Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

from my review of Fanny and Romeo by Yves Pelletier and Pascal Girard.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Whiskers Annual, 1951

Merry Christmas from Cyril Gwyn Price, illustrator of The Whiskers Annual, a comics collection published by the London Daily Graphic in 1951. Price, also known under the pen name 'Gwynne', was  was an ex-miner from Wales who became a cartoonist in the 1930s, working for various newspapers and comic weeklies including strips for Illustrated Chips, Comic Cuts, Joker, and Jolly, moving to the Graphic in the 40s and 50s, where his work illustrated Enid Blyton tales.
Here is a great story featuring the charming cast of the Whiskers universe, including some bizarre magical creatures and of course Father Christmas.

introducing Nibby, the baby reindeer:

Friday, October 26, 2012

Hardboiled Comics Critics

"Two privates appeared from nowhere, pale in their uniforms like young ghosts trapped by reality. I got out and followed them across Main and into a magazine shop near the corner. The unlit neon sign of Tom's Cafe was almost directly across the street. Beer on Tap. Steam Beer. Try Our Spaghetti Special. The soldiers were inspecting a rack of comic books with the air of connoisseurs. They selected half a dozen each, paid for them and left. 'Milk sops,' the clerk said. He was a gray-headed man with smeared spectacles. 'They draft them in didees these days. Cradle to grave in one jump. '" 
--Ross Macdonald, The Ivory Grin, 1952.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Marvel Boycott Diary: Quick Update On Winning, Losing

As usual, and into the future, the Marvel Boycott continues. Just a quick note, not a real update or anything. I mostly wanted to share this scan from one of my local papers, The Kitchener-Waterloo Record, from last month. The article is a reprinting of James Sturm's boycott article from Slate that was picked up by a number of papers months after it was originally posted online, on the eve of the Avengers movie premiere. The K-W Record is owned by The Toronto Star and I believe the article was first reprinted there. No comment on the article, except to say that I agree with everything in it. My chief joy is the headline, which is the sort of thing I never expected to see in print outside of the comic fan press, nevermind the daily newspaper I used to deliver as a member of my own childhood newsboy legion.

I probably won't be posting Boycott updates here as frequently as I have over the past few months. In many ways, the dialogue started by "Steve Bissette when he made the initial call for action in the wake of the Kirby v Marvel court decision last summer has borne strange and wonderful fruit, and the boycotters have succeeded beyond their imaginings. Sure, Marvel and Disney haven't reversed their stance and suddenly sharing copyrights with the Kirby heirs and other creators, nor has one iota of the billions of dollars The Avengers has made been earmarked for comics creators, but I think the tiny noise we have made has had some positive effect.

First, comics readers and the general public alike have been made aware that all is not perfect in Marvel land. Blog posts, newspaper articles and twitter conversations have made sure that thousands of people discussed the historical injustices perpetrated by Marvel on Jack Kirby and other comics creators in terms of fair payment, copyright, royalties, merchandising, etc. As well, the conversation has expanded to a consideration of the larger comics industry, especially after the news of Before Watchmen and Alan Moore's objections to the continued use of the characters and stories he created.

Second, the boycott has led some people to think about their place in the system and how they want that system to look. Creators and fans have reevaluated their approach to working for Marvel and DC and buying the product from Marvel and DC. Fan favourite creators have seen shifts in their readership based on how they approach these questions. We have actually had discussions about ethics and morals in comics and some people have actually changed their behaviours based on those (ongoing) discussions!

By these standards I feel that the boycott has been a success. The whole enterprise has something of a quixotic feel to it and maybe most of those involved didn't even dream that a handful of disorganized, disillusioned and angry comic book fans could have an effect on the policies or profits of one of the largest entertainment corporations in the world, but students of boycotts will tell you that the process of calling for big changes often leads to important little changes in consciousness and action.

That being said, I don't intend to stop calling for big changes. And I don't plan on buying Marvel or DC comics anytime soon, either.

Until next time, please remember to Boycott Marvel!


Cartoonist Seth on the Marvel Boycott

Should We Boycott Marvel?

The Jack Kirby Petition at

Friday, June 01, 2012

Mystery Hoard: Herman

Posted a note about the passing of cartoonist Jim Unger the other day and later was talking with a group of friends about the "Herman legacy" when one suggested that any nostalgia we might feel for early period Unger cartoons will easily be satiated by walking into any thrift store on the planet where the Herman treasuries could surely be found in abundance. Sure enough, six hours later I wandered into just such a store and stumbled upon the Mystery Hoard you see gingerly clutched in my hot little hands in this photo. Of course, I didn't buy the things since everyone knows that 98% of all Herman books have spent the bulk of their existence in people's bathrooms and are the greatest repositories of mildew, feces, and E. Coli bacteria known to man, outside of the executive boardrooms of Marvel and DC Comics.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Marvel Boycott Diary: Jumping Ship

The Marvel Boycott continues. If you are just joining us, the Boycott started after Steve Bissette's reaction to Marvel's victory against the Kirby family's lawsuit. Fans were upset that Marvel and its owner Disney wouldn't even try to settle with the family of Jack Kirby, the man responsible for designing most of Marvel's greatest characters (including The Avengers) and for co-writing and drawing many of their original adventures back in the 1960s. Here is all the latest news about the Marvel Boycott:

Item! The Jack Kirby petition at is still going strong. The petition is called "Marvel Entertainment: Give credit and royalties to Jack Kirby and his family" and simply asks Marvel to properly credit Kirby as the creator and co-creator of all the stories and characters he had a hand in while working for Marvel, and to pay royalties for their use. Please check it out. Over 1,500 people have already signed the petition!!

Item! Classy: Comic book artist, painter and writer Alex Ross is interviewed by journalist Elliott Serrano for one of his hometown papers the Chicago Redeye about The Avengers movie and Jack Kirby's legacy:

ES: What do you think of the argument that Marvel Entertainment owes the estate of Jack Kirby for his contributions to creating these characters?

AR: Keep in mind that Kirby’s family does not receive anything for participation in all these countless characters of his creation or co-creation with Stan Lee making their way into films, merchandise, and other media. Whatever deal they worked out with Stan Lee, they never did with him. By right, with each one of these new projects that still hales back to the work and ideas of Jack’s, there should be some kind of honorable compensation for how much it’s benefiting the company today.

