Webcomic Alert: End 2014 with a little “Optimisim” by Anders Nilsen


Anders Nilsen sees the year out at Medium with a beautiful full color comic called On Optimisim: Why 2015 Won’t Suck. It’s a very direct and straightforward work from the often oblique (and marvelously so) Nilsen, but it has a few good words that we should all tam into account for 2015. Even though 2014 was a pretty great year for comics, for a lot of folks (The Beat included) it was kind of sucky on a personal level, and a lot of the creative personnel of the industry seem to be sinking into a “happy peasant” mind set, as living in a hovel on the outskirts of the giant corporate castle seems like a lifestyle choice worth making.


All that said, optimism is the fundamental human state and despite the setbacks 2014 had a lot of great, amazing stuff. And 2015 will be even better. As I mentioned many times this year, I’m finally living in the world that I envisioned wham I was 13 years old, a world of limitless storytelling and a return to the diversity that comics always had. A world where people don’t think comics are dumb or stupid,

So thank you for your support throughout the year, both in the form of encouragement, written and verbal, and monetary (Advertising, Paypal and Patreon) and to all my wonderful contributors—Kyle, Hannah, Zach, Todd, Torsten, Jeff, David, Kate, Kate, Jason, David, Alex, Matt and Lindsey and anyone I’m forgetting. Thanks to Steve, Zainab and Joshua who quickly moved on to bigger and better things. And thanks to everyone at Stately Beat Manor who fed the cats and made us laugh.

And here’s to a 2015 filled with ninjas, dinosaurs, kittens, iPads, shooting stars, pirates, emeralds and chocolate hazelnut Vietnamese instant coffee.

We’ll leave you with this reminder: Always don business wear before sitting down to the drawing board or keyboard. IF JAck Kirby did it, it’s good enough for the rest of us.

Yet Another Must Read: Jeff Trexler analyzes the Kirby settlement

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I’ve long been awaiting Jeff Trexler’s analysis of the Marvel/Kirby Settlement, and he starts a two-part piece with Should the Kirby Family Have Settled? In case it hasn’t been explicitly stated enough, it was Trexler’s exploration of the potentially ground breaking work for hire aspects of the case that Kirby family attorney Marc Toberoff seems to have used to get the Supreme Court to even look at the case. To allow it to go to decision would have established an important precedent—but it was extremely risky for the Kirby heirs:

That’s not an unreasonable point of view, but it’s also not entirely fair. To see why, it can help to compare the Kirbys’ situation with that of the Siegel heirs in their own pursuit of a historic precedent. As we saw with the Siegels, the calculus in the Siegel case involved more than a decision between a win and a loss. The Siegels filed their lawsuit after agreeing to a set of terms that their previous attorney had informed them was legally binding; the likely and ultimately realized worst-case scenario was that the Siegels would quote-unquote lose with an eight-figure payout. The Kirbys, on the other hand, were in Schroedinger’s Court – the case for the moment was dead and alive, but once the Court observed it the lawsuit would reduce to just one of these states with no in-between.

Trexler also suggest that the votes on the final case may not have been the ones we were expecting. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—who actually requested Marvel answer the petition—may not have been all pro-freelancer:

Nonetheless, while Ginsburg’s dissents in such infamous cases as Citizens United (opposing corporate personhood) and Hobby Lobby (opposing the corporate religious exception for birth control coverage in Obamacare) have made her an anti-corporate hero, her approach to copyright cases is far more tempered. Exhibit #1: Justice Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion in the equally notorious case of Eldred v. Ashcroft upholding the constitutionality of the Sonny Bono Act, the law that extended the term of copyright and kept Mickey Mouse out of the public domain.

Ginsburg also concurred in the Grokster case, an unpopular decision (in free-culture circles, at least) that sided with the music companies against those who believed that online file sharing should be left alone. Moreover, Ginsburg sided with the majority in the recent Aereo case, which helped the big TV networks to keep an Internet start-up from rebroadcasting freely available TV signals. Opposing Ginsburg & the rest of the majority in defending the rights of the corporate copyright establishment: conservative Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito.

