Thursday, April 27, 2006

Comic Book Urban Legend Revealed #48!

This is the forty-eighth in a series of examinations of comic book urban legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous forty-seven.

Let's begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Dazzler was created as a cross-promotion between Marvel and Casablanca Records.

STATUS: True

In Comic Feature #7 from November 1980, Richard Howell and Carol Kalish interviewed Roger Stern, Tom DeFalco and Louise Jones about the debut of Dazzler, and how the character came about. According to the article,
The collaboration with Casablanca caused many development difficulties in the Dazzler concept, leading Marvel to cancel the book "five or six times" previous to the publication of its first issue (a possible record). Although over the past year, Marvel had begun to guest-star The Dazzler in various targeted-circulation titles in their own comics line, the corporate vacillation of Casablanca over the character's future caused several significant variations of powers and personality between her various depictions. At the time, The Dazzler was guest-starring in SPIDER-MAN, for example (#203), Spidey's then-scripter Marv Wolfman called DAZZLER-writer Tom DeFalco to ascertain the nature of The Dazzler's powers. "At that time," says DeFalco, "I had gotten three different power suggestions from Casablanca. I had to tell Marv, 'Marv, I can't tell you! I told him what the three powers were...'"


Later on, when discussing how Dazzler developed from an initial concept called "The Disco Queen," the interview proceeds...
Comic Feature: Did Casablanca's interest precede DISCO QUEEN or was it the spark for THE DAZZLER?

Tom DeFalco: Casablanca's interest was before DISCO QUEEN.

Louise Jones: Casablanca just came to Marvel and said, "Hey, you make a singer and we'll create someone to take on the persona." It was a wonderful tie-in. And then Casablanca... (Jones puts thumbs down)

DeFalco: So anyway, we worked out a plot, Jim Shooter and I. Jim was editor-in-chief so it was accepted by Marvel. The plot went over to Casablanca. Casablanca said, "No, this is nothing like what we want." So they bounced it back.

Comic Feature: Did they say what they did want?

DeFalco: They had about ten or twelve different things that they wanted. I'm a professional commercial writer and I can put in anything that a customer wants. Especially if they were willing to pay for it over and over again. So we went and did everything that they wanted. Sometimes it was pretty silly, but we did it just the way they wanted.

Comic Feature: Anything in particular?

DeFalco: At this point I can't remember the silly things but it didn't really matter because the second time they saw it they decided again that it wasn't what they really wanted. So I think around the third or the fourth time we finally got what they wanted, more or less, and we had essentially the story that will appear in Dazzler #1 and #2. They wanted some strange things done with the artwork. Take the X-MEN pages which basically come across like bubblegum cards. They said the story was fine and basically everything was fine - they wanted the F.F., THE NEW X-MEN, SPIDER-MAN, THE HULK, and a bunch of other characters thrown in.

Comic Feature: All in one issue?

DeFalco: Yes. By this time we had already decided not to publish it as a regular comic book. We were going to bring it out as a Super-Special. So we had like 34 superheroes in the book?? I don't remember what it was - some outrageous number - and we were going to publish a 34-page book. They liked all the introductory scenes where all the characters were introduced, but they just didn't see any need for a fight scene. Originally there was just a one page fight scene. Didn't you realize that in issue #2 there was only a one page fight scene (to Jones)?

Jones: Oh, I realized that, we changed it...

DeFalco: J.R. [John Romita Jr, the artist] made it work. You almost wouldn't notice it. J.R. really worked on this project, and when he's good, he's fabulous - when she's having an off-day, he's merely brilliant - still they wanted so much introductory stuff in the space allotted, especially the way they wanted it written...

Jones: That's exactly what I thought happened... that they wanted so much introductory stuff that there wasn't room for a fight scene.

DeFalco: They wanted so much introductory stuff that we had a 34-page story with a one page fight scene. It was a weird story with these 34 characters fighting the Enchantress in one page.
At one point, Casablanca wanted the character to be black, hence the following piece that John Romita drew for Casablanca president Neil Bogart in 1979 (with Bogart in the piece), during the creation process.