Item! One of the biggest stories to come out of the Marvel Boycott was the news that cartoonist Roger Langridge has publicly stated he will quit working for Marvel as a result of the Kirby controversy and the company's general treatment of creators and creator rights. Langridge was interviewed by Michael Cavna at the Washington Post about his decision and the background. (Cavna has also issued a modest proposal at the Washington Post suggesting that Disney should gift a settlement to the Kirby estate.) Langridge is very articulate about his decision to stop working for Marvel:

I was always something of a tourist at Marvel to begin with. Writing for Marvel was not something I ever set out to achieve; I came up through the alternative comics publishers like Fantagraphics and by self-publishing my own work, so doing the odd thing here and there for Marvel always felt like a crazy detour in terms of where I wanted my career to go. As a result, I wasn’t that hard to convince to jump off.

Marvel’s shabby treatment of its founding creators, particularly Jack Kirby, has been a bone of contention for a lot of people since the 1980s, at least, so that underlying sense of discomfort was always there. It was the legal decision against the heirs of Jack Kirby last year that was the thing that made me think, “You know, I probably shouldn’t be doing this.” (Note: Marvel tells Comic Riffs it can’t comment on matters involving Jack Kirby due to ongoing litigation.) The cartoonist Steve Bissette wrote a very articulate and passionate blogpost that was widely circulated at the time of that ruling, and I read it and nodded my head and thought: Yeah, it’s probably time to get out. I didn’t make a big noise about it at the time because the thing I’d just written for Marvel, “John Carter: A Princess of Mars,” hadn’t yet come out, and I didn’t think it was fair to drag my collaborator on that book, Filipe Andrade, down with me if there was a backlash. I didn’t feel it was my place to make that decision for him.

A few months later, there was the business with Marvel taking down Gary Friedrich over his selling of Ghost Rider prints at conventions, which I felt Marvel/Disney dealt with in a much more heavy-handed way than they had to, essentially crushing the guy’s only source of income. At that point I mentioned to my wife, “You know, I really don’t want to do business with these people,” and she very matter-of-factly said: “Well, don’t. You’ve got plenty of work without them.” To her eternal credit.

Item! Of course, bestselling novelist and comics writer Chris Roberson was the first big name to publicly quit working for a major comics company over the issue of creator rights. His interview with Tim Hodler of the Comics Journal covers his reasons for quitting and the backlash from the fan community, as well as some interesting points about Kirby, Alan Moore, and the movement away from Dc and Marvel:

if DC and Marvel were to grandfather their current equity deals back to 1938 that they would obviate the need for the lawsuits that many of the creators and their estates continue to bring and that also they would have a public relations bonanza on their hands because they would be able to show how they were taking care of the people that made these characters that people cherish now. In much the same way that Time Warner settled with Siegel and Shuster in the ’70s so they could trot them out for the premiere of the Superman movie. How great would it be if Time Warner could point to how they were helping pay for Tony DeZuniga’s hospital bills while they were promoting the Jonah Hex film, or whatever the case may be. I think if they took better care of the people who created the characters that other hands now service, that would do a great deal to engender fonder feelings on my part.

One other thing I would add is that if DC and Marvel did retroactively grant the creator-equity deals to their former creators, we wouldn’t need a Hero Initiative now, because those guys would be getting money. It would reduce the profits a miniscule amount for the larger corporations, but it would take care of entire generations of now dying old men and women who have gone on to see their creations continue to generate revenue they or their children don’t have any part of.

Item! One of the more touching things I've heard recently is listening to cartoonist and publisher Zak Sally talking to Robin McConnell on the Inkstuds podcast (around the 50-minute mark) about explaining Jack Kirby and the Avengers movie to his 6-year-old son and how his son understands the injustice of the situation better than some adult comic book fans. Sally has written a longer response to the issue on his own blog and his comments are worth reprinting here:

"actually, over the course of writing this, i think i DO have an answer– not THE answer, but an idea anyway: it’s somewhat presumptive on my part, and it is NOT what “should” happen, but it falls under the category of “the least you could do”.

i think Marvel comics should pay for the Jack Kirby Museum. they should fund the thing in its entirety, right now– and not a temporary, pop-up (which would still be awesome), but a permanent, brick and mortar space. what is that– 10, 20 million bucks to do it right? that’s a drop in the bucket. and all profit from the museum in perpetuity could go to the Kirby estate.

and there’s where the presumption comes on my part– what SHOULD happen is that Kirby is given some credit on all his creations and a commensurate slice of the action. but i don’t think that’s going to happen; do you? so, this would be a simple, classy way to honor the man and his contribution, without endangering their precious legal status as “creators” of the work in question (and, again, as i write this– all of you who are yelling about “well, they did it under a work-for hire contract”, which, yes, is legally binding– what you are then saying is that THE CORPORATION IS THE CREATOR OF THE WORK AND CHARACTERS, both morally and legally. that, effectively, NO ONE CREATED the stuff, just this amorphous, profit yielding, non-human entity. you’re ok with
that, as an ongoing and seemingly perpetual situation? HAVE FUN.)"

Item! Finally, writing for Detroit's Metro Times, journalist W. Kim Heron ponders the Marvel Boycott and has some choice words about Jack Kirby:

"if you’re touched by The Avengers, or any of the cavalcade of Marvel movies, you owe it to yourself to learn who this Kirby guy was. The Marvel industrial-promotional complex certainly won’t tell you."

Until next time, please remember to Boycott Marvel!


Cartoonist Seth on the Marvel Boycott

Should We Boycott Marvel?

The Jack Kirby Petition at

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Jack Kirby Petition Reaches 1,500 Signatures

Congratulations to everyone who has participated in this petition. I'm really quite happy with the response it has generated! 1,500 was the original goal of the petition --something attainable to demonstrate that there was wider support for the idea that comic book creators like Jack Kirby should be justly compensated for their creations by Disney and Marvel. And while there has been zero response from the corporation, the discussion of creator rights in the fan community and in the general media (Wall Street Journal, Slate, ESPN, AOL) since Steve Bissette first called for a boycott of Marvel last summer has been extremely gratifying. Here's hoping the petition will continue to play a role in that discussion and that people will continue to use it as a forum to stand and be counted. Jennifer Starkman from Canada was the 1500th person to sign the petition. Thanks to Jennifer and thanks the 1,499 other people who have so far taken the time to sign the petition, to comment and to share it. The petition will remain open...
Jack Kirby is one of the most important and influential artists in the history of U.S. comic books and popular culture. Along with writers Joe Simon, Stan Lee, and Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby created the characters and stories on which Marvel Comics has built a very successful business over the past 60 years. Kirby created or co-created Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, The X-Men, The Hulk, The Fantastic Four, The Avengers, and many more. For his efforts, Kirby was paid a few dollars a page and never shared in the billions of dollars in profits his characters have made in various media, including print, film, and video games. We strongly urge Marvel Entertainment and its owner Disney to acknowledge Jack Kirby's authorship and primary role in the creation of these characters. As well, we urge Marvel to pay Kirby's family royalties or other just compensation for the use of these characters and stories. Until such a time as Marvel can make things right with Kirby's legacy and Kirby's family and heirs, we may refuse to purchase any Marvel product, including comic books, movies, toys, or games. We ask Marvel, Disney, and its shareholders to act ethically and morally in this situation, just as their characters would.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Marvel Boycott Diary: Jack Kirby Co-Created The Avengers

