Writer. Creator. Large mammal.

Stan Meets a Mobster and Other Tales to Astonish

Stan meets Frank Costello

Vince Colletta told me this story. Vince told me a lot of wild stories. At first, I thought he was, as my grandma Elsie might say, “full of potato soup and monkeys.” Like the time he told me he was cast for a major role in The Godfather. Long story, but ultimately the role was taken away from him and given to a big-name actor who had big-time clout with the director. Vince said that the casting director quit because of that.
Yeah, right.

1981-ish. Mike Hobson, relatively new publisher at Marvel asked me to go to lunch with him one day. No agenda, just lunch. Mike was making an effort to get to know the creative troops and told me he wouldn’t mind if I brought someone along. Vince happened to be in the office, so….

I don’t know how it came up, but at lunch, Vince told his I-was-almost-in The Godfather story. It so happened that Mike had been working at the William Morris Agency at the time, was fully aware of the casting dust-up and verified everything Vince said.

Later, Vince showed me a videotape of his screen test, in which he played a mobster being questioned by a Senate subcommittee. He was good.

One way or another, many, many of the seemingly outrageous tales Vince told from time to time were corroborated.

So I tend to believe the stories he told me—this one for instance:
Vince knew guys who knew guys. As far as I know, he wasn’t “involved,” as they say, with any real-life people resembling characters from The Godfather, but he actually knew, or at least had met a few.

Sometime back in the sixties, Vince and Stan were at P.J. Clarke’s, a legendary watering hole at the corner of 55th and Third. Vince noticed Frank Costello and his entourage entering. Costello had been head of the Luciano crime family, and though “retired,” was still very influential. He was known as the “Prime Minister of the Underworld,” probably the most famous Mafia figure of his era.

I don’t know how Vince knew him—probably from somebody’s sister’s cousin’s wedding or some such. But he knew him, at least well enough to say hello. So he did. He went to Costello’s table, exchanged greetings, came back and sat back down with Stan again.

Stan asked Vince to introduce him to Costello. Who knows why? Just because he was a larger than life, almost mythic figure, albeit a notorious one? A bad guy? I guess all of us comics types have a fascination with villains as well as heroes.

Vince didn’t think that was such a good idea. Stan, said Vince, wouldn’t let it go and kept bugging Vince to make the introduction. Finally, he wore Vince down.

So, Vince and Stan went over to Costello’s table. Vince introduced Stan. “Mr. Costello, my friend would like to meet you. This is Stan Lee….”
Whereupon Stan stuck his hands up in the air and said, “Pleased to meet you! Don’t shoot!”

Rude Dude

While I’m doing first meetings….

Sometime in 1979, I believe, Paul Gulacy called to ask a favor.

Paul lived in Ohio back then, I think. He’d come home from somewhere one day to find a young man sitting on his lawn. A wannabe comic book artist, who absolutely worshipped Paul and his work.

I gather that Paul was polite with the guy. But the guy wouldn’t leave. He had come some distance, from I forget where, Wisconsin, maybe, to see Paul, and he wasn’t about to go away without accomplishing his mission. The guy begged, insisted, demanded that Paul help him get employment as an artist for Marvel.

Paul told him he couldn’t help him. The guy would not take no for an answer. He pretty much camped out on Paul’s lawn. Days passed.

So, Paul called me and asked me as a favor to look at the guy’s portfolio. He wasn’t recommending him, mind you, he just wanted him off the lawn.

Actually, Paul did say that he thought the guy had promise. But mostly he wanted him off the lawn.

I said, sure. For you, Paul, no problem. Paul said the guy’s name was Steve Rude.
A few days later, Steve Rude showed up at Marvel. Josie, the receptionist called to tell me he’d arrived. I went to reception and showed him to my office.

His samples, penciled comics pages, looked stylistically like Paul’s stuff—but the draftsmanship was very weak. Bad, in fact. Figures out of proportion, misshapen, wonky perspectives…. I launched into what I thought was a gentle, helpful, nice-as-I-could critique. Here’s what you need to improve to bring your work up to snuff. That sort of thing.

He argued with me.

He insisted that he was the best artist who had ever crossed our threshold. (!!!)

He declared his work “perfect.” He dismissed my criticisms. I obviously didn’t know greatness when it was right in front of me. I obviously didn’t know anything about art. I obviously didn’t know anything.

Throughout he referred to himself in the third person, as “the Dude.” This is pretty close: “The Dude is the best. What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you see that the Dude’s work is genius?”

He absolutely insisted, demanded to be given full time work as an artist. He would not take no for an answer. And, he would not leave.

I’m not as polite as Paul. And I’m huge. And in those days, I was in shape.

I didn’t touch him, no violence, no contact, but I sort of herded him back toward the reception room and pointed him toward the elevators. I went back to my office.

A few minutes later, I had reason to walk down the hall, headed toward Denny O’Neill’s office, I think. And there was the Dude in Al Milgrom’s office, showing his portfolio, having the same, bizarro, Dude-rich conversation with Al as he’d had with me.

I chased him out again. Al told me that he’d claimed that I had looked at his “genius” work and sent him down the hall to see him, Al, who would give him a job. Al thought I had gone insane, or that the Dude must be blackmailing me or something.

Josie told me he’d hung around the reception room and when she’d buzzed the door open to let someone else in, he’d zipped in right behind them before the door closed.

I told Josie if it happened again to call me right away.

A few minutes later, on my way to the production department, as I passed Jim Salicrup’s office (I think) there he was again! Same drill. Dude!


He’d hung around the back door, by the mailroom—no receptionist there—and when someone opened it to go in or out, he’d slipped in again.
I threw him out again and threatened to call the police.

Three times in the space of half an hour I threw Steve Rude out of the Marvel offices.

Geez, Louise. Rude, indeed.

Over the next two or three years he changed his style, got better and turned out okay, I hear.

I haven’t had any dealings with him since the Day of the Rude Dude at Marvel, other than saying hello at conventions and such. From people at Dark Horse, who have had dealings with him, I’ve heard that he’s still, shall we say, not humble. Not the easiest-to-deal-with Dude. Genius, though. He got that down.


I wonder how he tells that story?

Going Bananas with Dino DeLaurentiis

Final “meeting” story for now.

Sometime during the spring of 1980, Dino DeLaurentiis optioned the rights to the Ghost Rider.

Because the Dazzler movie treatment I’d written had gotten good reaction, I was asked to write, or pick someone to write a treatment for the potential Ghost Rider film. And DeLaurentiis was going to pay for the treatment!

If it had to be done for free and in a hurry, I would have taken the bullet. But there was money! And it wasn’t a killer deadline! So, I asked the best comics writer I knew, possibly the best writer, period, Archie Goodwin, to give it a go.

Archie wanted to do it, and he certainly had use for the dough, but as I’ve said before, he was a very slow writer. He was reluctant to commit. He said it might be okay if we did it together.

Okay. Cool.

My plan was to let Archie do as much of it as he wanted to or could and pitch in when and where he needed a hand. Deal.

First, we had to meet with Dino DeLaurentiis to get the marching orders. One afternoon, we trudged from 575 Madison over to the Gulf & Western building where Dino had an office.

Dino’s stupefyingly beautiful secretary, dressed for a Paris Fashion Week catwalk (didn’t they used to be called runways?) escorted us into his basketball court-sized office.

The office décor was interesting. It was basically a shrine to King Kong. Framed posters and giant-sized stills from the film. Bronze statues of Kong. Paintings of Kong. Artifacts and souvenirs from the film on display. Even items from the original 1933 movie. Welcome to the King Kong Museum.
Dino had a thick accent. I’m not good at replicating accents, but bear with me for just this one attempt. His very first words to us were: “Didda you seeya my Kong?”

Well, both of us had, and mumbled some praise. I was still thinking about the secretary….

Then we got down to business. Dino explained what he wanted from us. As he was talking, I noticed Archie looking around at all the Kong stuff and I sensed that some switch had been tripped inside his brain.

Archie had a fairly dignified look about him. He was 14 years older than me. He was respected and admired by everyone. Oh, but if they only knew…!
Arch could clown with the best of them. He was, for instance, the master of the pratfall. He could appear to fall face down, hard, causing great consternation among onlookers, then bounce up, face un-smashed, laughing.

The very first day he was Editor in Chief, production manager Big John Verpoorten came to his office, loomed menacingly in the doorway and growled, “Everything is late! What are you going to do about it?!” Archie said nothing, went liquid, and melted out of his chair down to the floor under his desk, leaving Big John staring at an empty chair. “Now what am I supposed to do?!” John fumed, and stomped away. Archie came back up and started working again as if nothing had happened.

Once as we were crossing the street, a pickup truck with a gun rack was sitting at the light. Archie leaped up onto the fender shouting, “Look at me, I’m a deer!”

Get the drift?

So Dino says he wants us to really think it through, explore every possibility.

“Okay,” says Arch. “We’ll monkey around with it.”

Dino says think big….

“You want us to go ape?” asks Archie.

Don’t worry about budget….

“We’ll go bananas!”

It got worse. Every simian reference conceivable.

About the deadline….

“When do you want the whole Magilla?”

All of this went waaay over Dino’s head. English not his first language.

I, however, couldn’t keep a straight face. I was giggling like a schoolgirl.

Dino kept looking at me as if I were crazy, weird or on drugs.

“This,” said Arch, deadpan, “is going to be more fun than…”

No, no, no! Don’t say it!

“…a barrel of monkeys!”


As we marched back to Marvel, Goodwin looked smug. I was just glad I didn’t wet my pants laughing.

So we wrote the thing. The basic idea was Archie’s and he wrote most of the first half. Then he went on a trip with the family he’d had planned, so I wrote the last half. The ending is mine. We hadn’t worked that out before he left, but when he eventually read it, he seemed happy with it. A “this is okay” from Archie was as good as gushing praise from anyone else.

Nothing came of the project.

Here’s a letter I got from Dino’s organization:


The treatment is available for download in the sidebar.
Miscellaneous Finds
Here’s a fake press release, a response to Mike Hobson’s joking requests for a new title:
Here are my old Marvel business card and my Valiant Entertainment business card:
Here’s an issue of Daredevil that JayJay turned up with partial writing credit to Harlan Ellison. I said he never wrote for Marvel on my watch, but apparently he did. I’ll try to find out the story behind this, because, honestly, I forget.
(Here’s a link to the story behind Harlan’s Daredevil stories. Thanks JediJones! ~ JayJay)
And looky-looky what I found. I’ll tell you more about it later. (as discussed in Superman – First Marvel Issue ~JayJay)

Use of Proceeds

To date, donations given to support this blog have totaled $989.00. Of that, a small amount has been put aside for basic blogging expenses that JayJay can explain and I can’t. The rest of the money has gone to buy food pellets for her and/or whatever Blog Elves require to survive. Because JayJay spends a lot of time and puts in a lot of effort to get this thing online and I haven’t been able to pay her since May.

At the point that any revenues we may get from ads is sufficient to cover expenses and keep the Blog Elf well-fed and sleek, I will stop asking for donations, and in fact, refuse them.


ULTIMATE COMICS – All-New Spider-Man #2


Uncanny Divinations and Premonitions


  1. This is great. The link in this post shows Vinnie erasing a figure completely from the final panel, but adds some webbing on the skirt to the right.


    Just saying.

  2. Anonymous

    I've only met Steve Rude briefly at Comiccon, but he was perfectly ok.
    Since Jim gave him advice, I'm glad to say Rude took it because his work is awesome. He would be perfect for Supergirl and I have a commission from him to prove it. Check his Comicartfans work.
    And as Jim has said, he's used to handling characters, he has to work with artists!

  3. Kid

    Pete, actually the 1970s Silver Surfer book DID acknowledge the Norrin Radd backstory. Despite the first two pages' hint of a suggestion to the contrary, Stan has Norrin refer to Zenn-La in the dialogue.

  4. Kid

    A lot of the early Marvel Masterworks were a bit hit and miss when it came to the reproduction quality, but they've got a lot better in recent years. The softcover Masterworks editions over the last couple of years or so have had the best quality reproduction to date. Well worth picking up, especially FF Vol 1, which has the best and most accurate printings of issues 1-10 yet. (Even better than in the Omnibus edition.)

  5. Winnie Griffin

    Almost 300 comments for a blog post? Has to be some sort of record – I don't even think that The Comics Beat ever had that many.

    Write a Vince Colletta article and they will come….

  6. Anonymous

    Kid the Kirby-Colletta pages you posted at your site are quite nice. I'd agree the reproduction on the Masterworks (and the bright paper) leaves much of the fine line work out. It seems that the fans are crying out for new printings and I can sure see the Kirby-Colletta Thor getting a nice IDW treatment ala Wally Wood's EC work or Eisner. I am a big fan of Colletta on Thor (except for the stuff he left out / erased).


  7. I really dont understand what the big deal is with this subject if so and so was told by a big muckity muck to erase something then he was under pressure to follow orders especially since inkers are the low man on the totom pole usually.

    If he did it to clear somethings up story wise that's all good too.

    If this was anyone else we were talking about but "king" kirby there would be no controversy whatsoever.

  8. Anonymous

    I prefer Norrin Radd. With the retcon that Galactus made him a little less human. Makes sense to me.


  9. Anonymous

    The Silver Surfer trade paperback that Stan and Jack put out circa 1977 contains the 'Surfer created ex Nihlo' origin, discarding the Norrin Radd story.

    I much prefer this version – the pure cosmic being that eventually attains compassion, rather than the martyr who has no real problem destroying planets other than his own.

    -Pete Marco

  10. Anonymous


    Yes, they retconned in the idea that Galactus tampered with the Surfer's memories and personality when he made him the Surfer. In order to better serve him and make him not care so much about finding planets for Galactus, and to lessen the chance of betrayal. To the best of my recollection.

    The Surfer was conceived by Kirby. But both the original Surfer and the later Surfer benefitted a lot from the personality and dialogue Stan gave him. So i still consider that a co-creation. Stan, when he's not being STAN LEE, believes that the original conception (no matter how later fleshed out) is the creation. Thus he gives that to Kirby but believes he created FF and company. (as he claims to have conceived them first and then it was fleshed out by Kirby and of course given visual identity).

    As for Silver Surfer no one rememebrs, though I think Roy Thomas said he believes the margin notes simply said the Surfer and Stan added the Silver part.


  11. gn6196 said…
    Just read the Vinnie Coletta Interview. WOW! So much inside info. He was the Mariano Rivera of comics. He closed a lot of books that were behind deadlines fast.

    (following quotes from …) http://ohdannyboy.blogspot.com/2007/04/vinnie-collettas-exit-interview.html
    Interviewer: "They burned Shooter in effigy or something like that."
    …different context
    VC: Never was I on a regular book. Only when they couldn’t get somebody to do it. In other words when I got the job, three guys turned it down already. You understand what I’m saying?
    …different context
    VC: " I says, “how can they come to Vince Colletta, the hack? "
    INT: How does Shooter feel about Tom staying on?
    VC: He doesn’t say much, but he feels there was some sort of betrayal.
    INT: Is Shooter going to set up shop in California?
    VC: No, I don’t think he’s going to do it in California.
    INT: He might.
    VC: He might. But what I’m saying is everything is here, you know? All the businesses are here. You understand?
    INT: True.
    VC: All the artists are here, but anyway, as far as what my future is there at Marvel I don’t know. I’m going to play it day by day. I’m not going to kiss anybody’s ass, if they send it (work) to me, fine. If they don’t, you know.

    Wow, that's pretty epic, for the 80s.

  12. Kid

    Good job I ain't a waiter then.

  13. The last waiter that talked to me with the rhymy whimey got no tip.

  14. And what I read is Steve Rude has trouble getting periodical work because he is often late. Good for graphic novels bad for monthly issues.

  15. Kid

    Mr. Arndt (or Chris, if you prefer),

    Ah, that explains it. If he was in the Batman costume (which he was, with the cowl off), I'd have assumed it was ol' Brucie-wussie. Although, if Dickie-wickie was then-currently Batman, I was still right in saying that DC gave him long hair. Same complaint applies to Dick/Robin – he never used to have long hair.

    They DEFINITELY gave ol' Supie-wupie long hair – unless that was Mon-El from the Bottle City of Kandor standing in for ol' Clarkie-warkie. Oh, that's right – different continuity.


    (What'd I do with my pills?)

  16. In my opinion, Darkseid became an empty cipher in the 80s, DC's "big bad" to rival what Marvel was doing then with Thanos. I don;t feel the character has ever had the depth he originally had under Kirby.

  17. Oh. And people use Darkseid because he looks cool. As a character he is not really that…. Compelling. Truth all told I think Frank Welker.in the eighties and Ironsides in the 90s propped the character up. I could say the same for the comic book writers in the more well written stories.

  18. Mr Robson, it was Dick Grayson, former Robin, wearing the Batman costume in the comics you skimmed, not Bruce Wayne. During that story arc Bruce had just healed from the Bane Knightfall and ousted Azrael as Batman in Knightsend and decided to possibly retire and let Robin have the gig. The story was called Prodigal. You made the mistake because the comics did not interest you enough to read the text and dialogue and because a lot of those heroes have blue hair. No crime there.

    Dmitris and Mr Robson: In the eighties or nineties the Silver Surfer was written by Steve Englehart and Ron Marz in an ongoing series and Marz, circa issue 50, wrote a story explaining the discrepancy between the Norrin Radd that Stan wrote for John Buscema to draw, and the version of Silver Surfer in the Kirby-drawn FF comics.

  19. All the Rude talk here got me to look into getting a complete run of Nexus. Looks like Amazon has the Dark Horse hardcovers. Kind of pricey, but I don't think there were ever any softcover versions released.

    As for Rude on OMAC – well, that's a Didio-Giffen joint; no breaking in there. I'd love to see him on Supergirl.

    But if we're doing a fantasy creative team on what book thing involving Steve Rude, I'd vote for Mike Baron & Steve Rude on Green Lantern, inked by somebody super-tight like Al Gordon or Scott Hanna.

  20. Anonymous

    Re: Rude the link I posted to the upcoming movie about Steve shows a man naked to the world talking about sticking a gun in his mouth because he is in so much mental pain. His children talk of their father's moods. Given that – the "rude" Rude talk is just that: rude.

    I think Steve is one of the top artists we have in comics today. Take a look at his Facebook or his art on CAF or the wonderful Flesk book. I feel his illness and commitment to comics got in the way of his professional work (not the first time that has happened). He's written about comics going South before in terms of "dark and gritty" instead of the good old fun we all loved. He tried to bring Nexus back and it didn't work. He recently went to DC wanting to do OMAC or Supergirl and was brushed off. There is talk of him doing a New Gods for a second Wednesday Comics but that is just talk at this point. He captures the feel of a Kirby character quite well if you take a look at his commissions or published stuff.

    Mr. Anonymous

  21. Kid

    Nah, 'twas 'The Soulful Surfer' Jack had in mind. Everybody knows that. (Wait a minute – or was it 'The Stanley Surfer'? I can never remember.)

  22. Anonymous

    "And who ever said that Jack thought of the Surfer as being silver? He could have had gold, metallic, or white in mind. Perhaps he thought 'The Soaring Surfer' was a good name?"

    Rumor has it Jack was going to call him the Singing Surfer too until Stan directed him otherwise. The Silly Surfer was also considered.


    Mr. Anonymous

  23. Oh, it was just a "better safe than sorry" kind of post. I'm glad you feel like that. It's just that I noticed all my latest posts were essentially in direct response to your comments about Kirby's DC characters, Silver Surfer's origin, Kirby's contribution etc. and I didn't want it to look like I have singled you out or have a particular beef with you. You know, on the Internet, when you're not face-to-face, someone's tone can be misinterpreted. Glad that's not the case.

    Also I've never posted here as 'Anonymous'

  24. Kid

    Oops, 'acknowledging', not 'avknowledging'.

    Dimitris, I've had a quick look back over the previous posts. I can see no reason for you thinking you may have 'antagonized' me, so I'm at a loss to understand why you might have thought such was the case.

  25. Kid

    Dimitris, you haven't 'antagonized' me in the slightest. (Although, if you're 'Anonymous, you have irritated me somewhat by misinterpreting what I've said.) Just because I hold a different view to someone, doesn't mean that I grudge them theirs. And while it's probably true that, deep down, I sometimes think my view's the 'right' one, I don't doubt for a second that, in that regard, we're all in the same boat.

  26. Kid

    Pete, while it's true that Kirby obviously thought of the Surfer as a created being, it was never expressly stated, which allowed Stan his later tweaking of the character.

    With Stan's origin, one obviously wonders why someone who had sacrificed himself to save his own planet would be so cavalier about destroying others, but one assumes that Galactus had discreetly removed the Surfer's memory of events so that he would perform his tasks with an untroubled conscience. Meeting Alicia stirred up the memories deep within him and re-awakened that conscience.

    In fact, I believe something along those lines was later incorporated into the Surfer's history in order to reconcile any apparent discrepancies between Stan and Jack's different takes on the character.

    As for Stan's 'we christened him…', Stan often uses 'we' to counter (I'm convinced) accusations of him stealing sole credit for everything. It's his way of avknowledging his collaborators, even when their contribution may be no more than agreeing with his choices. In short, it's often nothing more than a courtesy.

    Kirby may have referred to Norrin as 'the Surfer' in his margin notes, but 'twas Stan, apparently, who decided on 'Silver Surfer'. Stan, of course, given his faulty memory, in later accounts couldn't quite remember who came up with the name. Or, at least, he allowed for Kirby's contribution to it. Stan also often uses the word 'we' when meaning 'Marvel', so it's sometimes difficult to know precisely in what way he's using it.

    And who ever said that Jack thought of the Surfer as being silver? He could have had gold, metallic, or white in mind. Perhaps he thought 'The Soaring Surfer' was a good name?


    Anon, it makes a difference when you insist on taking things out of context and making a meal out of it, or attributing things that were never said for the sole purpose of stirring up an argument out of nothing. The odd anonymous post is fine when making a general point, but if you're going to insist on being irritating, you should at least have the guts to stand up and take the blame.

    You see, it's your determination to keep your identity secret which reveals much about your motivation for being here.

  27. Given that a lot of my posts may be taken as Stan-bashing (since they're all about Kirby's contributions versus Lee) I want to say that I believe that Stan Lee was undoubtedly the creative leader of 60's Marvel, he was the one who provided the vision that the creators followed and he was the one who unleashed Kirby's and Ditko's boundless talent. There's no doubt that if Marvel artists were working at the contemporary DC they wouldn't be allowed to blossom like that.

