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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #157

This is the one-hundred and fifty-seventh 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 one-hundred and fifty-six. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject.

Let’s begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Johnny Carson apologized to Jack Kirby on the air of the Tonight Show after insulting Kirby on the show

STATUS: True

Reader Ken Holtzhouser asked me about this one the other day, noting that it had been bugging him for years after he recalled seeing, years ago, Carson apologize to Kirby on the air.

The story is a rather odd one, but it ultimately had a good ending.

I wrote a few years back about Kirby’s involvement in one of the great comic book disasters, the launch of Harvey’s 3-D comic, Captain 3-D.

Years later, in 1982, Kirby drew another 3-D comic, along with the great Ray Zone – it was called Battle of the Third-Dimensional World.

Along with the comic, they included 3-D glasses that had on them “Jack Kirby, King of the Comics.” (click on the glasses to enlarge the image)

Well, at some point the year, Johnny Carson did a bit involving the glasses, and it soon turned into a riff on the tagline on the glasses.

Carson was quite put off that this Kirby guy was calling himself the “King of the Comics” when he had not even heard of him. Carson asked Ed McMahon if he had heard o him. No, Ed, said. The bit went on for awhile, with Carson ripping Kirby the whole time.

Well, as you might imagine, Kirby was quite displeased about this whole thing. So displeased, that he even got a lawyer involved.

Ultimately, things were resolved amicably, with Carson devoting time in his show to apologizing to Kirby for his mistaken comments.

I’m a bit uncertain about some of the specifics of the situation. Mark Evanier has described the situation on his website in the past here suggesting that lawyers never actually got directly involved, but I am pretty sure that a lawyer WAS involved – unless the situation Evanier is describing in the above linked story is somehow a different friend of his that was accidentally insulted by Carson. Hopefully, Mark will stop by and clear it up for us – but the main gist of the story is straightforward – Carson accidentally thought Kirby was making claims Kirby was not making, so he ripped Kirby – Kirby got mad, Carson apologized.

Pretty trippy, huh?

Two “Kings” going at it – the King of Late Night and the King of Comics!!

Thanks to Ken Holtzhouser for the question, Mark Evanier for the information and Jeff Sharpe for the scan of the glasses!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: The Blackhawks were inspired by the Flying Tigers

STATUS: Most Likely False

A few years back, I featured the story of Bert Christman, a comic book artist who did a feature about volunteer pilots who later went on to be a volunteer pilot himself, as a member of the legendary “Flying Tiger” pilots of the early 1940s – who fought volunteer missions for China during World War II.

Reader Shane Williams asked:

Were the Blackhawks based on the real life ‘Flying Tigers’

As far as I can tell, Shane, no, no they were not.

First off, the dates are off a bit – the Flying Tigers began forming in the late 1940s, but were not in the form that drew them the most amount of fame until after Military Comics #1 was released in early Summer of 1941 – the first appearance of the Blackhawks.

The Flying Tigers’ first official mission was not until December of 1941.

However, it is still possible that, since recruiting for the group had started before they actually went into battle, that the creators of the Blackhawks, Will Eisner, Chuck Cuidera and Bob Powell were inspired by the recruited group and specifically their fellow comic artist, Christman.

That said, two things stand out…

1. Christman did not leave for the Flying Tigers until the Summer of 1941, likely too late to inspire the creation of a book that was published in early Summer, 1941

and

2. The creators of the comic, specifically Cuidera, have been very open with the origins of the Blackhawks, even explaining other works that directly influenced the creation of the Blackhawks, and none of them ever addressed Christman or the Flying Tigers as an influence.

So I’m going with a most likely no, the Blackhawks were not inspired by the Flying Tigers.

Thanks to Shane for the question, Mark Evanier (for providing the transcription of a panel where the creation of the Blackhawks was discussed) and finally, Andred Glaess, for his piece about Christman on his website about the aviators of World War II here.

For fun, check out the history of the Flying Tigers here.

And check out this picture of a member of the group…named Bill Reed!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: The inker “Crusty Bunkers” was really a group of artists.

STATUS: True

Reader Sparky MacMillan sent me an e-mail awhile back:

Back in the 70s when I first got into collecting comics (rather than casually reading), I started to become aware of the artists and writers credited in the books and associate them with good/bad art/writing, allowing me to make future decisions about purchases based on who the creative team was. However, I ran a cross a name than perplexed me: Crusty Bunkers. He apparently was an inker at Marvel, although his inks seemed wildly erratic. It was later that a friend told me that Crusty wasn’t just one guy but a bunch of guys. In fact “Crusty Bunkers” was the alias of a group of artists Marvel would call in to ink a book when it was late or the regular inker fell through. I was told Neal Adams was the ringleader and his associates in Bunker fame varied depending on whoever was available. I have never been able to verify this.

So, my question ultimately would be “Who is Crusty Bunkers?”

I’d be glad to help you out, Sparky – your friend is, indeed, correct!

Crusty Bunker was a name that was used for a group of artists, organized by Neal Adams, that would pitch in together to get projects done by working together as a team – very much like John Romita’s famous “Romita’s Raiders.”

John Mundt, on his LiveJournal, devoted a whole MONTH to Crusty Bunker, and here is all the names he could find who were Crusty Bunker:

The names of those who once contributed to inking as Crusty Bunker reads like a Who’s Who of comic book history. In their ranks are master illustrators, classic embellishers, inventive creators, brilliant writers, innovative editors, amazing publishers, and many, many artists who are so famous that they are often known simply by just their last name. Still, as you read this list (which is just below), try to look past all of that. Try to see these people as a community of friends. Imagine them thirty-five years younger, working side by side into the wee hours of the morning as they struggle to meet a deadline. Think about how one may have helped another, who then influenced another, who inspired another, who challenged yet another. These legends are, ultimately, just people…and that makes their collaboration as Crusty Bunker, and their subsequent groundbreaking work, all the more remarkable. Here, then, to the best of my research, are as many of the names behind the name as I could find –

The Crusty Bunkers

Jack Abel, Neal Adams, Vicente Alcazar, Sal Amendola, Steven Austin, Terry Austin, Joe Barney, Rick Basile, Pat Bastienne, Pat Broderick, Joe Brozowski, Frank Brunner, Rick Bryant, Rich Buckler, Frank Cirocco, Howard Chaykin, Dave Cockrum, Mike Collins, Denys Cowan, Ed Davis, Joe D’Esposito, Karin Dougherty, Steve Engelhart, John Fuller, Dick Giordano, Dan Green, Larry Hama, Steve Harper, Russ Heath, Klaus Janson, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Michael Wm. Kaluta, Paul Kirchner, Alan Kupperberg, Carl Lundgren, Estaban Maroto, Gary Martin, Bob McLeod, Al Milgrom, Steve Mitchell, Yong Montano, Tim Moriarity, Gray Morrow, Mike Nasser/Michael Netzer, Bruce Patterson, Carl Potts, Ralph Reese, Mark Rice, Marshall Rogers, Josef Rubinstein, Walter Simonson, Jim Sherman, Mary Skrenes, Bob Smith, Jim Starlin, Greg Theakston, Trevor von Eeden, Alan Weiss, Bob Wiacek, Gary Winnick, and Berni Wrightson.