In a subsequent piece, Trexler will look at what we know of the settlement, which it’s been suggested, included a mid-eight figure monetary sum.

I urge everyone to just go read the whole thing. Given what we know, it’s quite possible that we have Trexler himself to thank for the circumstances that allowed the Kirby heirs and Marvel to come to an agreement which allows Jack to finally get his due in the modern Marvel Universe. And for that, we all owe him a huge thank you.

Marvel.com salutes Jack Kirby on Veterans Day

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This photo was posted on Marvel.com in a piece commemorating Veteran’s Day.

Obviously there is no one in comics more suitable for this kind of salute than Kirby who would tell his war stories to all.

And

JACK KIRBY ON MARVEL.COM

OH YEAH.

The piece includes family photos and remembrances from Kirby’s son Neal of his dad’s wartime exploits:

Kirby took part in the crossing of the Moselle River at Dornot on September 8, 1944. Paddling themselves across the river in tiny assault boats while under fire from German troops on the other side, the battalion established a small beachhead where they were met by the 37th SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment. Holding a thin line in the woods, the men of the 2nd Battalion held for days. Neal Kirby remembers one harrowing story, when a tank was charging down on his father’s foxhole. Sure to be run over by the massive tank, “the guy next to him stood up and just fired a round right through the drivers slit and the tank stops dead. It’s one of those one in a billion shots,” that saved Jack Kirby and others.

You may recall that Marvel and Kirby’s heirs recently reached a settlement over the matter of Kirby’s massive input in creating the Marvel Universe that is currently worth billions and billions of dollars. I suspected that we would see a suddens surge in crediting Kirby and not only do comics now have his name as co-creator, he has a credit on Agents of SHIELD, and now a salute on Marvel.com. You can’t get too much Jack Kirby and I hope this is just the beginning.

And here’s to you Jack and every one of the men and women who have served our nation.

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NYCC ’14: Marvel finally confirms their Fantastic Four Cancellation: WWBGD?

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What would Ben Grimm do?

After a few months of truly bizarre speculation across the internet, and denial from the publisher, Marvel confirmed this morning at their Axel-In-Charge panel at New York Comic-Con that they are indeed canceling their main Fantastic Four title. The publisher seems like they are planning something new for their roster of Fantastic Four characters, but this is mere speculation at this point. The comic is ending in 2015. CBR ran a quote from the panel that featured current author of the title James Robinson speaking on the surprise cancellation of the comic.

“That’s the thing — everyone’s upset now because the book is going away,” Robinson said. “Are they buying the book? I don’t know if they are. A lot of it is just people like to get online and moan and complain. I guarantee you if you kill of any character, the most obscure character, you’ll get one angry person that claims it was their favorite character. Jack Frost, golden age character, they’ve done something to him. Where’s the razor blades, I’m slashing my wrists. People do that on the internet, so you have to take that with a grain of salt.”

The author deserves some massive props for talking about his run on the title so honestly. Hopefully this coming change for the Fantastic Four will be what is necessary to get the book boosted into the top 50 of the Diamond Sales charts. Marvel’s first family deserves it after all.

 

Jack Kirby and Marvel Settle: what we know, what we don’t

Tribute to the King by Alex Ross.

Tribute to the King by Alex Ross.

Friday’s announcement of a settlement between Jack Kirby’s heirs and Marvel seems like good news—but is it? And what does it mean?

I’m told Jeff Trexler, whose identification of the “instance and expense” aspect of the lawsuit may have helped get that into the petition to the Supremes, is writing his summary for TCJ.com, so while we all eagerly await that, here’s a little of the known knowns and known unknowns:

First off, Mark Evanier, a Kirby family confidant, a witness at various Kirby-related trials and filier of an amicus curiae brief is certainly in a position to know more of the Kirby position and this is all he had to say on the matter:

It was announced this morning that the family of Jack Kirby has settled with Marvel Comics (i.e., Disney) ending a very long dispute. The Supreme Court was only days from considering whether to take on the case and obviously, the timing of this settlement has much to do with both sides’ concern with what would get decided there.

