You may be correct, possibly the suit was never filed. I was Editor in Chief, not company counsel. Around the office, the matter was routinely referred to as the “Kirby lawsuit.” We certainly received a barrage of letters and demands from Kirby’s attorneys, many of which I saw.
If Jack and Roz had no interest in suing Marvel, you sure couldn’t tell that from Marvel’s POV. Their lawyers came at Marvel pretty aggressively.
I attended a panel at the San Diego Con, misleadingly titled, which turned out to be a Marvel-bash-fest MC’ed by Gary Groth. I don’t remember the year. ’79? ’80? Thereabouts. Groth opened with a diatribe against Marvel and its horrible unfairness to Jack. Then he turned the mic over to Jack.
Jack was obviously blindsided by the panel being a Marvel bashing thing. Jack said, in the nicest way, that, yes, he had a dispute with Marvel, but that he didn’t think it should be discussed this way; that it was between him and Marvel, and that he was confident that it would be resolved.
Groth wasn’t going to let it go at that. He asked his other panelists to chime in. Notable among the panelists were Alan Moore and Frank Miller. Moore had no knowledge of the Kirby situation with Marvel, but told horror stories about the mistreatment of artists by IPC and other British publishing companies, and supposed that Marvel’s dealings with Kirby were similar. Other panelists also bashed Marvel.
When it was Frank Miller’s turn to talk, though no more fervent advocate for creators’ rights exists, he seemed reluctant to jump on the bandwagon. He even likened the proceeding to a “kangaroo court.” Ask Frank. He saw me in the audience and asked me to speak!
I stood up and echoed Jack’s words. I said that because there were legal issues involved, we really couldn’t discuss the details anyway, and that, like Jack, I thought that the matter should be dealt with between the parties involved, at least at that point.
Roz was also in the audience. She jumped up, turned to me and yelled something about paying Jack his back royalties for Captain America from the beginning.
That got a roar from the crowd. I sat down and listened to another half hour or so of anti-Marvel and anti-Shooter vitriol.
Then at the end, Jack was finally allowed to speak again. He said nothing of the dispute. He just started talking about the joy of creating comics, and the fun he’d had. About drawing and creating and what great times they were. Very sweet. Unforgettable.
Jack’s “reconciliation” with Stan may have lasted only those ten minutes or so during the Marvel 25th Anniversary party, I don’t know. But they shook hands and were friendly for that time. Jack invited Stan and Joan to the Kirby home and Stan invited Jack and Roz to come to his home. I assume no visits actually occurred.
John Romita told me that when he, Jack and Stan lived on Long Island — 60’s, I guess, ask John — he, John would sometimes drive them home. He said they would talk stories and ideas, plotting on the fly. The way he told it, they were pretty friendly.
Whatever Jack’s dispute with Jack Schiff was about, and however that played out, Jack wasn’t exactly coveted by DC during the early and mid-60’s anyway. DC editors, like Mort, thought of Jack’s work as crude and, frankly, third string at best. They couldn’t understand why Marvel, with its “ugly” art, especially Jack’s, was gaining in sales. Yes, they were clueless. No, I didn’t agree. I was secretly a huge fan of Marvel and Jack.
At the end of the sixties, the benighted ones at DC had to admit that Kirby was King, and, by then, were happy to have him. P.S., I had been supposed to take over Jimmy Olsen about then, but I left DC (to go to Marvel, ironically), and they gave JO to Jack.
As far as Stan resenting Jack, yes, I suppose in later years he got tired of the “Jack created everything, Stan created nothing” rants by the Journal and others. Wouldn’t that annoy anyone?
I worked closely with Jack and I worked closely with Stan. Taking nothing away from Jack, his brilliant work and his amazing creativity, I can assure you with great confidence that Stan was no second fiddle.