Weird, eh?

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: DC stopped letting writers edit their own titles in an attempt at squeezing Jack Kirby from the company.

STATUS: False

Reader Ted Watson wrote in with the following question,
Actually, I don't know that this qualifies as an U.L. or just a mystery, since I've never encountered a suggestion that anybody else suspects it, but I've wondered about this ever since the underlying event happened in the mid-70s. At that time, DC instituted a new policy, prohibiting an editor from writing for his own comics. They even changed the job title, with "Story Editor," if memory serves. It didn't last long, and was history when Roy Thomas arrived from Marvel (Gerry Conway also edited his Firestorm revival, Fury of....). As the new policy went into effect, the first issue of Kobra was published, a comic created, plotted and pencilled by Jack Kirby, but admitted to have been reworked by scripter Martin Pasko, with the artwork retouched, by Pablo Marcos, I think. The question: Was the new rule motivated by a desire to get rid of Kirby, who was essentially running his own company out of his studio, and putting out comics that the vast majority thereof suffered from poor sales and quick cancellations (in those pre-direct-distribution-to-comic-shops days)? Please note that no disrespect whatsoever to the King on my part is intended by the above theorizing.


It was an interesting question, so I put it to everyone's favorite "guy who knows a lot about comic, specifically Jack Kirby comics," Mark Evanier.

Here is Mark's reply:
The policy was instituted after Kirby left. KOBRA was published some time after it was done. And Kirby's sales track record at the time was no worse than anyone else's. DC had dozens of comics that were quickly cancelled.

The no writer-editor policy was instituted because there were several people who wanted that status but DC's then-management felt they were not worthy. Rather than alienate those people, the publisher decided to just eliminate the position. But this was a decision made after Jack was already back at Marvel.
Thanks, Mark!

Glad to hear it!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: John Byrne's first Fantastic Four work as writer/artist originally was meant for a Coca-Cola giveaway.

STATUS: True

In his great book of interviews, Comic Creators on the Fantastic Four, Tom DeFalco asked John Byrne about Fantastic Four #220 and #221, which were the first two issues of Fantastic Four that John Byrne both wrote and drew.

Byrne responds:
Jim Salicrup, who was editing Fantastic Four at the time, called me up one day and asked me if I would like to do a comic book that would distrbuted by Coca-Cola. They wanted me to use the Fantastic Four, so I came up with a self-contained, very innocuous kind of story because that was what Coke wanted. They didn't want anything huge and cosmic with planets exploding or anything like that. My story was slightly less than a double-sized issue, and when it was all finished, Coca-Cola said that the story was much too violent. If you go back and look at it, you'll see that the Thing hits a couple of robots. But it was too violent for Coca-Cola and they rejected it. Jim suggested we cut it in half, add a couple of pages and turn it into two issues of Fantastic Four. They're the two dullest issues of the FF ever published.




Five cool points to anyone who can tell me if Coca-Cola ended up doing a comic, and if so, what was it like?

Well, that's it for this week, thanks for stopping by!

Feel free to drop off any urban legends you'd like to see featured!!

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20 Comments:

Anonymous JR said...

I don't know what it's like but I do know that the Spider-fan website has a listing for a Coca-Cola promotional comic circa 1980.

http://www.spiderfan.org/comics/title/spiderman_commercial_food.html

I've not found much else on it though.


And is it me, or is Disco Queen a vastly better name than Dazzler? It's no Satin Satan but it's still over the top trippy.

4/28/2006 02:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Kris said...

I thought she was originally going to be called Disco Dazzler..

4/28/2006 05:12:00 AM  
Blogger David C said...

*Wasn't* she called Disco Dazzler early on? Maybe not as her "official" name, but in the same manner, say, Hulk is often referred to as "the Incredible Hulk?"

