The Jack Kirby interview…
Above: Jack Kirby’s Thor and Captain America.
THE COMICS JOURNAL has posted Gary Groth’s interview with Jack Kirby. The interview first appeared in print in THE COMICS JOURNAL #134 (February 1990). I have a good chunk of the recorded audio interview on two c.d.’s. The second c.d. ends when Kirby says: "Stan Lee was a pest."
GROTH: Stan [Lee] pretty much takes credit in an introduction to one of his books for creating all the characters in The Fantastic Four. He also said he created the name.
KIRBY: No, he didn’t.
Some of Jack Kirby’s comments contradict things that Stan Lee and Steve Ditko have stated concerning the creation of some of Marvel’s characters. (This isn’t new news, of course.) Still, this remains a very interesting interview.
Jack Kirby’s statements about the creation of Marvel’s Spider-man even contradicts some of things that I’ve researched in "Who Really Created Spider-Man?". Lisa Kirby (Jack Kirby’s daughter) once told me: "I'm afraid I have no information for you regarding the creation of Spiderman. I am aware of the controversy surrounding his origin. Neither one of my parents ever mentioned that my father created him, in fact I have heard my mother correcting people if they alluded to that fact."
Also, here’s a little story as told by John Byrne concerning the creation of the Fantastic Four (I can’t seem to find the direct link at the John Byrne Forum):
When Roger Stern started working as an editor at Marvel he was, of course, given a desk. He soon discovered it was Stan’s old desk, which had been recycled into general use. From this desk Roger got two things, left behind by Stan. One was what Roger calls "Stan Lee's Magic Thesaurus". The other was an ancient copy of Stan’s written plot for FANTASTIC FOUR 1. Roy Thomas even referenced this item in at least one of his ALTER EGO pieces.
Above: Jack Kirby’s MISTER MIRACLE.
I am a huge fan of the works by both Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. Without these two fellas, comics would not be what they are today. Comic books might not even still be in existence if not for the efforts of Stan and Jack.
Being a comic book artist, I’ve come to be heavily influenced by Jack Kirby’s powerful artwork and storytelling. I don’t have to tell you how important Jack Kirby is to the comic book industry. I don’t have to tell you that Marvel Comics would not be the powerhouse it is today, or may not even be in existence, if not for the contributions of Kirby.
It’s clear that great tragedies were done to Jack Kirby. Hopefully, one day, the comic book industry will learn its lesson.