LEE, KIRBY and the Case of Who Created the MARVEL UNIVERSE

EXCLUSIVE INSIDE LOOK: A remarkable new publication probes the never-ending conflict…

For decades, fans and creators have debated, re-debated and debated again just who deserves what credit for the creation of the Marvel Universe in the ’60s: How much of it was Stan Lee, how much Jack Kirby, and how much a combination of the two? (Not to mention contributions from others like Steve Ditko and the rest of the mythic Marvel Bullpen.)

And there have been plenty of books, magazines, lawsuits, essays and online forums devoted to this very question. But none have tackled the dispute quite like Kirby & Lee: Stuf’ Said! by John Morrow, which is due out 1/9.

Across 160 full-color, illustrated pages, Morrow parses through decades of interviews and other documents to present a granular oral history that attempts to delineate just who was responsible for what, and when. Morrow — the head of TwoMorrows, which publishes 13th Dimension favorites Back Issue and Alter Ego, as well as excellent comics biographies and pop retrospectives — makes his own conclusions but has constructed the text in such a way that readers are urged to draw their own.

(Stuf’ Said! doubles as Jack Kirby Collector’s 75th issue, by the way.)

The book is broken down by specific years or time periods and quotes are color-coordinated. Lee’s comments are in red, Kirby’s in blue, Ditko’s in green and others are in light brown. (There is also special emphasis when the players discuss plots and scripts — general concepts that are particular bones of contention.) The style lends the book a conversational feel that gives the reader the illusion that they are listening to these comics giants debating in real time. The effect is intimate and illuminating.

In this EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT, we take a look at 1962, when the Marvel Age picked up substantial momentum. The Fantastic Four had already debuted, but now Marvel was aiming to expand…

Now, as I like to say, this just scratches the surface. The book also covers the years that led up to the Marvel Age, as well as the rancorous decades that followed Kirby’s first departure from the House of Ideas.

The book is exceptionally detailed and is a must-read for anyone interested in the legacies of Kirby, Lee and Ditko, as well as the seismic impact they had on what became a billion-dollar pop-cultural juggernaut.

‘Nuff said.

Kirby & Lee: Stuf’ Said! lists for $24.95 and will be available at comics shops and other retailers. You can also get it directly through TwoMorrows. Click here.


— THE KING 101: Comics Pros Pay Tribute to JACK KIRBY. Click here.

— A VISIONARY: Comics Pros Pay Tribute to STAN LEE. Click here.

— AN ARTIST’S ARTIST: Comics Pros Pay Tribute to STEVE DITKO. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Based on this review (give credit where due), I just purchased my copy from Amazon. Sounds like a great read.

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    • Having seen the whole book, it’s remarkably researched and entertainingly presented. Highly recommended.

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      • What conclusions did u gather?

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  2. Looking forward to the arrival of my copy!

    One interesting thing: there was more lag time between conception and publication than I thought. Sgt. Fury was already in the works in October 1962, but appeared only in February 1963 (May cover date).

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  3. I’m also very eager to get this even if (and I don’t mean this as a bad thing), it’s more a handy compilation of existing quotes from interviews we’ve all read, helpfully put into chronological order. I doubt it will convert anyone’s way of thinking if their mind is already made up in regards to who-created-what, but it looks like a fun read. I do want to point out the ‘Martin Goodman dared me’ thing in regards to the creation of Sgt. Fury. Recently on The Comics Journal’s website, Jason Goodman (who I am presuming is Martin Goodman’s Grandson?) claimed this was proof of Stan just inventing stories for good journalism since Martin Goodman was too much of a skinflint to bet on the market like that, especially when the success of Marvel was hardly an established thing at that early point. I read that comment and was like, “Well damn, that actually makes a lot of sense” and now I’m skeptical about it.

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  1. To JACK KIRBY’s Fans: We’re Better Than This | 13th Dimension, Comics, Creators, Culture - […] – whether it was Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, other creators or some combination thereof. (Click here to…

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