    Also I'm glad that I have been reading Stan's dialogue for Spider-Man and the Thing,instead of Ditko's and Kirby's, as his sense of humor is integral to those (and others) characters' voices. And I don't believe that Lee was copying Kirby's notes for his FF scripts. I'm pretty sure I've read that he changed the plot of the storyline with “Him” considerably with his dialogue.

    The reason I am making mostly pro-Kirby posts is because a lot of the pro-Stan points I agree with are already being made by other posters (including Kid, who I seem to “antagonize” by answering right after his posts, though that's not my intention)

  28. I have never read any Surfer story outside of Lee-Kirby's and Byrne's Fantastic Four, but has his behaviour in his first appearance ever been explained in relation to his (created later) origin? I mean, I hear that he's an alien who sacrificed himself to save his planet, yet in his first appearance he is a pretty aloof alien being, that has to learn compassion and nobility through his interaction with blind sculptress Alicia Masters, uttering such words as:

    "Nobility? The word has no meaning to me!", "Destroy is merely a word! We simply change things! We change elements into energy.", "Never have I heard such words…sensed such courage…", "At last I know… beauty!", "Perhaps for the first time within memory…I have found something worth protecting!" and lots more to that effect. I liked that version, which is a personal opinion, but I don't doubt that most comics fans are more enamored of his later origin.

  29. Anonymous

    Kid, What is the big difference you're talking about?
    The only situation where I could see a person signing a post or not making any difference would be where the poster was a known professional with an axe to grind attacking another pro.
    Most people commenting here are probably just ordinary comic book fans. A person like myself could sign a post or not sign it, or use a fake name like Luke Skywalker or Clark Kent. It really makes no difference.

    Ann Nonymous

  30. Anonymous

    Kid — don't forget, the Surfer had two contradictory origins … the first one was that he was created from nothing (CREATION EX NIHLO) by Galactus and slowly came to rebel against his master.

    The Norrin Radd one … well, I'm sure you know that dire tale.

    As for the Silver Surfer name, Lee says that 'we christened him', meaning himself and Jack.

    But it sure seems odd to think that the alliterative Kirby would invent a silver guy on a surf board and NOT immediately think to call him the Silver Surfer.

    -Pete Marco

  31. Kid

    Pete, Kirby may have 'created' an alien on a surfboard, but the Surfer's backstory that the public is familiar with all came from Stan.

    Doubtless Jack had his own ideas, but Norrin Radd from the planet Zenn-La, who sacrificed himself to Galactus to save his fellow beings and Shalla Bal were all Stan's contribution. Apparently Stan even came up with the name, Silver Surfer.

    In that sense, the Silver Surfer as he's perceived by the vast majority of the comics buying public can truly be said to be 'by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby' – or vice versa even.

  32. And I had no idea Defalco was so disliked. Jim had his enemies but at least he made the company great during that era. Seems like they went from the frying pan into the fire with Jim's successor.
    "Be careful what you wish for"

  33. Just read the Vinnie Coletta Interview. WOW! So much inside info. He was the Mariano Rivera of comics. He closed a lot of books that were behind deadlines fast.


  34. Kid

    I think there's a big difference between signing a post with a name by which one is socially and professionally known (like 'Kid' for example), and signing a comment simply as 'Anonymous'.

    There's also a difference between using a title which can be clicked on to take the reader to a profile page with the person's real or full name on it, and steadfastly hiding one's real identity behind the 'Anonymous' umbrella.

    At least signing one's comments with some kind of name helps readers to differentiate between one 'Anonymous' and another.

  35. Re: Colletta
    Books had to get out. Definitely sacrificed the pencillers work, but shipped on-time. What's the problem? The same rational can now be used for butchering the writer's word, as well as the artist's line. It's just a job.

    Takeaway: thank God for commentary.

    Re: Dude
    Glad got to meet Steve at Cons in Winnipeg and San Diego. Hey he's no Alex Toth (worship, worship), but he's got a vision worth appreciating. Don't be an idiot, knocking it.

    Re: Vinnie inking Grell
    F&%$k Take those art assigners and shove 'em.

    Re: Vinnie inking Kirby
    Love those Thors. Gimme Asgaard, baby.

    Getting on 250 comments. Quite the post, Jim. 😀

  36. Geeze!

    I wrote earlier in this comments thread (a couple of miles up on the previous page) that I usually read all the comments on this, the only blog that I follow. But I have to admit that I'm struggling a bit by now.

    For me, the absolutely most interesting stuff to appear in the comments to this particular post were the Valiant interviews, links and info. To others it's more interesting to discuss whether The Dude is rude or not, the "Vince Colletta controversy" (ignorance is bliss – until last Friday I had no idea there even was such a thing!), religion, and lately, it seems, "Stan vs. Jack" (!?!).

    And hey, that's all fine! We're all more interested in some things and less in others.

    But a big part of the problem in following this thread now, is that there are really so MANY discussions going, on so MANY subjects, many of them only very loosely connected to the original post. It's really getting hard to follow.

    Much like a modern comic book, really…

  37. Anonymous

    Stan Lee admits in 'Origins Of Marvel Comics' that the Silver Surfer was 'just in there' when he got the pencils back from Kirby for FF #48. It was Kirby's idea, 100%.

    That's the only one Stan has ever admitted he had nothing to do with conceiving of, to my knowledge.

    -Pete Marco

  38. Anonymous

    Visually is what I meant. I'd love to hear about the visual creation of say Galactus or Silver Surfer or Thor or the Avengers. Who designed the costumes? My impression is that although a collaboration took place the actual design fell on the artist – in this case Kirby.

  39. When I did an inking sample for Marvel in 1969 over a rejected Kirby penciled page, the reason Sol Brodsky gave me for not giving me inking work was precisely that I HADN'T simplified the "cluttered" pencils. A clue.

    Also, some here seem to take it for granted that Jack created the FF, Thor, the Hulk and many other characters all by himself. Knowing Stan and Jack, having worked closely with both of them, plus things I saw and things I was told by people who were there at the time like Flo, Sol, Ditko and others convinced me that Stan was co-creator at least of those properties.

  40. Anonymous

    I'm not sure I get the complaint about anonymous posts. Is there some difference between signing a post with a fictitious name like "The Kid" Jedi-Jones" "Defiant" Mr. Ed" and not signing a post? I would think most people who are "anonymous" simply don't have a Google account. And for that matter a person could attach any name they care to to a post.

    John Doe, Mr. Smith, etc.

  41. Anonymous

    Ha ha Philip.


  42. Anonymous

    Jim, While I have no doubt DC was protective of the Superman model, it always seemed strange to me that they had two very different ones, often in the same book. For years Wayne Boring and Curt Swan occupied the pages of Action and Superman, but their versions of Superman looked almost nothing alike.
    Recently when my wife told me I was gaining weight I told her, "What do you mean? I look just like Superman," and showed her a picture of the Wayne Boring Superman as evidence. Thick waist, receeding hairline and all.


  43. R. Lewis

    As a former inker, I can attest to numerous occasions of having to "alter" pencil art. Never doing so arbitrarily, and only in the most minor way possible-just enough to make the panel "work". A tweaked horizon line here, a shoulder there. There was one comic book where, if a character appeared twenty times throughout, there would be at least ten or fifteen costume variations, so clearly the inker's role is not insignificant: I just liked to make changes only if they were justifiable and explainable. Sometimes, speech balloons can alter the appearance of the covered art behind it, which necessitated some changes for clarity's sake. I can't imagine being one who'd just do it "my way"…that wasn't my job!
    Sadly, I was also getting slower and slower, which I didn't realize until after the fact that my eyesight was beginning to fade. It was taking three or four tries just to get the pen point to land on the spot I was aiming for on the paper. I kept playing with the lighting at the desk, alternating bulb watts, right side, left side, above…everything but going to get my eyes checked! Amazing the things one can talk themselves out of noticing!
    Since I'm here, I'll mention that I once met Mr. Shooter up at Valiant, I believe I'd brought up a portfolio of work. I have no idea how that came about, but I recall Jim being very professional and courteous to me. Much appreciated, Sir, even some twenty years later!

  44. I remember hating Kirby's art as a teenager in the 70s. I found it ugly and his women very little like my idea of women (my tastes drifted more toward Nestor Redondo's style, or any of the Phillipino artists Camine Infantino brought into the industry). I avoided Marvel because of Kirby's monotonous stuff. The only Marvel books I liked were the Spiderman Romita and the Gil Kane Warlock books. These guys at least knew how to draw pretty women and handsome faces. When Kirby came to DC, I slowly came to buy some of his output, and liked Kamandi—somewhat. I bought it every month, anyway.

    I found myself drawn to his oddball book The Demon. His depiction of Witchboy hooked me. But I still found his stuff difficult to like. His stories hard to follow. The dialog interchangeable from one story to the next. He was such a minimalist by this time, he just had people zinging all over the place, rubber limbed. He was, as many have remarked, quite abstract in his depictions. There was no personality in his faces; they were all THE Kirby face. That bored me more than a little…

    However, as an adult I came to fully appreciate his urgent, masculine style of representation. I can't say even now that I LIKE his art, but I very much respect it—I find it utterly necessary now. He was a giant, clearly, and researching his work and his legacy proclaimed this to me.

    In full light of day I can clearly see that he did put a great many extra elements into his 60s pencils that did not necessarily contribute to the story, but did establish their overall, idiosyncratic "Kirby-ness". Being intensely Kirby-like was good only insofar as it did not clutter the visuals. I am one of those who feels that the Vince Coletta version of the panels referenced above—the ones with Loki and the crowd and the crawling man, etc.—were decidedly improved by Coletta's visual editing. I guess Vince Coletta didn't realize Kirby had become a god by that time. He was just finishing off a commercial product.

    There is so much Kirby output to be examined it's hard to think we've "lost so much" because inkers screwed it all up. Kirby's stamp is so strong, you can't miss it. I think people ought to give Coletta some slack. He was just a guy inking comics for a living, not a paid curator of the art of Kirby.

    We all need to be edited sometimes, even a Kirby. It doesn't destroy what he did. It's just the truth of a commercial life: other hands are always involved, and not necessarily for evil reasons.

  45. Anonymous

    I recently read where Sal and John Buscema both hated being inked by Ernie Chan … I always thought that stuff was outstanding.

    -Pete Marco

  46. Kid

    Oops. 'Sinnott', not 'Sinnot'. Pardon me.

  47. Kid

    I think it was because, by then, Stan had decided that Joe Sinnot brought out the best in Kirby's pencils. I assume he also preferred the illustrative effect that Vince Colletta gave to Thor 'though, which is why he kept him on it.

  48. Kid

    Yeah, but John Buscema didn't like Alfredo Alcala inking him either, whereas I thought the results were spectacular. Perhaps Big John felt his style was 'swamped' by either artist, but I actually liked Colletta's inks on Buscema's Thor.

  49. Anonymous

    On a related note, does anyone know why Dick Ayers, Chic Stone and George Roussos all stopped inking Kirby by the mid-late '60s?

    Those guys were all very quirky inkers themselves, although not without merit. Many would argue, however, that none of them was quite right for Kirby.

    Were they let go by Stan? It seems odd that Colletta stayed with Kirby while they all moved on.

    – Pete Marco

  50. Anonymous

    Seems Neal Adams, Alex Toth, Steve Ditko, and Gil Kane also wanted (and got) Colletta off their books. Evanier puts the above Colletta letter in context for us comic historians.


    Since then, others have admitted that they would have barred Colletta from embellishing their work if they could have. Just on convention panels I've moderated, we heard that from Gene Colan, John Buscema, Bob Oksner and Marie Severin. At one panel I hosted, someone asked what tool Colletta inked with and instantly, John Romita (yet another great artist) piped up with "A whisk broom," and added that one of the perks of his position as Marvel's Art Director was that he could make certain his work was not inked by you-know-who. Joe Orlando, who was an editor at DC during the same period, told me the same thing. He'd been inked by Colletta before, back when he couldn't prevent it, and wasn't about to let it happen again. Carmine Infantino, another great artist, was then running DC. Infantino didn't pencil much during the period but what he did draw didn't go to Colletta for inking, either.

  51. Anonymous…well, I took the bait. After seeing that "cesspool" quote I had to find out where you got that from. I'm not any kind of comics historian like so many of the blog commenters so maybe this is common knowledge. If you're like me and you haven't seen it, here is the full Vinnie Colletta open letter to Marvel that Anonymous is quoting from.

  52. Lincoln G.

    Something about the Steve Rude thing reminds me of an encounter I had with Ron Garney about a decade ago… I'd met Garney a dozen times at cons and every time he seemed distracted and generall pissed off. Sure, he was nice enough if you stroked his ego for a while, but he usually just seemed offended to be at a convention.

    I was working at a comic shop at the time and wrote the weekly website reviews, for which I injected what I believed to be a good bit of humor. I'm sure some of it was hit or miss depending on personal taste, but whatever. So Garney had a new project out and as a personal joke to myself and some of my fellow compatriots, I nicknamed Ron "the Angriest Man in Comics". No one read the website but a handful of subscribers anyway, so who would possibly care, right?

    Some weeks later the phone rang at the shop. It was for me. It was Ron Garney. He proceeded to go into a rant about "What did I mean by that, How dare I say something like that , etc.". I spent the entirety of the call totally dumbfounded at what was happening and agreed to remove the blurb as I couldn't think of anything else to say at the moment. In hindsight I should've asked him if my description of him matched the sort of person that sits around the house running Internet searches on their name and calling up and bitching out people that have something bad to say about them, but alas…

    Loved his Captain America work though.

  53. Kid

    Sigh. I repeat for about the 3rd or 4th time, INVITING comment on whether Kirby (in the instance of Superman's 'S' emblem) was being 'lazy' (not taking the time to draw it properly?) or was being willful in insisting on doing it his way – or some other reason (not HAVING the time to draw it properly, not being ABLE to draw it properly?) – by way of seeking clarification as to why he didn't give DC what they wanted, is entirely different from ACCUSING him of being such. Can someone please explain why 'Anonymous' insists on attributing such a claim to me? Or is the answer really the obvious one?

    And, as I've said many times before elsewhere, when Kirby was at the top of his game (mid-'50s, throughout most of the '60s perhaps), he was untouchable. The King, without a doubt. (And let's remember it was Stan who crowned him such.) But it often depended on who was inking him. Can anyone really say that Jack's Challengers of the Unknown stories weren't miles better artwise when inked by Wally Wood as compared to when they weren't? Sinnott was great, but Wood was greater in my opinion. And Jack's later sad decline in quality does not necessarily spring from comparing him to other artists, but from comparing him to himself at his peak.

    It is because I can recognize Jack at his best that I can also recognize when he wasn't. That doesn't make me a 'Kirby-basher' as 'Anonymous' wants to insist – that just makes me fair and objective in my assessment of the man's abilities at various stages in his career.

    'Anonymous' clearly wants to be awarded some kind of prize for being the top Kirby fan in the universe – someone please give it to him, eh? Even if it's only a chocolate medal.

    Dimitris, I hear what you're saying, but the fact remains that, despite any resurgence in use in the DC Universe in relatively recent years, originally the top brass considered them a failure. I have fond memories of the original Kirby Fourth World stories (I have all the original issues, plus various reprints), but they just didn't take hold in the same way or to the same degree on their original publication as the Marvel titles seemed to. I can assure you, nobody was happier than me when they started to be integrated into the DCU again back in the late '80s. I still think that if Stan Lee had dialogued them (the Kirby issues)and had some input they would probably have been more of an immediate success 'though.

    As for Batman having long hair, I remember seeing Bruce Wayne with his hair in a ponytail whilst flicking through an issue in my local comic shop some years back. I groaned and put it back on the shelf. Thor was created with long hair, Bruce and Clark weren't. They've had short hair for so long that the style has become timeless. When they get around to reprinting those Bats and Supes tales, they're sure going to look dated. (Unless long hair's back in style by then, that is.)

    And for the record, my use of the term 'fan-boys' for those who later turned professional and wanted to revive the DC Kirby characters was not meant in a derogatory sense – I consider myself a fan-boy second to none.

    One last point on the DC Kirby characters; it seems to me that those who kept reviving them over the years did so because of their affection for Kirby, and because they were determined not to see a Kirby concept fail, however long it took to make it a hit. How could Jack produce a batch of DC turkeys when he produced so many Marvel winners, especially as, to all diehard Kirby fans who read them as kids, they deserved to still be around? That's what's ensured their survival – professional Kirby fans who refused to let them die.

    Much as I enjoyed them however, I still don't think most of them were a patch on Jack's Marvel work. Probably his Jimmy Olsen and Mister Miracle issues were the best, in my opinion.

  54. Anonymous

    Now obviously I am just some comic fan… grew up reading the Marvel and DC books we all love. First book was Hulk #4 (the 1960s one) and the Legion (later by Jim Shooter) gave me thrills. I was in love with Saturn Girl. I am not trying to sully Colletta, or anyone else, but just remarking on the inking and stuff left off. I think I have a good enough eye to discern. Thor inks by Colletta gave it that special feel on the old newsprint and the reproductions in Masterworks probably did cause Vince's lines to fade out compared to the originals – love to see an IDW Kirby-Colletta Thor book artist edition size.

  55. Anonymous

    Well… maybe JediJones but we've seen plenty of examples of this from Colletta. I can see some of the Colletta favor bias here too given this:

    "Marvel Editors…you are the droppings of the creative world. You were destined to float in the cesspool till urine logged and finally sink to the bottom with the rest of the shit but along came Jim Shooter who rolled up his sleeves and rescued you."

    I can admire his candor.

  56. Anonymous…I read that interpretation before posting mine. I think mine is just as valid and in either case they're just opinions. I'll reiterate what I said before. If Colletta was trying to save time why did he add a complex net-like pattern to the skirt of the woman on the right of the panel? Kirby's pencils had no detail on the skirt. That certainly had to add more time than it would have taken to draw the speed lines under Loki's arms. I don't see shortcuts so much as two different artists with different tastes. Colletta as the inker of course had the benefit of getting the last word.

    To me, the rap on Colletta sounds like one of the all-too-common comic book industry "memes" or urban legends. People arrive at a satisfying conclusion about a hot-button issue that can be summed up in one sentence, e.g. "Colletta was a lazy inker who removed stuff from Kirby's art." It's hard not to believe that the reality of the situation is more complicated and nuanced than that.

    A bigger problem is that once such a "meme" takes hold, everyone who looks at the artwork is going to be looking for evidence that it's true, in which case they're guaranteed to find it. The panels are unlikely to get a fair judgment from most people at that point. It wouldn't be difficult to find a handful of examples among a vast collection of artwork to seemingly prove almost any conclusion.

  57. Anonymous

    Funny thing is the blog over at the Kirby Museum analyzed the inks with Loki and didn't say that Loki didn't need to wave his arms because the people were already running away:

    "Colletta has eliminated a figure who fell on the ground (red circle). Also note how he has simplified the skyline (green circle). Notice the speed lines under Loki’s arms are gone, and details such as the long squiggle on the left arm and the end of the pony tail have been eliminated. Again, this takes away from Jack’s original composition which was designed to give you the sense that you are in a bustling, electric, crowded NYC boulevard where people and buildings are all packed on top of one another, and the crowd has to climb ontop of one another to flee. Colletta’s interpretation creates a huge blank space in front of Loki and above the crowd.

    "It could be argued that these changes were based on a conscious decision by Vince Colletta to improve Jack’s artwork. Vince may have felt that a smaller crowd and simplified buildings would be a much better way to depict Kirby’s NYC. But I don’t think this is the case — I think these omissions were based on Colletta rushing to complete this assignment as fast as possible, and simplifying details and erasing figures helped to save tremendous time."

  58. Kid, you should check out the DCU animation-verse. It's good stuff.

    This comments thread has been great. Greatly enjoying here in Chicago.

  59. "I have to admit that I'm not familiar with the animated series, and I lost interest in DC characters when they gave Superman and Batman long hair. They're no longer the characters I read as a youth."

    Actually Darkseid was the big villain in both Superman and Justice League animated series and was starring in both series' finale



    Even though the stories are by different creators, he is not a reworked character, he is still the way Kirby envisioned him, which is why I still credit Kirby for part of his success. But, no I don't believe that Kirby was more important than Stan Lee in the success of their Marvel work, just so I'm not misunderstood.

    Oh, and DC never gave Batman long hair (or am I wrong?). They did a lot of crap with him but we were spared the long hair, ha! (nothing against long hair, they look fine on Thor)

  60. Anonymous

    Ha ha yes Kirby's Fourth World work would be getting no play except for the fanboys who took over. Fanboys like Bruce Timm.

    Kid just admit you are a Kirby-basher. I don't care if you have zillions of old FFs sitting around. You probably feel a child could have drawn them with Crayolas because Lee did the heavy lifting.

    @ JediJones The examples are good ones of how Colletta mucked up Kirby.
    Really shows how Vinnie left things out. Pencils are not too crowded from "Lazy" Jack (wonder why he drew so many things in the panels if he was so lazy).

    She-Hulk was a good character in the hands of Byrne or Stern. I agree with that but the characters just flowed out of Jack Kirby's head and when Kirby left Marvel they stopped flowing from Lee. Am I wrong? If I am cite some examples of characters Lee and ____ created. Take your pick of artists. Pick two dozen artists that worked at Marvel and show me the creations made with Stan Lee and said artists.

  61. All, or nearly all Marvel artists made notes in the margin about what was going on in each panel so that Stan didn't have to refer to a written plot (when there was one) or notes while dialoguing. Sometimes the easiest way to get across what the panel was intended to accomplish was to write rough dialogue: "Look out!" (if someone was shouting). "There's the spaceship" (if, say, a character was pointing off panel). Whatever. Jack wrote more dialogue in margin notes than most guys, and wrote longer margin notes in general than most guys. Most of the dialogue in his margin notes that I saw was unusable, and Stan was never inclined to use anyone else's words anyway.

  62. Anonymous

    What would be a standard donation amount?

  63. Kid

    I have to admit that I'm not familiar with the animated series, and I lost interest in DC characters when they gave Superman and Batman long hair. They're no longer the characters I read as a youth.

    The reason Kirby DC characters may enjoy a measure of popularity nowadays 'though, is (in the main) because of Kirby fans turned professionals wanting to work on characters they remember from their childhoods.

    Any current (and relatively minor) success is therefore down to what subsequent hands have done with the characters and the decision to use them was mainly down to the nostalgia factor. (Or perhaps also the popularity of various toy lines.)

    However, in the main, although Darkseid (and others) may work as a supporting character in other titles, when the Kirby pantheon are given their own books in an attempt to revive them, they're generally unsuccessful.

    They've certainly never enjoyed the same consistent and ongoing success that JK's Marvel characters have had from almost day one.