Click here to read more about the Crusty Bunkers, courtesy of Mr. Mundt’s fabulous LiveJournal.

The Crusty Bunkers started in 1972 and were basically done by 1977.

Here is the first comic “Mr. Bunker” ever inked, Weird Worlds #2…

Also via John is Michael Netzer on how the “man” got his name:

As I remember, the name is based on something Neal heard one of his kids saying, such as, “You crusty bunker…” or some such phrase which Neal latched onto and later used as a name for the group… as he’s known to do at times. Other such examples of word plays with Neal include his attempt to overcome the pain of a toothache without pills; “Transcending dental medication”… and the famous “Sliding down the razor blade of life.” Which is still heard sometimes when Neal talks about the precarious human condition.

Thanks to Sparky MacMillan for the question and thanks especially to John Mundt (and Michael Netzer – whose website can be found here) for the information!

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comic Book Database for this week’s covers!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com.

See you next week!

73 Comments

There were other versions of ‘Crusty Bunkers’ as well. I recall inking credits for M.Hands (The M is for Many), and I think there was a Manny Hands as well.

Interesting tale on Carson vs Kirby that I’ve never heard. Kirby could certainly be ornery, especially if his talent was questioned. Although I’m sure to get “stretched-over-the-rack” for this statement, Kirby was quick to sign a contract, often choosing to rock the boat afterwards. Case in point – his choosing not to pay the royalties contractually due to his editor for the Sky-Masters newspaper strip, culminating in a court case, which The King promptly lost. Kirby knew he was “The King”, and expected to be treated as such. Nearly all of his employment periods ended with a disgruntled walk-off, due to some type of financial dispute.

Personally, although I enjoyed Krby’s golden and early silver age work enough (especially the GA Captain America, Sandman, Green Arrow and of course the 60’s Fantastic Four), it wasn’t until his “modern” Captain America series, The Eternals and The New Gods that I learned to appreciate him. However, we all need to agree that “The King” could be criminally careless. The fact that so many issues included significant costume alterations between panels would suggest perhaps editors might have been a little afraid of approaching Kirby as well. Let’s face it, a hero that wears a domino mask and a high-collared cape in one panel, to a hooded cowl with no collar in another was not something that was “missed” during editing.

Although it seems sacriligious to view Kirby in any kind of negative light, I would also suggest Kirby may have never reached super-star status without Stan Lee’s writing and PR skills to back him in the early days of Marvel. Kirby had been around for decades before, but he didn’t become a household name until the quirky, real-world approach to these new Marvel superheroes became a cultural phenonema, and a lot of that was due to Lee’s charasma and tireless public relations to make the Matvel Universe mainstream. Speaking from experience, it was NOT cool to bring a stack of comics to school in the mid-sixties until Stan began appearing at colleges promoting the Marvel Superheroes. It was then WAY cool to walk around with a rolled up copy of Silver Surfer #1 in your back pocket.

Regardless, the legendary status of Jack Kirby is well deserved. I just can’t help but think how bitter Kirby might be today, seeing Iron Man, The X-Men, The Hulk and The Fantastic Four finally reach a marketing pinnacle never imagined and his not getting the majority of the pie.

Random Stranger

May 30, 2008 at 6:37 am

Kirby also drew a short “make-up” story for Carson as well which featured Johnny and Ed as comic “supervillains” along with Superman and Batman. Some pictures from it can be found in The Jack Kirby Collector #11 (which is in volume 2 of The Collected Jack Kirby Collector).

There was also a “D. Hands” (D for Diverse)…

Speaking of pseudonyms, I picked up the recent Essential Spider-Woman TPB, which has a writing credit for “John Wilburn”, a name I never saw anywhere else. Is that an alias for someone else?

I’ve also seen the “M” stand for “Minny” Hands.

I’ve wondered about “John Wilburn” as well. Especially considering his name used to pop-up on foreign versions of Marvel books (La Spine, et Les Vengers), though not necessarily in the originals. I know there was a John Wilburn on staff at the Houston Chronicle, but I don’t know if there was any relation.

SanctumSanctorumComix

May 30, 2008 at 7:07 am

Of course, a similar, yet much SMALLER “team” of artists is: “GEMINI”.
That’s Jim Starlin & Al Milgrom.
“JIM and I”

~P~
P-TOR

One element of the Carson/Kirby thing that isn’t mentioned:
Apparently, Carson’s take was based on misinterpreting “King of the Comics.” Carson assumed “comics” was meant in the connotation of stand-up comics, comedians, “funnymen,” etc. And Carson, of course, knew *that* community intimately, and knew this “Jack Kirby” guy wasn’t part of it. To understand Carson’s original reaction, I think it helps to imagine him running across these 3-D glasses referring to “Jack Kirby, King of Late Night,” instead of “King of the Comics.”

Good call, suedenim. I didn’t understand why Carson would have been upset over Kirby being “The King of Comics”, but your explanation clears the fog. Carson could be as proprietary of being on top of his “comic” world as Kirby was of his.

“First off, the dates are off a bit – the Flying Tigers began forming in the late 1940s, but were not in the form that drew them the most amount of fame until after Military Comics #1 was released in early Summer of 1941 – the first appearance of the Blackhawks.”

Based on context, I think you meant to write “began forming in the late 1930s”

IIRC, Caron’s exact line was “King of the Comics? King of the Con Men!” Along with the claim (again thinking it involved comedians, not comic books), I think Johnny was also put off that someone “designed” a pair of 3-D glasses that looked like all the other 3-D glasses that had been around for at least 30 years.

His full apology was reprinted in the Comic Buys Guide a few weeks later.

Great legends this week. How did Johnny wind up with a pair of the glasses in the first place?? That wasn’t a widely distributed comic book!

And wasn’t there was another group of inkers called “The Tribe”?

Evanier confirms in his blog that the Kirby situation did escalate to a lawsuit

http://www.newsfromme.com/archives/2006_07_11.html#011733

But judging from the other entry, it sounds like Evanier managed to talk everyone down from the ledge and Carson and his producer Fred DeCordova proved to be stand-up guys as well.

If memory serves, Carson got hold of the glasses because an LA station bought up the surplus pairs to distribute through local stores as part of a 3D film festival or some such. I would also add, as an aside to Fantome, that Kirby (as part of Simon &) was the first Golden Age artist to receive cover billing *as a selling point* so the idea that he needed Stan to make him a star is a tad silly.