Disco Queen is a better name in some ways, but give Marvel credit for not using a name that would become inescapably dated. Say what you will about "Dazzler," but you can drop her in a modern storyline, and if the reader doesn't know her disco roots, nothing will seem particularly odd or anachronistic about the name.

4/28/2006 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger Cap'n Neurotic said...

Boring they may have been (especially #220), but those two issues of Fantastic Four were the first books I ever got as part of a comic book subscription, back at the tender age of 5. I had no clue that Byrne was responsible, although in retrospect that explains the brief cameo of Vindicator in #220

4/28/2006 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Jeff B said...

I've seem to recall a set of DC Silver Age reprints that came with a Pizza Hut tag on the cover.

4/28/2006 01:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Ted Watson/tbrittreid said...

Concerning Mark Evanier's refutation to my theory that DC's short-lived "Editor can't write for him/herself" policy was intended to do something about Jack Kirby's poor sales and their lack of control over him (and ME didn't even mention the latter): He wrote, "The policy was instituted after Kirby left." As I stated originally, simultaneous with the launch of that short-lived policy, DC temporarily changed the job title as well, and that was reflected on the first issue of Kobra, which--according to the Grand Comics Database--predates his last issue of Kamandi (and also according to them, he did no more than interior pencils for his last three issues of that title, which is hard to believe, and they do have some misleading-to-the-point-of-being-misinformation credits posted elsewhere; on the other hand, the covers on what they credit as Kirby's last FIVE Kamandi issues are inarguably the work of Joe Kubert, as they say; all but one is clearly signed, and it reeks of his style). The point here is that, unless Evanier wants to claim that Kirby left DC in general and Kamandi specifically well before GCD says he did, then the policy was instituted BEFORE, not after, he left. Period. It also seems likely that while Kobra was published long after Kirby turned in HIS version, the only delay was in the time it took to revamp the series premise and characters, and accordingly alter Kirby's art and replace his captions and dialogue with Pasko's. I also doubt Evanier's claim that Jack's sales were no worse than anyone else's. Yes, DC cancelled a good many titles during that period, but did any other single creator have only one series go beyond 16 issues, and most not make double digits? And certainly no one else had the autonomy that he had, which I repeat, Mark didn't even mention, and I strongly suspect was a major factor. With all due respect to ME, my suspicions remain intact.

4/28/2006 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger C. Elam said...

I'm not Mark Evanier, Ted, but let me tell you what I know about this.

Kirby's last books as an editor for DC are all cover-dated for late 1975. The "story editor" title was not established until 1976, after Jenette Kahn replaced Carmine Infantino as publisher. The set-up is rather odd, actually - story editors answered to managing editor Joe Orlando, but art assignments were handed out by art director Vince Colletta. I think it had more to do with consolidating Orlando's power in the company than minimizing Kirby, who had already signed with Marvel when it was instituted.

KAMANDI #34-#40 all have Kubert covers and Kirby interiors. Conway is listed as the editor, but Kirby scripts #34-#37. Presumably, those issues were already done when Kirby left his position at DC. The remaining issues are likely done on a freelance basis, much like JUSTICE INC. #2-#4, SANDMAN #4-#6 and whatever issue(s) of KUNG FU FIGHTER Kirby drew. Jack was neither writer nor editor for any of those books.

It's worth noting that Kirby's first issues of CAPTAIN AMERICA (#193) as writer/artist/editor is cover-dated January 1976, well before the advent of DC's "story editors".

I've always assumed KOBRA was one of those ideas like ATLAS, DINGBATS OF DANGER STREET, and MANHUNTER that DC torpedoed before it went anywhere. I don't know why they decided it was worth salvaging, even in radically altered form.

More info can be found here.

4/30/2006 01:33:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

I checked with Mark again, and I did not get around to posting it here, but he basically echoes what C Elam said.

4/30/2006 02:39:00 AM  
Blogger J'onn J'onzz, Martian Manhunter said...