    In my view anyway. Certainly DC considered them failures at the time. I don't care what anyone says, no company cancels successfully selling books that are making them money – and Carmine Infantino was of the same opinion.

  64. "Kirby's DC stuff wouldn't be getting used today if not for fan-boys turned professionals wanting to relive their childhoods."

    Kid, I think you're being unfair here. I agree with you when you say "Lee, Kirby, Ditko, etc., were never better than when working with their respective collaborators" so don't take this as an attack on your general argument, but the 4th world characters (especially Darkseid) have been used in DC's animated Superman and Justice League programs, they were instrumental in their big Final Crisis event, and Darkseid is part of one of the most famous Legion of Superheroes stories, The Great Darkness Saga. Darkseid (and his world) IS a very successful character, he's not being used just because of nostalgia.

  65. I suppose the She-Hulk example was hardly the best, but she is a character, inspired or otherwise, who has stood the test of time and who Stan Lee played a part in creating. That this is largely down to the work of Roger Stern and John Byrne is immaterial here, I was just pointing out that Stan Lee was involved in creating a well-known character since he stopped working with Jack Kirby.
    For the record, I'm not taking any sides here: Ditko, Kirby and Lee were/are all legends, and all deserve credit. How much credit, that's something for others to argue the toss over…

  66. @ Harry: I wouldn't count She-Hulk as an example of Stan Lee's creativity since there was nothing inspired or particularly creative in his version. She was just a female Hulk with a similar personality, created for copyright reasons, and she would have been an obscure character from Marvel's past if not for Roger Stern and John Byrne essentially reinventing her.

    I'm not posting this to take anything away from Stan Lee's career, it's just about his part in She-Hulk's success.

  67. Kid

    I've long maintained that one of the reasons for Colletta's bad rep was poor quality, early '70s reprints where the detail had dropped out and had been badly retouched by inferior hands. When you see the actual printed original comics they look absolutely fine. (I think.)

  68. Dimitris said…

    Eddie Campbell (From Hell, Bacchus) is a fan of Colletta and also claims that his weak inks in the Marvel Essential volumes may be because of Marvel's weak art repoduction.

    It's definitely a possibility. Check out this page on Kirby Dynamics. The Two Morrows book compared Kirby's pencils to a scan of the artwork that APPEARS to have come from Essentials. A scan from the original comic is provided on that blog for comparison. You can see how all kinds of linework visible in the original comic has disappeared in the black-and-white image of the same panels that Two Morrows used.

  69. "Nor do I remember any new Lee characters like the Surfer or Galactus or the 100s of others Jack created."


  70. Kid

    Double-standards, 'Anonymous'. Kirby's level of success at Marvel was determined by how well the books sold, their impact on the fans, and their longevity. So, you're saying that different standards should be applied to the comics he did at DC? Get real.

    It's fairly easy to be 'creative' – creating something that sticks – well, that's hard. Kirby's DC stuff wouldn't be getting used today if not for fan-boys turned professionals wanting to relive their childhoods. And all the attempts to revive Kirby's DC characters have all been relatively short-lived. So what did Kirby create after his time at Marvel that had a comparable success? Answer – nothing.

    As for Stan being creative, he no longer had to be. The books were doing fine, thank you very much. And it was only a relatively short time after Kirby departed that Stan was promoted and no longer had time to write a regular mag.

    My point being that Lee, Kirby, Ditko, etc., were never better than when working with their respective collaborators. No shame in that. Now, don't you have a castle to haunt?

  71. DJ said: "Somebody (this is a huge comments section, I lost where, sorry) mentioned John Romita redrawing a Peter Parker head (Spider-Man 61?)"

    Actually I was talking about Fantastic Four 61 for which I had read that Romita was asked to redraw the Peter Parker head because they wanted it to have a consistent look (looking at it now it does look like a Romita "Parker head").

  72. To be pedantic…. Lee and Buscema's Silver Surfer was a different long running animal than the Lee Kirby Silver Surfer

  73. Anonymous

    I didn't talk of sales being the measure of success (see examples). Rob Liefeld's books sold but are garbage.

    I said Lee never ever ever enjoyed the creativity he had with Kirby again and he didn't. Why? If Lee was this creative powerhouse please name me one creation he did without Kirby that has the same impact as a Silver Surfer or a Darkseid etc.

    Lee never came close.

    On the other hand Kirby was bursting with ideas that DC, and others, owe their paychecks to today.

    The Fourth World debacle is a bone of contention as you are well aware of. Nonetheless sales on those would be considered mega-hits today.

    That is beside the point "Kid" as is your idea of success. McDonalds sells lots of hamburgers but some would say they are not as tasty as those offered by other, smaller diners.

  74. Kid

    I can't access the picture for some reason. Is there an easier way to view it?

  75. Great picture Stuart!

  76. Anonymous

    Oops, sorry about the double post – -I didn't realise this thread was 'continued overleaf'!
    -Pete Marco

  77. Anonymous

    It's known for a fact that major 'corrections' were done to Kirby's late '60s Thor and Captain America art; especially the covers, and there are in-depth analyses of the stories being substantially changed as well.

    Stan seems to have become rather meddlesome around that time… I'm sure this contributed to Kirby leaving Marvel soon thereafter.

    Even Neal Adams had his art butchered in an issue of X-Men at Stan's request, with no consultation whatsoever.

    -Pete Marco

  78. Anonymous

    It's known for a fact that major 'corrections' were done to Kirby's late '60s Thor and Captain America art; especially the covers, and there are in-depth analyses of the stories being substantially changed as well.

    Stan seems to have become rather meddlesome around that time… I'm sure this contributed to Kirby leaving Marvel soon thereafter.

    Even Neal Adams had his art butchered in an issue of X-Men at Stan's request, with no consultation whatsoever.

    -Pete Marco

  79. Kid

    True, Rob, but that was ONE panel Stan was referring to with that remark, not the whole page or the entire mag.

  80. I tried posting once but it didn't take my livejournal id, so I wrote my comment and typed in my name( gn6196)at the bottom.

    No one HAS to be anonymous.

  81. Anonymous


    Here is the head erasure.

    However, Kirby's pencils are very hard to read here.


  82. I gotta agree with Mr. Robson that this anonymous troll thing is annoying.

    He is literally fabricating poor arguments and non-facts and falsely attributing them to others before attacking them.

  83. Kid

    No relation, Jayjay, 'though I've been asked if we're related before. Keith is an artist who works for DC Thomson, I believe. (Publishers of The Beano and The Dandy.) He's very highly thought of in professional circles, from what I understand. At one time I believe he also worked on Buster (and no doubt other titles) for IPC/Fleetway.

  84. Anonymous

    There is one example out there of Stan writing on the artwork to Sol (IIRC) that Vinnie had ruined the art by simplifying things

    and one example of Vinnie accidentally i guess, erasing a character's head-i guess misunderstanding the pencils. (it was a thor issue)

    However, the editors routinely assigned him work and nobody stopped him from doing what he was doing

    Personally, I do like the look on Thor. I also like sinnott on FF

    I am not a huge fan of the way Kirby's art looked in the 70s for whatever reason,.


  85. Kid

    'Anonymous', frankly I'm tired of you and I'm quite content to leave you to your own little fantasies. First, however, consider this. After Kirby and Ditko left Marvel, the sales and circulation on Fantastic Four and Spider-Man increased. Don't take it up with me, take it up with Marvel. And your argument is a two-edged sword. Without Lee, even with Kirby drawing the books, it's extremely doubtful they would have enjoyed the success that they did.

    What do I base that on? Forever People – 11 issues. New Gods – 11 issues. Mister Miracle – 18 issues. Jimmy Olsen – 15 issues. Omac – 8 issues. The Demon – 16 issues. His longest-lasting title was Kamandi, of which he produced 40 issues – hardly an unqualified success when compared to his Marvel titles which are still running.

    Kirby never again enjoyed the same level of success which he had attained when working with Stan, whereas Stan, at the very least, maintained the success – with other artists – that he'd achieved with Jack. The circulation on FF increased under Stan and Big John, remember.

    Which is not to disparage Jack, merely to view his success in context and to acknowledge the contributions of the person with whom he achieved it.

  86. Boy, those Glasgow conventions were fun. I have so many good memories and I still wear my Bastard Bunny hat every winter. lol. I do recall meeting Keith Robson, but I'm guessing he's not a relation to you, Kid? Talented guy, though. I still have some wonderful photocopies of his work around here somewhere. I met so many nice people there and now with Facebook and stuff it's easier to keep in touch with a few I've reconnected with.

  87. It's possible. I suspect that was the year before I started going, though — I remember some photos of an unruly mob of (mostly) Americans roaming the streets.

    In '91, DC cut back the number of people travelling to the bare minimum because of the Gulf War. Archie, Bob, and I were clearly deemed expendable.

  88. Kid

    Might have met you there then. Back in the early '90s (I think), Archie Goodwin, his wife and myself (plus a few others) wandered around the area of Glasgow that was recently 'standing in' for America in Brad Pitt's movie currently in production, and Archie and myself remarked on the similarity of the architecture in the two countries. (There's a photo of Archie and me on my blog somewhere.)

    Looks like some moviemakers eventually realized the same thing, eh?

  89. Just because I don't feel like working anymore today: Here's a photo from one of those Glasgow conventions — '91, I think. Bob Wayne, who took it, called it "Stuart and Archie helping me set up the booth."


  90. Anonymous

    2nd line should read "and LEE was scripting"

  91. Anonymous

    So you're saying if say – umm, oh I don't know – Sal Buscema was drawing the FF and Thor during the 1960s and Less was scripting they'd have reached the pinnacle they did? No, I can't ever agree to that.

    We can all read how a Marvel plotting session went. I am not going to get into a Lee vs. Kirby debate Kid. That tires me. Lee did his thing but Jack gave him the visuals. You need to remember comics are a visual medium (see my above about Sal Buscema – a good artist but he would not have been able to produce anything near the output "lazy" Jack did).

    Yes you're a Kirby-basher. Suggesting Jack didn't know how to draw Superman's S or his hair and apologizing for Vinnie's sloppiness. What else can I call it?

    I seem to remember Evanier saying DC execs were not thrilled with Jack coming back to DC. That perhaps editorial wasn't. But that is hearsay until I can pull out some quotes. Kirby wanted Royer from the start on New Gods etc. This is what I read but again – no proof. I can see why despite the fine work on things like Spirit World and Soul Love etc. Clearly when Vinnie wanted to he could do good work.

    Of course after Jack aged his work declined. His health impacted that but you know what? After he left Marvel in the 1970s I don't remember one Stan Lee book that did anything close to what they did together. Nor do I remember any new Lee characters like the Surfer or Galactus or the 100s of others Jack created.

    Do you?

    If I remember Marvel coasted on Jack's creations (and still is) for decades.

    Not sure if any run matched the FF Lee-Kirby run. I can't think of one.

    I see the warts too and they are the inking jobs Colletta did and the silly paste jobs DC did.

  92. I went to two Glasgow conventions. They were so much fun! And I fell completely in love with Glasgow.

  93. Kid

    Only if he ever held any in Glasgow – I never attended any London conventions, although I used to travel down to London once, sometimes twice, a week. That was when Britain had a comics industry of course. Not any more. Certainly not one that can support the ever-increasing number of hopefuls looking for work.

  94. Kid

    Jayjay, I am content to bathe in the reflected glory of he who is 'The Law'.

    Did you ever see the JD movie tie-in mag? It only lasted either 23 or 27 issues (can't remember exactly), but it was a nice little mag.
    It was called Judge Dredd – Lawman of the Future.

    I remember seeing your name in Marvel mags all the time back in the '80s. Stole a look at your blog the other night back. Good stuff.

  95. Though now I'm wondering if we ever met… were you at any of Frank Plowright's conventions in 93 or 94?

  96. Kid

    'Anonymous' – Lee had AT LEAST an equal part. Just because Kirby made margin notes didn't mean he hadn't discussed the plot or direction with Stan beforehand. And, as I've often said before, even IF you could reduce Lee's contribution to 'mere' scripting, that was the secret ingredient which had a disproportionate effect on the finished product. Stan was and IS the Man.

    Me a Kirby-basher? Actually, I'm one of his biggest fans, as testified to by the mountain of original comics, Masterworks volumes, and Omnibus editions in my huge collection. However, I don't deify him as an artist (or as a man). As well as his many artistic strengths, he also had quite a few artistic shortcomings. I have favourite singers, but that doesn't mean I think every song they've ever sung is necessarily them at their best. It's the same with artists – when they were good, they were very good – and when they were bad, they were bad. There's no doubt that Kirby having to produce so many pages a month as he had to eventually led to a decline in the quality of his work, and that situation was compounded by failing health in later years.

    As good as Kirby undoubtedly was, he was even better when inked by the likes of Wood, Sinnott, and yes – even Colletta. And when he was scripted by Lee – well, the comics simply soared.

    What you need to remember is that comics are both words and pictures – not one or the other. The weaknesses of Kirby's scripting at DC (and later on his return to Marvel) are ample testament to just one of the contributions Lee was responsible for in the success of Marvel Comics. Another is the mood, the flavour, with which he imbued the Bullpen Bulletin and letters pages throughout the '60s.

    So, yes – I AM a Kirby fan. However, being so doesn't mean I'm blind to the 'warts'.

  97. Just a very big fan of 2000 AD, Judge Dredd and the like. Your name always stood out!

  98. Kid

    But thanks for the kind comments on my blog. I enjoy your comments too. Unfortunately I can't take full credit for my handsomeness – I used to take 'handsome pills' when I was a child.

    And Jayjay – I'm astounded. I was only ever a minnow in an ocean – how could you possibly have heard of me? Did you assist Tom Brevoort when I did some Masterworks pages for him? Or – gasp – are you mistaking me for an even more famous Kid Robson. (Can there be two?)

  99. Kid

    Well, I'm certainly not responsible for the vagaries of internet connection, so don't blame me for your previous inability to connect to my blog. And don't credit me either for your sudden success – as I say, I did nothing.

    And the reason your 'point' is redundant is because it simply isn't applicable to me. When I was a fulltime comics contributor, I worked under the name of Kid Robson, sometimes simply signing myself as Kid. I've being known as Kid from a teenager, so your attempt to lump me in with others who use non-specific names isn't apropos to the situation. Therefore, your attempt to make it so was redundant.

    As was your attributing motivations to me which were also not applicable. I never suggested that someone's opinion is invalid just because they offer it anonymously, so your attempt to suggest I was is likewise redundant.

    Doesn't change your point? As far as I can see, you don't actually have one – at least not in my case.

    Now, in other people's case – well, that's a different matter.

  100. ja

    Kid looks like he's in the Handsome Witness Protection Program, with that beard!

    He tries to roam around the world as one of the fuglies, but everyone sees through the beard. He will never be able to hide.

    Kid, you even grow a good looking beard. Did you grow that beard because everyone was always hitting on you, and you just had to make a break for yourself?

    Nice blog, Kid. Now I have less time in my day to spend on my life. Yikes.

  101. Funny, but… the first time I saw the name "Kid" pop up on a comment here on the blog I wondered if it could be Kid Robson, I looked and it was! I thought it was cool.

  102. ja

    Kid Robson,

    I don't care why people remain anonymous. Everyone has their specific reasons.

    As to my point being redundant? No. Whenever I click onto your 'name' link, it takes me to a page with links to your blog, and a picture of you. The five times I've clicked on the link to your blog, I get a '403' service error message. I get this error message a lot when I go searching for others' blogs through this comments section.

    But of course, now that I've checked once again during this particular response to you, I see your blog finally shows up. Weird. This is the reverse of what happens to me when something's wrong with my car, and when I take it to my mechanic, it suddenly won't do in front of him what it does to make me go to him in the first place.

    Still doesn't change my point, though. =)

  103. Anonymous

    I can admire Colletta's work ethic and did enjoy the TwoMorrows book on him. Not saying he was the Devil just that perhaps he was overstretched? Would that be fair?

  104. Anonymous

    Lee had an equal part? LOL yeah the margin notes on all the stories show that. Not. Lee vs Kirby? Not interested in that but I will say that if say Wayne Boring (a gifted man) had been drawing a comb over on Cap I doubt we'd see a movie today or the character would even have been remembered outside of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.

    Kid to be honest you seem like a Kirby-basher. Your catty remarks about Jack's work are disrespectful.

    We all knew who created the FF / Avengers / X-Men / Thor etc. The guy who drew them. We all have read about the Marvel Method of writing (not taking one thing away from Stan Lee either). Kirby created these characters visually. Not seen anyone come close to his "lazy" efforts since.

    These are my opinions, of course. I am not a comics professional but a comics lover.

    I can see staying on character sure but DC was not so picky with other artists staying on character since. Product of the time? Sure. Okay. I still think it was stupid of DC and it sure didn't translate over to TV with either Superman or Batman.

    The Loki thing was a dead giveaway for me. No one can look at that image and say the stuff Colletta left out was Vince playing "I am better than Jack and know what should be in or out." If we can get Infantino or someone else to weigh in I would consider their observations but to me it looks like people at DC didn't like Kirby for what happened in the 1950s or 1960s and wanted to yank the thunder away from him.

  105. Jim said:

    "he was writing and full penciling four books a month, plus covers."

    These days, it's hard to get one book a month from some pencillers, and they look like crap and contain no story telling.

  106. By the way….

    Much has been said here about how fast Colletta inked, but no one has mentioned how fast Kirby worked. He always did a huge volume of work, and he always worked blazingly fast. During the two and a half years I worked with him, he was writing and full penciling four books a month, plus covers. One effect of working at that pace was that he was routinely a bit careless about costume details and such.

  107. Kid

    Jim, I do apologize if it seems that I'm monopolizing your comments section, but people keep directing their remarks to me which require responses.

  108. Kid

    ja, you're doing what 'anonymous' does – adding meanings to my words that aren't there. Never once did I say or suggest that the validity (or lack of it) of someone's opinion was dependent on their identity being known. I just prefer to know who I'm dealing with, that's all.

    And it is a possibility that some people remain anonymous merely so that they can play 'Devil's advocate' and stir up a good rammy, all the while being divorced from any acrimonious fallout from it. Which is not to say that the opinion they offer isn't a valid one – merely that it might not really be THEIR opinion.

    And I've had the nickname 'Kid' since I was a teenager and it's how I'm addressed by my friends. The fact that it's attached to my actual surname (Robson – as can be seen by anyone clicking on the avatar and being directed to my blog) surely renders your tongue in cheek point redundant, no? Yes.

  109. DC Comics, in the ancient days, at least till the end of the Weisinger era, was extremely fussy about how Superman was drawn. Superman was their licensing gold mine and was jealously protected. Even after Weisinger, for a while Julie upheld their standards, albeit not as strictly.

  110. Kid

    And as I've said before – I could've lived with his version of Supes' face. It was enough like Superman to be recognizable, but the eyes needed put on the same level – and the hair DEFINITELY needed fixed. If they'd sorted that out, it would've been fine. If you compare the Anderson inks to the Kirby pencils, the expressions are still pretty much intact. Murphy really didn't do much more than Sinnott did with faces on the FF. (In the main.) As I said before, if Anderson had made corrections in pencil and then Colletta had inked them, nobody would've had a problem with that.

  111. ja

    "Now, kindly have the guts to put your name to your opinions."

    That's pretty funny, coming from someone whose 'name' is "Kid".

    I love the silly fallback comeback that since you don't put your name to a post, your argument suddenly doesn't stand on its own.


    Either the argument is sound, or it's not. Doesn't matter if it comes from 'ja' or 'anonymous' or 'Kid'. 'Gregg H' once tried the same funny thing with me, which was hilarious because of the 'name' he was using. LOL! I love irony. =)

    Let the argument speak for itself.

    Kid, I enjoy your posts, and I am quite impressed with your opinions and arguments. Keep'em coming!

  112. Kid

    It wasn't an assumption – it was a question. Can nobody around here understand plain English? Sheesh.

    Was he being willful, lazy or merely unable? Take your pick, 'cos I sure don't know. That's why I asked.

  113. Kid, I'm pretty sure I've read somewhere (probably Evanier again) that Kirby had a lot of trouble with Superman's insignia and simply was not able to draw it correctly. So your assumption that he was being either willful or lazy may not be accurate. I'm not sure Kirby could have drawn a Superman face that looked more like the Swan/Anderson version either. There tends to be a sameness about most Kirby heroic faces.

  114. Kid

    I don't need to justify what you call 'editorial interference' – that's not MY job. All I'm trying to do is understand the reasons behind it. And the pic on my blog screams 'comb-over' or 'rug' to me on its own merits. I'm quite sure I'd have thought the same even if DC had printed it that way. Then the sh*t would really have hit the fan – "Why are you printing pictures of Superman wearing a wig?" would surely have been the cry.

    As for 'picking the word' (lazy) – your comments still suggest to me that you don't quite understand what I was asking, which was: Knowing that DC weren't happy with his 'S' emblem and heads, Kirby still (in the main) continued to draw them that way. I believe he could have drawn them on-model if he'd wanted to, so why didn't he? Was he being willful or lazy? Or am I over-estimating his ability in thinking he could draw them properly if he wanted to? There was no accusation there, only a question springing from the desire to understand his motivations in continuing to draw in a way that his employers were clearly dissatisfied with.

    And I think you'll find that Stan lee had at least an equal part in Marvel's success that Jack had.

    Now, kindly have the guts to put your name to your opinions.

  115. DJ

    Hi Guys.
    Somebody (this is a huge comments section, I lost where, sorry) mentioned John Romita redrawing a Peter Parker head (Spider-Man 61?), he did more than that. If you think Kirby was hard done by, feel for poor Gil Kane. When Romita inked Kane, he almost completely redrew just about everything, on more than one occasion. I have to say that I believe it was on Stan's orders, as he wasn't too keen on Kane's pencils? He must have liked his layouts though. I'll bet Jazzy Johnny did. Seemingly he wasn't keen on plotting the book?
    Just thought I'd chuck that in there. 🙂
    David J.

  116. Anonymous

    I don't see the wig aspect of it Kid. Honestly. I see you trying to justify a reason for the editorial interference etc. Now we all all great Monday morning quarterbacks – true – but this is how I feel: in every case at DC they took Kirby's pencils and mucked them up when they changed the heads. At Marvel the same. I don't care if Jazzy Johnny did it or Marie or Byrne or take your pick. Kirby often drew characters differently in Thor and the rest of his books. Costumes etc. Sure Wood gave it a Wood sheen. Sinnott his deal. Colletta his (when he was not erasing characters because "it looked crowded" which is a crock). We all can guess at the reasons for Superman's changes. What do the people there who are left say?