And weren’t they originally called “The Singing Sons of the Crusty Bunkers”?

Scott Rowland

May 30, 2008 at 9:26 am

Good column. I especially appreciate the list of the Crusty Bunkers.

You do have a typo in the Kirby item, though: “it was called Battle of the Third-Dimensional World.”

The cover says “Battle for a Three Dimensional World.”

“Byrne Robotics” also provided backgrounds and inks for several John Byrne projects, when extra helping hands pitched in.

PowerBook Pete

May 30, 2008 at 9:48 am

I saw Carson ripping on Kirby the night it originally aired. Suedenim and Ken S are correct.

Was Carson’s bit on his show done in a jokey ‘how dare he’ way or was he really serious about it?

Even if he got hold of the glasses from the LA station the fact it has comic images on it should lead you to think it refered to comic books and not stand up comics I would have thought.

Not a star, Cei-U, but a “Super-Star”. I’ll have to stick by my opinion that Kirby would not have been a house-hold name without Stan. Kirby was certainly known to industry insiders and what passed as “funny book fans” before The Fantastic Four, but even an avid reader such as I was back then, took little notice of the credits.

Lee made it a point to familiarize his fans with the “Bullpen”, including the creators and office staff in the majority of his Bullpen Bulletins. The large call-outs on the early Marvel spash pages for Jack “The King” Kirby”, Roy “The Boy” Thomas, etc was a huge boon towards identifying the creators as well.

I’m certainly not giving all the credit to Stan. The “Marvel Method” of giving an artist a synopsis of the basic plot, having the artist work out the storyline in panels, and finally having the writer fill out the word balloons, no doubt solidifies the understanding that Marvel artists contributed as much to the actual writing of these stories as the actual writers themselves. I would only suggest you consider where the industry would have gone without Lee’s hype, promotion and vision.

In closing, let me add that I was not a fan of most of Lee’s later writing, finding it to be very corny, almost a parody of his earlier work. However, the same can be said of Kirby, once he was credited as a writer. Let’s face it, Jimmy Olsen, The Forever People, Mister Miracle, Captain Victory and Silver Star was simplistic, comedic and pales in comparison to the twists and turns of the early Atlas/Marvel monster stories, the Fantastic Four and Thor. Granny Goodness aside, only The News Gods and The Eternals seemed to escape Kirby’s tongue and cheek writing.

You know, the story about Jack Kirby is even more interesting when you recall, as I recently read or heard Mark Evanier relate, that Kirby sort of took on the nickname as a joke, making fun of a publisher or editor he worked for at the start of his career (whose name escapes me at the moment) . The publisher or editor, according to the story, used to pace back and forth between the rows of artists in his studio, including the young Kirby, saying something to the effect of “I’m king of the comics!” So Kirby and his friend, a fellow studio artist, would later imitate the boss and call each other “king of the comics” as a joke. The name stuck and Kirby reluctantly adopted it over the years. Something along those lines.

So for Kirby to get so insulted about being mocked for making the claim that he was “king of the comics” is really pretty ironic, when you know the full background. Hopefully Mark Evanier or another knowledgeable person can make an appearance and fill in the details.

Curses! You’ve discovered my true origin!

The impression I got (maybe PowerBook Pete can confirm or deny?) was that the 3-D glasses were probably a prop for some unrelated desk bit that required 3-D glasses of some sort. The Tonight Show prop guys looked around, came up with those, Carson noticed the text while handling them, and went into an impromptu riff about it.

Alternatively, around this time some 3-D broadcasts of old movies started popping up on local stations, often with considerable promotion and even ratings. In Washington, “Revenge of the Creature” and “Gorilla at Large” were shown, and the local ABC affiliate even pre-empted prime-time programming to show an odd Chinese martial arts flick called “Dynasty”, in an apparent attempt to tie in with the then-hot *Dynasty* prime-time soap opera.

So Carson might have been riffing off that vaguely newsworthy “3-D is back” development, too.

“Sliding down the razor blade of life.”

That’s from a Tom Lehrer song; “Bright College Days,” IIRC

Mr. Kirby filed a lawsuit against Mr. Carson. Mr. Carson paid a sum of cash to Mr. Kirby in apology. That was, by the way and in spite of rumors that Kirby once sued Marvel, the only lawsuit I believe Kirby ever filed in his life.

I’ve showed clips of Carson’s insult and of his apology on two separate Jack Kirby panels at the Comic-Con in San Diego and we even had Jack’s lawyer on one of those panels to talk about it. I think The Jack Kirby Collector printed transcripts.

The whole point was that Johnny Carson got confused. He was criticizing a local (Los Angeles) TV station for charging kids to buy 3-D glasses to watch a movie that was being broadcast. He was given a pair of 3-D glasses to use as a prop in his monologue and he thought those were the glasses being sold in conjunction with that movie promotion. They weren’t. They were the glasses Jack designed for the comic book and poster project. Johnny made a very nice apology.

The person who thinks Jack reneged on the deal with Sky Masters doesn’t know the whole story. I think Jack made a bad move there but it was not out of dishonesty. He was actually being cheated by his partners on that project. As for Jack being quick to sign a contract, then “rock the boat,” I can’t think of another incident in his career where that could have been true. For one thing, Jack usually worked (to his detriment) with people who refused to commit the terms of a working arrangement to a contract. I also disagree with him about Jack’s later writing but that’s just a matter of different tastes.

To go along with the inking alias….isn’t there a name that writers use when they put out a crap story and don’t want their name attached to it? Something similar in movies, I believe. Any notable instances?

In many of the credits I’ve seen, Adam’s inking team was credited as THE Crusty Bunkers, basically giving away the “secret” that a group of people was involved.

I’ve also seen credits to “the Sons of the Crusty Bunkers”.

Mark, “signing a contract” and rocking the boat was not to imply a physical contract per se, merely implication that Mr. Kirby chose to work for these publishers, but appeared to always leave due to financial disputes. The “contract” being any contract an employee has with his employer. I’m not disrespecting Kirby, as I’ve done the same in my career. You take a job, do well at it, realize you probably should have asked for better compensation, are denied an increase, and move on. In most industries, you can’t keep going back-and-forth between employers before you’re permenately blacklisted. Please correct me if you know better and I’ll certainly step back to your more knowledgable facts on these events. Case in point, however:

Kirby left Timely for National Comics when they wouldn’t give him more money.
Kirby left National for Marvel, due to the Jack Schiff Sky Masters royalties.
(Kirby alienates partner Joe Simon, by siding with Marvel after Simon’s attempt to copyright Captain America in his own name).
Kirby leaves for DC, reportedly due to Stan Lee becoming a media darling and overshadowing his own contributions.
DC gives Kirby a 3 year contract promising full control, but he leaves for Marvel when sales and the resulting compensation of ‘The Fourth World” don’t meet expectations.
Kirby leaves Marvel, disgruntled over his employment benefits.

