Monday, September 19, 2011

Marvel Boycott Diary #15: Kirby Link Round-Up

The Marvel Boycott continues. Some more-or-less random links, some only tangentially related to the boycott:  

What Kirby Did: Critic and cartoonist Matt Seneca writes about a Jack Kirby action page, noting that "how much sharper Kirby’s sequencing got after his 1979-80 stint as an animation artist for Ruby-Spears. A few years roughing out stories for a medium in which the audience plays the role of passive receptor rather than active participant had subtly changed Kirby’s comics art once he returned. "
Do Boycotts Work? Lots of talk on the internets in reaction to Steve Bissette's call for a boycott of Marvel. Many people say boycotts don't work, or only harm the little guys, like retailers and the current creators of Marvel comics who are working on those Kirby characters. I feel that boycotts and petitions that threaten boycotts can be effective in shaming or scaring companies into action. The latest evidence is the campaign led by to get advertisers to pull out of Glenn Beck's show on Fox News, which ultimately resulted in Beck's termination. At its peak, the Glenn Beck boycott involved almost 300, 000 people and was costing Fox half a million dollars per week.  

Gandhi on boycotts and imperialism 1: "Economics that hurt the moral well-being of an individual or a nation are immoral and therefore sinful. Thus the economics that permit one country to prey upon another are immoral. It is sinful to buy and use articles made by sweated labour. It is sinful to eat American wheat and let my neighbour the grain-dealer starve for want of custom." (Young India, 13-10-1921)  

Gandhi on boycotts and imperialism 2: "It is my claim that as soon as we have completed the boycott of foreign cloth we shall have evolved so far that we shall necessarily give up the present absurdities and remodel national life in keeping with the ideal of simplicity and domesticity implanted in the bosom of the masses. We will not then be dragged into an imperialism which is built upon exploitation of the weaker races of the earth, and the acceptance of a giddy materialistic civilization protected by naval and air forces that have made peaceful living almost impossible. On the contrary we shall then refine that imperialism into a commonwealth of nations which will combine, if they do, for the purpose of giving their best to the world and of protecting, not by brute force but by self -suffering, the weaker nations or races of he earth. Non-cooperation aims at nothing less than this revolution in the thought world. " (Young India, 29-6-1921)  

Joining the Boycott? The writer James Vance (Kings in Disguise) thinks that calls for a boycott are "naive" and that "reasonable appeals" to the company are probably "forlorn," but still has the gumption to state that, "From a moral standpoint, I agree that Marvel should make some kind of a good-faith financial gesture to Kirby’s heirs."
Credit for Kirby 1: Comic shop retailer Mike Sterling has pointed out that the new DC 52 title OMAC #1, based on a character created by Jack Kirby, does not credit Kirby anywhere in the book, This is an important lapse, since DC has generally been very good with these sorts of credits over the last few years and their willingness to give credit (except when a lawsuit is involved) has been an influence on the boycott. My thinking is, if DC can include a simple "created by..." blurb on the first page of every comic book, why can't Marvel? The OMAC example is also important since the book is being illustrated by Keith Giffen in a Kirby style. (Tony Isabella has some thoughts on this too.)
Credit for Kirby 2: At the Kirby museum, blogger Robert Steibel presents a trio of posts about the auteur theory of comics ( 1 2 3) and Jack Kirby's place in that theory. So, is Kirby an auteur?
"I think the answer is yes. I think that if you look only at the visuals — the style of the art, the dynamics, the compositions, and ignore the text and the quality of the inks and the colors — you are seeing Jack Kirby as the Pure Auteur of his 1960s stories. In your mind, you can travel back to the moment where Kirby stuffed his story into an envelope and mailed it to NYC, and you can glimpse his personal vision — Jack Kirby: Pure Auteur. But, there is no denying the published book is much more of a collaboration. You can’t dismiss Lee and the other personnel’s contributions to the finished product, so in that sense, I suggest you have to think of Jack as what I’ll call the “Principal Auteur” of the published book: Jack wasn’t working from a full script like most comics artists in a traditional writer/artist relationship, in reality, Jack Kirby conceived of and wrote the original story with visuals and liner notes. Jack is the principal storyteller."
Boycott Marvel!

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