    Not trying to get under your skin and enjoy the back and forth .. not trying to put words in your mouth re: lazy but you picked the word. I can take criticism of Kirby but not "lazy" for a man who created most of the Marvel characters the rest of the company lived off of.

  117. Regarding the re-drawing of Superman's face, I got to thinking about Jack Kirby's ability to draw from a model vs. drawing from his own unique imagination. Kirby wasn't a realist. Probably, if you asked him to draw a nude model it wouldn't look anything like the model but Kirby's interpretation instead.

    Vince Colletta, on the other hand, drew very life-like looking people, especially women, and especially back in the 50s romance period.

    I remember that Vince started inking some of Jack's romance pencils toward the end of the Atlas era. Even Colletta couldn't do much with those strange round-faced Kirby women.

    Colletta also inked quite a few Superman faces in DC publications other than Superman over Swan, etc. and also over Tuska in The World's Greatest Superheroes syndicated newspaper strip and none of those faces were ever re-drawn.

    Some of Jack Kirby's pencils were just un-fixable, Colletta or no. That's how I see the re-drawing of Superman's face controversy. Probably something that just had to be done.

  118. Kid

    Swan? Adams? Boring? Plastino? Cardy? All of them or none of them – take your pick. But clearly off-model of Superman as far as DC was concerned. At least all of the above artists could draw Superman without making him look like he was wearing a rug.

  119. Anonymous

    Off-model of what? Swan? Adams? Boring? Plastino? Cardy?

  120. Kid

    I've now posted an example of ol' Clarkie's comb-over on my blog – merely click on my avatar at the side of this comment to take you there. I may post others later, but I believe the one I've used establishes my point well enough.

  121. Kid

    Anonymous, I'm having a problem taking you seriously because you keep infusing my comments with your own meanings, rather than dealing with what I actually say.

    In trying to understand why Kirby (who was surely capable of doing so) did not supply DC with on-model interpretations of Superman's head and 'S' emblem when he knew what he was doing was clearly not acceptable (or else why were they changed?), I asked if he was being willful or merely lazy. I think you'll find this is a question – not a statement. I sure as hell don't know why he continued to supply off-model art.

    I will shortly be posting an example of the comb-over on my own blog – click on my avatar to take you to it.

    Now, could you please confine yourself to dealing with what I ACTUALLY say, rather than what you THINK I've said? Thanks.

  122. Wayde Murray wrote: And do we know if those other inkers were regularly given last-second work to do by editors in order to get material out on time, as was the case for Colletta
    I know Colletta was the last-minute deadline saver at Marvel and DC in the 70's, but I don't think that was the case at the 60's when he was inking Thor. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall him doing much of any other Marvel or DC work concurrently with his Thor run. Yet at that point he was already erasing figures and making simplifications on Thor. So I don't know that it's accurate to conclude he did those things because he was rushed on other jobs.

    Pete Marco wrote:
    I can easily imagine Stan directing someone in production, most likely Marie Severin, to delete those two cumbersome figures that have gone missing on the Loki pages AFTER Colletta laid down the inks.
    Anything is possible, but neither Stan nor Marie Severin, John Romita nor anyone else recalls this happening.

  123. Jeff Clem wrote:
    BTW, Orlando requiring Grell to be two full months ahead on Warlord is not an unreasonable request and I don't see it as arbitrary at all.
    I agree that it arguably wasn't an unreasonable request. But it does seem arbitrary to me since Orlando apparently was not requiring any other creators to get two months ahead. And it wasn't in response to any chronic lateness problems from Grell which might justify it. And most notably, it was specifically tied to Colletta being on the assignment… Orlando didn't require Grell to work ahead *unless* he wanted Colletta off the book. So the argument that he wanted to have a backlog in case Grell was incapacitated doesn't hold water, because he will willing to have no backlog as long as Colletta remained on inks.

  124. Anonymous

    Kid I've read where you asked if Kirby was "lazy" correct? Where did you hear that?

    Comb over and you're complaining about straw man? What is next?


    Here are tons of Kirby Superman pencils. Maybe you can point out the "comb over" ones for me? My eyes are not as good as yours perhaps?


    Adams changed the hair in that one. Between Adams, Royer, and Kirby I have to go with Kirby's pencils.

  125. Kid

    I've also noticed that SOME of the more ridiculous comments tend to come from anonymous people who won't put their own names to them. Makes me wonder if they know they're talking nonsense and are just trying to stir the pot. "Kirby couldn't draw the 'S' right so this is why they changed his heads?" Who even suggested that apart from the writer of that sentence? Sheesh!

  126. Nothing wrong with opposing viewpoints as long as the personal insults are not part of it. There have been times when some posters have tried to "draw me in" by making rude responses to my comments. But ,you know, a gentle answer turns away wrath. I have always enjoyed Collettas inks over Kirby. Nothing written here will change my enjoyment of it.

  127. Kid

    You mean I'm on the internet? Gosh, who knew?

  128. "I've noticed that a clear ploy of some people in discussions is to mis-state the opposing view in as absurd a form as possible and then ridicule it. When that happens, it's a clear case of 'straw man syndrome' – it's not the other person's point of view that is mocked or demolished, but rather some 'bizarro' version of it. When that happens, all that is produced is heat, not light."

    And in other news, Kid discovers the internet…

    Just kidding, Kid. You are absolutely correct. The straw man logical fallacy is so ubiquitous in comments-threads/ forums. For the most part, this blog has been spared a lot of flame-wars, though lately people seem to be arguing more. So it goes, I guess.

  129. Kid

    I've noticed that a clear ploy of some people in discussions is to mis-state the opposing view in as absurd a form as possible and then ridicule it. When that happens, it's a clear case of 'straw man syndrome' – it's not the other person's point of view that is mocked or demolished, but rather some 'bizarro' version of it. When that happens, all that is produced is heat, not light. Give us all a break, guys.

  130. Kid

    Anonymous, you suffer from as clear a case of 'hard-of-thinking' that I've ever seen. Nobody, I repeat, nobody even implied that Kirby's heads were redrawn because he couldn't draw an 'S'. Perhaps you shouldn't join in the discussion 'til you actually understand what the discussion IS.

    To reiterate: Kirby's Superman symbols and heads were redrawn because they were considered to be off-model. However, in my view (got it? In MY view) Kirby's heads would've been okay if he had been able to render Supes' kiss-curl properly. I've seen probably all of the stats of the pencils made available from Jack's Jimmy Olsen issues and the fact remains that many of the head shots of Superman look as if he's sporting a comb-over.

    Fact. Live with it.

  131. Anonymous

    Kirby couldn't draw the S right and this is why they changed his heads? Or Kirby's Superman hair looks like he is balding? Yeah sure.

    Doubt anyone will ever know why they changed the heads. Does Infantino have a reason?

    @ mr ed so true about the Ross Superman.

    Anyone: I can't believe someone could look at the example above from Thor and think the erased figures and other changes look better than the pencils but I am forced to accept that some feel this way (as unhappy as it makes me). 🙂

  132. Anonymous

    czeskleba said:
    "If you're arguing that it was necessary to work really fast in order to earn a decent living, then isn't it valid for me to point out that most other inkers of the day were not working really fast in that manner?"

    And do we know if those other inkers were regularly given last-second work to do by editors in order to get material out on time, as was the case for Colletta (as stated upthread)? A worker has so much time to work in a given week (168 hours maximum even if he's a robot who doesn't sleep) and those rush jobs that had to get inked take up time – all-nighters included. To insist that other work not suffer in any way as a result of an artist being given that kind of workload is a bit unfair, I think.

    Just my two cents.

    Wayde Murray

  133. Wow – so much here on so many subjects, it makes my head spin! But that's a good thing; who wants a head that just sits still on their neck, gathering hair?

    Defiant1 – Thank you for sharing such a powerful and personal story. I needed a faith affirmation today, and finding on a blog about comic books is something I'll take as a "works in mysterious ways" thing.

    The Colletta issue – I agree with the sentiment that some inkers look good on some pencillers and not so good on others. Colletta has a huge body of work, some fantastic, some controversial, some journeyman-level, some above and beyond his peers. But his contribution to helping get the books out on time can never be under-sold.

  134. Anonymous

    I suspect you're right- that he figured it would be corrected by the inker, so why waste time drawing it?

  135. ja

    @ Anonymous who thought I was condescending and rude about my religious views:

    Sorry you feel that way. I don't apologize for stating my views, especially to contrast those who seem to walk around in life laying their religion over everything as if their view is the only one that exists. I am respectful of others' views, until I see someone who does this, and then I'll put my two cents in, too.

    I don't think Defiant1 is a malicious or bad person for that. I just expressed my views, like he did.

    So, get over it, with your fake outrage. I won't be holding back on my views.

    You're a diest, and you "just dislike athiest fundamentalism/evangelism as much as anything"? My, you seem to have just done the very thing you're criticizing me about. LOL

  136. Kid

    mr ed, nothing funny about it – it was, I'm led to believe, a deliberate act of homage. And I'm sure Kirby could have got the 'S' right if he'd wanted to. What interests me is why he didn't seem to want to.

  137. I've always found it funny that the Kirby Superman "S" is almost identical to the Alex Ross Superman "S." I guess Kirby wasn't the only person who "couldn't" get the "S" right.

  138. czeskleba said:
    "If you're arguing that it was necessary to work really fast in order to earn a decent living, then isn't it valid for me to point out that most other inkers of the day were not working really fast in that manner?"

    Uh, alright; certainly it's valid for you to point that out, but to what end? For whatever reason(s), some inkers of that day did not work fast in the Vince Colletta manner. Vince Colletta did work fast in the, uh, Vince Colletta manner. For whatever reason(s). Apparently, Vince thought it was necessary to work really fast in order to make a decent living and what those other inkers did is of no importance, since all inkers are not equal in skill, speed, financial need, etc…
    There aren't any good guys and there aren't any bad guys – it was just business.
    BTW, Orlando requiring Grell to be two full months ahead on Warlord is not an unreasonable request and I don't see it as arbitrary at all. Regardless of Grell never being late, what if Grell got laid up for awhile? It'd be nice to have an issue or two in the drawer just in case, and those stories should be by Grell and not someone else since Warlord, at the time, was so closely identified with Grell (it being his creation and all). I've heard of situations where editors wanted material nine months ahead and fired a writer for only being six months ahead. Orlando was the boss and Grell the employee and, for whatever reason(s), Orlando felt it necessary to assign Colletta to Grell's inks until Grell got more than one month ahead on the book – sounds perfectly reasonable and legit to me since, again, Orlando was the boss. Now, if Orlando made some truly unreasonable and bizarre demands on Grell, with respect to schedules, then I could see him as being difficult. The solution to getting Colletta off the inks was simple and it sounds like Grell finally came around.

  139. Vince Colletta has a minority of supporters too. Eddie Campbell wrote a spirited defence of his '60s work a few years ago. http://eddiecampbell.blogspot.com/2007/05/vincent-colletta-my-favourite-1960s.html

    Mark Evanier's wrote a response on his site, which many people here have quoted from.

    And Michael Netzer's blog captures a wide range of thought on Colletta as well.


    I think, like any inker, Colletta is great with some, lousy with others. I agree his inks butchered more finely detailed artists like Mike Grell and Marshall Rogers. But he was great with other artists like Ross Andru and George Tuska. But honestly, I could say that about any four pencillers and, say, Klaus Janson or even Terry Austin. There are some people who combine to make magic, others far from that.

    And I think, more than the star system, I think the '70s had a changeover to a more slick, finely detailed art style as championed by Adams, Grell, Kane, Byrne and others, and I don't think that was a particular meshing that worked for Colletta.

    All that said, I think Jim is right in that scheduling is king and the fact is people don't recognize that Colletta got the assignments because he was fast and that's what was needed in the behind-the-8-ball world of publishing in the '60s and '70s.

  140. "What some of us are doing here is applying modern-day aesthetics and criticism to what was essentially a business that cranked out sausage-links in bulk."

    That's true which is why I don't hold a personal grudge against Colletta for doing what he did. I don't dislike him as a man or even a professional. I understand that it was probably acceptable, or even appropriate to do what he did, I just don't like it.

    If we look at very old comics, a lot of them are repetitive or look hackwork. There are reasons for that (comics paid very little and creators had to crank out lots of comics to feed their families, the audience was renewd and the stories didn't seem recycled etc.). Understandable reasons, but just because we understand the circumstances doesn't mean we can't, respectfully, point out what we don't like.

    In other matters, that was one of the most entertaining posts Jim, especially the way you communicated Archie Goodwin's verbal prank. And I really really would like to see Byrne's Superman synopsis.

  141. I can tell you this much, with confidence: in ancient days, the penciler expected corrections, the editor was expected to ask for/require them, the inker was expected to put his stamp on the work and NOBODY GAVE A TINKER’S DAMN! It was just business. You got paid, you were happy.

  142. Vince didn't use assistants, as a rule.

  143. I'm not a fan of Colletta's inks and this started when I bought "Essential Fantastic Four vol.3" and found his inks on Kirby far inferior to the Sinnott ones that followed. I didn't even know his name at the time so my opinion was formed by my own taste and not because others badmouthed him.

    Changing artwork isn't even my biggest problem. Others were doing it too. Joe Sinnott has admitted that in the beginning he was softening Kirby's faces to make them look prettier (then he decided Kirby's artwork should look like Kirby's artwork and stopped doing it). There's a Peter Parker face in FF #61 that, I have read, was redrawn by Romita, and that's how it actually looks. I just really don't like his effect on Kirby's pencils (don't remember seeing them anywhere else for comparison) and some of us really like Kirby's indiosyncratic look. Those who don't, well it's taste and that's fine.

    By the way, Eddie Campbell (From Hell, Bacchus) is a fan of Colletta and also claims that his weak inks in the Marvel Essential volumes may be because of Marvel's weak art repoduction.


  144. Defiant1

    I thank you for your testimony. I'm glad that you were able to get peace by doing the right thing. I totally believe that The Lord honored your actions with grace and peace. Bad things happen to everyone you can get bitter or you can get better. GBU.

  145. Anonymous


    Plenty of people are identifying themselves as Deists on YouTube comments pages these days… seems to be a growing trend as the controversial origins of mainstream religion become less mysterious thanks to the spread of information online.

    –Pete Marco

  146. Anonymous

    Great to see those before-and-after examples of Kirby-Colletta pages. I honestly think Colletta enhances the art — especially by softening Kirby's 'metallic finish' on practically every surface.

    First time I've ever seen evidence of erasing some of the pencils, but are we sure this was Colletta's doing?

    I can easily imagine Stan directing someone in production, most likely Marie Severin, to delete those two cumbersome figures that have gone missing on the Loki pages AFTER Colletta laid down the inks.

    We have plenty of examples of Kirby's work was being 'corrected' under Stan's direction in the late '60s, so it's not impossible.

    And it's not as if Stan is going to remember the intimate details of art corrections made 45 years ago — he freely confessed to having an appalling memory way back in the 'Origins of Marvel Comics' book in the mid-70s.

    -Pete Marco

  147. Dear Anonymous

    "Let me just say, I'm a deist and so I'm not responding with any kind of Christian indignation or anything"

    I have never met anyone else who identifies as a deist, and here you are, not identifying yourself!

    I'm a deist, as well. There aren't too many of us, which is why I remark on it. I've never met anyone else who identifies as a deist. But it's kind of a 'lone wolf' religion, so that's not that surprising.

    Outside of the above, I'm all for keeping religion out of the comments and try to do so for myself. But that's just me. People's religious beliefs are their own, as as their opinions.

  148. Anonymous

    "Suffice it to say, I don't see a beautiful mountain range with all the glorious colors of a sunset (which is from man-made pollution, by the way), nor any significantly interesting coincidence (we've all had them) and see that as evidence that 'God' exists. It doesn't. But since that magical thinking comforts you, then that's cool. Each to his own. "

    Good God. That is so condescending and rude, dude. I really hate when people say "Hey, if you want to believe fantasy, go for it," like they're being open-minded/ magnanimous or something. It's typical of the new-atheism-arrogance of, say, Bill Maher, whom I'm not surprised to see brought up. All that guy does is set straw men on fire. Journalism and op-eds are in such sorry shape these days; it's binary thinking and reactionaryism and cronyism on a level unprecedented.

    Can we make a rule not to trash other people's religions? Surely it's not beyond anyone's abilities to be respectful of other people's beliefs without trashing them like that, particularly under guise of "hey it's cool, man."

    Let me just say, I'm a deist and so I'm not responding with any kind of Christian indignation or anything. I just dislike atheist fundamentalism/ evangelism as much as anything.

  149. ja


    Sorry to hear about your experience. I'm glad you have something to comfort you in troubled times, even though I totally reject that sort of comfort for myself. Instead of completely explaining my viewpoint, I'll just direct you to Bill Maher's excellent documentary called Religulous.

    Suffice it to say, I don't see a beautiful mountain range with all the glorious colors of a sunset (which is from man-made pollution, by the way), nor any significantly interesting coincidence (we've all had them) and see that as evidence that 'God' exists. It doesn't. But since that magical thinking comforts you, then that's cool. Each to his own.

    I was just reacting to what you wrote, when you overlaid that 'magical thinking' doctrine onto Shooter & Layton, as if Shooter's viewpoint didn't matter. On the surface, it just sounded like a flawed thought process.

  150. Kid wrote:
    I'm intrigued by your statement that Jack himself believed that Stan held back his art for FF #108 until the New Gods launch
    I'm pretty sure that's another anecdote told by Evanier, that Kirby was upset that FF #108 came out the same month as New Gods #1 and suspected it was done deliberately by Marvel for spite and/or to undercut sales on the New Gods issue. I can't remember exactly where I read it so I can't positively verify it right now (I think it was either his blog or Jack Kirby Collector). At any rate, regardless of what Kirby thought I agree with you that it's extremely unlikely the month of publication of that FF issue was anything but a coincidence. It's not like they put Kirby's name on the cover, or hyped it on the Bullpen Bulletins page, or did anything exceptional to try to draw attention to the fact it had a partial Kirby art job in it.

  151. Jeff said:
    so why say that if the other inkers "got by," then Colletta should have?
    In your previous post you were suggesting that the shortcuts Colletta took and the speed at which he worked look bad by today's standards, but were acceptable or even necessary in the context of the times in which they occurred. I was just pointing out that what Colletta did was not usual and customary, even at the time he did it. If you're arguing that it was necessary to work really fast in order to earn a decent living, then isn't it valid for me to point out that most other inkers of the day were not working really fast in that manner?

    Grell says he did complain directly to Joe Orlando about the inks on Warlord. Orlando told him that he would not replace Colletta until he (Grell) was a full two months ahead of schedule on the book. Grell felt that Orlando was being completely arbitrary with that request (Grell had never had any problems with lateness on the book), and he suspected Orlando had set it as the benchmark because he thought Grell couldn't do it. But Grell did eventually get himself far enough ahead of scheduled that Orlando relented and replaced Colletta.

  152. Jedi: Mark Evanier is the source of the Colletta quotation I've cited ("…I just knock it out as fast as I can…"). According to Evanier, Kirby told him that Colletta said this, and also said that Colletta's attitude was a major factor in his decision to ask for a different inker on the New Gods books. It's true that Evanier did not directly witness the exchange between the two men, so make of it what you will. It's possible Kirby misremembered what Colletta said when he retold the story to Evanier, or it's possible Colletta said it in a jocular way and it wasn't a serious expression of his attitude. I myself think those possibilities are unlikely, given what we know about Colletta and his work.

    An inker has a lot of leeway in finishing the art, but I think it's unequivocably wrong for an inker to erase figures from a panel unless directed to do so by his editor. Others here may disagree, it seems.

  153. czeskleba,
    Vince Colletta was obviously allowed to do as he did by editors that kept hiring him and paying him, for years….and years….what does that say? It seems to me that Adams, Grell and all of the other complainers should have had a problem with the editors who used Colletta or allowed Colletta to butcher their beautiful work.
    Also, when you say, "other inkers were able to get by during the same era without taking the short cuts Colletta apparently did," that's pretty weak. Not all inkers have the exact same set of skills, talent, speed, financial situations and pay rates, so why say that if the other inkers "got by," then Colletta should have?
    Adams has a well-deserved rep for being late with art, Grell I don't know about and Kirby wasn't bugged by it until Evanier and Sherman told him about it. I suspect that most of Colletta's peers accepted and put up with his inks because they saw it as an unfortunately necessary element in the regular production-grind of meeting deadlines.
    Again, I dislike most of what Colletta did as well, but being angry towards Colletta about his inking is misplaced. Did these guys ever complain to the editors? What did the editors say in reply? What possible justification could those editors have had for using a hack like Colletta on artwork that didn't need the Colletta rush-job treatment? If there was a problem with Colletta's inks, wasn't Vince more the symptom of the problem and the true cause of that problem was the editors?

  154. Kid

    Something else that occurs to me is this; Jack knew that his off-model 'S' emblems and heads were being redrawn, but still continued to draw them in his own manner. Jack could surely have drawn Superman's hair (which, it seems to me, was the main problem with his Superman heads) and rendered the 'S' in the proper way, so why didn't he? Was he being willful, or merely lazy? Look at his 'S' emblem in the pencil stats available on the Kirby Collector blog- I can't believe that Jack did it like that as a serious suggestion on how it should look, but simply because it was easier for him to draw. Simply put, he wasn't giving his employers what they were asking for – what he was surely capable of doing – so they had to get somebody else to 'fix' it up. If Kirby really cared about it, he would've done it the right way from the start.

  155. Anonymous

    Vinnie C's act of cutting the guy on the ground frog-jumping like Batroc ze Leaper was a mercy killing, no doubt.

    The other panels? Who knows? VC is gone, as is Jack K. The stuff was commercial work churned out for kids at a rapid rate.

  156. Kid

    czeskleba, my point was that Kirby didn't care (whether he knew or not, and I'm inclined to think that he couldn't have been totally unaware) about the 'shortcuts' Colletta took – UNTIL Evanier and Sherman started to harp on about it. Yes – 'harp'. Why do I think so? Because that's the impression I got from Evanier's own accounts. It obviously annoyed them, so it's unlikely they pointed it out in a casual, disinterested way, but with the full passion and vigour of youth.

    I know for a fact that Stan Lee was so impressed by what Sinnott was doing to Kirby's pencils (correcting facial symmetry, perspective, adding detail, etc.) that when Joe expressed doubts about making changes, Stan told him to keep on doing whatever he was doing. It's entirely possible that Stan, similarly, told Colletta the same thing, without giving any specific direction in each particular case where Vince made changes. In other words, the same 'carte blanche' that Sinnott had.