Add the jaunts in the advertising, animation and freelance worlds and The King, long lived as he was, certainly appeared unhappy and dissatified during the majotity of his career.

friedbuffaloboy

May 30, 2008 at 12:05 pm

garbonzo: Are you thinking of “Alan Smithee”?

I remember seeing both the “‘King of the Comics? King of the Con Men!'” show and the subsequent on-air apology, in which Carson credited Mark Evanier with giving him the heads-up on what type of comic Kirby was king of.

On the subject of Alan Smithee-like pseudonyms in comics, there was an issue of “Green Lantern” back around 1984-85 that was completely rewritten after it had been drawn and scheduled. The writer credit on the published issue was “Noel Naive.”
Also, there was an inker credit on John Byrne’s “Fantastic Four” #232: “Bjorn Heyn.” Which is, of course, an anagram of “John Byrne.” Byrne’s “Amazing Heroes” cover announcing his taking over the book is even signed “Byrne-Heyn.”

Noel Naive was used for the Joey Cavalieri rewrite of a Snyder script, as Robin
Snyder had his name removed because of the extensive revision to his original script, Green Lantern #171.

I have always wondered about the possibly pseudonymous writer between the Gerry Conway and J.M. DeMatteis runs on the original JLofA. Can’t recall that name.

…Actually, I’m surprised nobody brought up Claire Chennault’s “International Squadron” which *was* in action prior to Blackhawks and somewhat well-known.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claire_Lee_Chennault

Military career
Chennault attended Louisiana State University between 1909 and 1910 and received ROTC training (Claire). He learned to fly in the Army during World War I and became Chief of Pursuit Training from the US Army Air Corps in the 1930s. Poor health and disputes with superiors led Chennault to resign from the service in 1937. He then joined a small group of American civilians training Chinese airmen and served as “air adviser” to Kuomintang (KMT) leader Chiang Kai-shek and his wife, Soong Mei-ling, during the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). Chennault participated in planning operations and observed the Chinese Air Force in combat from a Curtiss Hawk 75). In this period, he would organize the International Squadron.

(OM Note: The “International Squadron” does not have a Wikipedia article for it, but is *NOT* Boyington’s “Black Sheep Squadron” as some historical reports have stated. Much of this misconception occurred as a result of the Robert Conrad “Baa Baa Black Sheep” series in the late 70’s)

Flying Tigers
Chennault’s 1st American Volunteer Group (AVG) — better known as the “Flying Tigers” — began training in August 1941 and fought the Japanese for six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Chennault’s three squadrons used P-40s and his tactics of “defensive pursuit” to guard the Burma Road, Rangoon and other strategic locations in Southeast Asia and western China against Japanese forces. Chennault made a great contribution by training the first-generation Chinese fighter pilots.

…So, with all respect to Mark Evanier, while the “Flying Tigers” might not have been an inspiration for the Blackhawks, the “International Squadron” was a better candidate, having been around at least three years prior.

…On a side note, one other inspirational candidate *might* have been the organization depicted in the 1936 classicThings To Come, which was called “Wings Over The World”, and was depicted as being a group representing no nationalities whatsoever – despite having no asians, blacks, hispanics or anyone that wasn’t a WASP on the team! Still, the concept is similar, albeit not the same. I can’t see the ‘Hakws using a “Gas of Peace” when strafing with a pair of .50 caliber Brownings is much more fun!

Speaking of pseudonyms, does anybody know who “J.D. Finn” in Action Comics #824 and 825 turned out to be? Chuck Austen has denied it was him, but thinks it might be Eddie Berganza (the editor). I’d like to add the real credit to the GCD record if it’s been revealed.

I once heard that the mysterious leader in the Team Titans comic book was initially meant to be Danny Chase from the Teen Titans. Then in Zero Hour they decided that it had been Monarch the whole time. Is this true?

Comparing the respective works of the Lee/Kirby team with their solo efforts later on always brings to mind how Lennon and McCartney seemed to produce solo works I enjoyed, but not near as much as when they were in The Beatles.

The truth about the Crusty Bunkers alias was never much of a secret. I ran across them fairly early in my comic reading years and recall it being spelled out that it was a pseudonym for a group, either in one of Marvel’s letters pages or one of the bigger fan press rags at the time.

Also, in addition to M. Hands, D. (for Diverse) Hands was also frequently used.

Yup. There never was a Mr. Crusty Bunkers. Later on, it might have sometimes been shortened from “the Crusty Bunkers” to just “Crusty Bunkers” or “C. Bunkers” out of familiarity (and space considerations), but I think you’d have had to be a bit inattentive not to catch that it was a group of people.

And I always did wonder who they were. And now I do! Cheers.

"O" the Humanatee!

May 30, 2008 at 4:13 pm

“There were other versions of ‘Crusty Bunkers’ as well. I recall inking credits for M.Hands (The M is for Many), and I think there was a Manny Hands as well.”

Just for clarification: M. Hands, D. Hands, etc. were “versions” of the Crusty Bunkers only in the sense that they were multiple inkers credited as a group. The Bunkers, I’m pretty sure, were basically members of and hangers-on at the company that Neal Adams and Dick Giordano had at that time. (I don’t think there were any Crusty Bunkers jobs in which Adams and/or Giordano didn’t do some of the work.) While some of the Bunkers might also occasionally have been part of a group credited as “M. Hands” and the like, in my recollection as someone who used to like playing “spot the inker,” the M. Hands-type credits usually applied to a rather different set of players. (Also, I seem to recall seeing the “Hands” credits only on Marvel books, but I could be wrong about that.)

The Tribe were a group of (mostly?) Filipino artists centered around Tony De Zuniga, in the same way that the Bunkers centered around Adams and Giordano.

Also – and I think this has come up in past “Urban Legends” – Steve Englehart used the pseudonym “John Harkness” on several stories where he felt the editing butchered his original script.

Steve Replogle

May 30, 2008 at 4:18 pm

Craig B. wrote, above:
You know, the story about Jack Kirby is even more interesting when you recall, as I recently read or heard Mark Evanier relate, that Kirby sort of took on the nickname as a joke…the name stuck and Kirby reluctantly adopted it over the years… So for Kirby to get so insulted about being mocked for making the claim that he was “king of the comics” is really pretty ironic…

Well, Craig, my view of this incident is that Kirby was properly insulted — and yes, legally wronged — by being called BY NAME as “King of the Con-Men.” And in fact, that is the sort of thing that would lead many reasonable people to file a lawsuit.

Steve Replogle, I totally agree that Kirby had cause to be upset at Carson’s misunderstanding and ill-advised comment. I just meant that it’s all pretty funny when he only reluctantly took on the term “King of the Comics” in the first place.

Steve Replogle

May 30, 2008 at 4:58 pm

I’d like to also respond to the writer above who criticized (among many other things ) Jack’s writing.

