s go see Battleship instead”. Just stop.

But fighting to ensure the family of the man, who made your company billions, don’t get a penny, that isn’t selfish?

Not to poo-poo the contribution of Jack Kirby, but has any other comic book artist ever had their own museum? Heck, is there even a museum devoted to comic book art in general?

talmidge mcgulliger

June 1, 2012 at 1:36 pm

their was an animation museum in Seattle for a few years that had sections of Alex Raymond, Alex Toth and Jack Kirby

“Not to poo-poo the contribution of Jack Kirby, but has any other comic book artist ever had their own museum?”

Off-hand, there’s the Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum and the Herge Museum.

“Heck, is there even a museum devoted to comic book art in general?”

The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in New York City, The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum in Columbus, Ohio, the Words & Pictures Museum in Northampton, Mass., the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco, the Kyoto International Manga Museum in Kyoto, Japan …

@Jason

I don’t think Marvel went to the Kirby family and said, let’s have us a lawsuit. You can’t honestly believe that if someone comes to Marvel looking for money, Marvel isn’t going to say no.

The museum devoted to comics and comic art is in Baltimore, and sadly, the assets were being sold off by the time I got to see it. I think it is still there.

Now that Disney owns Marvel, I expect a more ruthless corporate handling of the Kirby situation. If Marvel decisions were made by the people at Marvel I would think this might have even a small chance, but no chance now. Unless they had a really smart person making decisions, who put the Kirby museum as part of one of their theme parks, maybe in California Adventure.

I remember reading that Eisner created the Ducks hockey team out of the Disney petty cash fund where he didn’t even need board approval to do this because it was under $100 million.

Superskrull2000

June 1, 2012 at 1:47 pm

there’s the Museum of Cartoon Art in San Francisco, the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in NYC, the Sequential Art Gallery in Portland – and the planned “China Comic and Animation Museum” in Hangzhou, for starters. And zillions of temporary gallery shows.

I’m not sure about a museum (as opposed to a collection) for a specific comic/cartoon artist, though; that’s a good question – but wouldn’t a Kirby Museum be fantastic?

It wouldn’t make any difference if it were the case, because either way Marvel is not going to do this, but…

…let’s not delude ourselves into believing that funding a Jack Kirby Museum would significantly reduce the popularity of bashing Marvel on behalf of the Kirby family.

It wouldn’t. Without getting into the justification for such bashing, the fact is that it has taken on a life of its own now and nothing is ever going to quiet the complaints about all the bad things Marvel did in the past, whatever they do from this point on. It’s like the campaign against the tobacco industry; tobacco sales could be restricted to one highly-regulated store window for the entire country, with taxes of $500 per pack and a requirement that 101% of all tobacco company profits be turned over to the American Cancer Society, and people would STILL fulminate about the iniquities of Big Tobacco.

Just like the tobacco companies, as long as Marvel continues to exist in any form whatsoever, people will resent it. The only thing that might conceivably settle the Kirby-grievances would be legally transferring all title to every character Jack ever had anything to do with, lock stock and barrel, to his children, along with a significant cash pension for each Kirby descendant in perpetuity from now until the end of time.

(And that still probably wouldn’t satisfy everyone, so it’s probably just as well that like funding a Kirby Museum it’s never going to happen.)

Putting an idea forth in a blog post, then asking someone else to run with the idea, is about as useful and productive as commenting on a message board about it. Imagine a world where every blogger who wrote and/or ranted about this topic over the past 8 weeks had actually tried to do accomplish something for Kirby instead.

“I feel like everyone assumes that these creators were duped into working for Marvel. That they somehow did not know that Marvel would be making money from their creations, and their ideas.”

No, they willingly worked for Marvel, and they got paid for their work. But nobody expected that these stories would one day become movies that would make a billion dollars. Nobody knew if comic books would even be around in a year.