If you’re coming to this page in search of details and commentary, you’ve come to the wrong place. I will be saying nothing about it other that I am real, real happy. And I’m sure Jack and his wife Roz, if they’re watching this from wherever they are, are real, real,real happy.

That’s either great fronting or a pretty solid indication that the Kirbys got what they were looking for. Since Evanier was intimately involved in the case, it’s probably legally all he can say. But if Mark thinks Jack is smiling, I’m smiling.

You can read all the petitions and briefs here. And you can bet a lot of people will be poring over these for a lot of reasons.

Charles Hatfield has a good round up of the ins and outs of the case itself, the many friend of the court briefs, and how the case grew in importance as more Hollywood vested interest signed on.

However, news of the cert petition reignited publicity over the case, and in May SCOTUS discussed the case in conference, after which the Court requested a response from Marvel. Then, in June, things started to happen: several important amici curiae briefs supporting the Kirbys’ petition brought high-profile attention to the case. One of these was filed on behalf of Kirby biographer Mark Evanier, Jack Kirby Collector publisher and editor John Morrow, and the PEN Center USA (a nonprofit representing diverse writers).

In addition, the California Society of Entertainment Lawyers filed a brief. Another brief that became very important for the press coverage of the  case was submitted by Bruce Lehman, former Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director of the US Patent and Trademark Office, and an authority on intellectual property law. Lehman filed in collaboration with former US register of copyrights Ralph Oman, the Artists Rights Society, and the International Intellectual Property Institute; they were joined by the American Society of Illustrators, the National Cartoonists Society, the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, and other organizations representing arts professionals—as well as scores of cartoonists and illustrators who also signed on.

Kurt Busiek has been debunking some common myths about the case in the Beat’s own comments, but perhaps because Beat commenters are just smarter or less pig-headed than the average commenter, he saved his masterpiece in the genre for this CBR thread where he debunks from all times that the Kirby heirs were just greedy and opportunistic. (Link via Tom Spurgeon) He also speculates about the outcome, just like I’m gonna do in a few paragraphs:

Based on that, it sure doesn’t look like Marvel’s throwing the Kirbys a few bucks to go away. If that’s what they wanted to do, they could have done that any time within the last few years. Whoever blinked, it was the side that had the most to lose if the case went to the Supreme Court and risked a ruling they didn’t like.

That wasn’t the Kirbys — they were already getting nothing, so the Supreme Court deciding against them wouldn’t hurt them any.

But Disney/Marvel has billions on the line. They don’t want to risk losing that. Not even with a pro-business Supreme Court likely to rule for them. Because they’re not sure the Court would rule for them. Not with a bunch of people on the other side who make IP contracts their life — including one of the guys who helped write the 1978 Copyright Law. If that guy is saying, “No, no, it doesn’t work that way,” there’s too much of a chance that the Court will listen.

So my prediction is: All the public changes you see coming out of this are going to be favorable to the Kirbys. Probably the first thing you see will be creator credits. And the family’s going to suddenly be financially secure, like their father/grandfather wanted them to be.

What the “greedy heirs” morons don’t get is that this was a case with very important principles set off by the Copyright Law of 1976 regarding what is work for hire. As Kevin Melrose reports of a Law.com article, many issues remains undecided by the settlement, and it’s entirely possible that these will crop up again and the Supreme Court may yet hear such a case:

The Kirby heirs insisted the artist was an independent contractor who worked from home, provided his own supplies and received no benefits. However, he Second Circuit, using its frequently criticized “instance and expense” test, found that because Marvel assigned and approved projects and paid a page rate, Kirby’s contributions were indeed “for hire.”

The Kirbys took aim at the Second Circuit’s definition of work for hire in their petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, which drew support from the likes of Hollywood guilds and a former director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, demonstrating the potentially far-reaching ramifications of the dispute. However, the 11th-hour settlement announcement arrived just ahead of a Supreme Court conference on Monday to determine whether to review the case — meaning the Second Circuit’s finding stands.

So the gray area surrounding work for hire before 1978 remains, although experts say given that 56-year window — or 35 years for copyrights transferred after 1979 — it’s only a matter time before another case, more likely to involve a musician/songwriter than a comics artist, makes its way to the Supreme Court, requiring the justices to weigh in.