In Volume Three of The Fourth World Omnibus, novelist Glen David Gold compares Kirby’s writing to Henry James. It’s a good comparison. Stan ‘n’ Jack’s stories were good melodramas. Gold writes: “Their narratives were linear, with well-paced complications and defined resolutions… that make pleasant soap operas.” Gold goes on to write: “But by the time of his DC work, Kirby was old enough to set his aim higher.”

I don’t want to quote (or re-type!) the entire essay here, but it’s a thoughtful piece of literary criticism. Toward the end, Gold points out that Kirby’s writing “suggests that something other than what you’re reading is actually going on.”

That’s one definition of true art — of drama versus melodrama — of poetry, not just poetic moments or characters or resolutions. At DC, and after, Kirby was writing all-ages stories… for grown-ups.

Steve Replogle

May 30, 2008 at 5:14 pm

Oh, and Craig, thanks for clarifying. I wasn’t sure, and thought maybe you were inferring a sort of hypocrisy on Kirby’s part. You’re right, it does have a funny side. The story about Jack’s nickname, by the way, is from the great new book “Kirby: King of Comics” by Mark Evanier, publisher Harry Abrams.

Fantome—

The questions you ask about Kirby’s disenchantment with employers can’t be answered in a few words. Kirby was an old fashioned guy. True that he was in an era where that was the norm, but he expected people to treat him fairly at all times, because that is how he acted. When people outright screwed him, he got mad. When promises were made to him, then never delivered, he got mad. Because his talent was so vast, employers were always hoping to get him to do work for them, so he was always in demand.

On a separate, but related, note (and not just in response to you, but for everybody who reads comics), I think part of reading comics should also be reading about the people and history of the industry. Fanzines used to be the best way to learn about the industry, but most of those have gone away. While I am woefully behind in reading them, I buy Alter Ego, Back Issue, Write Now!, Draw!, and a few other magazines. I have an extensive collection of The Comics Journal, Comics Buyer’s Guide, The Comic Reader, Amazing Heroes, Comics Interview, and a few smaller publications. I am sure I left a few off the list. I also read stuff online about older comics and creators.

And while we’re on the subject of pseudonyms:

* Who the heck was “X”? (The writer of Marvel’s Brotherhood series)
* Who was “J.D. Finn”?
* Was “Irv Wesley” actually Sam Kweskin?
* Was “Paul Laiken” actually Larry Ivie?
* Is it true that Marat Mychaels real name is Marat Ratmanski?

Thanks Brian for answering that Q of the Blackhawks and Flying Tigers. Now I know. Come to think of it, I think it was your earlier piece on Bert Christman that got me thinking in the first place.

comixkid2099, I heard something similar as well.

I’m eager to find out the answers to the post’s of comixkid2099 and Wilbur Lunch.

Just to lazy to Google it myself….wait, that sounds wrong.

The choice of a Polish pilot as the leader of the Blackhawks always seemed inspired by the key part plyed by Polish Airmen in the Battle of Britain the year before. 303 Squadron, based out of RAF Northolt, had the highest number of confirmed kills of any squadron in the Battle, and was composed of veteran pilots from the Polish Air Force.

Yeah, that Kirby was a real “boat rocker”. Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster too! Instead of “rocking the boat” in order to receive credit, compensation, original art, etc. that was RIGHTFULLY THEIRS why couldn’t they just play nice like Bill Finger and die penniless while others profited from their creations, dammit!

i can’t recommend the new “kirby: king of comics” biography enough. i read a good chunk of it last night. so much wonderful art and just an absolutely beautiful book.

i’ve also been reading the recently released “fourth world omnibus” and enjoying it immensely.

i would also recommend godland. while an obvious homage to the king, it is smartly written and wonderfully illustrated and stands on it’s own as an excellent comic book.

thank you for this story. as a kirby neophite, it’s a real pleasure to hear new and interesting stories about the man. what a talent.

Yes, “Irv Wesley” was a pseudonym for Sam Kweskin.

Re; King of the comics/con-men

Given how quickly and sincerely Carson apologized, I would expect a lawsuit over it to get laughed out of court, which is probably why the account of the incident in “The Jack Kirby Collector” made no mention of it.

About that pseudonymous Green Lantern story: Was that the one when the Green Lanterns find out that the Guardians had made but withheld a power ring that was NOT powerless against yellow? It was a great premise, but the blue guys were depicted with both individual appearances and names, and it was abruptly resolved–by a different creative team–as some sort of induced hallucination in/test of Hal Jordan by the Guardians. This did not at all explain the inaccurate depiction of the blues, not to my satisfaction at least, and Ernie Colon was just as abruptly no longer the book’s editor. I’m sure the flak he was catching for something that happened in “The Flash” letter column–I didn’t read that comic then, and never encountered any description of the specifics–was a factor, but I’m equally certain that his letting this get published was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

Yet another reason why Johnny Carson was a 100% @$$hole who shold be rotting in a place that closely resembles Hell.

This is to “Fantome” and it’s breaking my general policy of not getting into arguments with people who don’t sign their names to their opinions…

You have Jack’s career askew and you also don’t seem to understand that it is very common for writers and artists to go back and forth between companies…or even to work for more than one at a time. That’s especially true when someone is a freelancer, as Jack often was. I’ve moved around from job to job for my entire professional career and not one person thought I was reneging on commitments or storming out of some job because of whatever you thought Jack has done wrong.

You say: “In most industries, you can’t keep going back-and-forth between employers before you’re permenately blacklisted.” I don’t know what you think that means in the case of Jack. No one ever blacklisted him, nor did he go back and forth that much in his career. I mean, he left Marvel three times in about 36 years. Gil Kane used to quit DC and Marvel three times a year…and they STILL both wanted to hire him.

Then you say: “Kirby left Timely for National Comics when they wouldn’t give him more money.” Actually, Simon and Kirby left Timely because they believed they were not receiving the share of profits to which they were contractually entitled. In other words, the employer didn’t live up to his end of it.

Then you say: “Kirby left National for Marvel, due to the Jack Schiff Sky Masters royalties.” No, Kirby had an outside business dispute with Jack Schiff which should have remained an outside matter and not impacted his DC employment. Instead, DC fired him. (And by the way, this was the second time he worked for DC.)

Then you say: “Kirby alienates partner Joe Simon, by siding with Marvel after Simon’s attempt to copyright Captain America in his own name.” That’s not exactly what happened…but what does that have to do with your thesis, which is that he left companies too frequently?

Then you say: “Kirby leaves for DC, reportedly due to Stan Lee becoming a media darling and overshadowing his own contributions.” No, not why he left at all. Read my book. He felt he had no choice because of a terrible contract he was being forced to sign in order to stay.