The Marvel Boycott continues. If you are just joining us, the Boycott started after Steve Bissette's reaction to Marvel's victory against the Kirby family's lawsuit. Fans were upset that Marvel and its owner Disney wouldn't even try to settle with the family of Jack Kirby, the man responsible for designing most of Marvel's greatest characters and for co-writing and drawing many of their original adventures back in the 1960s.

Item! The Jack Kirby petition at is still going strong. The petition is called "Marvel Entertainment: Give credit and royalties to Jack Kirby and his family" and simply asks Marvel to properly credit Kirby as the creator and co-creator of all the stories and characters he had a hand in while working for Marvel, and to pay royalties for their use. Please check it out. 1,475 people have already signed the petition!!

Item! In the wake of the Avengers movie success, some large media organizations have begun to pay closer attention to Kirby and how he has been left out in the cold by Marvel/Disney. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal by Bruce Bennett, entitled "Fighting to Rescue the Lost Avenger", notes that things may be changing:
"With so many of Kirby's creations now firmly embedded in the popular consciousness, one might assume his contributions to the canon would be widely known. Yet few outside the Comic-Con velvet rope know his name. Even a shared screen credit with Mr. Lee and Captain America co-creator Joe Simon did not prevent from attributing success of the The Avengers to 'the imagination of one man—Stan Lee' on Monday. But sky-rocketing auction prices and a new museum in his honor are signaling that Jack Kirby may finally have arrived. Randolph Hoppe, the director of the Hoboken-based nonprofit Jack Kirby Museum, said the man born Jacob Kurtzburg in 1917 remains 'one of the most underappreciated geniuses of the 20th century.'"

Item! Elsewhere, the Marvel version of reality, as presented by surviving Kirby collaborator and Marvel spokesperson Stan Lee, has come under fire from a website owned by Disney. Writing for the ESPN sports site Grantland, journalist Alex Pappademas quizzed Stan the Man about the recent controversy and asks Stan, who still gets paid about $1.25 million per year from Marvel, about creator rights:
I ask him if he feels, in general, that the comic-book industry has been fair to comic-book creators. "I don't know," Stan says. "I haven't had reason to think about it that much." Five-second pause. "I think, if somebody creates something, and it becomes highly successful, whoever is reaping the rewards should let the person [who] created it share in it, certainly. But so much of it is — it goes beyond creating. A lot of people put something together, and nobody really knows who created it, they're just working on it, y'know? But little by little, the artists and the writers now are a different breed than they were, and most of them, if they create anything new, they insist that they be part owners of it. Because they know what happened to Siegel and Shuster, and to me, and to people like that. I don't think it's a problem anymore. They make much more money than they used to make, when I was there. Proportionately. "Everybody thought that I was the only one that was getting paid off, but I never received any royalties from the characters. I made a good living, because I was the editor, the art director, and the head writer. So I got a nice salary. That was all I got. I was a salaried guy. But it was a good salary. And I was happy."

Item! Instead of boycotting The Avengers, alot of people are going to see it, and then donating some money, usually the price of the movie ticket, to a charity like the Hero Initiative, which helps out older comics creators with healthcare emergencies, and The Kirby Museum, which exists to educate the world about the life and work of King Kirby. These are both great charities and I would urge boycotters to donate to them as well. They do great work and you can send a message by mentioning that you are donating in memory of Jack or as part of the boycott. Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter has found out that $3000 in donations have already been made in reaction to the Avengers controversy. Ultimately, I feel that the fans shouldn't have to resort to charity to support ailing creators and things like a museum for one of the greatest comics creators ever. Ultimately, these creators should receive fair compensation and royalties for their creations so that they can spend their golden years in peace and good health, and share their legacies with the world.

Until next time, please remember to Boycott Marvel!


Should We Boycott Marvel?

Cartoonist Seth on the Marvel Boycott

The Jack Kirby Petition at

Friday, April 27, 2012

7 Things Journalists Should Know When Writing About the Avengers Movie

1. The Avengers were created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee in 1963.

Although the characters in the comic book had appeared elsewhere, they were first brought together as a team in the The Avengers #1, published by Marvel Comics. Stan Lee, cousin of Marvel's publisher, was the salaried editor and senior writer at the company, while Kirby worked as a freelancer, being paid a flat rate for every page of art that was published. Although the exact division of labour is not known, Lee and Kirby shared co-plotting duties, with Kirby drawing the story in comics form, and Lee adding dialogue from Kirby's notes afterword.

2. Neither Lee or Kirby ever received any royalties or copyrights for their creations or stories.

The Avengers comic book series has been almost continuously published by Marvel for close to 50 years. The original stories by Kirby and Lee have been reprinted in different comics and books hundreds of times, and there have been spin-offs, foreign translations, toys, videogames, and animated cartoons, but not one cent of the millions of dollars collected by Marvel has gone to paying royalties to the original creators.

3. Jack Kirby died in 1994 without ever receiving royalties for the Avengers or any of the other characters or stories he co-created while working for Marvel, including Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, The Hulk, Nick Fury, The X-Men, The Fantastic Four, and many others.

4. Stan Lee has continued to work as a spokesman for Marvel and currently earns a million dollars per year from the company and is credited as an Executive Producer on the Avengers movie.

While acting in this capacity, Lee testified in court that he was the sole creator of the Marvel characters and that Kirby acted only on Lee's instructions in illustrating the stories.

5. The family of Jack Kirby is currently engaged in a lawsuit with Marvel Entertainment and its owner Disney for control of the copyrights of the characters and stories Kirby had a hand in creating, including The Avengers.

6. Although Kirby is mentioned in the closing credits of The Avengers, and although the basic plot of the film follows the original Avengers comic book, Kirby receives no story credit and his heirs do not receive any compensation for the use of the characters.