    I'm intrigued by your statement that Jack himself believed that Stan held back his art for FF #108 until the New Gods launch – it doesn't bear scrutiny in my opinion, as I explain over on my own blog (if I may be permitted a plug) at http://kidr77.blogspot.com – in the post titled 'Kirby has left the building'. I knew this theory has been touted by others, but not by Jack himself. Can you supply details?

  157. In my opinion, a quote being passed around from an unspecified source that someone at sometime heard Colletta say, "I just knock it out as fast as I can" should be completely inadmissible in any serious discussion. That sounds like the same rumormongering and hearsay that people have used over things like the "Gene Day death" issue and similar stories.

    Let me also point to something in this comparison photo showing Kirby's pencils and the final page. Colletta has added a webbed pattern to the skirt of the woman on the right that was not there in Kirby's original pencils. Why would he not just have drawn a plain-colored skirt if he was trying to rush through things as fast as possible? Similarly in the space panel I linked to earlier, he has added stars in places where Kirby's art just had black space.

    If Colletta was really just trying to "rush" the art out, he wouldn't be adding things to it. Most of these changes look like him applying his own artistic sensibility to the drawings. In some cases that meant using less detail, perhaps because he just felt it was unnecessary or distracting. In film, backgrounds are often shot out of focus so that they don't distract from the foreground action. That principle could be one reason why Colletta didn't want to put as much detail in some of the backgrounds as Kirby suggested. Obviously a penciller might object to that, and might try to give Colletta a bad name, but it doesn't mean Colletta did a bad job. Only the people in charge of deciding how much leeway an inker was supposed to have in modifying pencils can judge if he did anything wrong ethically. We can all make a judgement as to whether his versions of the panels look better than Kirby's or not.

  158. Anonymous

    I've seen all the Kirby pencils published and online of his Fourth World era Superman and would not agree at all with the above criticism of the work. Sure DC could have hired anyone to ink Kirby or redraw heads – their character. Not sure what Kirby said about the redrawing – do we have a quote? Did he complain or is it a case of us fans complaining and a myth grown up around us? Got me.

    I am saying it sucked. I could see if they had Anderson ink the whole issue but just heads looked funny. Off. Think Kirby's Superman hair looked funny do you? Look at a Kirby body with a Plastino head. Now that looks funny.

    For me they could publish the pencils and I'd be thrilled. Black and white and the size of the IDW Artist Edition books.

    Thanks .. food for thought.

  159. Ja,

    In 1990, I broke up with the only girl I'd ever asked to marry me. She meant everything to me, but she'd had a very troubled past that haunted her. Her outlet was drugs. I spent years trying to help her escape the problem, but as time went by she only resented it. In the years that I'd known her, I'd never said one negative thing to her or about her. In the breakup, she was furious. She was making a big scene in a public setting at her sisters work place. I was worried her sister might get fired. In attempt to shock her out of her rage, I said my first and only insults. It worked, but we never spoke again. I still loved her, but there was nothing I could do to get through. I didn't even mean anything negative I said. Over the next few weeks, the words I said really began to weigh on my heart. I wrote an apology. I put in in and envelope. I put a stamp on it and I drove it down to the post office. I pondered how she'd react. As I replayed all the scenarios in my head, none of them were pretty. I got all the way to the mail slot and had doubts. I didn't drop it in. I turned around and threw the letter in the trash. As I walked out of the post office, a little voice entered my head. It said quite literally, "You aren't apologizing to change her mind. You are apologizing because it's the right thing to do." I froze for a second. I walked back into the post office nervously and I pulled the letter out of the trash. It was the last communication she ever got from me. She died in a traffic accident a week later. I don't know where that voice came from. I don't care. I'm just glad it enlightened me. I'm glad I sent it. I'm glad I have confirmation that she read it. 21 years later now, her mom has lost three children. She emails me almost once a week. I'm reminded regularly that I did the right.

    Again, all I'm saying is that it's a huge relief when you know you walked that second mile with someone even though they didn't necessarily deserve it. God is as real to me as my right hand. I don't care if anyone believes in him or not. I'm not trying to convince you of anything. The passages I quoted were wisdom passages that stand alone whether you believe in God or not. On one of the most depressing days of my life because I was regretting the loss of her, I actually challenged God and and told him he wasn't there for me when I needed him most. An interesting thing happened that evening. Actress Kari Wuhrer emailed me. That may not mean anything to you or others, but to me she was the most beautiful actress I could imagine. I was humbled and I shut up. My depression disappeared. You can call the things that have happened to me coincidence, but I can rattle off dozens of such incidences that touched my life in a personal way. If believing in a fictitious God pans out those results, I'm going to keep believing in a fictitious God. It was a lot tougher getting through life when I didn't believe in anything but myself. I personally believe everyone eventually faces their biggest fears. Losing someone I love as much as her was my biggest fear. All obstacles since them are pretty much a cakewalk. I'm cocky and I'm arrogant. I know who is on my side. It's hard to take anything special away when the most special thing has already been taken away.

  160. Jeff Clem wrote:What some of us are doing here is applying modern-day aesthetics and criticism to what was essentially a business that cranked out sausage-links in bulk.
    To some degree that's true. But the thing is, other inkers were able to get by during the same era without taking the short cuts Colletta apparently did. Although standards were different then and rush jobs were often necessary, it's also true that Colletta's work was disliked by many of his peers at the time. Adams, Grell, Kirby and others felt his work was not up to the standards *of the day.* And his professed hack attitude was also not the standard of the day.

    Does he deserve criticism for this? That's debatable. His attitudes are more understandable in the context of his times, but they were not the standard attitude of everyone working in that era. I think he does deserve criticism for taking unnecessary shortcuts and doing rush jobs on books that were on time. But it is true that editors of the day were satisfied with his work and many readers liked it. And of course it's true that he saved many deadlines. I don't know… maybe if I liked his work better I'd be more willing to excuse the shortcuts he took.

  161. Kid wrote:
    Also, regarding the other factors, it was Evanier and Steve Sherman that kept harping on to Jack about things being left out, so naturally enough, when Vince was removed, Evanier would naturally assume that was also one of the reasons and cite it as such. Was it 'though? Maybe yes, maybe no.
    Is it accurate to suggest they "harped on" that issue? They pointed it out, but I don't know that they did it often enough or persistently enough to be considered harping.

    You're right that we don't know exactly what went through Kirby's head about the decision to ask for a new inker. Evanier cites the three factors I repeated above, and says Colletta's attitude ("I just knock it out as fast as I can…") was "more significant" than the issue of his showing the pre-published pages to folks at Marvel. But it's possible Evanier is misremembering, or that he somehow got the wrong impression about what was the most significant factor. Kirby certainly wasn't above being paranoid about Marvel (witness his belief that they deliberately used his old art for FF #108 the same month his New Gods books debuted as a way to draw attention from his new titles) so I can see him being upset about his pages being shown over there before publication.

    Regarding the comparison of what Colletta did to Kirby's redrawn Superman and Spider-Man stuff at both Marvel and DC: I don't think Kirby's pencils were somehow sacrosanct and shouldn't be altered. I just see a huge difference between the editor deciding to have redrawing done to keep things on model, and an inker independently deciding to make changes in the art which (aesthetic arguments aside) make his work quicker and easier.

  162. Kid

    Something to also remember is that Jack was no stranger to having his work changed at Marvel. Ditko Spider-Man figures pasted over his own, Romita inking (or redrawing) Peter Parker and Mary Jane's faces, etc.

    The problem with Jack's Superman faces at DC was that he couldn't seem to draw the kiss-curl. I've seen stats of Jack's pencils where Supes looks like he's hiding a receding hairline with a comb-over.

    Also, as Jack often redrew portions of Don Heck art (on Stan's instruction), he could hardly complain when the same thing was done to him. It was part of the business after all.

    Personally, I didn't mind the Murphy Anderson inked heads, although it would've been better if Anderson had redrawn them in pencil and Colletta had inked them. However, I think they went too far having Al Plastino completely redraw most of the Superman figures in Forever People #1.

  163. ja

    JediJones & JayJay,

    I'm almost finished reading all of the interviews you posted. Hey, I have to fit them in between deadlines. I can't be reading all Jim Shooter, all the time, ya know. =P

    What jumps out at me is the Bob Layton interview, wherein he makes all these absolute statements that he never qualifies. I suspect if he were required to, he couldn't back things up with documents or corroboration of any sort.

  164. Anonymous

    Fans freaked out when Royer came onboard on New Gods etc. Looked so different. I was one of them so used to Vinnie.

    My thing is Vince leaving out figures. He did a lot of gorgeous inks on JIM and Thor but after seeing characters left out it soured me. I guess we will never know why he did it but he sure did do it (or assistants did).

    Not sure where I saw the images (maybe TJKC or the What If Kirby site).

    Yeah it is hindsight.

  165. ja


    I absolutely understand that “Forgiveness is not for the other person, it’s for your own benefit.” That’s why I laid out my example of how I forgive people who have done grievous harm to me. It’s about letting go of the hate. It's certainly not about being stupid enough to let those same people back into my life.

    I’m sorry you didn’t pay attention when I wrote that in my previous post when I explained this philosophy.

    I forgive people all the time. I have to, because I know some of the stupid things I’ve done resulted in people never wanting to talk with me again, and I feel the need to be as forgiving as I would hope others are of me. But I try my best not to be delusional enough to think now that years have passed, I’m sure that person who totally fucked up my life is going to be okay to get together with again. That’s just fantasy nonsense.

    I don’t live by my “own sense of justice and block out the bigger picture.” I have my sight on the bigger picture all the time. I just don’t believe in your kind of bigger dogmatic picture. I would rather believe in something that’s actually real, which is a strong sense of morality, of right and wrong. You don’t get morality from religion, or certainly from a destructive book from which has been the basis of most of the wars and strife throughout our history.

    I do believe in the Golden Rule. However, this isn’t anything to do with religion; it’s just common sense.

    Others have their own viewpoint, and you’ll just have to accept that they (those who don’t believe as you do, and are still good productive people) are equally as moral as you, even though they don’t believe in your story book. So thanks for your religious condescension, but no thanks.

    The wish-fulfillment thinking is nice, though. I get that. Wouldn’t it be nice if Stan & Jack never had any problems, and continued their collaborations for an additional couple of decades? It would have been great if Shooter hadn’t been stabbed in the back and screwed over the way he was. Wouldn’t it be great if John Byrne weren’t such a malicious asshole prick?

    Ahhh, wish-fulfillment. =)

  166. czeskleba said:
    "Jeff, I suppose it's possible that Colletta removed detail (including entire figures) from Kirby's art because he thought he was improving the panel composition. But that seems unlikely. Stan has no recollection of ever asking him to do that, and no other inker has reported being asked by Stan to do it on Kirby's pencils. Also, Kirby was not the only artist he did it to. Joe Sinnott has recalled Colletta removing figures or changing figures to silhouettes on pencils he did for romance books in the 50's, and he (Sinnott) felt it was done solely "to cut corners." Also, Colletta reportedly told Kirby 'with what I'm getting paid I just knock it out as fast as I can.'
    That quotation seems to sum up the problem. Colletta worked fast and took shortcuts to save deadlines, but he apparently also worked fast and took shortcuts with pencils that were on time, and that's what made many of his peers unhappy."

    Czeskleba, I have seen some of the examples of the before and after of Kirby's pencils and Colletta's inks and, yes, it does look to me like the balance and composition of the shot was improved, sometimes. Other times, maybe not. Let's keep in mind that these guys were earning a living and putting food on their table and not seeing what they did as an artform. Maybe Colletta did take the lazy way out and cheat – maybe he had to. I see nothing wrong with his attitude in that quote; first and foremost, comics is a business (or, at least, it was, back in the days when the word "periodical" meant something and deadlines had to be met). So Colletta may have taken shortcuts when he didn't have to because the work wasn't late. But maybe he did have to take those shortcuts anyway, so that he could take on more work. The way the business was run back then, quantity ruled over quality when it meant making a comfortable living.
    What some of us are doing here is applying modern-day aesthetics and criticism to what was essentially a business that cranked out sausage-links in bulk. Colletta was a strong symbol of what helped make that business run on time, and profitably too.
    Look, I don't like Colletta's inks on probably the majority of comic books he inked, but he was necessary (in the eyes of his editors) and when the business morphed in the 80s into a fan-based art-form, old work-horses like Colletta were no longer necessary or desired.
    And now we have $4 comic books that don't come out on time, printed with a wide palette of murky, over-whelming, computerized colors on slick paper that's almost impossible to read, and, oh yes, the story and art are nearly incomprehensible.
    Suddenly Vince Colletta's rush ink-jobs don't seem so bad.

  167. Anonymous, that's 20/20 hindsight though. At the time no comic book artist was considered a sacred cow. That's why the art was thrown out or given away and even the artists themselves didn't bat an eyelash about it. The goal was to produce a product, sell it for a month or two and forget about it. Not to mention, just because someone is considered a creative guru doesn't mean their choices should never be questioned. The "yes, Mr. Lucas, whatever you say, you're a genius" approach didn't do any favors for Star Wars: Episode I. Nobody's perfect.

    I'm not sure when or if a rule was written that said a penciller's choices had to supersede an inker's. Both are artists and both are necessary to produce the finished artwork. You're always going to get a different style of art from a different combination of penciller and inker or if one artist does the full artwork himself. It really all depends on how that creative team decided to work together. It's not something we can second guess now. Ultimately the responsibility for deciding who was allowed to do what was up to the editor. If Colletta refused to follow their policy he wouldn't have kept his job.

    Here's another example of a page with Kirby pencils and Colletta inks. What it shows to me is that what the penciller gives the inker is open to interpretation in lots of ways, especially with an abstract fantasy space scene like this. No two inkers could produce something that looked identical. It also shows me that while Colletta's space background diverges from Kirby's, it arguably improves it. His crackling energy bolt is more dynamic and exciting than Kirby's cluttered asteroid field-esque background. The energy bolt doesn't look like it was any easier to draw either. Also, all those circular orbs Kirby drew in space would have looked more cartoonish than the little starfield patterns Colletta translated them into. A realistic shot of space isn't full of planets, it's full of stars.

    Ultimately no one can look at the finished page and say it's a BAD-looking page. It's different than the pencils, but being a purist to someone's pencils is not the point of producing a comic book. The point is to produce an attractive product for the end consumer. Whether one pair of hands or a committee goes into making it is not important as long as the final product is quality.

  168. Kid

    @czeskleba, I'm not necessarily denying that the other two factors weren't also relevant, but the distinct impression I got from Mark Evanier's account is that it was showing Jack's art around that 'broke the camel's back' and led to Colletta being removed.

    Also, regarding the other factors, it was Evanier and Steve Sherman that kept harping on to Jack about things being left out, so naturally enough, when Vince was removed, Evanier would naturally assume that was also one of the reasons and cite it as such. Was it 'though? Maybe yes, maybe no.

    Jack was surely aware that, at Marvel, Thor sold more issues when inked by Colletta than by Everett, so for all his faults (showing artwork around apart), he must have known that having Vince ink his work was an asset more than a drawback.

    Therefore, it was showing the artwork around that was the main offence in Jack's eyes, in my humble opinion. Of course, you're entitled to disagree with my assessment, but it is what it is.

    I sometimes think that Mark Evanier, fine fellow that he is, was a little too close to Kirby to be totally objective.

  169. Colletta did what he did and he received checks for it. Seems like those checks would have dried up much sooner if the powers in charge had a problem with it.

    Rude is a talented artist,but I think Toth did an extremely valid critique. He's better than most of the artists drawing today when it comes to aesthetics.

  170. Anonymous

    @ JediJones loki is gesturing toward them, waving his arms and not moving toward them. The guy in the first panel looks startled to me. Guy in the 2nd panel looks like he feel and not like a baby. I'm not an artist either but from comparing the black and white images it sure looks like Vinnie took the easy way out. Maybe he needed the money and had to cut corners. I don't know. Do other inkers do this? I am sure they do but we're talking about Colletta hacking up Kirby's art not Nelson hacking up Byrne's

  171. Anonymous

    @ Kid For me, the picture is weaker for what was removed. I'd have to see a side by side of the JIM cover. I do remember seeing it at one point but it has been a while. Reminds me of the Superman and Jimmy Olsen heads redrawn = weaker than the original. Not buying the "crowded" argument for Colletta's work here.

  172. In regards to those Kirby/Colletta panels linked to above, I think the fact that Colletta removed the speed lines under Loki's arms proves that he wasn't just taking shortcuts. How much extra time would it have taken to ink in the speed lines? That had to be an artistic choice.

    Since he stopped implying Loki was moving, he naturally would take the movement out of Loki's ponytail as well. If you think about it, the crowd was already pretty far away from Loki at that point. So why would Loki at that moment be making a move towards them, after their backs are already turned to him?

    The pose of the civilian character he removed looks kind of bizarre and out-of-place. The man seems to be trying to slap or grab Loki in the first panel in a Frankenstein-style lurch. In the second panel, he looks like he's crawling on the ground like a baby or a hunched-over ape. It's not hard to see why Colletta would have had an objection to that figure.

    As for removing the detail of the buildings in the background, I can't even make out what those lines are supposed to represent in the pencils. Not that I'm an artist, but I think I would have given up too and just drawn the simple background.

    Maybe it's more editorializing than people expect an inker to do, but it does appear to be editorializing to me, not shortcuts done just to save time.

  173. Anonymous


    Are you kidding?? Inkers have to do clean-up work all of the time. Are you going to bust their chops when you don't like it, and never give them credit when they save the pencils over and over again.

    It's part of their job. For every "Oh they ruined Kirby's art!" example, there are probably 40 examples of inkers quietly fixing things in rough pencil that otherwise should not be seen on the finished page.

    Get over your double standards dude.

  174. Kid said:I think the main reason that Colletta was removed from Kirby's fourth world series was because Jack was unhappy to learn that Vince was allegedly showing his pages around the Marvel offices.
    According to Mark Evanier, Kirby asked to have Colletta taken off the assignment for three reasons: The fact Colletta was omitting figures and detail, the fact that he was showing Kirby's pages around at the Marvel offices, and his attitude about the work, (expressed in the quotation I cited above: "With what I'm getting paid, I just knock it out as fast as I can.")

    We can debate whether or not his omissions/simplifications improved Kirby's art. But as I said, there is no evidence he was asked to do so by any editor at Marvel or DC. And no other inker has ever recalled being asked to do so on Kirby's work. It seems unlikely Colletta would alter the artwork for aesthetic reasons without editorial directive to do so. But if he did, that is something that deserves criticism, regardless of the result. An artist should not be making such decisions independently of the editor, whether it's altering the artwork or failing to adhere to the script (as Jim has noted happens frequently today).

    And as I noted, Kirby was not the only person Colletta did this to. Joe Sinnott said he did the same thing to his pencils. I'm pretty sure Mike Grell also noted omission of detail in his work. In Kirby's case, we have all these examples because Kirby routinely xeroxed his pencils before sending them to be inked. In any other cases where Colletta might have omitted figures or detail, the pencils are lost to the ages and we have to rely on the memory of the artists, many of whom probably did not even look at the finished product and were not aware of any changes made.

  175. Kid

    'Anonymous', your comment is redundant. The fact – FACT – is that the original cover of J.I.M. #83 had more Stone Men than the published version. Why? Because that 'six foot something Norse god' DID get lost in the crowd. That's why Stan ordered their deletion. However, the cover was inked by Sinnott and not Colletta, and the superfluous Stone Men weren't removed until AFTER it was inked.

    So, not 'Not', but fact. You lose.

  176. Dear Jim, JayJay and all,

    This is the only blog I read. In fact, I check it several times a day. When I do occasionally stumble onto other blogs, I don't spend read a lot of time reading the comments. blogs. Here I read every comment too – mostly, I must admit, for Jim's enlightening answers and comments within the comments, but quite often other people also chime in with interesting stuff.

    I've been waiting patiently for some stories from the Valiant days to be posted here to learn more of what actually happened during those times. Throughout the day today I have been devouring the interviews and articles linked to by the kind people above in this comments section – thanks a lot! And Jim, thanks a lot for telling those stories in the first place.

    About a year after Unity and Jim's firing from Valiant, I was more or less done with buying comics on a regular basis. There were several reasons for that, but I realise – particularly with hindsight – that my disappointment with what happened with Valiant played a big role in it.

    My first Valiant book was Solar #2. If I recall correctly, it was with some surprise that I discovered that Jim Shooter was back in full force. Within a few months, I was buying every single Valiant title, was enjoying them immensely, and kept doing so through Unity. This, I thought, was how comics should be done! An artform that even Marvel to an increasing degree seemed to be forgetting after firing Jim a few years earlier.

    The decline in quality in the Valiant books wasn't immediate after Jim was kicked out. There was still some good stuff put out for a while. But like Marvel, they slowly but surely seemed to be forgetting the art of making good comic book entertainment, concentrating instead on gimmicks and fancy covers.

    And I guess that around '94 I concluded "Ah, screw it! What's the point?"

    We all know the state of present day comics. But as long as there is life, there is hope, and I HOPE that Jim Shooter may still get a chance to create and form another universe. Perhaps all of us here can be of some help or other to make it happen eventually…?

    Finally: Jim, I know you don't consider yourself an artist. But after looking through my old Valiant collection today, I have to say that Paul Creddick's pencils are better and more enjoyable than the majority of the comic book artwork that can be purchased for money in 2011 

  177. Paul Dushkind

    Kirby's art does sometimes look too cluttered, but those two panels of Loki are definitely more exciting in the un-inked version. In the first panel, Loki appears amidst a crowd, creating chaos. In the second, one person, panicking, falls down. A picture of a panicky crowd should look cluttered! I think the only thing the inker did right was getting rid of that silly squiggle.

  178. Anonymous

    Think Colletta worked out well on Thor but not so much on the issues of the FF he did. I preferred Royer on the Fourth World stuff over anyone. I did like Colletta's inks on Spirit World and In the Days of the Mob.

  179. Anonymous

    Ha ha yes a six foot-something Norse God gets "lost in the crowd" and I am certain Vinnie was just making Kirby's art look better. Of course.


  180. Kid

    I think the main reason that Colletta was removed from Kirby's fourth world series was because Jack was unhappy to learn that Vince was allegedly showing his pages around the Marvel offices. I happen to think that Colletta gave more to Kirby's pencils than he ever took away – a sense of rugged realism that Jack's rather abstract style lacked.

    And Jack DID clutter – that's why most of his Stone Men were removed from the cover of Journey Into Mystery #83, to make Thor stand out from the background more. And that pic of the crowd fleeing from Loki in a much later issue is definitely improved by the removal of the figure at the back of the pack. It created the illusion of the crowd running up a ramp and distorted the perspective.