True or false: Grant Morrison was on drugs/drinking when he wrote Doom Patrol to relate to the characters.

4/30/2006 12:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Omar Karindu said...

True or False: Steve Ditko left Amazing Spider-Man (and Marvel) because of a dispute with Stan Lee over the Green Goblin's real identity.

5/01/2006 01:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Ted Watson said...

Sorry I took so long in getting back here to post this reply.

Jack Kirby resigning voluntarily from DC as writer and editor but continuing to pencil the same features freelance, AFTER getting the same autonomous deal with Marvel? (Put Kirby into GCD's search engine as a writer, by year, and you'll see how his last DC credits overlap his first editor/writer/artist work for Marvel. Speaking of that, C. Elam's statement that his first Captain America back at Marvel, dated January 1976, is "well before the advent of DC's 'story editors'" is wrong. That's also the cover date of "his" Kobra #1, which, as I recall, has such a credit.) Not likely. A much more plausible scenario is that he was working well ahead of deadline on the interiors but not sending anything in to DC HQ until it was more or less due, then upon getting word that his autonomy was history sent in EVERYTHING he had and called up Marvel, who were glad to get him back. There would have been so much material that DC couldn't change the earliest issues much and still use the later stuff, so his writer's credit outlived his editor's. As soon as they had the logistical leeway to significantly rework his stories, he lost that one, too (according to this theory). Fits all the facts known to me (including that HIS own inkers continued to finish the pages) and sounds much more probable. Sorry, but I'm still not convinced.

5/05/2006 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger C. Elam said...

Ted :

KOBRA #1 was in inventory and GCD lists Gerry Conway as the editor(NOT "story editor", though I'll admit they could have listed him as something along those lines - I'd prefer it if you would check the comic itself). I don't have a copy so I can't double-check. It is cover-dated Feb.-Mar. 1976. As I said previously, there are other Kirby books that were not continued (dumped in FIRST ISSUE SPECIAL) or just never published, such as the second and third issues of a DINGBATS OF DANGER STREET series.

The last comics from DC with Kirby's editor credit are OMAC #8 (Nov.-Dec. 1975) and OUR FIGHTING FORCES #162 (Dec. 1975). If there are others, someone will certainly know. His last KAMANDI as editor was #33 (Sept. 1975). He was replaced by Gerry Conway.

The first "story editor" credits appear in DC books with early 1977 coverdates (definitely February, possibly January). Gerry Conway was never a "story editor" - it was a short-lived position at any rate.

If you're really curious, the GCD does note most DC books which have a story editor credit. I'm pretty sure that job title was history by 1978 anyway.

The overlap you note is due to the leadtime involved and Kirby's considerable production abilities. If my casual research is any indication, he pencilled RICHARD DRAGON, KUNG-FU FIGHTER #3 because the book was extremely late.

Jack pencilled SILVER SURFER #18 despite losing control of the character to Lee's vision. He pencilled SANDMAN #1 and then skipped the next two issues before returning to the book. I'm not sure why it's a stretch that he would pencil features that he gave up writing. It's all about money, my friend. Kirby was under a contract and trying to make a living.

Now, if Kirby had stayed at DC, things would possibly have been different. But really, who knows? Jenette Kahn replaced Carmine Infantino shortly afterward and she might have granted Kirby the autonomy he desired. It's all conjecture. I'm just trying to tell you you're barking up the wrong tree with this story editor business because the chronology is way off. The DC Timeline I linked in my last post lays that out pretty plainly.

5/08/2006 12:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Ted Watson said...

