After I read each issue, I would call Jack and go over the corrections I proposed to make, mostly punctuation, spelling, grammar and such. I never messed with his intent, though a few (very few) times I caught a significant mistake and proposed a solution. I was as respectful and deferential as could be, as everyone should be when dealing with a King. Jack was the easiest-to-deal-with creator I ever worked with. He seemed to sincerely appreciate my help. He thanked me. He complimented me on my “catches.” Technically, by contract, he was the Editor of his own books. He could have refused any of my suggestions, but he never did.
Those were great times.
And let me state this loud and clear: In a couple of my tales, Roz was the one who shut down the conversation, but I NEVER FAULTED HER FOR HER ANGER AGAINST MARVEL. I completely respect the fact that she was Jack’s champion, defender and staunchest advocate in his later years. I’m just sorry that things got to the point that there was no redeeming the situation. Martin Goodman could have set things right 40-some years ago. Maybe Stan could have influenced things if he’d fought as hard for Jack as he might have. By the time I came along, there wasn’t much I could do.
I tried. When I succeeded in getting royalty participations for creators of new characters and series, I proposed that we INCLUDE Jack, Steve, Dick and everybody else, yes, Stan, too, from the founding fathers group — so Jack would get participations and creator percentages for the FF, the Hulk, everything — from the inception date of my plan onward. (I knew that making it retroactive was a non-starter.) Ask Louise Simonson. I remember sitting in the X-Men office discussing this idea with her.
Couldn’t get the board to agree. Part of the problem was that Kirby’s lawyers were sending Marvel threatening letters with fair frequency, and Marvel’s lawyers judged that anything we did along those lines — revenue participations — could be used against Marvel in court, as a “tacit admission” that the characters belonged to Kirby. Sigh.
When I formed the Marvel Acquisition Partners, then with financial advisor/debt provider Chase and equity partner Shenkman Capital tried to buy Marvel in 1988, part of our business plan was to include the founding fathers in a royalty/revenue sharing plan. It wouldn’t even have been a financial burden, because eliminating the money-pit animation studio and the money-pit children’s book line President Jim Galton saddled the company with would have dropped plenty of money to the bottom line, more than enough to do right by Kirby, Ditko, et al. Perelman, of course, won the auction and bought Marvel. First things he did? Close the animation studio and children’s book company — but he didn’t extend any offers to the founding fathers.
I was interviewed by Marvel’s new CEO, Bill Bevins, for the job of President, but that’s a tale for a different time.