    I much preferred Colletta's inks to Mike Royer's or anyone else; which is not to suggest that Mike isn't a good inker – it's just that he failed (on Kirby's instruction) to dilute the idiosyncracies of Jack's pencils.

  181. Anonymous


    Not to launch into art theory – but the example you provided (and thank for providing it by the way – it was interesting), it does sort of reenforce what Shooter said about making a panel less cluttered. Notice in the first panel, Loki stands out more prominently by leaving that one dude out. Otherwise, Loki gets a bit lost in the crowd, instead of being the central figure in the panel that your eye gravitates toward. In the second panel, leaving out the hunched over guy retreating again puts a little separation between Loki and the crowd he is driving away. Otherwise, you'll notice, the hunched over guy is actually treading right between Loki's horns.

    Not to nitpick King Kirby's work – he's the best. But the 2 panels do back up what Shooter said about cluttered panels

  182. Anonymous

    I saw part a movie being made about Rude a few months back. He talks about the depression he suffers from. His children talk about his moods. It is quite moving and he's a brave guy in my book for talking about it. Gulacy is in it talking about the above mentioned house camp out.


  183. Dear Dan,

    Well, as I said, I haven't seen said examples, but I don't doubt your word.

    The whole time I worked with Vince, exactly one penciler, once, complained that Vince left something out. It was one of two nightstands beside a bed. We got the pencil xeroxes out. Indeed, Vince had left out the nightstand, however, he showed me that on a previous page, the penciler had drawn only one nightstand. He was making it consistent.

    I know that when Kirby worked at DC, his art was routinely corrected. His Superman faces were redrawn. He couldn't get the "S" symbol right. The cape was fastened all different ways. I've seen photocopies. In one issue, he actually drew Superman's cape tied around his neck, like a little kid using a towel for a cape!

    I would at least consider the possibility that the editor told Vince to make whatever changes he made. A consistent complaint about Jack's work was that it was "cluttered." Even Sol Brodsky at Marvel during the 60's used that term.

    You're probably right, though. It seems more likely that Vince simplified things on his own, not on the editor's orders. Occam's Razor. Maybe he thought he was improving the art. Maybe he was deadline-pressured. Knowing Vince as well as I did, I doubt that he was just being lazy or cheating for his own convenience.

  184. Dear Stefan,

    "…if I really wanted to give Steve Rude a fair chance…." What? He was showing samples. I reacted honestly. He wasn't ready for professional work at that point. I told him what he needed to improve as politely and nicely as I could. As I always do with anyone.

    Once Steve's work was up to snuff, he would have been welcome to work for Marvel. He was always busy elsewhere during my tenure. We had more than our share of eccentric types. He probably would have fit right in.

  185. By the way, here's an example of some Kirby panels with figures/detail omitted by Colletta, along with discussion of whether the composition is improved or not by the alterations:

  186. Colletta's work is not just criticized by "prima donnas" who turned in their art late. Kirby asked that Colletta be removed from the Fourth World series because he was unhappy with his work. Mike Grell asked that Colletta be removed from the Warlord series because he was unhappy with his work. In neither case were deadlines a problem on those books, and I don't think it's accurate to describe either of those guys as prima donnas.

    Quite a lot of other "hall of famers" have expressed unhappiness with Colletta's inks too. Neal Adams reportedly re-inked much of a Brave and Bold issue that Colletta had done because he was so unhappy with the finished art. Gil Kane has also expressed unhappiness with Colletta's work.

    Jeff, I suppose it's possible that Colletta removed detail (including entire figures) from Kirby's art because he thought he was improving the panel composition. But that seems unlikely. Stan has no recollection of ever asking him to do that, and no other inker has reported being asked by Stan to do it on Kirby's pencils. Also, Kirby was not the only artist he did it to. Joe Sinnott has recalled Colletta removing figures or changing figures to silhouettes on pencils he did for romance books in the 50's, and he (Sinnott) felt it was done solely "to cut corners." Also, Colletta reportedly told Kirby "with what I'm getting paid I just knock it out as fast as I can."

    That quotation seems to sum up the problem. Colletta worked fast and took shortcuts to save deadlines, but he apparently also worked fast and took shortcuts with pencils that were on time, and that's what made many of his peers unhappy.

    Regardless of his methods or attitude, I'm not a fan of most of Colletta's work. He's one of those guys who really overwhelmed the pencils and imposed his own style, and most of the time I'm not a fan of that approach. His style is just not my cup of tea, and I felt that way long before I knew anything about the behind-the-scenes stuff. But I know many people do like his work and it often sold well. Roy Thomas has said that sales of Invaders went down when Colletta left the book… Colletta definitely smoothed over the idiosyncracies of Frank Robbins' pencils.

  187. Please, take what I'm going to say with extreme caution because I couldn't confirm it, but I remember reading a comment by someone related to Steve Rude in his Facebook page stating that he suffered some kind of disorder that could be Asperger syndrome:
    This would explain his rude behavior and often depressions.
    The problem is that I couldn't find the exact reference.

    Is not my intention to badmouth Rude. In fact is the opposite, I comment this so you can understand his strange behavior if this disorder can be proved.

    Any other Rude fan can confirm this?

  188. ja,

    As gn6196 stated "Forgiveness is not for the other person, It's for your own benefit."

    If you don't understand that, I would not expect you to go out and forgive anyone. I could go on and explain the meaning of Matthew 18:23-35, but if you live by your own sense of justice and block out the bigger picture I'd be talking on deaf ears.

    There are a lot of people online who don't like me, which is amusing to me because it's typically just the opposite in my offline life. As a general rule, my goal in life is to be blameless. When I read Jim's blog, I see a consistent message of desiring to be fair, reward those who earn it, and put trust in the truth. Those are all values I admire greatly. As a nitpicker, which I get paid to do in my regular job, I have a knack for pinpointing areas which can be improved upon. Neither Jim nor Bob need each other, but in the grand scheme of things, evil in life tends to corrupt those things which are good. Is a married man tempted into infidelity by an ugly bitter woman that has nothing to offer? No. He's tempted by beauty, power, money, emotional compatibility… all good things in and of themselves. That doesn't justify breaking a vow or breaking a trust, but it does explain why everyone screws up at some point in their life.

    I personally think Jim and Bob had a mutually beneficial collaboration with each of the parts going to make a greater whole. Instances like that are rare in life and usually quite fragile.

    I've forgiven people and resumed friendships. I've forgiven people and still don't want them in my life. There are people I can't forgive because they were still stabbing me in the back.

    As I stated before, my intuition tells me that a greater good is out there if both forgave each other. Does Bob deserve it? My inclination is to say no. Other than the fact he's human just like us trying to get through this existence, probably not.

    On the other hand, I've spent my life trying to repay people whom I can never repay. One of the things that makes life amazing is overcoming obstacles when all reasoning tells you it can't be done. Jim posted a blog on strange circumstances and miracles. His friend Sam chose to perform a miracle without knowing it. You and I can consciously choose to do a miracle and be fully aware of what we are doing. It doesn't have to be a mystery.

    Regardless, it doesn't matter to me what he does. Jim's anger was/is justified.

    The next step in my opinion is to be 100% blameless. Otherwise Bob can say "Yeah I made a mistake, but what could I do about it?" In that sense, it's not too different to the stories we all tell at some point in our lives.

  189. Dan, Colletta could be good – witness most of his run inking Kirby on Thor, especially #s 154 through 157. I remember being disappointed when I saw that Vince had inked Marshall Rogers on Mister Miracle #20, but as I read the comic, I saw that he actually did a pretty good job! Then he inked #21, and it was not-so-good. It might have been a case of extremely late pencils and Vince cranking it out on #21, whereas with #20, Vince had more time to do a better job.
    Also, with regards to Vince leaving stuff out, see my comments somewhere above; is it possible it wasn't laziness and that it might have improved the shot composition of the panels, with regards to balance and negative space? Like I said, Kirby could sometimes go overboard and clutter a panel up unnecessarily, creating a sense of claustrophobia.

  190. I asked Steve Rude for his side of the story because even now in my early 40s I realize that stories differ a lot even when only 2 people are involved and I wanted to hear Steve's side. I didnt come away thinking anyone had lied.

    Recently I had a conversation with someone from high school who I had not seen in over 20 years and our recollection of specific events are so far apart that you would not believe we were both present at said event.

    Steve Rude has always been polite in the only forum I have ever communicated with him – via Facebook, and also its refreshing to read Jim's exploits over the past decades, he has been marginalized so long that I really think it is time to let it all out.

  191. Dan

    If I was Colletta's employer, I would praise the man forever for his invaluable publishing assistance. But as far as the art itself goes…

    Vinnie was dreadful. His lines were insensitive, either too thin or too thick. It looked like he inked with either a quill pen or a marker. His hatch lines were almost random, often going in the opposite direction of the form or even going in different directions on the same body part.

    Sorry to offend Colletta's fans. He may have been a true professional in terms of his speed and reliability. But the quality of that work is entirely another matter.

    If it helps, the only Colletta work I didn't mind was his work on Dazzler.

  192. Dan

    Shooter said: "The legend goes that Vince "left things out" to go faster. No one has ever once been able to show me an example of that."

    I have seen examples. I have seen xeroxes of Kirby's pages and then compared to the published pages. So there is clear, empirical proof that Colletta erased some of Kirby's backgrounds. He erased whole figures and whole sections of backgrounds (buildings, technology, etc). Colletta also simplified backgrounds in an obvious attempt to make them quicker to ink.

    Sorry I don't have the source handy. It was probably issues of the Jack Kirby Collector–a TwoMorrows product. But I don't believe for a second it was faked.

  193. Defiant1 – I like the way you think. Forgiveness is not for the other person, It's for your own benefit. But ja points out an important point, you can forgive someone without restoring them to their former position. It looks like all the creators with importance were used by the white collar crooks in Valiant. First Jim , then Windsor-Smith then Layton. I've had people betray me, as i'm sure everyone has, and while i've forgiven them I am not obligated to place them in position to betray me again. It's called wisdom.

  194. ja


    That's very high-minded of you, to make all these value judgments for Jim Shooter's life and personal experiences. Also very inappropriate. You can preach your version of forgiveness all you want, and I sincerely hope it works in your life.

    However, when you get to know someone (for example, through this blog about Shooter), and you find him to be a consistently well though-out person, and you see him write about his recollections and feelings about such that happened 20 years ago wherein he states his unequivocal feelings about such… who are you to impose your fantasy about 'peace, love & forgiveness' onto him, as if your point of view should supersede his deeply personal experiences?

    My brother committed very unspeakable acts upon me on a regular basis when I was a child. When I finally stood up to him, he switched over to beating the shit out of me every day until I was 18 and moved out of the house (him being 8 years older than me and still living at home). When our father died several years ago, we had to interact, and he was very pissed at me for saying that I forgave him, when I really hadn't. I let him know that my version of forgiving him was not to walk around with seething hatred for him (effectively giving him free rent space in my head forever), which brought me a great deal of peace.

    But there was never any way on this Earth that I would EVER deal with this man again. I would never want to have any more to do with him, to even talk with him or to get a postcard. I don't care if he's turned his life around or not. I simply won't have anymore to do with him ever again.

    I'm not comparing pain, here. My betrayal was mine, Shooter's was his. I'm just saying that other people have experiences that are unique to their own lives, and some silly notion of Magical Fairy Forgiveness Dust sprinkled by some outside party who wasn't there really doesn't apply.

    What raised the hackles on the back of my neck when you wrote, "I think they both should [work together again] to spite the way fate has played out.", was that it just seemed the height of arrogance on your part, as if you were dismissing Jim's point of view out of hand, as if you were declaring you knew better than Jim how he should conduct his life and feelings about one of the most significant events of his life.

    It seemed to me like you were belittling his viewpoint, suggesting that his feelings were invalid. I'm not saying this as an attack upon you. This is simply what it seems you're saying when you deign to impose your armchair philosophy upon someone's specific, significant experience, as if you know what you're talking about for him personally.

    I've made the judgment to believe Shooter's side of things. He's been a very consistent person (way more than many others), and is very considered in how he explains himself and his point of view. So when he states his feelings on a subject of such significance, I would tend to go with what he wrote, and not throw out some platitude to make it seem as if what he felt was invalid.

    Pulling Bible passages out to justify your magical thinking doesn't pass muster. In the real world, some people just get screwed, and then never want anything ever more to do with the one who screwed them.

    Simple as that.

  195. Tom Field

    Not that Jim needs validation, but I confirm his recollection of the Gene Colan interview we discussed for TwoMorrows' old COMIC BOOK ARTIST magazine.

    I'd interviewed Colan about his Marvel work in the 1970s, and so naturally the discussion turned to Gene's turbulent departure for DC. It was the first time Gene had gone on the record in such great detail about what he remembered of his conflict with Jim.

    And yes, understanding there are at least three sides to every story, I also spoke with Jim at length about his version of the events. Probably the most detail he'd ever discussed about the conflict, too.

    When I submitted my work to CBA, I wrote a sidebar based on my interview with Jim, offering his perspective of the Colan conflict.

    And, yes, over my *strong* objections, CBA's editor declined to use the sidebar, saying there was no room for it. I couldn't understand why there was no room for fair play and balance, but I lost that argument.

    I *did* save Jim's comments, though, and I believe I used every one of them in my subsequent biography of Colan, SECRETS IN THE SHADOWS, also published by TwoMorrows. And while Adrienne and Gene weren't thrilled about me sharing Jim's POV (although ultimately they did respect my desire for balance), I must say, out of fairness, that no one at TwoMorrows ever raised even a hint of objection.

    But as for Jim's initial statement, spot on. We prepared a sidebar accompanying the Colan interview, and it was omitted. That was a bad journalistic decision then, and it remains one now.

  196. ja,

    The only reason I hold a grudge against anyone is if it rewards them for doing an act which I feel is wrong. I believe in forgiving people, but you can't forgive someone for stabbing you in the back if they are still stabbing and won't let go of the knife.

    Jim can do whatever he likes for whatever he wants. Sometimes in life though, we hold onto anger for the wrong reasons, justify it for seemingly the right reasons, and aren't one step closer knowing the truth of why things are the way they are. My understanding is that any money Bob made on Valiant was lost on Future Comics. He ran two companies into the ground but he's still a great inker.

    At Valiant, Bob was merely handed a promise that he'd have control of his fate. A partner of the company seduced him with the power and authority to do something. Everyone was given the misconception that the company wasn't going to survive. It isn't a huge stretch of the imagination to understand why Bob did what he did. I believe it was wrong, but the part of the brain that kicks in to maintain survival is ruthless. That's why people stranded resort to eating one another.

    Bob thought the company was going to fail if Jim wasn't ousted. Evidence now shows that to be a lie, but Bob didn't originate that lie. Having worked as a quality tech, I can assure you that the people demanding quality are always the villains to those that are only looking at dollars on a spreadsheet.

    Again, my inner intuition tells me that the bitterness that still exists has outlived it's purpose.

    Ecclesiates 7 always comes to mind when I think of these events.

  197. Anonymous

    Dear Jim,

    I can't say something about Your version of the story how You met the "rude Dude". I wasn't there. And also I don't know, if You really wanted to give Steve Rude a fair chance or if You just wanted to do Paul a favour to get rid of him at last. That's a thin, only You knows.

    But I can say, Spider-Man Lifeline and Thor Godstorm have been one of the very few comic books in the last years of Marvel, I really enjoyed. Nice stories, great artwork, great retro-reminiscences of the great artists Kirby and Romita, mixed with Steve Rude's own style. Comic books, which could still be read by kids. Comic books, where fantasy, quality, style and fun ruled. In very opposite to, imho, that horror stuff like Carnage or Venom or many of those depressive storylines, and, yes, crap, Marvel publishes nowadays.

    Might be, some artists are eccentic. Might be, some editors are. I don't care. But Steve Rude not doing Marvel comic books? What a big lost for readers, who like really good comic books.

    Stefan H.

  198. Anonymous

    PART TWO, Continued:

    WIZARD : Did you come out of this with more sympathy for Shooter?

    BWS : Yes. I always did have sympathy for Shooter, and I gained some perspective myself. I always regretted that I went for the whole thing hook, line, and sinker. When Shooter was fired, Massarsky and Layton . . . were all so dead set against him, saying that he was ruining the company, and I just kind of went along with it. I never even gave Jim the courtesy of a phone call. I just perceived him as the enemy, suddenly. There had been two camps created overnight, and I was in this sort of chummy camp with Massarsky and Layton, and there was this guy left out in the middle of a field somewhere with no bullets in his gun. I should have called Jim, to get the other side of the coin, but I just fell for the whole damn thing. I gotta admit, I was pretty naïve to fall for it that way. Not to hold a halo over Shooter’s head, I’d been told on more than one occasion whilst I was doing the Solar story that Shooter wanted to fire me because I wasn’t following his story. I never follow anybody’s story; I tell my own stories. But this is what I was told, and I said, “Oh, that jerk! He pretends to be my friend and he wants to get me fired.” I don’t know what’s true and what isn’t true, to be honest with you. I listen to this side, I listen to that.

    WIZARD : Have you talked to Shooter since then?

    BWS : No, I haven’t. During negotiations with Massarsky it was suggested to me that I could possibly get some insight into questions that had been unanswered by Massarsky if I spoke with Shooter, and there was a possibility that that could have happened. But I felt wholly uncomfortable calling Jim on my own behalf when I had ignored him at the time that he was fired. It seemed improper. And so I didn’t talk to him then, and I haven’t spoken to him since. I don’t know if Jim bears a grudge against me. I wouldn’t be surprised if he does, I bear him no ill will. I don’t want to work with him again. I wish him good luck and all that sort of stuff. All I know in the end is that I have to be the one who counts most for me, so as I said, I’d had enough of what I considered to be a very deleterious (and growing even more so) situation for me, and just walked. Walked as fast as I could.

    — Jay C

  199. Anonymous

    this might be a double post, but oh well.

    Barry Windsor-Smith gave his side to the Valiant situation in an interview is Wizard #28, December, 1993. I also recall another interview where he was more specific and harsh of the higher-ups at Valiant, but do not have that one.

    I can not find the Wizard interview online, so I have transcribed it here.

    WIZARD # 28, 1993 pgs 80-81

    WIZARD: At one point, when Shooter left, were you offered the presidency of Valiant?

    BWS : Yep. That was it on the face of matters. When Shooter left, the idea was to recreate the company with Steve Masarsky, Jon Hartz, Bob Layton, and myself as the controlling foursome. Yes, the word “presidency” was [batted around]. I spent a year trying to negotiate my contract with Massarsky. All that while, I was producing Archer & Armstrong and Eternal Warrior, teaching the kids up there how to color, how to letter, how to ink. I put an enormous amount of work into that company, and yet it took about a year for me to finally throw up my hands and say, “This guys doesn’t want to negotiate.” It was a take-it-or-leave-it proposition from Massarsky. I felt in the end that my integrity was [put in jeopardy] by associating with these people. They were using my good name to buffer the firing of Jim and to give credibility to the company.

    WIZARD: If you’re going to be president, you should actually have some power, I imagine.

    BWS : Precisely. When I started asking questions about how the company was run, like “What is the financing situation around here?”, I was just given a runaround. Nothing made sense. All the numbers didn’t work. I still have no idea how the company is run, because they wouldn’t tell me, my accountant, or my lawyer. I think I was treated very badly.


    — Jay C

  200. Anonymous

    There is also a Barry Windsor-Smith interview in Wizard #28, 1993, where he gives his side of the Valiant shenanigans.

    I can't find it online so I've transcribed it for you all here.


    WIZARD # 28, 1993 pages 80-81

    WIZARD: At one point, when Shooter left, were you offered the presidency of Valiant?

    BWS : Yep. That was it on the face of matters. When Shooter left, the idea was to recreate the company with Steve Masarsky, Jon Hartz, Bob Layton, and myself as the controlling foursome. Yes, the word “presidency” was [batted around]. I spent a year trying to negotiate my contract with Massarsky. All that while, I was producing Archer & Armstrong and Eternal Warrior, teaching the kids up there how to color, how to letter, how to ink. I put an enormous amount of work into that company, and yet it took about a year for me to finally throw up my hands and say, “This guys doesn’t want to negotiate.” It was a take-it-or-leave-it proposition from Massarsky. I felt in the end that my integrity was [put in jeopardy] by associating with these people. They were using my good name to buffer the firing of Jim and to give credibility to the company.

    WIZARD: If you’re going to be president, you should actually have some power, I imagine.

    BWS : Precisely. When I started asking questions about how the company was run, like “What is the financing situation around here?”, I was just given a runaround. Nothing made sense. All the numbers didn’t work. I still have no idea how the company isrun, because they wouldn’t tell me, my accountant, or my lawyer. I think I was treated very badly.

    WIZARD : Did you come out of this with more sympathy for Shooter?

    BWS : Yes. I always did have sympathy for Shooter, and I gained some perspective myself. I always regretted that I went for the whole thing hook, line, and sinker. When Shooter was fired, Massarsky and Layton . . . were all so dead set against him, saying that he was ruining the company, and I just kind of went along with it. I never even gave Jim the courtesy of a phone call. I just perceived him as the enemy, suddenly. There had been two camps created overnight, and I was in this sort of chummy camp with Massarsky and Layton, and there was this guy left out in the middle of a field somewhere with no bullets in his gun. I should have called Jim, to get the other side of the coin, but I just fell for the whole damn thing. I gotta admit, I was pretty naïve to fall for it that way. Not to hold a halo over Shooter’s head, I’d been told on more than one occasion whilst I was doing the Solar story that Shooter wanted to fire me because I wasn’t following his story. I never follow anybody’s story; I tell my own stories. But this is what I was told, and I said, “Oh, that jerk! He pretends to be my friend and he wants to get me fired.” I don’t know what’s true and what isn’t true, to be honest with you. I listen to this side, I listen to that.

    WIZARD : Have you talked to Shooter since then?

    BWS : No, I haven’t. During negotiations with Massarsky it was suggested to me that I could possibly get some insight into questions that had been unanswered by Massarsky if I spoke with Shooter, and there was a possibility that that could have happened. But I felt wholly uncomfortable calling Jim on my own behalf when I had ignored him at the time that he was fired. It seemed improper. And so I didn’t talk to him then, and I haven’t spoken to him since. I don’t know if Jim bears a grudge against me. I wouldn’t be surprised if he does, I bear him no ill will. I don’t want to work with him again. I wish him good luck and all that sort of stuff. All I know in the end is that I have to be the one who counts most for me, so as I said, I’d had enough of what I considered to be a very deleterious (and growing even more so) situation for me, and just walked. Walked as fast as I could.