7. Over the last year there has been a growing backlash against Marvel and The Avengers movie, with many fans and comic book creators lobbying for a change in Marvel's policy towards crediting and compensating Jack Kirby.

Comic book artists Stephen Bissette and James Sturm have urged a boycott of the Avengers film and so far 1,400 people have signed a petition on asking Marvel to pay royalties to the family.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Marvel Boycott Diary: Jack Kirby Petition Playlist

The Jack Kirby Petition Soundtrack. 1,400 signatures and growing.

It's always a delicate balance with these Kirby playlists. I want to capture something of the fury and frustration of the Jack Kirby petition, and the growing movement to abandon Marvel, but at the same time I have this fantasy that Kirby should actually be able to relate to the music? Dunno. It's tough. On the one hand, Kirby was a visionary whose gaze took in galaxies and the far future. He was a political liberal who nevertheless had a super-strong work ethic, having survived the Depression, the streets of New York, World War II, and the comic book industry. He saw a lot, loved a lot of what he saw, was philosophical, but was also fairly embittered by many of his experiences. So, what kind of music did he listen to? Surely he was immersed in the pop music of his youth: jazz, blues, swing and the ballads of the 20, 30s, and 40s? Later, his son Neal had a rock band. Would the creator of the Hairies, OMAC, and Captain Victory hate punk and new wave? What about hip-hop? I like to imagine Kirby working in his studio through the 80s and 90s with MTV blaring in the background, chomping on a cigar, cartooning cosmic conflicts. But was he also thinking about how he wasn't going to get any credit or royalties for all the characters and stories he created for Marvel, and how he might not be able to leave a legacy for his kids?

5. Feel The Pain, Dinosaur Jr.

Fun video, but I really like the lyric, "I feel the pain of everyone/Then I feel nothing/Is it up to me?/You won't wait to see/Screwed us both again/About as close as you dare."

4. Dunkin Bagel, Slim Gaillard.

Like to think that Jack could have seen Slim and Slam back in the day (he could be in the audience of this video!) or maybe owned one of their records. Goofy fun with wonderful jazz instrumentation and since Kirby was Jewish thought he would enjoy this tribute to a New York City Jewish delicacy (hey, it was either this, or Gaillard's "Matzo Ball").

3. New York City, The Demics.

Thought about maybe something by The Diodes here, maybe Time Damaged (kind of futuristic, with a pallor) or their cover of Shape of Things to Come (ditto), or maybe Tired of Waking Up Tired ('cause Kirby pushed himself but never got enough credit or money and he was tired of it), but decided on The Demics' New York City. Thought the lyric could be about trekking downtown for another story conference with Stan the Man: "I'm getting pretty tired/Of going downtown/You know the same trip everyday/It's kinda bringing me down/Will I get out/Well I wonder how/I gotta get it movin' Man/I gotta move it right now..."

2. Just a Little Bit, Van Morrison and Them.

Garage-y R&B with killer organ. Van the Man sings, "I don't want it all/I just want a little bit." Why can't Marvel give just a little bit of their love to Kirby and fam?

1. Brother Can You Spare a Dime? by E. Y. "Yip" Harburg and Jay Gorney (performed by T. Waits)

Is it just me or is this song about Jack Kirby? From the depths of the Depression, through the days of the mob, through war, he built a tower up to the sun: "They used to tell me I was building a dream/And so I followed the mob/When there was earth to plow or guns to bear/I was always there, right on the job/They used to tell me I was building a dream/With peace and glory ahead/Why should I be standing in line Just waiting for bread?"


Playlist: The Jack Kirby Petition is a Missile Hurled by History

Playlist: Top 10 Songs the Jack Kirby Petition Would Be


Until next time, please remember to Boycott Marvel!


Should We Boycott Marvel?

Cartoonist Seth on the Marvel Boycott

The Jack Kirby Petition at

Monday, April 23, 2012

Marvel Boycott Diary: Avengers vs Buffy

So, I bought the first issue of Peter Bagge's new comic book Reset this week and enjoyed it. The book is published by Dark Horse Comics as part of their DarkHorse Originals line of creator-owned genre work. Other creators being published by this line include Gilbert Hernandez and Matt Kindt. The company has a good track record of publishing quite a few creator-owned series that have become big hits and benefited both creators and publisher enormously, most notably Mike Mignola and his Hellboy empire, but also including Eric Powell's The Goon, and series by John Byrne, Frank Miller, and many others.

I don't buy too many Dark Horse books beyond the very occasional Hellboy or Hernandez Bros side-project so it's been awhile since I've had a chance to peruse one of their periodicals. Besides some modern and progressive publishing deals in the creator-owned field, I believe the bread-and-butter of Dark Horse is in the realm of licensed and branded comics series like Star Wars and Conan. One of the "brands" that they publish are comics based on characters and media properties created and developed by director-writer Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its various "Buffy-verse" spin-offs).

My copy of Bagge's Reset features the April 2012 edition of the company's Horsepower column, a monthly hype-advertorial page like the old Marvel Bullpen Bulletins, and this month's column is devoted to Joss Whedon, or rather, "a slew of great Joss Whedon-related titles" that will be arriving in comic shops over the coming months. All well and good. The company is doing its job hyping the books they publish. My problem is a short blurb for the Avengers movie that is stuck into the 3rd paragraph of the column, urging Whedon fans to see a movie produced by a Dark Horse competitor, in the same breath that they hype the various Whedon-related product on offer for Free Comic Book Day:

"May is rather a full month for Whedon goodies. Joss Whedon's blockbuster extravaganza The Avengers opens May 4 (so go see the movie and support Joss), and then on Saturday, May 5, head over to your local comics shop to buy some great comics --and take home some free comics, too..."

Now, my problem with this is not the good-natured cross-company promotion but rather the matter of credit. Of course, Whedon is credited as writer and director of the film, which nevertheless the producers (ie, Marvel/Disney) are calling "Marvel's The Avengers." But Jack Kirby and Stan Lee created the Avengers and Kirby had a hand in the creation of the majority of the main characters who will be featured in the film, including Captain America, Nick Fury, Thor, and Iron Man. So here we have an example of a company known as the anti-Marvel for its pioneering work with promoting creator-owned genre material, shilling for Marvel, and helping to erase the name of Jack Kirby from a movie based on his work that is generating tons of money for other people. Besides his million dollars per year from Marvel, even Stan Lee is getting a cameo in the film and I believe may also get a writer credit (or something like "based on the comic book by ..."). Everyone except Kirby and his family seems set to get credit and profit from the film. Kind of gross that Dark Horse has to help promote it.