“Doesn’t matter. Shouting at the wind at this point. And creators need to stop bringing up this “goodwill” nonsense. Avengers is going to be one of the biggest movies of all time, and people aren’t standing in line at the movie theaters saying “Well I would go see it, but somebody on the internet said the studio had mistreated Jack Kirby, so let’s go see Battleship instead”. Just stop.”

a) “Nobody” is saying that because not many people outside of this insular circle of comic fans knows about Kirby’s contributions, and even so, I’d guess that it’s mostly the older readers who bought his work when it originally came out, or those who have an appreciation for the roots of today’s works.

b) So because nobody’s saying it, then nobody should say it? I don’t get this logic. If the “pro-Kirby” point of view bothers you, well that’s your problem, not anybody else’s. You’re going to hear opinions that differ from yours. Get over it.
-r-

@Wraith

Your defense of Marvel is to compare them to tobacco companies – LOLOLOLOLOL

Seriously, Robot6? Really you’re gonna let that “Lee” character just shit on not only Kirby but the entire capitalism/innovation system? Y’all some bustas if you don’t discipline your comments sections. I like you dudes who run Robot6 as people but your comment policy is putrid. A muhfucka could not leave a comment on my blog like that and totally misapprehend how investments and capital works AND USE IT AS A SMUG JUSTIFICATION FOR FUCKING OVER ONE OF THE GREATEST ARTISTS WHO EVER LIVED.

Cannot see how you tolerate this stuff, dudes.

I know you need controversy to get hits but the notion that this…scumbag can walk over to you and take a shit on everything this country stands for and you’ll encourage it and court it again…it disgusts me as a reader, as a thinker, as an American, as a human being.

Seriously, Ayo? Lee’s 12-word comment, as uninformed and eye roll-inducing as it is, gets you that worked up? You may need to step away from the keyboard for a bit.

Yeah, really. It’s not him. It’s every other idiot who you guys encourage and give platform to when you stay milking this shit for hits. You are goddamned right I’m worked up. Kirby, above all, should have been rewarded in life. Failing that, amends should have been made in his death. Instead, we have creeps and hate-slingers like “lee” who get off on spreading their diseased thoughts and you dudes feast on it, daily.

This type of post isn’t even journalism. But the fact that this hate-mongering has persisted on this site and this blog to a merrily-accepting silence is beyond the limits of rational tolerance. We all owe Kirby better than this. And YOU, owe him better than the benefit of the doubt toward “lee.”

It’s evil, what you are doing here.

All right, Ayo, thanks for raising the level of discourse with your hyperbolic blasts.

@Ayo

And censorship is American?? Breathe and count to 10 guy

Great idea. There should be a Kirby Museum at every one on Disney’s theme parks.

Where was I making a defense of Marvel? My point was simply that funding a Kirby Museum will achieve nothing significant from the perspective of mollifying their detractors. I was not making any comment on whether those detractors are right or wrong or, for that matter, whether I’m personally a member of them, an opponent or a disinterested bystander.

Reading comprehension: practice it!

I’ve never understood how anyone can just cast aside a person’s contributions so callously as someone like Lee. I hope, for his sake, he’s never in the same position – to create something, anything, and see others profit immensely from it, and then to be denied being able to significantly share in the rewards, both financially and from an artistic viewpoint would be unimaginable. That’s the problem – none of us can walk in any of these creators’ shoes and know how they feel. So to be so callous as Lee just smack as a lack of class and a lot of ignorance.

The Kirby Museum is a good idea – but I prefer an approach that views creator’s like Kirby, Lee, Ditko, and others being investigated and explored in museums in general, and schools’ curriculum. Superhero movies have impacted significantly on popular culture for the last ten – twenty years and I think it’s important for the general populace, children in particular, to explore it’s origins – who the creators were, the conditions they worked under, their significance to not only American culture, but Western culture in general. Should it be supported by Marvel – no, I think the government should fund it so we could get a balanced viewpoint, something we certainly would not get if it was funded by a corporation.

Lol – the point stands. You were comparing Marvel to tobacco companies. I and everyone on the planet could care less what your personal views are

Jake Earlewine

June 1, 2012 at 6:52 pm

What a great idea!

Kirby gave birth to the soul, the blood, the physical body of what Marvel has grown into.
Without Kirby, Marvel would have gone out of business in 1959 when Stan was considering closing up shop.

“My point was simply that funding a Kirby Museum will achieve nothing significant from the perspective of mollifying their detractors.”