    — Jay C

  201. Andrew Dumas

    Its getting even better at Marvel;
    It looks like cutting cost by using non payed interns.

  202. ja

    Thanks, JayJay. I look forward to reading it.

  203. ja


    You said deliriously: "I can't imagine Bob & Jim working together again, but in the back of my mind I think they both should to spite the way fate has played out."

    Think about it. You've been friends with someone for decades, someone you've done many projects with, which develops into almost like a partnership of sorts. Then this person stabs you in the back, fucks you in the ass, beats you over the head, blindsides you, and outright betrays you, especially in a crisis situation where you're being screwed over by the very people this decades-long friend has decided to put his lot in with, leading to one of the most public humiliations one can endure in this lifetime?

    Twenty years go by, and you think that no matter how forgiving a person you are in general, you would just put aside that sense-memory of your head being bashed in, your back being on fire from being stabbed by what you believed was a good friend, and a really annoying hemorrhoidal pain from being royally screwed, just to do a project with this very Betrayer of Friends, "to spite the way fate has played out"?!?

    That's called being a masochist. A stooge. A glutton for punishment.

    If you were to do that, then you would be downright STUPID to invite more injury and insult to your life, additionally diluting any legitimate complaint you had toward your so-called 'friend' who screwed you, big time.

    I'd suggest you trust Jim Shooter to know what's in his mind, and to be truthful when he points out, "He was knowingly in league with the crooks. Since I found out what he is I have no use for him, and never will."

  204. Ja,

    Here are links to some lengthy Jim Shooter interviews that discuss Valiant. A lot of topics are covered in this first one, including Valiant. The other interview has incredible and extensive details on the rise and fall of Jim's Valiant effort.

    All-encompassing interview from 2000, Part 1:

    Part 2:

    Big Valiant interview from 1998:

    Layton has an interview he gave about Valiant up on his site. He really shortchanges Jim in it to a degree that adds insult to injury. He claims he has all kinds of details written down to back up his claims, but doesn't provide any. He just offers the typical vague, unsupported statements that make Jim sound bad, without actual specifics that would allow a reader to make up his own mind about what transpired.

    Layton himself says he ended up suing Valiant's parent company, which seems to show once again how little the creators mattered to them. Layton says he spent a year and a half there collecting a pay check but doing absolutely nothing. Then he says he got out of the company with his integrity and self-respect intact. That's just one of the things Layton says that doesn't seem to square away.

  205. Dear Firestone,

    It's no secret that distribution in the old days was as controlled by organized crime as the linen biz below Canal in NYC. I heard the rumors, just like you about further involvement by industry bosses, but I don't have any special knowledge. Mike Gold seems to know a lot about such things. Someone should ask him.

    I never saw the "Mr. Nice" et al stuff. Sounds fun.

  206. Dear Marc,

    Wikipedia is a ass, to paraphrase Dickens. Mike Hobson told me he was adopted and in her autobiography, Laura Z.: A Life, which Mike helped her get published, his mother confirms that:

    "And before the day was out, I had sworn in a court of law to 'shelter, educate and protect" my adopted son until he "should attain his majority." Twenty-one years.

    "That same day, accompanied only by a Cradle nurse who had permission to stay only for six weeks with me, I left for home on the Twentieth Century Limited, with my son Michael Z. Hobson, named for my father, 'sleeping in a basket, for all the world like a marketing basket….' "

    Good book. Highly recommended.

    The anti-Colletta sentiment started with prima donna creators who delivered work months late that Vince inked in two or three days at the request of John Verpoorten. The prima donnas honked and hooted that (insert name of good-but-slow inker) should have inked the book, that Vince who had done unbelievably well in the time allotted had "ruined" their book.

    These people weren't shy. They railed against Vince in every public forum possible, leaving their own failures and Verpoorten's desperate attempts to save the schedule conveniently out of it. Len Wein and Marv Wolfman were leaders of this fan-gathering/fan media lynching, never mentioning that it was WITHIN THEIR POWER AS EIC's to make the trains run on time, to eliminate the need for last minute sprints to the finish requested by Verpoorten and, therefore, arguably less-than-best efforts by Vince. And, oh, by the way, Mike Esposito, Sal Trapani and many others, who haven't gotten the grief Vince has because they weren't as prolific and reliable.

    Len and Marv took no responsibility. They ceded authority to Verpoorten (and Sol Brodsky) because they weren't willing to do the work and take the heat, then bitched about the consequences.

    Vince promoted and ran the Marvel convention in 1976. He denied then-EIC Wolfman and former EIC Wein entrance because of their constant, unfair disparagement of him and his work. Wolfman burst past the gate people and entered. Vince sent security after him and had him removed.

    RE: Krypton Companion and Legion Companion, honestly, stupid me did not realize they were TwoMorrows publications. The authors called me up, asked if I would talk about the subjects and I did. I never read the results.

    I got all the corroboration I need regarding my impressions of Steve Rude from Mike Richardson, whose stories make mine sound like paeans of praise.

  207. I uploaded the Forbes article for you:

    Page 1

    Page 2

  208. ja

    I have never read a full Jim Shooter accounting of what went down at Valiant. Does anyone have a link to this Forbes article, or any other information from Jim's point of view that's been published on the internet?


  209. ja


    Perhaps Rude knows he was an over-the-top jerkoff crazy person, and this is his very lame attempt to spin the past?

  210. Thanks for the link to that blog post mentioning Layton. It's one I missed. I own JayJays postcard in that blog post already.

    I met Bob Layton at Dark Adventure Con shortly after Jim was ousted from Valiant. I found out through the Dark Adventure store owner that Jim was ousted from Valiant before most people even knew. I think the planning of their convention dedicated to Valiant was already in the works when Jim was ousted. By the time the convention rolled around, I wasn't anywhere near as enthusiastic as the other attendees. Despite that, I did listen to the Valiant presentation and I met Jon Hartz and Bob Layton. I'll never forget a little trivia contest they were doing to win a Gold HardCorps #1. Someone interrupted Bob & Jon between questions. A fan asked them a question about Harbinger. Bob and Jon had been all smiles up until that point. Bob looked really taken back by the question. He had a look of panic on his face and he looked over at Jon who went immediately silent. Jon got a serious look on his face that seemed to say he wasn't going to answer the question. Bob realizing he wasn't going to get any support from Jon hesitated. He got a look on his face like he was really upset. He swallowed to remove the lump from his throat and said "I don't know. Harbinger was Jim's baby." or something to that effect. My personal opinion was that Bob did betray Jim, but the way he acted that day made me feel that things had not transpired the way he expected them to. I think the bitterness has gotten worse over the years, but my feeling is that Bob's head was just following the opportunities he was offered and I think he really expected Jim to sign the contract and not walk out. I think Bob was a pawn that day. Again, that's just my opinion. It's a perspective that Jim wouldn't have seen or cared about at the time. I really do think I saw a look of remorse on Bob's face that day.

    Somewhere in my possession is a hand written letter from JayJay explaining in detail how Jim was screwed over at Valiant. It tells the same story that was later published in the Forbes article. She sent it to me after I wrote and asked "what happened". It's a little piece of comics history that I actually want to frame some day. Again, I knew the story behind Jim's departure before most other Valiant fans.

    I can't imagine Bob & Jim working together again, but in the back of my mind I think they both should to spite the way fate has played out. I think the split has rippled in both their lives much further than either could have ever anticipated.

  211. Dear Paul,

    I have no idea why the DeLaurentiis people felt they had to explain which account the check was drawn on.

    I don't know current policies, but before I took over at Marvel, creators were routinely expected to do small jobs for free — corner box art, spot illos, ad art, character designs, whatever. Artists did it to keep in the company's good graces. Rates for all creative work, from writing through coloring, were pathetic. Redos were rarely paid for, and only in extreme cases.

    I raised the rates dramatically. I used to joke that I gave all DC creators raises, too, because, to remain competitive, DC had to raise their rates. They generally couldn't match ours, though.

    I addressed some huge iniquities. For example, before my tenure, creating a trademark title logo for a new book paid $22. Outrageous. I paid $500 for logos early on, later $1,000 or more for some.

    In a fairly short time, I more than quadrupled all base rates.

    And, of course, I eventually introduced many incentives and benefits in addition to the basic compensation, including life insurance and major medical for freelancers.

    My policy was that we paid for any work that was commissioned, assuming that the creator delivered what was asked for, whether it was used or not. If it was unusable, and it was entirely the creator's fault or failure, we paid a kill fee of 25% of the price. If the creator was only partially at fault, we paid 50% or more, up to full rate.

    If a redo was necessary, and it was entirely the creator's fault, we didn't pay for it. If it wasn't entirely their fault, Marvel paid up to full rate for the redo. Sometimes I paid for redos even if it was the creators fault. I paid Gene Colan, for instance, for redos even if they were entirely his fault. I did so out of respect for his long service and Hall-of-Fame status.

    I also introduced "combat pay," extra money for work done under stressful conditions — say, a rush job that wasn't the creator's fault. That was usually rate-and-a-half, sometimes double rate.

    In some cases, if a regular creator had no work and it was our fault, we paid for his or her down time.

    At one point, some disgruntled stringer filed a complaint about Marvel with the Graphic Artists Guild. A Guild representative came to meet with me regarding our allegedly unfair practices. I showed him our policies and guidelines, which were much more generous than the Guild's standards. He apologized and left.

    When I worked at DC in the sixties, I only had to do one redo, four pages. Not my fault — Mort changed his mind about a sequence he'd approved in the plot. I wasn't paid for the work. Nor was I paid for cover designs, layouts, or other design work I did, though those things were required.

    When I worked at DC in the seventies, their policies sucked. They were miserly and grotesquely unfair. I do not doubt Neal's story.

  212. Dear Jim,

    Thanks for the background info on Mike Hobson. His Wikipedia entry is nowhere near long enough! Wish I could read more about him. I wonder what he'd say about his later years at Marvel which encompassed the X-plosion of '91 and the crash of '96.

    The Wikipedia Laura Z. Hobson entry says she was his biological mother, but I dunno — you knew him personally, so you'd be a position to know better:

    In 1937, she decided to adopt a baby, Christopher. She became pregnant with her second son Michael in 1941, raising both children on her own.

    I wonder where the anti-Colletta sentiment comes from. When I first saw Colletta's inking on Kirby's Fourth World, I liked it. Then in the 90s, I discovered some people didn't like Colletta's work. I wonder how many fans just "know" that Colletta is "bad" in the same way that they "know" the myths about you. I'm not saying that anyone has to like Colletta's work, but people may parrot attitudes without applying their own judgment. If I hear that some creator's work is good/bad, I try not to have an opinion about it until I see it for myself.

    How were your interviews for TwoMorrows' Krypton Companion and Legion Companion? Do you feel Michael Eury and Glen Cadigan presented you fairly? I've read those interviews several times over the years.

    Dear cloudmover,

    Thanks for sharing the letter you got from Steve Rude. I imagine that you've written similar letters yourself. What a wonderful gift from him and your mother.

    Dear Dale,

    I'm puzzled by how Rude wrote that he returned to Marvel for more feedback after Jim left. Wasn't he already a professional for six years by 1987? In fact, the GCD says that he and Mike Baron contributed to Heroes for Hope while Jim was still there. (Sorry, I don't have my copy on hand to verify that right now.) I'm not reading anything into this; I assume Rude is remembering what happened as best he could. Maybe too many years of reading comics have made me overly sensitive to perceived continuity conundrums.

  213. ja


    I'm betting a Shooter/Rude collaboration would not work. Rude wouldn't want to do the kind of storytelling that Shooter would want, so we wouldn't get the full Shooter treatment because of Rude doing things only the way he wanted.

    If it were required – as an incentive – that Rude only gets paid upon approved pages, then Rude wouldn't likely make it beyond page 10, because of Rude likely not wanting to do what Shooter's script required, in the way it would be written.

    This would likely result in Rude taking to the internet machine to tell the world what a terrible green meanie Jim Shooter is, when it's Rude that likely only would want to do what Rude wants.

    I've seen Rude upfront at a few conventions, one specifically at the SDCC many years ago when he debuted his Nexus cartoon sampling. He had produced a cartoon test, to hopefully get some interest in someone wanting to make a series out of it.

    It was dreadfully boring. It was basically a Johnny Quest cartoon dressed up as Nexus. It was done with the same kind of still-frame shots with animated body parts, never really having any fluid movement.

    It did look pretty. But it just laid there.

    And as throughout the whole presentation, we got Steve Rude, microphone in hand, acting as if he were the host of his own Rude The Dude talk show. He was letting everyone know how wonderful he was (I paraphrase, but that's what he was saying about himself in many various, yet repeated ways), how anyone would be stupid not to make this cartoon… generally it came across as a weird cross between Geraldo Rivera's old daytime talk show and an infomercial.

    At the end of the presentation, you knew that the cartoon would never get made, and that Steve Rude loved himself very much.

    I admit, I find big egos of people whose work seems to justify or to back up those egos to be somewhat charming, but only up to a point. Hang around a Neal Adams table at any convention for a while, and you'll see what I mean.

    But, Rude and Shooter together? Nah. I'd bet against that with a big pile of cash. I don't see that happening, or at least ending very well if it did.

  214. Steve Rude is one of my favorite artists, but he is also regarded by some pros and fans as a flake. Socially retarded, perhaps. Anyone who seriously refers to himself in the third person is in need of help.
    The likelihood of Bob Layton and Jim Shooter working together is not very good – study your history of Jim's ousting from Valiant.
    Jim, I have dealt personally with TwoMorrows publisher John Morrow in the past and I do not perceive him as dishonorable/bad/evil. I think he's a well-meaning sort of guy who doesn't get involved with specific editorial situations (when he probably should) and leaves that stuff up to the editors, guys like Jon B. Cooke (in the past) and Michael Eury, both of whom have extremely questionable editorial/journalism skills.
    Also, Jim, TwoMorrows' Kirby mag has printed numerous examples of Colletta ignoring some figures and machinery in Kirby's pencils, so it did happen. The assumption they and many others make is that Vince did that to avoid doing the inking either to save time or out of laziness. It's possible that he was instructed to leave those things out and not ink them by Stan, Sol or whomever; Kirby wasn't perfect and sometimes he could pack a panel with too much stuff, thereby making it overly cluttered and claustrophobic. When I've looked at those examples that TwoMorrows published, it occurred to me that Colletta may have tried to fix the panels in question with respect to balance and negative space. I am a real fan of Kirby's stuff, but he wasn't perfect.
    Kris, I fail to see how minimalism in Toth's work (or anyone else's for that matter) can be seen as a "trick" and "overwhelming black ink" can be "distracting," but at least your negative opinion of Toth's work has some thought behind it, which is more than I can say for a lot of the ill-informed, barely thought-out tastes expressed by others here.

  215. I tried to buy a comic at the Twomorrows table one year. I forget the guy's name but he was about to sell it to me until I opened it and we both saw writing inside. He immediately grabbed it and said that it wasn't for sale. From what I could gather in the brief moment was that the writing inside was a creator telling them they were going to be sued over something they printed. I forget who the creator was. I just thought it was neat that I almost owned it. I think that was the same year I met Gulacy, Wrightson and got an Olivia watercolor sketch signed by bother her and the model (a rare opportunity). Regardless, there were a lot of things that overshadowed the event.

  216. Funny that "The Thin Black Line" is mentioned here. I had a run in with Morrow a few years back, the end result being that he informed me, in no uncertain terms, that none of my work, nor my name, would ever appear in another TwoMorrows publication – ever. Imagine my surprise when "The Thin Black Line" comes out and I find my work present and my name mentioned. I wrote to the author asking for an explanation and was told the editors and proofreaders weren't aware of this – funny how the main editor was John Morrow, who has never replied to any emails from me asking why he went back on his word, all the time allowing his main 'writer' to denigrate my name with each and every opportunity that he gets. In the meantime, I am a classed as a 'non-person' for TwoMorrows, unless it suits them to steal my work without asking permission beforehand. I then asked the author why he never contacted me and was told he couldn't find any contact details for me, despite many people he spoke to having my details, and Morrow himself having them on hand – I'm not that hard to email. The excuses given were weak, but then I have seen my work, and art I own, appearing in various TwoMorrow publications without attribution, permission etc etc.

    I've found TwoMorrows to be exactly as Jim describes them. See, Jim, we do have something in common here.

  217. Layton isn't a possibility, judging by the last two sentences here.

  218. Anonymous


    Bob Layton also comes to mind

  219. Steve Rude may have whitewashed any "rudeness" on his part in his new reply, but at least he didn't criticize Jim for anything. It's doubtful that Steve would have thought at the time that he was being rude (small "r"). It sounds more like bad social skills, immaturity, youthful arrogance and/or, as bmcsolo said, an artist's eccentricity. In most of those cases, Rude is not likely to have understood that there was anything wrong with his behavior at the time, so he probably wouldn't remember it in that context now.

    The link pough provided above says that Steve Rude was trying to contact DC for new comics work this year, but got rejected by one editor, ignored by others. Given that both Steve and Jim have a recent history at Dark Horse and are both looking for comics work now, it makes me wonder even more if they might be able to work on a project together. Whether their personalities and working styles would mesh well or not, I don't know, but at least it doesn't seem like any permanent damage resulted from their initial meeting. Of course I'd be concerned that Steve might not follow the plot and would just draw what he wants to draw. On the other hand it looks like Steve's capable of some creative touches on his own, like the use of pipes as panel borders in that Superman comic boiler room.

    I know we all want Jim to write, edit and/or self-publish new comics, but nobody's ever really talked about who should draw them. Given the problems that seemed to be caused by some of the Dark Horse Gold Key artists, that's probably a pretty important question to ask. I'm curious how deep the pool is of potential artists from the '70s-'90s who are not currently working in comics but might like to. Secret Wars' own Mike Zeck is another one who doesn't seem to have done much recent comics work but is active on his web site selling artwork and commissions.

  220. It's my opinion that great comic art relies a lot on great art teams: Kirby and Sinnot, Byrne and Austin,Adams and Giordano, Miller and Janson, Hitch and Neary.

    For some reason I always thought Tuska and Colletta were always greater than the sum of their parts. I loved the Avengers work they did together.

  221. At least Steve Rude's work is readable, often I find Toth's work filled with minimalist tricks and overwhelming black ink that distract from the story attempting to be told.

    Rude standing on Toth's shoulders is no different than Toth standing on Meskin's shoulders. The student can surpass the old master.

  222. Jim, thanks for your response. Sorry to drudge up any bad memories. It seems like there is a contingent of folks out there determined to push one version of events and allow no dissent or, in this case, clarification or proof to the contrary. Sad state of affairs. If I see anything in the remaining issues of my subscription that seems fishy, I'll let both you and them know. At least a rebuttal could be provided here, in such a case, for people to see.

    JediJones, thanks for that link – those panels are fantastic, and that was a good read.

    Seems like Steve and Jim remember the same event a bit differently, which is not all that uncommon. He doesn't seem that rude to me in his response, personally. At the risk of making a broad generalization… artists are wacky. I'm sure he sees his behavior one way and others another. It seems to be the general rule among cartoonists and illustrators. Both versions of the event seem comfortably overlapping enough for me.

  223. Anonymous


    So Rude is incredibly arrogant, he talks about himself in the third person, AND he is a liar.

    Nice to know

  224. This morning I asked Steve Rude on his Facebook Page the following question:

    Hi Steve, Jim Shooter just posted this story on his blog about the first time he met you. Can you confirm that it happened this way. Its at — Link provided…

    Steve responded "I read over the Shooter story. It's pretty out there. The first time I made it to the Marvel offices was years after I'd met Paul Gulacy, when I hitchhiked out to see him at his house in Youngstown, Ohio. When I met Shooter for the first time Paul had just made the move to West New York, New Jersey, near the Hudson River. I made an appointment with Shooter during this time, and he was very helpful in looking over by work. He went over basics with me by using a Captain America vs. the Human Torch comic as an example. I listened carefully, since I was raised to be polite when I meet people for the first time. Shooter said I should focus on basics instead of doing fancy things like Paul Gulacy did.

    After that appointment, I hung around the Marvel offices hoping to get more feedback on my work. Shooter did eventually shoo me out, politely as I recall, when he saw me still hanging out in the halls–I was with Joe Rubenstein at the time, as Joe had just recently been hired at Marvel and was in the middle of inking a Rom cover, which was fascinating to watch. When Shooter saw me still hanging around he said, "You still here? People are busy here and need to get back to work."

    I visited Marvel several years after that to get more feedback on my work , but by then Shooter had been fired"

  225. Chris

    Great story! It's a little weird to me though to imagine a time when artists like The Dude or Joe Jusko were rough around the edges.

  226. Well, if that awkward initial meeting could be forgotten, Jim Shooter and Steve Rude would make an incredible combination of talent on a new comic book story. Given Jim's traditional storytelling sensibilities and the fact that Steve Rude's art has always been retro-styled (here are some great-looking panels), that would probably end up being a comic that appealed greatly to us "old school" fans.

  227. Anonymous

    I suppose because whether he's a jerk or not is irrelevant to the quality of his art. Maybe it even has something to do with it.

  228. ja


    Of course you count! We're all just giving our subjective views on who's better. If you like Rude better than others, then your opinion's legitimate for your tastes.

    It's just funny to a number of us that Rude thinks he's The Shit (just ask him, he'll tell you!). Especially when, as Shooter said, creators like Alex Toth was "one of the giants upon whose shoulders Rude and legions of others stand."

    Meaning, Rude at his best is still but part of Alex Toth's (& Doug Wildey's) shadow, even though he draws pretty pictures. What makes it hilarious to me is that Rude has always presented himself like his shit smells of potpourri, and we should all worship the very person who holds his pencils (him).

    His work would very well be an improvement for DC's line of books. However, they probably don't want to deal with Rude being Rude, which is Rude being rude. Like a huge Macy's Thanksgiving Day Ego Float coming down Broadway, they probably know full well that he'll be way more trouble than he's worth.

  229. Maybe i don't count but If he drew some of the Dc books, I might be inclined to actually buy one. He always told a beautiful story when teamed with Mike Baron.

  230. Anonymous

    I love all of the "Steve Rude is a great artist" posts. What does his being a great artist have to do with him being a jerk?

    I enjoyed his Thor Godstorm book. His Spider-Man Lifeline was ok. His pencils are fun – but he seems to be homage-ing Kirby all the time

    Great?? I don't know about that – there are a lot of great artists out there right now – Risso, Quitely, Jae Lee, JP Leon. Rude? He's OK

  231. Paul Dushkind

    There are so many scare stories about creators being stiffed by Hollywood; it's good that you did get paid for your unused Ghost Rider treatment, but why did they consider it appropriate to inform you which account the check was coming from?