To C. Elam:

The GCD is not that good a source of information. I've been trying to correct much of it--directly out of what little I still own of my once sizable collection, mind you--but they are resistant to posting changes, no matter that they are irrefutably documented. For instance, I have told them twice that Adrienne Roy is explicitly credited in the inside back cover of all four issues of DC's Deluxe mini "Wrath of the Spectre" as colorist of every story reprinted therein, but so far her name has been put up only on #2. They also date First Issue Special as running from April '75 to April '76, and as I clearly recall Kirby's offerings therein turning up in early issues--his Atlas was in #1, for instance--if true this would contradict your claim that DC was throwing leftover Kirby inventory into it after his departure (Please don't say that's not what you meant, as there's no other reason for you to have brought it up). As for the timeline of your link, they date the DC/Marvel collaboration Oz tabloid to Nov. 75, and the first Supes/Spidey one to the following April, but those of us who were following comics at the time know the heroes' team-up came out first, as I posted on the edition of this blog about the OZ tab, and nobody disputed it. They make a BIG point of saying that the "story editor" arrangement at DC came to an end as of October '77 cover dates, but don't make so much as the slightest implication as to when it started. You wrote, "The overlap you note is due to the leadtime involved and Kirby's considerable production abilities." In other words, you concede the accuracy of my speculation that he was working well ahead of deadline. Your examples of other comics he drew for other editors and/or writers are not analogous. He had been editing, writing, and pencilling Kamandi, as well as being in control of its inkers (the same guys who would ink his autonomously produced stuff thereafter at Marvel and later at Pacific), since HE CREATED it several years earlier. Not the same situation, at all. However, I will here suggest an alternative theory, that DC came up with the new regulation once Kirby was gone so they wouldn't lose such control again.

5/08/2006 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger C. Elam said...

Gosh Ted, I'm going to stop replying after this since you clearly already have your mind made up. But anyway :

*Yes, the GCD is big, has errors, and takes time to get updated. I would respectfully submit that it is a huge undertaking and none of these things are surprising. Keep up the submissions, please, because we all need the info.

*My claim is not that ALL of those comics were post-Jack inventory - my claim is that DC had already decided for themselves that those books weren't going to sell, but chose to try it out and see what would happen. The same goes for GREEN TEAM (which we know from CANCELLED COMICS CAVALCADE also had 2 additional issues produced), METAMORPHO (that revival had earlier been promoted as an ongoing), and LADY COP (which apparently dated back to 1973). FIS wasn't a "Get Kirby" series, it was a "let's see if someone buys these books we think are crap" series. And before anyone mentions WARLORD, he premiered in his own title two months later. Sales on FIRST ISSUE SPECIAL #8 had nothing to do with it, so I'm at a loss as to why they chose to debut the series there.

*KOBRA has been established pretty much everywhere as being unfinished when Pasko got it. I gather it was a similar case as the FIS books, but (and this may shock you) I'm not a big Kirby fan and I don't keep up with all these details. All I do know is that Gerry Conway was always a full editor at DC when he was an editor.

*The Oz tabloid came out in 1975, the Superman/Spider-Man team-up in 1976. OZ-WONDERLAND WAR #1 gives the background on this interesting sidenote. Just because no one disputes something you say doesn't mean you aren't wrong. Also, I'm puzzled at to how it relates to your original topic, which was the whole "story editor" business. If you're trying to say that the whole thing is worthless because of what you believe is one error (which isn't one), I'd say that's a weak argument. Especially given the fact that you have attempted to use the GCD to advance your own argument despite the fact that it has errors.

*Could it be that Kirby knew he was leaving when his contract was up? Could it be that DC wanted to continue KAMANDI (which sold pretty well, from what I hear) after he left? Could it be that DC paid him to continue working on the book to ease it through the transition? Could it be that Kirby was a professional and honored his contract until it expired? I'm just throwing out these possibilites.

*I am telling you (because I own a number of books from that era) that the "story editor" credit in the indicia of DC's titles does not appear until 1977 cover-dated books, well into Kirby's short tenure back at Marvel.

*Your "theories" make no sense because DC would have never returned to a writer/editor set-up if that were the case. Yes, Kirby would almost certainly have had to accept an editor had he stayed at DC - I think that has been established elsewhere. But the "story editor" experiment was unrelated and no amount of wishing is going to connect these two events directly. Indirectly, perhaps, but not directly. How could it when there was a regime change at publisher in the interim?

