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Author Topic: Did Cary Bates call Kirby a "hack?"  (Read 21949 times)
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Kid Legion
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« Reply #32 on: June 10, 2006, 01:55:28 AM »

To address the question posed in the title of this thread.... yes. The exact quote, as it originally appeared in The Legion Outpost # 4 is:

Quote
On Jack Kirby: "This may be blasphemy, but I don't really care if he goes back to Marvel. He's a hack."


In Bates' defense, it was over thirty years ago, there's always the possibility that he might have been misquoted (although I doubt it), and that period of Kirby's career was disappointing when compared to the days of the Stan and Jack team.  

The article which contains the quote was reprinted in The Best of the Legion Outpost (2004), as was a period interview with Bates from the seventies.
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Uncle Mxy
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« Reply #33 on: June 10, 2006, 04:03:24 AM »

Was this at the point where someone else had to do Superman's faces instead of Kirby?
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TELLE
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« Reply #34 on: June 10, 2006, 06:19:54 AM »

I don't know about "had to".  More like "required by DC editorial".  Murphy Anderson and other artists altered Kirby's version of several characters' faces in keeping with DC house style as established by Swan, Adams, etc.
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« Reply #35 on: June 11, 2006, 12:32:27 AM »

Re: the re-done heads...it should be noted that DC also pasted a Swan Superman head over Alex Toth's Superman on that Super Friends tabloid cover, and Toth's style was much more "user-friendly" than Kirbys at the time.  In fact it's fair to say Toth enjoyed respect throughout his career whereas Kirby, as we've discussed in this thread, was at times regarded as a dinosaur or worse.

Anyway, this suggests to me that DC had some sort of editorial edict out there that Superman must look a certain way, and artists who strayed too far from the "house" look risked getting edited.  Interestingly, the same sort of cosmetic surgery never seems to have been applied to Batman or Wonder Woman.  It seems to me that in any case where an artist had a truly distinctive style, one that overpowered the generic look DC wanted for Superman, the pasted heads showed up.

Actually, I can almost see their point.  When your flagship character doesn't wear a mask of any kind, it's rather imperative that his facial features be recognizable at all times.  And let's face it, in recent years artists have been given a great deal of latitude to make Superman look however they like, with mixed results at best.  In the 90s, especially, Superman not only didn't look the same from book to book, he often looked flat out ugly.  And to this day, no image of a mostly silhouetted Superman, with an angry scowl and glowing red eyes, looks anything like any Superman I ever knew.  But they sure do like to draw him that way, don't they?
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« Reply #36 on: June 12, 2006, 07:16:15 AM »

I recently got a DCCP by Keith Giffen co-starring the Creeper and found the whole thing undreadable and inrecognizable as a Superman comic.

The heavy-handed editorial control over Superman is what made the franchise a success pre-Crisis --I love the Madison Ave look of Swan et al.  But that look and that control are what lead to criticisms of Superman's "blandness" and accusations of childishness.  Arguably the germs of Crisis and John Byrne's revision.
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« Reply #37 on: June 12, 2006, 07:17:12 AM »

And, oh yeah:  what a meanie that Cary Bates was!
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« Reply #38 on: June 12, 2006, 10:05:51 PM »

Quote from: "TELLE"
I recently got a DCCP by Keith Giffen co-starring the Creeper and found the whole thing undreadable and inrecognizable as a Superman comic.

I don't think that was unique to Keith's Superman work.  All of his 1980s layouts can be a bit challenging.

S!
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« Reply #39 on: June 12, 2006, 10:50:39 PM »

Quote from: "Kid Legion"
To address the question posed in the title of this thread.... yes. The exact quote, as it originally appeared in The Legion Outpost # 4 is:


HA HA! I KNEW IT!

Those that say I've got a bad memory owe me an apology.

Quote from: "Kid Legion"
In Bates' defense, it was over thirty years ago, there's always the possibility that he might have been misquoted (although I doubt it), and that period of Kirby's career was disappointing when compared to the days of the Stan and Jack team.


There was always something "off" about ETERNALS, as much as I love it (and still love it, for all of its wackiness). That thing was illustrated to me by the seven first preview pages of Neil Gaiman's latest take on the series.

The Gaiman take on ETERNALS begins with Ike Harris (Ikaris) speaking to Makkari, who has forgotten his origins as an Eternal.

"Pardon me, sir, but have you ever wondered about the origin of intelligent life on earth?"

And then he goes into the whole spiel about the Eternals and Deviants and the Space Gods and all that and Makkari slams the door on him, cursing him out as a "darn Scientologist." It was hilarious.

Right then and there I realized what was so "off" about ETERNALS: it was, pretty much in comics form, the beliefs of nearly every single suicide UFO cult. This is SCIENTOLOGY: THE MINISERIES as only Jack "King" Kirby could tell it!

Quote from: "Great Rao"
I don't think that was unique to Keith's Superman work. All of his 1980s layouts can be a bit challenging.


As an artist, I have never really seen any work by Keith Giffen that I've really LIKED since that issue of MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS starring Woodgod.

And his current stuff is just appalling - he went from a competent Dave Cockrum clone to being someone that represents heads as jagged geometric shapes.
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