The funniest and most intellectually rigorous post about the Marvel Boycott this week comes from The Mindless Ones blog. Blogger "The Doubtful Guest" (aka "Joel") has posted a wonderful political-socio essay on the nature of the 1960s-70s Marvel Bullpen, collectivity, capitalism, and something called "Thrill-Power." Guaranteed to please, or at least temporarily entrance, those who may have a more critical or academic appreciation for Judge Dredd, Herb Trimpe, Marie Severin, and Jolly Jack.
"What I mean here is the concept of the Bullpen as something that entered the comics imagination with the 1960s Marvel Age, and continues to leave its historical trace in every comics Universe. The truncated history goes that, emerging from the Eisner & Iger independent sweatshop/studio, the Fordist assembly line and the 50s post-Comics Code audience exodus, the Bullpen formation was a way for publishers to ensure greater homogeneity and editorial control over their comics lines. In terms of Marvel’s history, it seems reasonable to suggest that the invocation of the Bullpen in the comics (through Stan’s columns, and the general tone of captions and narrative) as well as the real-life office was an attempt to keep that Stan & Jack/Stan & Steve Marvel Method Magic flowing beyond its original creative flush, and, of course, beyond the departures of the two artists. In actuality, it was also a way to ensure three things: vastly unequal profit shares (through those work-for-hire contracts Bissette mentions), a usually strict division of labour, and Marvel’s good old white male hegemony."
In other Boycott news, the cartoonist Frank Santoro (Storeyville, Cold Heat) joins the boycott in his Comics Journal column and Journal editor Tim Hodler has a great link from The New York Times about the efforts of famous musicians and pop stars to regain the copyrights of their old songs in the same way that the Kirby heirs are fighting for Kirby's copyrights.
Elsewhere, Kevin de Vlaming of the Fabler Blog relays a great Scott McCloud (Zot!, Understanding Comics) quote about the Kirby case:
"But hardly any artist in that end of the business was treated fairly in those days (much like in the music industry) and Kirby in particular deserved far more compensation — and RESPECT — than he received over the years from a royal procession of lawyers, asshole execs, and two-faced colleagues.
Anyone contesting that Marvel was largely built on Kirby’s ideas just doesn’t know their comics history."