Then you say: “DC gives Kirby a 3 year contract promising full control, but he leaves for Marvel when sales and the resulting compensation of ‘The Fourth World” don’t meet expectations.” No, it was a five year contract and he stayed long after the Fourth World books were cancelled…and there was no dispute about compensation. Jack had a contract, he fulfilled that contract, then he left for what he felt was a better offer. That happens all the time in every business.

Then you say: “Kirby leaves Marvel, disgruntled over his employment benefits.” Jack was not happy with his working situation there. He was being offered more money and better terms by animation studios. What’s wrong with him taking one of those better offers? (One of which, by the way, was from Marvel.)

Fantome, I really don’t understand what you think Jack did wrong there. My feeling is that Jack was way too loyal to some companies and too afraid to jump ship and go elsewhere. The times he left one company for another was either because he felt (rightly, I think) that he was being mistreated or he simply had a better offer. That’s kind of how it works in this line of work.

Let me amend my previous message: Jack was “blacklisted” (not exactly the right term) at DC for a time as a result of his dispute with Jack Schiff. But it still doesn’t amount to Jack leaving DC because of a financial dispute with the company.

From MarkMc: “Sliding down the razor blade of life.” That’s from a Tom Lehrer song; “Bright College Days,” IIRC

Nice catch, Mark,. And from 1959, long before we’d hear Neal saying it and giving the impression he’d made it up himself. Or maybe were just young and impressionable back then. Cheers.

Steve Replogle

June 1, 2008 at 3:20 am

Mark, thanks for giving “Fantome” a better response than his statements or his nom de plume perhaps deserve. Sometimes it is hard to know whether to take the trouble in such cases. Statements that are left unchallenged can circulate and cause more grief later, I suppose.

In that vein, and not a humorous one…

“Anonymous” writes : Given how quickly and sincerely Carson apologized, I would expect a lawsuit over it to get laughed out of court, which is probably why the account of the incident in “The Jack Kirby Collector” made no mention of it.

This sounds as though the writer thinks the lawsuit was frivolous, but no – being called “The King of the Con-Men” by name on national television was no laughing matter. Jack got a lawyer. He had a good case. Carson and his producer recognized this and made an apology quickly before the case could proceed. It was a good apology, Jack was satisfied, and he drew Carson a cartoon to show there were no hard feelings.

The lawsuit would not have been laughed out of court. Jack’s good name was key to his livelihood.

Jeez, sometimes I wonder about these forums. Is “Anonymous” really an adult, and has he ever had any experience with our legal system? Outside of Matt Murdock’s cases, I mean?

If, as you say, the apology was in response to Kirby’s lawyer contacting Carson, then you have a point. However, I repeat that the “Kirby Collector”‘s account of the incident implies no such thing, and now add that they made it appear that Carson did so when someone fairly quickly told him who Kirby was (at the time “is” of course).. I was working on the presumption, inspired by that zine, that the legal action postdated the apology, and as I look over my previous comment, my “Given how quickly…Carson apologized…” opening seems to me to make that clear. Given that, I find your question about me offensive. I am an adult, and I’ve followed and continue to follow a good many cases, civil and criminal, as they’ve wound their way through our legal system.

Steve Replogle

June 1, 2008 at 11:34 am

“Anonymous,” I apologize – to a degree – for my sarcasm. I’d apologize better if you used your real name.

But your comment that Kirby’s lawsuit would have been laughed out of court was wrong. You may not have had all the facts, but they are available, and you should check around before you make such sweepingly inaccurate statements… about Jack Kirby… in a comic forum.

Ken Holtzhouser

June 1, 2008 at 4:52 pm

Man, I’m glad to see the response so quickly to this. I remember watching the apology, but not the insult. At the time I thought it was QUITE odd to hear the name “Jack Kirby” on television. I’ve wondered forever as to what prompted Johnny Carson to eat so much humble pie so quickly.
Now I know.

I’m TheFantome, and happy to give my real name. The Fantome has just been a more familar tag for some old-timers in and around the comics industry with whom I still correspond on occasion. As for a brief “origin”, the first comic I ever picked up off the rack was Superman (original series) # 134, 1960. I was an avid fan of all the original Marvel runs, and purchased off the rack at the time of their release, Fantastic Four #3, Amazing Spider-Man #2, Avengers #2, Daredevil #7 and didn’t stop buying each issue for decades. I was an avid letter writer in those days and would at times receive signed memorabilia from both Lee and Kirby, including a signed copy of an early X-Men comic I treasure to this day. TheFantome originates from “Le Fantome”, the comic exploits of The Phantom which I read religiously while in France during the 1970’s.

Regardless, Mr Evanier and others seem to suggest I’m looking for an arguement or I’m being disrespectful to Mr Kirby. I figured that might happen – but please accept that this is not the case. I didn’t mean to suggest Kirby had been blacklisted, only that in most any other industry, employees (and even consultants, although to a lesser degree) are often blacklisted if they go back and forth between competitors several times, especially if finiancials are a reason for the migration. As an example, several years ago I managed a team of engineers providing corporate technical support. Being in Boston, we had several competitors nearby. A couple of our better enginners took it upon themselves to switch between competitors while the industry was hot, often making the switch for a salary increase that was nominal at best. They would sometime switch allegencies two to three times a year. It would have been funny, if our customers didn’t suffer from the constant changes. Finally, I had to draw a line in the sand, and suggested to my team that anyone that had done the flip-flop more than once would not be rehired for a monetary increase beyond what they were making when they left the company. In a similar vein, I once complained to the manager of a local fast food restaurant that there was no one on staff that could take an order unless said order was a numbered menu item. He explained that he had only one person on staff besides himself that could speak or read English, and the rest of the staff understood only Spanish. His explanation was that the KFC a few doors down had recently increased the starting wage by 30 cents, and his entire staff moved on. He said he was waiting to hear if he could raise his wages by 35 cents to get most of the help back, but the district was making a stand, suggesting he should not get in a “bidding-war”. I only suggested that outside the comic world (and maybe the medical field), workers disgruntled over wages that consistantly flop over the “the other side” will eventually end up on the outside looking in.

Mark, I will indeed read your book to better my knowledge of Kirby, but my synopsis was as accurate as possible for a indusrty outsider who gathered information from informal discussion with both comics professionals and other fans alike over the course of nearly 50 years. Might I suggest to you that although Kirby’s work is nearly ALWAYS respected, Kirby’s work ethic and opions are sometimes looked upon as elitist. For one moment, please consider the following. You’re a young rookie, trying to make it in the comics world and get your shot with one of the “Big-Two”. You hand in you work, and your editor notices comic deviations and plot inconsistancies with earlier issues. Would that be acceptable? Never. Was Kirby allowed to turn in such work? He was. Mark, call it jealousy if you will, but there were creators working the industry during Kirby’s later runs that were expected to meet certain standards, but believed quality was not taken into consideration.