[Yes, I am aware that most of the Whedon-verse comics are produced using work-for-hire contracts. And no, I don't know who the writer of the Horsepower column is, although it is signed "editor" below an illegible signature.]

Until next time, please remember to Boycott Marvel!


Should We Boycott Marvel?

Cartoonist Seth on the Marvel Boycott

The Jack Kirby Petition at

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Marvel Boycott Diary: Jack Kirby Fans Speak Out

Around the world with the Marvel Boycott:

Item! The Jack Kirby petition is still going strong and is approaching 1,400 signatures! If you disagree with Marvel's treatment of Jack Kirby's legacy and think that Kirby should share in the credit for the stories and characters he created, please go to and sign the petition. Please share it with your friends, share it at your local comic shop, tweet about it, link to it on Facebook, anything. Just please help get the word out.

We strongly urge Marvel Entertainment and its owner Disney to acknowledge Jack Kirby's authorship and primary role in the creation of these characters. As well, we urge Marvel to pay Kirby's family royalties or other just compensation for the use of these characters and stories.

Item! The best piece of writing this week about how Marvel Comics and DC have mistreated the artists who work from them comes from journalist and critic David Brothers. Brothers' essay on Comic Alliance, The Ethical Rot Behind 'Before Watchmen' & 'The Avengers' is a heartfelt, blistering analysis of the history of DC's mistreatment of Alan Moore and his Watchmen graphic novel and Marvel's attempt to erase Jack Kirby from the history of the company and from the upcoming Avengers movie, all while continuing to fight the family of Jack Kirby in court. After reading it you may understand why Brothers has given up buying and reading all comics from both companies:

"Why doesn't Marvel honor Kirby's legacy by making his work available to the people of the future and giving him what he's due, after years of screwing him over? You call him "King." Treat him like one."

Item! Lastly, the best thing last week was this wonderful memoir by Jack Kirby's son, Neal Kirby, about growing up in the house where The King was creating the Marvel Universe. A very touching article in the Los Angeles Times that really gets at the heart of what Kirby did and what he was like as a human being. Everybody should read Growing Up Kirby: The Marvel Memories of Jack Kirby's Son:
"My father drew comics in six different decades and filled the skies of our collective imagination with heroes, gods, monsters, robots and aliens; most of the truly iconic ones are out of the first half of the 1960s, when he delivered masterpieces on a monthly basis. I treasure the fact that I had a front-row seat for that cosmic event."

Until next time, please remember to Boycott Marvel!


Should We Boycott Marvel?

Cartoonist Seth on the Marvel Boycott

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Munn Wired Envelope Company

I think I've found my new business card.

(thanks to cartoonist Ethan Rilly for sending me this image. Check out Rilly's delightful new comic book, Pope Hats #2)

The Munn Wired Envelope Company
manufacturers of the Munn Envelope
133-135-137 Mulberry Street, New York
Artemas Ward, President
Frank E. Munn, Vice-President
William Gow, treasurer and secretary

I love how the company is located on Mulberry Street, site of so many amazing spectacles in the world of that notorious socialist, Dr. Seuss.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wednesday Hoard

Cartoon Monarch, Nancy is Happy, Pete and Miriam: minimalist cartooning heaven! #newcomics

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Comics I Bought on Easter Sunday

A mystery hoard pilfered from several different hoards, otherwise known as bookstores that were open in the towns I drove through on Easter Sunday. How do I define myself when not at work? By consuming mass quantities. Took advantage of my day off today to do what comes naturally: buy comic books.

Cartoonist Doug Wright on Amazon: What's Up With That?

It's wonderful that the work of one of Canada's greatest cartoonists, Doug Wright, is now available in 3 different books from Drawn and Quarterly. Too bad that they don't seem to be lumped together on Amazon. Just browsing online and was surprised to find that the latest collection of Wright's Nipper strips (collecting 1965 and 66) doesn't in any way connect to the previous volume in the series or to the giant monograph, the Collected Doug Wright, Volume 1. Part of this is because of the ubiquity of the name Doug Wright: most notably, the U.S. playwright and author of Quills shares the same name. So clicking on "more books by Doug Wright" gives you a giant list of unrelated stuff. A common problem on Amazon. The only way you would know the three books are connected is if Amazon happens to connect them when it spits up its "commonly bought together" or "customers who bought this item also bought" recommendations. There is an author page for Wright on Amazon, but it only includes one of the three books, and seems to have been randomly generated by Amazon, with no input from the publisher or editors. Is this normal? I wish all 3 books could be viewed together.

Nipper 1964-1964

Nipper 1965-1966

The Collected Doug Wright: Volume One: Canada's Master Cartoonist

Marvel Boycott Diary: Passover Edition

Catching up with some links about the ongoing Avengers movie protests.

Item! First things first, please sign and share the Jack Kirby petition at Over 1300 people from all over the world have already signed this letter asking Marvel Entertainment and its owner Disney to start paying royalties and giving credit for characters and stories co-created by Jack Kirby.

Item! It's worth reading the comments section to this episode of the Savage Critics "Wait, What?" podcast, hosted by Jeff Lester and Graeme McMillan. The discussion concerns Lester's struggle with buying comics from Marvel. He wonders if he is really taking part in a formal boycott or if his only making an individual ethical choice, sort of like the decision to become a vegetarian. What makes a boycott? Is it, as one anonymous poster claims, "an actual organized campaign to press a target to cave into a demand or a set of demands"? Or can a boycott include simply the decision not to give Marvel money, as long as many other people have come to the same decision (a sort of "de facto" boycott), as commenter Kevin Huxford argues?

Item! Lastly, at the Jack Kirby Museum, Rob Steibel has been using his Kirby Dynamics blog for the past week for a series where he pretends to interview Stan Lee about his collaborations with Jack. It's a great series. Rob's premise is twofold. He argues that since the judge's decision in Kirby family's case against Marvel hinged entirely on Stan's testimony and claims that he created Marvel, and because nobody ever seems to ask Stan any hard questions about the conflicting stories he's told over the years, there are a lot of unanswered questions. The whole thing is done with a sense of humour since the Stan/Jack credit question is such a tired debate for so many fans. Rob summarizes the series in his last post but there are many diversions including a debate with Greg Theakston and a summary of the debate on facebook. Along the way, much is made of the infamous "synopsis" of Fantastic Four #1, which Stan and Marvel claim is proof of Stan's arguments. If you are at all interested in these matters, you should really read everything here.