As Kirby family attorney Marc Toberoff told Law.com, “At some point there will be another case like this.”

 

While it seems unlikely from the outside that SCOTUS would ever have sided with the Kirby heirs, Marvel didn’t know, and a happy smiling settlement was vastly to everyone’s benefit.  And more to the point, there’s no such thing as secret in entertainment any more. As Joshua Riviera writes for EW:

One of the great things about modern pop culture isn’t just the wealth of content available, but the interest it has spurred in the creators behind it. Showrunners, once an invisible position in the broadcast era, are now at the forefront of fans’ minds when obsessing over TV. Similarly, the public perception of filmmakers has slowly evolved from the days of the monolithic studio system to accommodate directors and screenwriters and cinematographers and composers and VFX teams and crew. Comics have come a long way from the 60s, which saw Jack Kirby slowly become frustrated with the business that grew and endures to this day thanks in large part to his labors—now many comics are sold based on the strength of the people making them. But the way comics creators are credited in other media based on their work is often lacking.

Yet, things have changed a lot from the days when Marv Wolfman was barred credits of Blade, setting off a lawsuit he eventually lost and the current spate of copyright battles. Nowadays, one imagines, Marv would be saluted at the Hall H panel and trotted around to talk shows. While it’s pretty clear that you need to lawyer up to get your share of whatever pie — mini or maxi — may exist, Marvel/Disney has become more sensitive to the bad publicity of the starving creator railing against the corporation as he rolls around in his ratty sleeping bag from his stately cardboard box on the street.

And now some speculation from me. Given the fair-enough-to-shut-them-up treatment of Jim Starlin and the family of Bill Mantlo  over Guardians of the Galaxy, Disney and Marvel seem to be on a better path now. You can attribute that to the bad optics of the cardboard box creator, but I’m pretty sure most of the top brass at Marvel proper, including Dan Buckley, Joe Quesada and Axel Alonso, would wish to see creators fairly treated if it were within their powers. (The same was undoubtedly true of Paul Levitz and Jenette Kahn at DC.)

Given the huge, vocal and unending respect for the work of Jack Kirby by just about every creative type involved with all these “comic book movies,” I share the Busiek viewpoint that we’ll see more public inclusion of Kirby among the “Marvel founders.” Kirby always got acknowledgement in the credits of Marvel movies, but we could see more “created by” credits. Kirby could be inducted into the “Disney Legends” hall of fame type deal. Disney doesn’t do a ton to promote its actual creative people, but I’d expect to see Kirby enshrined as much as possible.

And now, here is my Torsten-like fantasy to end this. Maybe someday at Disneyland, as the Marvel character rides and characters and churros swirl, there could be a statue of Stan and Jack as they create the Marvel Universe as we first knew it. I’m not sure Jack would have really liked that, but the victors write history, and I’m pretty sure that Jack Kirby is a victor now.

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Marvel and Jack Kirby estate settle their disputes

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A joint statement has just been released by Marvel and the family of Jack Kirby indicating that a settlement of somekind hs been made:

“Marvel and the family of Jack Kirby have amicably resolved their legal disputes, and are looking forward to advancing their shared goal of honoring Mr. Kirby’s significant role in Marvel’s history.” 

 

HOLY CRAP.

The Kirby Estate had been suing Marvel for right to the characters Kirby created over the years, from Captain America in the 40s to the Fantastic Four in the 60s. Although every court case went against the Kirby family, recently it seemed that the case might actually go to the Supreme Court, and it may have been the unpredictable nature of the claims that led to this settlement.

While an initial wave of joy over the end of this battle is the natural emotion, one hopes that the Kirby family got something out of this and it wasn’t just keeping up appearances in the light of an ongoing battle that didn’t look like it would end favorably.

 

Happy Birthday Jack Kirby

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It’s The King’s 97th birthday today, but who needs an excuse to celebrate the mans vision, talent and tenacity? Kirby’s granddaughter Jillian is spearheading the Kirby4Heroes project which is raising money for The Heroes Initiative, which raises many for creators in need. There are events today and ongoing projects listed in the link. She also posted some vintage family photos including the one above.