After the strong feelings that have been exposed here however, I believe using undocumented conversations and letter exchanges with comic professionals when stating my opinion may be a disservice to the subject. Therefore, if an inker has told me in the past that a certain penciller was a real prick to work with, I will no longer include allusions to such opinions while writing. I apologize if I hurt any of Mr Kirby’s friends or family in the process.

(Formerly “Anonymous”; sorry, but with signing totally manual, I didn’t realize it was mandatory)

Steve Repogle: I repeat for the last time–ignore it again and I will ignore you–that the account of the incident in “The Jack Kirby Collector” gave no hint of so much as a threat of legal action by Kirby at all, let alone that it prompted the apology. In addition to that, it’s claim that said apology came quickly is corroborated by Ken Holtzhouser above. I refuse to be faulted for not accepting that Kirby-devoted publication’s account at face value, and don’t deny that you suggested that I should have (“…you should check around….”). It appears to me that you just don’t like the idea of anything this comic book legend did being criticized. That’s not the way the world works. I’ll tell you right now that I disliked everything I saw of his 70s DC work (the entire runs of THE DEMON and OMAC, plus some KAMANDI), as well as his CAPTAIN VICTORY at Pacific, and fully believe he was better off with somebody else scripting, choosing inkers, etc. And, yes, given the appearance that Carson had already apologized and clarified Kirby’s status (“TJKC” asserts Johnny did this as well) before the legal action, I did indeed see the suit as “frivolous.”

Fantome, while I agree that a lot of Kirby’s stuff is overrated, I have to say that I prefer his writing to Stan Lee’s. He suffered from much less of the stiltedness and pointless exposition that plagued Lee and all the other Silver Age writers. It was still there, but The Fourth World dialog feels much more natural than most of Lee’s stuff.

To Paul “Fantome” Valois: I’m sorry but I don’t fully understand your point here. In all the years I’ve been in the industry (and studying Kirby), I’ve never heard him or anyone particularly faulted for going back and forth between publishers too often. How it may have worked at your company or at a KFC is not particularly relevant…and an analogy to someone who changed employers two or three times a year is especially non-comparable to Kirby, who tended to stay at publishers for years at a time.

In any case, Jack did not change publishers very often in his career…certainly a lot less than the average comic artist. And the few times he did change were almost never because of better wages but because he felt forced out of a company by other issues, and felt he had no choice.

There are many criticisms that could be made of Jack, and I’ve said many times that I don’t think he managed the career part of his life well. But I really don’t see what was “elitist” about anything he did in this regard.

As to the other topic here of Jack and Johnny: I am again confused on what some folks are saying so I’ll just report that I discussed the matter with Jack, with Jack’s lawyer (who is now my lawyer on some matters, by the way), with Johnny Carson’s producer and with, believe it or not, Johnny Carson. None of these folks seemed to think the lawsuit would have been laughed out of court…which is why it was settled quickly and with money, as so many lawsuits are.

As I said, I think (and have written) that Jack made a lot of mistakes in his life in the way he handled career matters. I don’t happen to see any in the threads being discussed here…but maybe I’m not understanding what folks are saying. Or maybe some of you don’t understand how limited his options sometimes were.

To Mark:

My examples of blacklisting employers are merely a reference to how other industries stop workers from flip-flopping between competitors. it’s been suggested that Mr Kirby was not afraid to burn bridges, as he was all but certainly guarenteed employment by the other publisher if he so chose. Roz Kirby, in an interview with John Morrow in 1995, stated that they knew Jack could always find work if he needed, even during times when the industry was slow. You knew Mr Kirby personally and all I have from him are a couple of short letters and autographed items. If you’re telling me Jack was never disgruntled, not blacklisted and never switched publishers to get a better wage, I can only take your word as fact and screw others who have opined conversely,

In the same interview quoted above, Mrs. Kirby also states that if Kirby needed to do research, he would go to the library, but wouldn’t be there long. He’d return after not finding what he was looking for, and just “make it up”. Perhaps an inside look as to why costumes and such would deviate from issue to issue? Jack just didn’t like going back and doing the research? He was doing a LOT of work at periods of his career and he was creating continuity, not forced to adhere to it’s existense. He came from an era before readers were concerned with what happened issues before. The golden-age Daredevil was mute for some issues but could speak fine in others. Did Jack Kirby believe artistic inconsistancies were somewhat frivilous? Perhaps the popularity of his work and the seriousness of the fans snuck up on him. I remember reading that in the early days of Marvel, fans would walk up to the studio and the office staff would give them personal tours and original artwork free of charge. Within a few short months, dozens of fans would be camped outside Stan Lee’s apartment, hawking for an autograph or a chance to talk “Marvel” with The Man.

Again in the same interview, Roz explained that her favorite time was during the early days of Jack’s career, when they weren’t worrying about “Who did this” and “who did that”. Am I reading too much in this statement to suggest Roz thinks Jack was better off before he starting worring about who was taking the most credit for the work to which he was contributing?

Once again in the Morrow interview, was the insight from Roz on how regardless of the opinions of his work during his Fourth World run at DC, he was allowed to do whatever he wished and “Okay, Jack” was pretty much the canned answer for anything he wanted. She reveals that some people hated his (writing) work during this period, but he always tried his best.

I can’t locate the entire interview on line, but the excerpts published here:
http://twomorrows.com/kirby/articles/10roz.html
covered some of the subject matter printed above.

Anyway, I’m sorry if I offended you in any way as it appears as if you’re convinced I’m trying to disrespect Mr. Kirby. When Glen David Gold of The Washington Post reviewed your book, he stated that you believe Kirby received nothing from an industry to which he was so influential. He also wrote that you tend to “tred lightly” when it comes to “Dark Kirby”. His opinon of course, but do you really believe this? Jack Kirby is without question the most famous comic book artist of all time. How can your say he received nothing from the industry? Are you talking of monetary compensation then? Roz Kirby suggests they had always done “alright” in that department. Are we talking baseball type disrespect? Where early major leaguers had to work a second job just to make ends meet, but current player like A-Rod and Manny make hundreds of millions? Who’s to blame for this type of disrespect? The original owners of the MLB teams? The fans, who didn’t buy “team-wear” to show their colors? A history of the publishing industry in general will prove that publishers were often despicable to novice writers. Stories by writers looking to get there work published were often used as fill between pages of pornography. Early sport writers would find their boxing reports adjacent to pictures of “apartment house wrestling”, photos a models clad in their underwear in provocative poses, portraying some fictional league where wrestlers and onlookers would gather in Manhatten apartment to view these “cat-fights”. I never read anything on Jack Kirby being disrespected in such a way. Jack Kirby drew comics. He was one of the first creators identified in the medium itself. The comics as well as the artist himself became very famous. Kirby became so famous that he received carte-blanche in the way of total creative control at one point of his career. After death, the man is a legend, respected and revered. Are there lies, unfounded rumors and inconsistancies in the Jack Kirby story that soil his memory? Perhaps. Very little sees print however, as most are satisfied with tredding lightly on any negative aspects of the man.