And on that note, I am done. On a personal note, I am amazed that you have managed to question both Mark Evanier's integrity and Jack Kirby's professionalism here, to say nothing of putting words into my mouth. Have a good day.

5/08/2006 07:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Ted Watson said...

I did not in any way, shape or form "question...Jack Kirby's professionalism." That is YOU putting words into my mouth. I never meant to suggest that he walked out on his contract, which is all I can figure you mean here. Indeed, I thought it was obvious that I meant he was informed at contract renewal time that the new contract would not allow him the autonomy he had enjoyed previously, so he didn't re-sign. As far as Mark Evanier is concerned, all I did was doubt his rather general and unsupported statements as they did not jibe with the specific facts at my disposal. To suggest he--or anybody else--is above having any statement he makes questioned on those grounds is absurd. I stand by my statement that Superman/Spider-man I was out before the Oz tab, no matter how many sources to the contrary you can find. (You'd be surprised how many seemingly very professional television reference works have stated that "Lee Ann Meriwether" was one of the actresses to play Catwoman on the 60s Batman TV series. She did so in only the big-screen feature spin-off, and no "Ann," which admittedly is her actual middle name, in her billing as a professional actress, unless maybe in her first few credits right after her reign as Miss America back in the 50s. And THAT is sheer speculation to be fair to those sources, perhaps more so than they deserve) I was there in the 70s, and remember being surprised at OZ as a choice as a follow-up to the meeting of the big two. YOU brought up First Issue Special, not me, and I said before I didn't understand why. Still don't. No one has given me any GOOD, SOLID reason to believe that the close proximity of the end of a situation that DC was reported just a few years later in Comics Journal or Amazing Heroes or Comics Scene or somewhere of the sort as having become uncomfortable with, and the institution of a policy that rendered it an impossibility was a coincidence. And in my most recent post here I DID allow the possibility that the policy was to keep such a situation from happening again. The change in regime is quite consistent with, not in contradiction to, this. That is, the new regime saw what had been going on, and moved to see it wasn't repeated. If the suits were REALLY uncomfortable with Kirby's autonomy, then MAYBE--and only maybe, I admit--it was A factor, but I am NOT saying the only one, in his firing. (It's my understanding that what quickly came to an end, by the way, was the separation of story and art editorial responsibilities which inspired the "story editor" job title, not the editor-can't write-for-his-own-titles policy, and that's the one that's relevant here. THAT appears to have lasted until about the time Roy Thomas arrived from Marvel, c.1980. Maybe these two weren't started simultaneously, either, just within a few months.) I don't see that *I* am the person with a closed mind here. And if you choose to not respond given all the new material here (especially the fact that we've both been wrong to focus on the story editor title), I'll be certain.

5/09/2006 04:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Scott Rowland said...

Ted said "Yes, DC cancelled a good many titles during that period, but did any other single creator have only one series go beyond 16 issues, and most not make double digits?"

Kirby had two series go beyond 16 issues while he was there -- Mister Miracle (18) and Kamandi (~40 with Kirby involvement, 59 total). The only DC books launched in that same time frame that lasted longer than Kamandi that I can think of were Ghosts and Weird War Tales, which did not have regular teams (although Leo Dorfman was the regular writer on Ghosts for a long time, the art teams varied). So my response would be did any single creator have any DC series that made it to 16 issues in the same period (i.e., launched during Infantino's reign as publisher)?

Oh, just remembered Warlord, which started later than most of the books I was thinking of, but lasted for much longer.

5/10/2006 02:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Scott Rowland said...

Oh, and as far as the can't be your own editor rule, that actually lasted a couple of years into the 1980's. The first two years or so of All-Star Squadron and Arak are not edited by Roy, although I think he was probably given more editorial deference than a novice writer would be.