Please send me your links and comments about the Marvel boycott and Jack Kirby.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Brown, Seth, Beaton, Ollmann, DeForge short-listed for 2012 Doug Wright Awards

Legendary cartoonist Terry ‘Aislin’ Mosher to be inducted into Hall of Fame during annual ceremony

March, 27, Toronto, ON — The Doug Wright Awards, Canada’s premier comics awards, are proud to announce their finalists for 2012. The 15 nominees include established heavy-weights and past winners (Chester Brown, Seth, Marc Bell, Joe Ollmann, Kate Beaton) and a slate of extraordinary younger talent that together represent the finest in Canadian comics.

The nominees for the 2012 Doug Wright Award for Best Book are:

Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton (Drawn and Quarterly)
Lose #3 by Michael Deforge (Koyama Press)

Mid-Life by Joe Ollmann (Drawn and Quarterly)

Paying for It by Chester Brown (Drawn and Quarterly)

Reunion by Pascal Girard (Drawn and Quarterly)

The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists by Seth (Drawn and Quarterly)

The nominees for the 2012 Doug Wright Spotlight Award (a.k.a. “The Nipper”) which recognizes talent deserving of wider recognition, are:

Emily Carroll for "The Seven Windows" (from The Anthology Project vol. 2), "Margot's Room" and "The Prince & the Sea" (and other comics at

Patrick Kyle for Black Mass # 5 - 6

Betty Liang for Wet T-Shirt #1, "It's Only a Secret if You Don't Tell Anyone" (in ลก! #9), "Anna Freud's Recurring Dream" (and other comics at

Ethan Rilly for Pope Hats #2 (AdHouse Books)

Zach Worton for The Klondike (Drawn and Quarterly)

And the nominees for the 2012 Pigskin Peters Award, which recognizes the best in avant-garde or experimental comics, are:

Hermoddities by Temple Bates (Conundrum Press)

Pure Pajamas Marc Bell (Drawn and Quarterly)

Hellberta by Michael Comeau (Koyama Press)
‘Untitled’ by Mum Pittsburg and Jupiter Leucetius! Send Us a King. We Are So Bored (and other comics at ) by Connor Willumsen

Founded in 2004, The Doug Wright Awards recognize the best in English-language comics (or translations of French) by Canadians living in the country and abroad. Now in their eighth year, the awards will take place on May 5, 2012 in Toronto at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Jackman Hall as a feature event of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF.)

The Doug Wright Awards and TCAF are also pleased to announce that legendary political cartoonist Terry Mosher (who works under the pen name “Aislin”) will be on hand at this year’s ceremony to be inducted into The Giants of the North: The Canadian Cartoonists Hall of Fame.

This year marks Mosher’s 40th anniversary of publishing his acerbic and often hilarious cartoons in The Montreal Gazette. The Doug Wright Awards, along with its partner TCAF, are proud to have him in-the-flesh for an on-stage discussion about his colourful career and life with writer and Toronto Star columnist Rick Salutin.

Spirited, smart, and always controversial, Mosher will also be a Featured Guest at TCAF which will be held May 5-6.

The nominees for the 2012 Doug Wright Awards were chosen by a committee from a long list of nearly 100 works and submissions published during the 2011 calendar year. This year’s nominating committee included Jerry Ciccoritti, Jeet Heer, Bryan Munn, Chris Randle and Sean Rogers.

The 2012 winners will be decided by a jury that will include: visual artist Shary Boyle, cartoonist John Martz (A Doug Wright Award Best Emerging Talent nominee in 2010 and Pigskin Peters Award nominee in 2008), book artist and professor George Walker and Julie Traves, deputy arts editor for The Globe and Mail.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Marvel Boycott Diary: The Jack Kirby Petition is a Missile Hurtled by History

"Put ya guns up, tell your crew don’t front."

Jack Kirby Petition weekly soundtrack. 1,200 signatures and growing.

5. Black Betty, by Leadbelly (traditional arrangement)

4. Armalite Rifle, Gang of Four

3. 212, Azealia Banks

2. Good Guys (Don't Wear White), Minor Threat (Standells Cover)

1. Underdog, Dirtbombs

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Hey, Did the Guelph Mercury Steal My Robocall Cartoon?

So today I see in the Guelph Mercury this cartoon about the Pierre Poutine Election Robocall Scandal.

Kind of really similar to the fumetti photo cartoon I posted to facebook and twitter on Wednesday. I realize that everyone is doing gags about robots, phones, and poutine these days, but a robot that looks like that, with an old rotary dial phone and clunky computer lettering? The gag wasn't even that funny...

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Marvel Boycott Diary: Please Help Boycott the Avengers Movie

So here are a few links from the ongoing protest against Marvel Entertainment and Disney's treatment of Jack Kirby and his family:

ITEM! The Jack Kirby petition now has 1,200 signatures! Comics fans from all over the world have already signed the petition asking Marvel Entertainment to give credit and compensation to Jack Kirby's family for the characters and stories Kirby created and co-created during the 1960s at Marvel Comics. Please, if you haven't already, read the petition and sign it if you agree with it. Also, if it's not too much to ask, please share it with your friends online, local comic book shops, and media --help to get the word out about this issue that strikes at the heart of creator rights, the comic book industry, and Hollywood.

ITEM! The man who started all this talk of boycotting Marvel last summer, Steve Bissette, has a new post up at his blog about the basic issues of the campaign (and he's found a killer Captain America image to illustrate his argument). Now that the hype for the Avengers movie has really started to gear up, with blogs, newspapers, and networks mindlessly posting every press release and trailer about the film, it's time for those who believe in justice for Jack Kirby and his family to kick things up a notch as well. As Bissette notes, "The thought of sitting through another bloated multi-million dollar-budgeted charade about how “it’s right to fight for justice” when Marvel/Disney can’t cough up the equivalent of, say, one day’s shooting budget for catering or grips to toss a bone to Jack’s heirs—well, that act of enduring that film isn’t at all attractive or appealing to me any longer on any level." Check it out!

ITEM! Finally, the court case that really started this, involving the Kirby children's attempt to reassert copyright over the characters Jack Kirby created and co-created for Marvel, is now under appeal. Daniel Best has posted the actual legal document submitted by the Kirby lawyer here. It's a fairly long document with some legal language, but it argues some points about the original judgement and the evidence the judge ignored, in addition to introducing new arguments about the behavior of Marvel and Stan Lee. Well worth reading!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mystery of Hoard Solved

or, Uncle Billy's Whiz-Bang

Heritage is auctioning one of those once in a lifetime finds. Collectors will groan at the pure innocence of the man who found this hoard of extremely valuable comics in his aunt's closet.