    That reminds me. I have long wondered what the policy is in the comic-book field. Aren't artists and writers paid for work that goes unused? Are they paid additionally when an editor makes them redo something?

    You probably know as well as I do the story about how DC approved a then-controversial race-related story for Teen Titans, by Len Wein and Marv Wolfman. After Nick Cardy finished drawing it, Carmine changed his mind and rejected it. Neal Adams reworked parts of it, so some of Cardy's art ran. Neal implied that if he hadn't, then Cardy would not have been paid. If that's true, then it's obviously unfair.

  232. Firestone

    The Stan Lee anecdote reminds me of a theory that is somewhat commonly held among (golden age?) comic fans. It's not a hugely popular one, but I've run into it a few places.

    Basically, the early days of comics were mobbed up. They were basically, as the story goes, ways for mobsters to launder money through, whitewash it.

    It's before your time, but I was wondering if you remembered anything about that… which reminds me of something a bit later.

    Ever read the first run of Teen Titans? Not Wolfman-Perez. The Robin/Speedy/Wonder Girl/Kid Flash/Aqualad era.

    The first year or so are like a paean to the Kennedy Administration. Every issue starts off as a description of some youth program.

    Do you remember any company getting government money to promote an idea or concept or mission? Beyond, of course, PSA comics. (Of course, these could have been considered proto-PSA comics.)

    These are the things I wonder.

    Speaking of Archie Goodwin, did you ever see his comic-book incarnation as "Mr. Nice"? He, Denny O'Neil (The Perfesser) and Mike Carlin (The Mastermind) made occasional appearances in the Batman Adventures line of children's comics (based on the DC Animated Series). The tribute to his passing is especially touching… it's the one with the Mad parody cover. (Oh no! Not MELVIN!)

    The story you just told, specifically, the 'I'm a deer!' part, explains quite a bit about why they made him a Man of Action.

    (I do love those comics. Especially the Ty Templeton issues.)

  233. Anonymous

    Rude is a great artist. Better than most of the current crop of DC artists that's for sure.

  234. Steve Rude is indeed a great artist, Toth or not, and I understand he has fallen on hard times. But what life and energy and style and sheer panache explode from his pages!

    Fantastic stuff.

  235. Dear bmcmolo,

    Here are three items:

    1. Tom Field did an interview with Gene Colan in which Gene unfairly savaged me. Tom, an honorable soul, arranged for me to reply in a sidebar. I wrote a short piece praising Gene and paying homage to his immense talent and great accomplishments. I briefly added that at the time Gene left Marvel, the sorry state of the industry and the resultant harsh economic realities made for unhappy circumstances and strife that hurt us all; that Gene's difficulties with me and Marvel might not have happened if both he and the company weren't under so much stress. And, that I was very sorry things went so wrong between Marvel/me and a Hall-of-Famer.

    TwoMorrows approved the sidebar initially, then, reneged, preferring to keep their Shooter-bashing pure and unadulterated.

    2. TwoMorrows interviewed me re: the strife between Jack Kirby and Marvel. I agreed to the interview on the condition that it would be printed in its entirety and that I would be given the chance to proofread it before publication, to make sure that there were no mistakes, misquotes or clarity issues. They, indeed, provided a transcript for me to review. However, instead of running the interview, in which I respectfully set forth some of Marvel's side of the controversy, and, by the way, some facts that clarified/defended my personal role, they ran an article in which they used small excerpts from the interview. The article completely misrepresented what I'd said and the situation in general. They wrote the story the way they preferred, to hell with the truth. They want Marvel and me to be the villains, and they weren't about to let me shed any light that might cast doubt upon their position. In the article they say that I claimed that there were documents supporting what I said, but that I could not produce any such documents. Well, they never asked me to. But, after seeing that comment, I put together a stack of copies of the aforementioned documents, including the famous "smoking gun" contract Kirby signed that attests to Marvel's ownership of his work and has an itemized list appended.

    The documents were never mentioned, there was no retraction, no acknowledgement whatsoever that I am aware of. If history doesn't suit those people they suppress the facts and make up what they want.

    3. Under the pretext of being "fair and balanced" they give the same weight to speculation by people who had no way of being in the know as they do to those of us who were there. Freelancers, even stringers like Steven Grant, some of whom lived hundreds of miles away are welcome to speak authoritatively on what was said at Marvel executive staff meetings or in the Cadence board room. TwoMorrows doesn't qualify opinions, hearsay or rumors, and they don't check facts, as a rule. After I complained to Michael Eury, one of their editors, about their complete lack of journalistic integrity, he actually did check with me once about something. John Byrne blamed me, in an interview, for replacing the previous X-Men inker (Grainger?) with Terry Austin. Nope. Goodwin did that, long before my time as EIC. If I hadn't complained to Eury (about some paranoid fantasy things Moench said), the bogus Byrne accusation would have gone to press unchallenged. They printed what he said, by the way, but they did mention my objection. Eury, I think, is not corrupt, but he's no journalist. I've never been asked to verify anything since. A clue.

  236. DJ

    Hi Jim,
    Thanks for the reply.
    I didn't understand it was like that between you and the Morrows. I realise there are a lot of Kirby fascists out there ( having been on the infamous Kirby-L for many years, believe me I know), but I always thought the Morrows had a pretty open mind on Kirby history, and let different people express different opinions in different ways. Maybe that's not the case then. I've always enjoyed the Kirby Collector, and feel they have done quite a bit to keep the Kirby legacy alive. But, there's always two sides to every story. For years, all I heard were the negative things about yourself, and couldn't bring myself to believe them. Even if they were true, there was absolutely no need for the vitriol directed at you. I feel the same about Vince Colletta. I think anyone so, seemingly, unjustly villified should have a chance to defend themself. While alive, Vince never seemed to get that chance, or didn't want to take the opportunity to reply. That's why I'd like to hear your version of events surrounding Colletta. As you say, you're probably one of the last people standing that knew Vince well, or even cared about his reputation. That's why I read the book, to try and see behind the mask.
    You obviously have/had a great deal of respect for Colletta both as a man, and a professional, and it would be nice to see the scales balanced (can you tell I'm a Libra?).
    Thanks for your time, and the great blog.
    David J.

  237. I have a subscription to Back Issue, published by Twomorrows. I had no idea you had bad run-ins with them. If it's something you don't mind talking about, I'd be very interested to hear about these negative experiences. I've actually written them a few times and recommended they do an interview with you and never gotten a response – perhaps this would explain it.

  238. Dear David J.,

    TwoMorrows, the publisher of the book you mention, is run by dishonorable people. I had several disgusting experiences with them. They twist things to suit their warped agenda with reckless disregard for the truth. The last time I did anything for them it was because my good friend J.C. Vaughn was doing a piece for them and needed my help. I made an exception for his sake, but I will never have anything to do with them again. The only publication of theirs I have any respect for is Roy's Alter Ego, which escapes their machinations because they're afraid to mess with Roy.

    I haven't read the book you mention. The things you say in your comment tell me all I need to know about it. It's garbage. I may be the last of the people who knew Vince well, who knows a fair amount about his career and a fair amount about his life outside of comics, including much that even members of his family don't know. I'll tell what I know of his story someday. I advise you to take anything you read in a TwoMorrows publication as biased at best, more likely a retcon of history to suit their personal prejudices.

  239. Re: Marvel's current downsizing.

    It sounds right. A quick and dirty look at the numbers tells me they are making a profit publishing, but they have high operating expenses and top-heavy staffing costs. Cutting costs top down makes sense. No inventory, one bathroom, etc. is absurd.

  240. It wasn't Liebowitz who had Costello for a Godfather it was Irwin Donenfeld the son of Harry Donenfeld.

  241. Anonymous

    Dear Jim & all,

    There's something soft and sweet i always liked in Vince Colletta's inks.
    Not everything by Colletta was good, but i overall like his work.
    Particularly i like his inks on George Tuska for the World's Greatest Super-Heroes comicstrip writen by Paul Levitz in the 70s (starring the Justice League.)
    Of course, on the various books on which he worked, there's sometime the occasional page that may look dirty, where the inks could have been better, That happened. And it's probably true that more often than not if a page had such defaults it was because he had to be fast.
    But judging an artist/inker only on such pages is unfair. From Vince Colletta we got and can easily find lot of pages that got from his inks a particular charm.

    Stephane Garrelie

  242. DJ

    I think someone may have asked this before, but seeing as how the subject of Vince Colleta has been broached, I was wondering what your take on "The Thin Black Line" by Robert L Bryant was? He says he asked you to contribute to the book but you refused (maybe thinking it another ruthless character assassination). I feel it was maybe a missed opportunity for you to, perhaps, correct, some, of the public perceptions of Colletta. On the whole I feel it was a pretty even-handed assessment of a colourful character, who, at times took some professional shortcuts. I think Colletta has been judged unfairly just on the basis of erasing, and simplifying, some of Kirby's Backgrounds and figures. Okay, he could swamp a drawing until it looked like Colletta, rather than the original penciller, but then so could DeZuniga, Alcala, Rubenstein, Janson, and many more. Perhaps that's more due to the strengths, or more likely the weaknesses of the penciller. I personally like Colletta's inks on Kirby's Thor, not so much on other Kirby work: FF, Fourth World.
    Anyway, just interested.
    David J.

  243. Dear gn6196,

    Vince Colletta's work was very popular throughout the fifties, sixties and early seventies. He won "Best Inker" in the FOOM Fan Awards Polls a number of times. After he left Marvel to work at DC for a few years, he still won the FOOM Award.

    In the mid-seventies, because he was absolutely reliable and very fast, he was frequently called upon by John Verpoorten, Marvel production manager, to ink in as little as two days books made desperately late by the writers and pencilers. "Ink on paper," John would say. "I need the book yesterday." Other inkers needed weeks to finish a book.

    John was the boss. Vince followed orders and always came through, never failed once. Worked around the clock again and again. Some writers and pencilers had other ideas about who should ink their books, and some weren't pleased with the job Vince did. The legend goes that Vince "left things out" to go faster. No one has ever once been able to show me an example of that. Even if he did simplify a bit to get the late book in on time, as commanded by John Verpoorten, so what? I say this without equivocation: no one else could have done as good a job in the time allotted. Though he was increasingly vilified by the prima donnas for "ruining" their books, Vince was a hero to John Verpoorten and the production people. He saved their butts again and again.

    At DC, he served as art director for a time, but mostly what he did was ink. On his way out of the office many an evening, then-traffic manager Paul Levitz would slide a stack of pages under Vince's door with a note on them saying "need by tomorrow," and Vince would stay all night and finish them.

    Once Verpoorten was gone, once the business became more of a "star system" because of royalties, bigger money and more collector/aficionado buyers rather than newsstand/general readership, Vince was left out in the cold. And maligned. To this day, he and his work are routinely disparaged.

    In the days when Vince was getting work, it wasn't because of "connections." It was because he was good, he was fast and he was the most reliable inker in the business.

  244. Dear Pete,

    Vince Colletta never "moonlighted as a pimp."

  245. Dear ja,

    Sometimes, given big questions like yours that require some thought and even a little research, I "keep as new" until I have time to answer properly. Bear with me.

  246. pough said…

    "Apparently Steve Rude has now switched to telling DC they need him."

    Well, despite that I think Toth is far superior to Steve Rude, I also feel Steve Rude is far superior to many of the artists working today, so I agree with him on that. 🙂

  247. Another view of Steve Rude…

    His singular act of kindness helped me decide to choose illustration as a career.


    The above link takes you to a 3 page letter Steve Rude wrote to me, in the early 80s, about drawing and Andrew Loomis. My mother noticed my interest in artwork and my admiration for the Nexus comic book and contacted Rude to see if he could give me any pointers. This letter had a profound effect on my life and the way I communicate with ANYONE who has a question about art, wants a portfolio review or just wants to talk.

    I've met quite a few comic artists. Some were helpful and kind and others were so unbelievably well… rude, that I won't even buy their books.

    Steve Rude is one of the good ones.

    Love the blog Shooter! Keep it up!!

  248. ja said… "A lot of Rude's 'look' comes from Alex Toth's sensibilities, along with Doug Wildey and others of that era. Rude certainly draws pretty pictures (just ask him, he'll tell you), but he has NEVER in his whole career risen to the storytelling level – or design level – of Alex Toth."


  249. Tue Sørensen said…

    "Sheesh – dunno what Toth's problem was. Maybe that Rude was a better artist than him?"

    I'm a fan of Steve Rude's art, but… no. Alex Toth is a true master of the comics form. He helped to invent the language that Rude was trying to speak.

  250. Just some thoughts:

    Rude is one of the upper echelon artists as far as I'm concerned. Great storyteller and I great run on Nexus made his legend.

    I always liked Colletas inks over Kirbys work as well. Makes me wonder if he kept getting work because of his "connections". As much as he was bashed, he kept getting work.

    I'm 50 and my memory is not what it used to be.
    Now you see Byrnes work for the Superman/Marvel proposal. I guess he forgot. He really should swallow three times before shooting his mouth off.

  251. Why am I reminded of the under-rated De Niro/Scorsese collaboration 'The King of Comedy' when I read about what Steve Rude did at the Marvel offices…? 😉

  252. Anonymous

    I really dug Colletta's inks on Kirby — dunno why anyone disses it!?!

    I did read somewhere that Colletta moonlighted as a pimp … weird, huh?

    Pete Marco

  253. I remember around the same time, Harlan also created a villain for the DC series "Dial 'H' for Hero" running in "Adventure Comics" in the early 80s. Quite an interesting series as it allowed readers to submit ideas for heroes that the series' protagonists Chris King and Vicki Grant could magically transform into as well as ideas for villains that the heroes could be pitted against. I believe Harlan's submission was called "The Silver Ghost".

  254. I knew someone would link to the Toth critique. Good stuff.

  255. Apparently Steve Rude has now switched to telling DC they need him.


  256. ja


    I don't know if you ever go back to your previous posts to read the comments once you've moved on to your new ones.

    So at the risk of being redundant, I thought I'd post my question to you again, so you could at least see it. I posted it at about the very end of your previous blog post's comments, in hopes you thought the question worthy of a lengthy explanation.

    So, here it is again:

    ja said…

    Dear Jim Shooter,

    I'd love to get some perspective from you about what it would take to put together an independent comic book company today, like you did with Valiant?

    Specifically how much money are we talking about – for talent, printing, etc. – for, say, a line of one dozen titles?

    And I'm talking about a company that is NOT out to pay 10 cents on the dollar for talent. I'm talking about a company that could go toe-to-toe with Marvel & DC, with the resources to be able to attract the best talent out there.

    I just wonder if there are any people out there with money, or have access to anyone else who has money, who might not know the specifics of what it would take to put together a company nowadays.

    If they had a better idea of what it would take, maybe someone would/could see their way to investing in a new company, maybe with you at the helm?

    Maybe it's a ridiculous question. But I think it'd be very interesting to know the answer. Maybe it would inspire someone to be able to visualize how they could start their own company…?

  257. ja

    Dear Jim,

    Damn right.

  258. Dear ja,

    Alex Toth was the classic "artist's artist." He wasn't appreciated nearly enough by readers, but was revered by fellow artists. He was a unique and wonderful creator, one of the giants upon whose shoulders Rude and legions of others stand. Wherever genius comics artists go after their run on Earth is cancelled, at supper time, Alex gets to take his turn at the head of the table along with Will, Jack, and…you know.

  259. Dear Marc,

    I think Steve Saffel actually wrote the press release. I remember when Mike and I went to the Yale Club for lunch with someone Marvel was doing business with. There was a plaque on the wall near the entrance to the dining room commemorating something done by the High Plenipotentiary of some country. A guy empowered to represent, and make decisions for his country! Now, that, Mike said is a TITLE! Possibly that was an exchange shared only by us, but blankety-blank of Tunis was Mike's comedic office mantra.

    By the way, Mike Hobson, short, balding, mustached, unathletic-looking at first glance — the cartoon executive — worked on an oil wildcatting crew in younger days. His adoptive mother was the remarkable Laura Z. Hobson, author of Gentleman's Agreement. His adventures and achievements are far too many to mention here. What an interesting guy.

  260. ja

    Tue Sørensen said… "Sheesh – dunno what Toth's problem was. Maybe that Rude was a better artist than him?"

    WHATCHOOTALKINBOUTWILLIS?? You REALLY must get off the wacky tobaccy, Tue…

    A lot of Rude's 'look' comes from Alex Toth's sensibilities, along with Doug Wildey and others of that era. Rude certainly draws pretty pictures (just ask him, he'll tell you), but he has NEVER in his whole career risen to the storytelling level – or design level – of Alex Toth.

    Alex Toth had to produce new character, evironment & prop designs all the time during his career, where Steve Rude's work (though talented) always looked to me as if he were aping someone else's stylizations or sensibilities.

    Toth was certainly blunt, but his points were spot-on about Rude's composition and storytelling.

    If you gathered all of Rude's whole career together, it would barely add up to MAYBE a year of what Alex Toth's accomplishments were.

    You may like the look of Rude's work more than Alex Toth's but I believe that Rude's work is incredibly substandard in comparison to Toth's.

  261. Dear Jim,

    This entry could be in a pre-hero issue of Tales to Astonish. King Kong isn't so different from Gorgilla. I was expecting you and Archie Goodwin to see Dino DeLaurentiis sitting on the hand of a life-size Kong statue! I wonder how Gorilla Grodd would have reacted to Archie's simian references. And what would Ghost Rider have looked like with 80s special effects technology?

    When I hear stories like these about Vince Colletta, I wonder how he found time to ink.

    I can't imagine Steve Rude ever drawing what you described. I know we all have to start somewhere … but on Paul Gulacy's lawn?! Rude may be able to provide a backstory that would explain his unusual … strategy which definitely isn't in any how-to-find-a-job book — or website. I didn't know he was calling himself "the Dude" that far back.

    Ah, Mike Hobson's dream came true. But wait … on Monday you said he wanted to be "High Plenipotentiary of Tunis." Maybe he got promoted from field marshal the following year. Like I said, everybody's gotta start somewhere.

    You found John Byrne's Marvel Superman synopsis! Sorry for the bold tags, but that made my day! Can't wait!

    Congratulations on breaking the $1000 barrier. Thanks to the other Jim for making it happen.

  262. What he said. 😀

  263. Dear Jim,

    Thank you.

  264. Dear Ralf,

    Toth NEVER minced words. Somewhere around here I have a long letter from him condemning me and everyone else, even Archie. Louise Jones was the only person he said was okay. And the thing you have to understand about Toth is this — next time I saw him, he was as friendly as ever. He just plain never, ever held anything back. In a way, that's how you knew he liked you.

  265. Dear Matt,

    As I recall, Vince said it was pretty much as you'd expect. Costello was not amused, deadpan. Vince apologized and hustled Stan away.

  266. Dear Jay C,

    Much appreciated, thanks.

  267. I love Harlan's comment from that article:

    "In his closing comments, Ellison remarked that “there is nothing demeaning in writing for comics. It’s only demeaning when you do it badly.” To this we can only heartily agree."

  268. Tue – Toth's criticisms of Rude's art on Jonny Quest were valid; Toth's method of expressing himself was abrasive. You've had a lot of letters published in various comic books throughout the 90s, if I remember correctly and it's astonishing that after all these years of being a comic book fan, you can still express something as vapid, ignorant and ill-informed as you did. Rude was and is a great artist, but even Rude admits that Toth was right and that he made many wrong storytelling choices in that Jonny Quest story. Toth was right, according to Rude, and you're still an idiot.

  269. Jim

    Made a small donation that pushes you past $1,000 plus a little more. Love the blog and always look forward to your stories.

  270. Anonymous

    Jim, I've been wondering whether to buy your dark horse stuff (which I've been doing– first time I bought a new comic in 18 years) or to donate. Looks like the answer is both: comics for you and money for JayJay. Thanks for clearing it up before I even got around to asking!


    ps as others have said, this blog is often a highlight of my day.

  271. Anonymous

    Heres a link to a story about Marvel's current downsizing;

    Im curious to see your take on this Jim.

  272. Sheesh – dunno what Toth's problem was. Maybe that Rude was a better artist than him?

  273. Anonymous

    Great story about Steve Rude. Still waiting to hear about what happened at Valiant and Broadway.

  274. Frank Costello was Jack Liebowitz's actual godfather. Seriously. That's probably how Vince knew him.

    Gerard Jones's Men Of Tomorrow is the source. He talked to some family members to get backgrounds on the comic industries founders.

  275. Anonymous

    The "Donate" button DOES go to Paypal, fyi.


  276. Ralf Haring

    Steve Rude is online (webpage, twitter, facebook, etc.) so I'm sure it'd be easy enough for someone to try and get him to remember his version of your story.

    He is also part of another interesting tidbit of comics history. At one point he was drawing a Johnny Quest comic and asked for a critique from Alex Toth. To say the response was blunt is a bit of an understatement. http://www.illdave.com/comicbooks/history/toth-critiques-rude.htm

  277. Anonymous

    About contributions, if you would put a Paypal link some of us non-credit card holders might be able to contribute.

    Johnny Lee Achziger

  278. I came across something today that really had me wishing Jim Shooter would be contacted by Disney (who appear to be making changes at Marvel)and ask him to save the company from destruction. It's on the bullpen bulletins page that I saw while browsing my issue of Uncanny X-Men 181, as I prepare to reread the entire Claremont, Romita Jr., Green run. It's a photo of Jim with various Marvel staff from the 80's with Mickey Mouse!

    Maybe sometime the incomparable, well fed, and sleek blog elf, JAYJAY can post it for everybody who wants Jim and the Mouse together again!

  279. Anonymous

    and re: Steve Rude

    I bought his book, Brush with Greatness, and have a great amount of fondness for his work. In 'fantasy comic book artist draft', he would be my number one choice for any Magnus book after how great his Magnus/Nexus book looked.

    — Jay C

  280. Those were all great stories! And I can't wait to read more about the Superman proposal!

    By the way, did Vince Colletta ever say what Costello's reaction was to Stan's greeting?

    — Matt

  281. Anonymous

    I placed my last Amazon order through your link and will continue to do so in the future if it helps keep this blog alive.


    Jay C

  282. Here's the backstory on why Harlan worked on those 1980s Daredevil issues as reprinted from Amazing Heroes #44 (April 1, 1984).

  283. Here's a Harlan Ellison comic book bibliography that lists a handful of other Marvel issues by him, going back to 1970. I don't remember if you mentioned it in the Heroes for Hope blog entry, Jim, but Harlan apparently even wrote 3 pages of that.

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