But it could achieve a lot toward making things right. That’s ultimately what should matter. I agree that Marvel *probably* didn’t outright trick anyone into working for them, and the creators probably hastily signed some pretty crappy contracts, but it really doesn’t excuse the fact that Marvel made a fortune from Jack Kirby’s work. And they wouldn’t even give the man his original artwork. Not the rights, mind you. The actual paper and pencil drawings. That is what you call disrespect. Outright.

I dont have a rant or a soapbox to hop on.But I would go to the Jack Kirby museum. Maybe Marvel could have a Jack Kirby art scholarship.That would be cool.

That would be a fantastic thing to do & a gesture of Marvel that it understands it’s history well. The archival qualities of a museum, that would support a better conservation of his work (and that of everyone that was connected to it) is also to be considered.
It’s could actually be a marker of respect to one of it’s pioneers and with that, one of respect for Marvel and it’s fundaments, that they still profit of, creativly.

And then Marvel could buy Jack Kirby’s heirs a pony.

An odd thought to think that a comic book art museum would really make that much, or any, money. It seems like most of the other comic/cartoon art museums in this country have closed.

I understand the logic behind the idea that Kirby did work for hire and therefore can’t complain (and his estate can’t complain and other artists can’t complain) about his creations being used without compensation.

But then, logically, don’t you also have to argue that Kirby was the owner of his original art – over 7,000 pages of which were lost, destroyed, stolen or given away by Marvel? Those pages must be worth a small fortune.

Legally, the Disney lawyers will always win. And Marvel has no real incentive to be charitable when their only real competition is from an equally exploitative corporate owned company.

But morally, either Marvel owes Kirby money for the lost art or money for the characters.

“Lol – the point stands. You were comparing Marvel to tobacco companies. I and everyone on the planet could care less what your personal views are”

No he wasn’t, he was comparing how large companies get past the point of having a reparable image when it comes to certain segments of the population.

Comparing that to what??

Yeah, you don’t know

huh. a lot to chew on here. i don’t know if such a museum would make money; i think such a thing, well handled, could help raise awareness of Kirby’s contribution to the shit everyone is going bonkers about, and his contribution to the medium as a whole. and that’s helpful in a way that somehow might trickle back to the Kirby Estate, where currently 0% of that 3 billion dollars trickles. if i had my way (which, obviously, i do not), Kirby would take his rightful place that Stan Lee monopolized/ made a damn good living off for the past more decades than i can count on one hand as “the face of american comics”. this thread has proved a really good example of the crazy-ass world of comics; some stuff i agree with, some reasonable stuff that maybe i don’t agree with as much (such as the guy who said that a gesture from Marvel such as funding the Kirby Museum wouldn’t “stop Marvel-bashing”; speaking personally– which by the way is something i tend to do when i believe in something, not having a newspaper job or my own talk show to put forth my opinion on a given subject, because i guess that earlier poster’s idea is that i should voice concern by remaining completely quiet in whatever way i am able, which seems like sound advice– i DO think that would have a positive effect in how some people view Marvel, and the way they deal with their creators and legacy. would people cease whatever beefs they have? probably not. i personally would say, well, they finally stepped up and did the right thing here. well done. seriously. and i KNOW i’m not alone in that. and that is ALWAYS better, than, say, refusing to give a couple thousand pages of art back to the guy who drew it. if a company does enough of those types of things, people WANT to come to them and, you know, create things.) and some ugly bullshit. i’m not part of mainstream comics or fandom, and don’t want to get into name-calling, but some of this stuff is bonkers; there is a stripe of “oh yeah? well FUCK ‘EM.” attitude towards the history and creators of the stuff you/ we all claim to love that is seriously out of whack. if you compare this with other creative fields, say, novels or film, it’s unbelievable. plug “Kubrick” or “Salinger” (or, fuck it: “Stephen King” and “Steven Spielberg”) in for “Kirby” and the shit you guys are talking about is unthinkable. but in comics… yeah, they should buy him a pony. along with the horse he rode in on.

i apologize for the repeated use of the word “bonkers”. it is clearly inappropriate.

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