You can see the auction house's own press release here. Other items in the auction but not the same collection, include Robert Crumb's cover for The People's Comix, estimated at $30,000 --as well as other art by Kirby, Ditko, Barks, Frank Miller, Wood, and more. Check out the full listing here.

I wonder if the Hernandez Bros know this guy?

Rorrer, 31, of Oxnard, Calif., discovered his great uncle Billy Wright's comics neatly stacked in a basement closet while helping clear out his great aunt's Martinsville, Va., home a few months after her death. He said he thought they were cool but didn't realize until months later how valuable they were.

Rorrer, who works as an operator at a plant where oil is separated from water, said he was telling a co-worker about Captain America No. 2, a 1941 issue in which the hero bursts in on Adolf Hitler, when the co-worker mused that it would be something if he had Action Comics No. 1, in which Superman makes his first appearance.

"I went home and was looking through some of them and there it was," said Rorrer, who then began researching the collection's value in earnest.

He found out that his great uncle had managed as a boy to buy a staggering array of what became the most valuable comic books ever published.

"This is just one of those collections that all the guys in the business think don't exist anymore," said Lon Allen, the managing director of comics for Heritage Auctions, the Dallas-based auction house overseeing the sale.

The collection includes 44 of The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide's list of top 100 issues from comics' golden age.

"The scope of this collection is, from a historian's perspective, dizzying," said J.C. Vaughn, associate publisher of Overstreet.

Once Rorrer realized how important the comics were, he called his mother, Lisa Hernandez, 54, of League City, Texas, who had divided them into two boxes. She sent one to him and kept the other one at her house for his brother. Rorrer and his mother then went through their boxes, checking comic after comic off the list.

"I couldn't believe what I had sitting there upstairs at my house," Rorrer said.

Hernandez, who works as an operator in a chemical plant, said it really hit her how valuable the comics were when she saw the look on Allen's face after he came to her house to look through the comics she had there.

"It was kind of hard to wrap my head around it," Allen said.

Rorrer said he only remembers his aunt making the fleeting reference to the comics when she learned that he and his brother, Jonathan Rorrer, now 29 of Houston, liked comic books. He said his great uncle, who died in 1994 at age 66, never mentioned his collection.

The Action Comics No. 1 - which Wright bought when he was about 11 - is expected to sell for about $325,000. A Detective Comics No. 27, the 1939 issue that features the first appearance of Batman, is expected to get about $475,000. And the Captain America No. 2 with Hitler on the cover that had caught Rorrer's eye? That's expected to bring in about $100,000.

Allen, who called the collection "jaw-dropping," noted that Wright "seemed to have a knack" for picking up the ones that would be the most valuable and managed to keep them in good condition. The core of his collection is from 1938 to 1941.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Marvel Boycott Diary: Top Ten Songs The Jack Kirby Petition Would Be

So I had a few drinks and listened to some hurtin' songs. Then I wondered about the soundtrack that would play when Jack Kirby finally gets his due.

Please sign the Kirby petition.

#10. Waylon Jennings, Mental Revenge. "I hope that the friend that you find yourself with gets drunk and loses his job/and that the road that you're traveling on gets rough, rocky and hard/you never really loved me, you only made me blue/and all in all if the curtain should fall, I hope it falls on you."

#9 Blondie, One Way Or Another. I like to picture Kirby listening to Blondie records while penciling The Eternals. Thena and Kro teaming up against The Celestials? Totally a Debbie Harry moment.

#8. Destiny's Child, Survivor. Maybe Beyonce could be one of Kirby's zaftig amazons?

#7. Big Maybelle, One Monkey Don't Stop the Show. Blues diva Big Maybelle (1924-1972) had a storied career and many hits, the last in 1967. Born in Jackson, Tenessee, she toured the entire U.S., including the Apollo Theater in New York City. She recorded "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin On" two years before Jerry Lee Lewis. This rendition of the Rose McCoy-penned classic "fuck you" song is a great hard-boiled jilted lover tune.

#6. Kate Bush, The Wedding List. A song based on the 'La Mariee Etait En Noir' or 'The Bride Wore Black' by Francois Truffaut. Revenge melodrama. Kirby could have seen it in a matinee in 1969 or so.

#5. Rocky Racoon by Lena Horne. I like to think that Jack could have heard this version of the Beatles country-blues themed murder ballad, originally presented on Charles Manson's favourite record, here recorded by that most classy of dames, Miss Lena Horne, sometime in the 1960s or 70s on a late-night FM broadcast or maybe on some 80s variety show with jokes written by Mark Evanier.

#4. Nazi Rock by Serge Gainsbourg. Born Lucien Ginsburg in Paris, France, the son of Russian Jewish emigrants, Serge Gainsburg survived the Nazi occupation to become once of France's biggest pop stars and sex symbols. Cartoonist Joann Sfar has recently directed a film of his career, Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life.

#3. Magnetic Fields, Yeah Oh Yeah. I love this song and decided to throw it in here since it seems to be an oblique criticism of an incompetent "lesser" artist. It kind of has a quirkiness and enunciation that I associate with Kirby.

#2. The Clash, Ghetto Defendant. As seen in his classic "Street Code" comic book short story, Kirby was the original ghetto defendant. Here, Alan Ginsberg updates the Kirby experience to the 1970s.

#1 what else?

Woody Guthrie Tear the Fascists Down. Kirby as Depression-era scrabbler, Captain America creator, World War II veteran.

Marvel Boycott Diary: Local comic fan petitions Marvel to recognize Avengers creator

So, I was interviewed by my local newspaper about the Jack Kirby petition. I tried to stick to some basic facts about Kirby's life and what we are trying to accomplish with the letter to Marvel/Disney. I encourage others who are interested in this cause to contact their local media. Email. Phone. Send a press release. Please help to get the word out!

The article appeared today. Here's how it came out:

Local comic fan petitions Marvel to recognize Avengers creator
by Thana Dharmarajah, Mercury staff
Wed Feb 15 2012

GUELPH — When you watch The Avengers movie or read a Captain America comic, Bryan Munn wants you to know the man who created those characters is Jack Kirby.

The Guelph resident has begun an online petition to advocate that Marvel Entertainment ensures that Kirby gets credit for any future film, book, toy or product featuring Kirby’s creations such as Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, The X-Men, The Fantastic Four, and The Avengers.

“The artists and writers who create (these comics) are generally not paid very much and have to fight to get any sort of recognition,” Munn said.

