Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Writer at Work

I did not go hiking today. Instead I have stayed home and worked on novels. This is going to be the pattern for a while.

One of Jack Kirby's monster creations. Kirby excelled at this type of thing. Sometimes I think that Kirby and Ditko were in a friendly competition to see which of them could concoct the most creative monsters. Fin Fang Foom went on to later become an offbeat, if somewhat integral part o the Marvel Universe. In effect, the character was made canonical by later creators at Marvel Comics. Ol' Foomy was always popular with the readers and so he was added to the Marvel villain hierarchy. But of course Kirby earned nothing from the profits generated by the character's use.

6 comments:

Mark Gelbart said...

Nothing = 0.

They did pay Kirby a nice salary.

You could say they paid him peanuts out of the profits. It's just not accurate to say they paid him nothing. His salary was something.

The cash from sales of comic books then barely covered the cost of paper and ink. Most of their profits came from advertisements from companies that sold practical joke kits and Raquel Welch dolls--not exactly big time revenue.

It was just not a lucrative business when Kirby was alive.

James Robert Smith said...

Goodman sold Marvel for many, many millions of dollars based on Kirby's creations. Kirby got nothing.

It's obvious that the two of us have differing takes on moral issues and perceptions of right and wrong.

Henry R. Kujawa said...

You know what would be interesting to see? Compariitive sales & profits on ALLLLLLLLLLL the foreign reprints of 60's Marvels. A few years ago, I started looking into this at the GCD and elsewhere, and was STUNNED at how MANY publishers in how MANY different countries were all printing versions of those same comics.

No matter how little it may have seemed, after awhile, it HAD to add up to a TREMENDOUS amount, based on pure volume.

James Robert Smith said...

Goodman started making major bucks off of Kirby as soon as Kirby started revamping the company. First, the sales took off and the actual publishing of comics went from marginally profitable to insanely profitable. Goodman's outfit went from also-ran to number two and then to number one within a few years. Then the merchandising offers started coming in. Toys. Clothing. Costumes. TV shows. (Apparently what finally sent Ditko over the edge was that Goodman had promised him he'd see some money from the cartoons, some of which were being adapted from his Hulk stories. When the promise was not kept, Ditko left.)

And, yes, Marvel comics were being published everywhere. UK. Mexico. Germany. Asia. South America. Kirby wasn't seeing any share of that, either.

And when Marvel reprinted anything Kirby or Ditko did here in the States...no payment for the creators.

Marvel was a huge cash cow for Goodman. Was he even publishing any magazines by the time he sold off Marvel?

Mark Gelbart said...

Kirby didn't get nothing. He was paid to create characters for a comic book publisher with the clear understanding that the publisher owned what he created. It's just completely inaccurate to say he got nothing.

Kirby would have gotten nothing, if Goodman decided to use his capital to go into a different business besides publishing comic books.

Goodman took the risk with his money to publish those comic books. If it wasn't for Goodman, no one would have ever heard of Kirby.

BTW,

I found this interesting cover from Kirby's stint at DC.

http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Superman%27s_Pal,_Jimmy_Olsen_Vol_1_136

Looks like the hulk punching out Superman. Actually, it's a clone of Jimmy Olsen, his skin impregnated with kryptonite. The guardian character that Kirby used in this series is obviously Captain America.

Henry R. Kujawa said...

...Sweden. Brazil, Norway, Spain, Italy, Canada, England... (these are just the ones I found for DAREDEVIL, so far).

"It was just not a lucrative business when Kirby was alive."

It sure as hell WAS when Simon & Kirby were doing ropmance comics for Crestwood (selling more than a MILLION copies per issue, and S&K were getting a percentage of the profits!!!).

"He was paid to create characters for a comic book publisher"

Excuse me, he was WHAT????? From the moment Goodman sold Marvel to Perfect Film in 1968, the "company line" (which Stan Lee is CONTRACTUALLY obligated to tow) is that LEE "created" everything, which is why, it all belongs to Marvel, as Lee was an EMPLOYEE; Kirby was merely a FREE-LANCER, and did not even have a CONTRACT for most of his time there.

Kirby was not even being PAID or credited for WRITING all the stories he did (which Lee would then "edit"-- adding dialogue, or in some cases, altering Kirby's dialogue).

"Kirby would have gotten nothing, if Goodman decided to use his capital to go into a different business besides publishing comic books."

What the HELL kind of a point is that to try to make?

"Goodman took the risk with his money to publish those comic books."

Did someone COERCE Martin Goodman into becoming a publisher? Just exactly what the HELL do you think "publishers" do?

"If it wasn't for Goodman, no one would have ever heard of Kirby."

I see, and exactly HOW did "Simon & Kirby" wind up plastered ON THE COVERS of all those DC COMICS in the early 40's, and just about every other publisher they did work for in the late 40's and early 50's???

It's clear to me, Bob, this guy wandered in here from the MASTERWORKS message board for the sole purpose of KNOCKING Jack Kirby and trying to prop up CORPORATE AMERICA. Pure "Neo-Con"/GOP thinking and behavior.