Eventually, DC started giving editorship to creators handling their own creations (Arak to Thomas, Firestorm to Conway) or to creators strongly associated with them (Cary Bates got the Flash editorship, I think Michael Fleisher got the Jonah Hex editorship, Mike Barr got Batman and the Outsiders, Wolfman and Perez got New Teen Titans, Thomas got All-Star Squadron).

5/10/2006 02:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Ted Watson said...

I started a reply on Wednesday, but wasn't very far along when I saw the time and had to quit, and on Thursdays its too difficult to get into this blog, as its not linked on the "Comics Should Be Good" main page. But I'm here now. Before I answer Scott Rowland, some more things about C. Elam have come to mind.
He started, "I'm going to stop replying after this since you clearly already have your mind made up. But anyway...." and follows this with a lengthly posting, which is a contradiction in terms. If he truly was certain he was wasting his time, he shouldn't have gone any further, but to do so with those new charges of questioning Mark Evanier's integrity--when he hadn't been mentioned in a while anyway, so if Elam believed that, why hadn't he said so earlier?--and Jack Kirby's professionalism and therefore no intention of defending or withdrawing them after my responses shows a lack of integrity on his part, IMO. Still have no idea why he brought up First Issue Special, but take another look at his comments on it that last time, and you'll see that if it has any relevance to the theory under discussion, it supports it as further examples of unsuccessful "crap" (Elam's word) from Kirby in the eyes of the powers that be at DC. As far as the claim that DC returning to the editor/writer set up means they had no problem with it, Kirby's situation was different. Others writing for magazines not long thereafter described him as effectively running his own comic book company through DC and then Marvel, aside from the fact that the big two retained ownership of the properties. Nobody's ever had that freedom with company-owned material since (the subsequent rise of creator ownership is something quite different, of course). I did in fact back down and admit that maybe it was an after-the-fact move to keep such a situation from occurring again, rather than being designed to make Kirby quit, proving that I was not beyond changing my position, but Elam never acknowledged that. Indeed, he wrote, "Indirectly, perhaps, but not directly," as if I had not already so allowed. So I ask again, whose mind was closed?

To Scott Rowland: The issue here is not about "launching" a new book, or how long it lasted through various hands, but how long any given project lasted under one person's control, whether they initiated it or not. And again, none had Kirby's relative autonomy.

Over all: I freely admit I went too far in flatly saying the then-new "editor can't write his own comic" policy was designed to make Kirby quit, but still say it was no coincidence.

5/12/2006 02:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Scott Rowland said...

Ted said "The issue here is not about "launching" a new book, or how long it lasted through various hands, but how long any given project lasted under one person's control, whether they initiated it or not. And again, none had Kirby's relative autonomy."

I'm afraid I'm not understanding how the first of your comments I referred to relates to this point. Specifically, "did any other single creator have only one series go beyond 16 issues, and most not make double digits?"

What projects and creators would you would use as an example of a creator who did have more than one series go beyond 16 issues and most make double digits under one person's control whether they had Kirby's autonomy* or not? In other words, who do you think had a better record than Kirby, with Kamandi at 40, Mister Miracle at 18 and Demon at 16?




*Not really a term I would use to describe Kirby's editorial duties at DC in the 1970s. He was still micromanaged by upper management - witness the perception that they needed to have someone put Superman more on model, or the number of books they greenlighted and then backed away from.

5/14/2006 08:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Ted Watson said...

Assuming what's "not really a term I would use" toward Kirby is autonomous, I repeat that some magazine covering the comic industry described Kirby's then situation not many years after the fact as virtually running his own company out of his studio, and that might be the exact words. I liquidated much of my collection, including the vast majority of those mags, in preparation for a cross-country move in early 1994, so can't cite the specific publication it appeared in, but IT DID. This is not MY interpretation. His situation WAS unique, making his failures more noticable as being his, even IF he had no more than others. However, Scott, I DO give you credit for acknowledging the fact that I attributed autonomy to him, which is more than can be said for Evanier or Elam.

5/15/2006 04:29:00 PM  

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