Marvel does state by whom the comic is written and drawn, but it doesn’t acknowledge the creator, Munn said.

Marvel declined to offer any comment for this story.

Munn added that he grew up with these comics and they put him on a path to making comics a lifetime hobby and interest.

Marvel just announced this week that it is updating Fantastic Four to be more modern in the Season One editions. It has been reported that the characters will be more hip and carry cellphones.

Munn started the online petition Jan. 31 on asking Marvel to give credit and royalties to Kirby’s family.

Kirby, who died in 1994, was born in New York’s Lower East Side and became one of America’s most influential comic book creators. He worked for a number of comic book publishers before teaming up with writer Joe Simon and creating Captain America for Timely Publications, which is now Marvel in 1940.

He left the company after dispute over royalties.

In 2010, his family sued Marvel to terminate copyrights and get royalties for his comic creations. The family lost the court battle and is in the process of appealing the court decision.

Munn wants to send a message with his petition.

“It will send a message that these characters are valued and deserve compensation for what they do,” he said.

Kirby has had a lifelong struggle to retain control over his creations, Munn said, but with a large supporter of fans behind him, there could be some impact.

He said he is also launching the petition now since the movie, The Avengers, is to be released this spring.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Marvel Boycott Diary: Ghost Rider, Walking Dead, and Jack Kirby

A big week for comics legal news and the fight for creator rights.
Some highlights (or low-lights, as the case may be):

1. Today it was revealed that Marvel is demanding Gary Friedrich, the creator of Ghost Rider, to pay $17,000 for prints of his creation he has sold over the last decade. This is ridiculous and cruel. Friedrich is broke and ill. Not only has Marvel won the legal claim to creating the character under the work-for-hire legal loophole, they are pouring salt on the wounds by seeking these extra damages. Fans are upset, espe with the new Ghost Rider movie about to open in theaters. There is a facebook page with tons of resources that you can like here. Both Forbes magazine, Hollywood Reporter, and the usually pro-Marvel website MTV-Geek have mentioned the news. People are even asking the movie's star, comics fan Nic Cage, to help cover the 17 grand. It might be a good idea to write to the various talk shows Cage might be appearing on asking them to mention Friedrich's plight. In the meantime, Steve Niles has started a page where you can donate to help him out.

2. Co-creator of smash comics and tv hit The Walkin Dead, Tony Moore, is suing his former partner and the face of the franchise, Robert Kirkman for 60% of the profits.

3. Earlier this week, James Sturm joined the Marvel boycott family in a big way with an article in Slate explaining the history of Jack Kirby's contributions to Marvel and the reasons will be boycotting the Avengers movie.

4. The Jack Kirby petition at now has over 800 signatures asking Marvel to credit Jack Kirby with the creations that will make up the bulk of the upcoming Avengers movie. It's great to read all of the comments people are leaving about the importance of Kirby and Marvel's ethical duty to do right by The King and his family. Please check it out.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Jack Kirby Died on This Day, 1994

Long Live the King.

Jack Kirby Died on February 6 1994, 18 years ago.

What better way to honour the King of Comics by
Maybe by signing this petition asking Marvel to credit Kirby with co-creating the Marvel superhero universe and pa royalties to his heirs?

Read about Kirby's life and work in this biography by Mark Evanier and Steve Sherman at the Jack Kirby museum, where we find this Stan Lee quote about how he worked with Kirby:

"Some artists, of course, need a more detailed plot than others. Some artists, such as Jack Kirby, need no plot at all. I mean, I'll just say to Jack, "Let's let the next villain be Dr. Doom'... or I may not even say that. He may tell me... he just about makes up the plots for these stories. All I do is a little editing."

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Marvel Boycott Diary: Please Sign the Jack Kirby Petition


I just signed the petition "Marvel Entertainment: Give credit and royalties to Jack Kirby and his family" and wanted to see if you could help by adding your name.

Our goal is to reach 100 signatures and we need more support. You can read more and sign the petition here:



here's the petition:

Give credit and royalties to Jack Kirby and his family.

Jack Kirby is one of the most important and influential artists in the history of U.S. comic books and popular culture. Along with writers Joe Simon, Stan Lee, and Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby created the characters and stories on which Marvel Comics has built a very successful business over the past 60 years. Kirby created or co-created Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, The X-Men, The Hulk, The Fantastic Four, The Avengers, and many more. For his efforts, Kirby was paid a few dollars a page and never shared in the billions of dollars in profits his characters have made in various media, including print, film, and video games.

We strongly urge Marvel Entertainment and is owner Disney to acknowledge Jack Kirby's authorship and primary role in the creation of these characters. As well, we urge Marvel to pay Kirby's family royalties for the use of these characters and stories.

Until such a time as Marvel can make things right with Kirby's legacy and Kirby's family and heirs, we will refuse to purchase any Marvel product, including comic books, movies, toys, or games. We ask Marvel, Disney, and its shareholders to act ethically and morally in this situation, just as their characters would.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Marvel Boycott Diary: SOPA de Gran Pena

It's been a heady few weeks in Marvel Boycott land, ever since information about the supporters behind the U.S. online piracy bill were revealed. The Stop Online Piracy bill or the HR 3261 bill (also known as SOPA) is intended to give sweeping powers to law enforcement and copyright holders to curtail the illegal use of copyrighted material online. Opponents of the proposed law say in infringes on freedom of speech and the ideal of the internet as a boundless source of information and critical thought (as Eddie Campbell explains here, the threat of the bill is already having a chilling effect). One of the initial corporations to back the bill, domain name registrar Go Daddy, pulled its support after a user backlash and threatened boycott. Now that Marvel Entertainment and parent company Disney, as well as DC Comics owner Warner Bros, have been revealed as supporters, many people have been calling for similar boycotts of these companies, with Marvel coming in for special scrutiny.

I might remark at this point that while it is heartening to see such support for First Amendment rights, fair use, and a free and democratic web, it is a source of continuous heartbreak that the same forces of independent thought and moral righteousness have not been arrayed against Marvel/Disney on the issue of doing right by way of Jack Kirby's legacy in terms of giving credit, copyright, and royalties for his creations to the family of Jack Kirby, but to do so would be to confuse two different issues. Why quibble? I support both Marvel Boycotts. Down with SOPA! Justice for Jack Kirby!

If you don't agree with SOPA, and as of this writing, many, many people, including internet trendsetter Al Gore and Google's Sergey Brin, do not, you could do worse than write a "Dear Marvel" letter at this site.

Follow SOPA news on twitter.

(image: detail from "Ecce Homo" by Gilbert Hernandez)