You didn’t offend me, Paul. I’m just trying to understand you better.

Jack was, at times, very “down” on the business he was in. There were times he was quite worried about being able to make a living in it…or being able to do so without working in an ugly, unhealthy relationship. In the interview you cite, I would suggest that Roz was putting a positive spin on the past, remembering the good times and minimizing the bad. In conversations with me, both she and Jack would sometimes recall more of the negatives.

I guess I do not understand your use of the word “blacklisting” here. I actually don’t think that’s the appropriate term for one employer deciding they didn’t want to hire a certain person. In the life of every writer or artist, there are folks who want to hire you and those who don’t for whatever their reasons. Jack was no different from anyone in this regard.

The matter of costumes in Jack’s work deviating from issue to issue seems to bother you more than it ever bothered the folks with whom he worked. The reason for it was that Jack was an absent-minded guy…the kind who sometimes would light a cigar, then notice he already had a lit one sitting in the ash tray. He used to sometimes be told at Marvel to go home and start on the next issue of Thor…and on the way home, he’d get to thinking about an idea for Fantastic Four, and when he got home, he’d forget and draw an issue of Fantastic Four instead of Thor. One of the reasons he got along with Stan Lee was that Stan occasionally made similar mistakes. Also, at the time, stats and Xerox machines were not as readily available. Today, when an artist draws a story, he can make copies of it before he sends it off. There was no machine available to Jack in the sixties to do that, so he often did not have reference handy for earlier issues.

And of course, the other obvious reason for inconsistencies was that he was drawing so much…producing so fast. That was what his employer wanted and that’s what the pay scales necessitated.

Yes, I think you;re reading too much into Roz’s statement about not caring who got credit for the work. There were times when credit didn’t matter and was not such an issue because no one was getting any. But there were times when Jack felt that others were getting credit for his work…and then the Kirbys most definitely objected.

I don’t think Jack received nothing from the industry. I believe he and most of the key creators in comics were horribly underpaid and I believe they and their work were not treated with due respect. To the extent that Jack and others did receive certain rewards (often, of the non-monetary kind), and lot of that came from his fans and not from his working situations. I think it’s sad that Jack did not not live long enough to reap some of the rewards that, for example, Stan Lee is now receiving because of his reputation. As I think I said on that NPR interview, it’s great that Stan’s a celebrity and people are throwing money at him. I wish Jack had gotten more of that.

As for negative stories about Jack…there certainly are some and as I say, I don’t think he was great at managing his own career and made some big mistakes. There’s also a lot of nonsense that people make up for reasons I don’t pretend to understand. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that since you haven’t heard a lot of negatives, any negatives you do hear must be the truth. I didn’t delve into much of this in the recent book because I didn’t have the room, and some of it is very complicated and requires an understanding of Jack’s whole relationship with various folks at various times. The next book I’m doing on Kirby covers all that. I think he still comes off pretty well in spite of everything.

There exist few advocates of the comics creators with the knowledge, insight, courage and integrity that Mark Evanier demonstrates at every turn he raises a torch on their behalf.

Great comments Mark, all the way around. Interesting insight dealing with Jack & Stan’s absent-mindedness and Roz placing a positive spin on the past. We often view the past in a positive light. I have widowed relatives who lament the years away mourning their deceased spouses, with whom they fought with constantly when they were alive.

Off subject, I was a huge fan of Blackhawk and looked forward to reading your (and Spiegle’s) series tremendously. It was the earlier work by Reed Crandell drew me to the original character, I followed the title when it migrated over to DC, and believe it or not, was not offended by the transformations in #230. It was Chaykin’s take that soured me on the character, I didn’t mind Chaykin’s story that much, it just wasn’t MY Blackhawk. I think I would have felt the same way if The Watchmen would have been the original MLJ or Charleton characters as once planned. Ditko’s Question was such a beloved character for me, I would have gone through the roof to see him depicted as Rorschach.

Perhaps you can shed some light on an obscure Blackhawk rumor. An associate of mine once told me (Jan) Blackhawk was to appear in a guest role (similar to The Atom and Plastic Man) in the Super Friends. This would have been the original Wendy & Marvin series, not the Wonder Twins or Challenge. I found this to be suspect, but have seen additional mention of this over the years. Do you have any information on this you’d like to share?

I see that I made one atrocious error in my last posting above: Obviously, I should have said, “I refuse to be faulted for accepting [‘The Jack Kirby Collector”s] account at face value…,” rather than “…for not accepting….” The fact that Steve Repogle is neither refuting me/defending his criticism of me against this nor admitting that I have a point/he was out of line reflects poorly on his attitude, although I wouldn’t have gone to the trouble of saying so if I hadn’t had that error of my own to correct anyway.

Never heard anything about Blackhawk appearing on SUPER FRIENDS. It doesn’t sound likely to me.

“The choice of a Polish pilot as the leader of the Blackhawks always seemed inspired by the key part plyed by Polish Airmen in the Battle of Britain the year before. 303 Squadron, based out of RAF Northolt, had the highest number of confirmed kills of any squadron in the Battle, and was composed of veteran pilots from the Polish Air Force.”

…True. I should have mentioned the 303 as another probable inspiration. I suspect that both the 303 and the International Squadron had their influences when you get down to it.

“Off subject, I was a huge fan of Blackhawk and looked forward to reading your (and Spiegle’s) series tremendously. It was the earlier work by Reed Crandell drew me to the original character, I followed the title when it migrated over to DC, and believe it or not, was not offended by the transformations in #230. It was Chaykin’s take that soured me on the character, I didn’t mind Chaykin’s story that much, it just wasn’t MY Blackhawk.”

…Two points:

1) Mark and Dan’s series was the closest version to the original series since before the “G.E.O.R.G.E.” period, where everyone got super-identities. It was an enjoyable series that, like Walt Simonson’s Orion, was abused and ignored by DC with regards to promotions. They didn’t promote the book worth a frack.

…On a side note, one thing Mark did that was notable with the series was to take Chop-Chop and turn him into something other than a stereotype. Very high marks – no pun intended – for that move, natch.

2) If you hated what Chaykin did to Blackhawk, you’ll *really* hate what he’s doing to the Phantom Eagle! :-)

Concerning my question about the Robin Snyder/Joey Cavalieri Green Lantern script, a check of the GCD indicates that this was indeed when Colon’s run as the comic’s editor ended, but these issues are so minimally indexed that there’s no indication or contradiction of the plot machinations I described.

[…] by the recent Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed installment about the “Crusty Bunkers,” comic book pro Drew Geraci (who just debuted this week as the new inker on Green Lantern Corps, […]

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