Marvel historian Sean Howe has some context for the photos, including what Kirby was working on at the time. In the above one it was “2) May 1961: Fantastic Four #1 was in development. It would hit newsstands on August 8. Bar Mitzvah for Neal Kirby.” 

The Comics Reporter has its usual extensive image gallery, but can you ever really get enough Jack Kirby?

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Kirby Case to SCOTUS more likely?

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The family of Jack Kirby’s quest to regain some rights to the Marvel characters still has a chance to go all the way to the Supreme court, as THR’s sturdy legal expert Eriq Gardner reports. Gardner quotes some amicus (friend of the court, i.e. supporting document) briefs by experts as weighing in favor of it being heard:

It was authored by Bruce Lehman, former director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the chief advisor to President Bill Clinton on intellectual property matters. He writes on behalf of himself, former U.S. register of copyrights Ralph Oman (who served as chief minority counsel of the Senate’s IP subcommittee during the consideration of the 1976 Copyright Act), the Artists Rights Society (whose past members included Jackson Pollock and Pablo Picasso), the International Intellectual Property Institute and others.

But before getting into what’s said in this brief (provided below), we’ll turn to another amici curiae brief (also below) that offers a better set-up to what exactly is disputed. This one comes from Mark Evanier, a comic book historian who once apprenticed for Kirby and has been an advisor to Marvel, DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics. He joins John Morrow, another Kirby historian, as well as the PEN Center USA, one of the most prestigious organizations of novelists, poets, playwrights and screenwriters.


Although the Kirby case has gotten much further along in its journey to the Supremes than most of us ever thought, observers still pint out that it has one element that makes it being heard unlikely: a lack of division among lower court rulings. Marvel/Disney has won at every level of the court system. And the business-friendly current make-up of the Supreme Court makes a Kirby victory kind of unlikely, no matter how many heavy hitters weigh in on the amicus briefs.

That said, Kirby was always an underdog. And the fact that the underlying elements of the case—the meaning of the ‘instance and expense’ test to prove whether work was work for hire/on staff or independent—have been prominent enough that the court has actually ASKED for brief is telling as well.

Looks like this is going to go all the way down to the wire. 


Supreme Court to decide whether to hear the Kirby case later this month

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The Kirby vs Marvel battle is not quite over yet. According to Dominic Patten the Supreme Court will actually discuss whether to hear the case on May 15th. As you may recall, the case involves Jack Kirby’s heirs suing Marvel for rights to the characters he co-created during his long Marvel career. Although Marvel has prevailed at every step of the legal process, including many appeals, it has still got this far, perhaps due to the issues that Jeff Trexler discussed here, which suggested that an obscure legel facet of the case might be of interest to the Supremes. According to Patten, Marvel/Disney did not take the possibility of SCOTUS taking on the case very seriously:

Marvel and Disney are probably shocked that after their successive victories in lower courts this case is even been discussed in Conference. They certainly didn’t seem to take the initial petition very seriously. On April 24, the media giant’s attorney R. Bruce Rich filed a waiver (read it here) with the Supreme Court. The lawyer from NYC firm Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP said the respondents  “did not intend to file a response to the petition…unless one is requested by the Court.” Being that the Kirby estate’s petition was distributed among Chief Justice John Roberts and the other Justices 5 days later, Disney and Marvel might want to rethink that move or rather lack thereof now.


While it’s still a very long shot that this will be herd or that Marvel won’t win again…never say never.

The second comment on the Deadline story contains a long post that reads as if it came from the Kirby lawyer Marc Toberoff, but it does contain some interesting reminders:

2) Marvel has to date produced no documents signed by Jack Kirby prior to 1972. (See court documents.) Nor is Marvel likely to. In fact, Marvel is currently in the process of quietly approaching any and every creator responsible for any property that is being used in the films, TV, Netflix, wherever, in the order of priority, offering either buyouts or as little as they possibly can. Marvel does not want any brush fire to burn out of control as a result of one creator achieving success through the courts, and they know their biggest weakness is the lack of documentation throughout their company’s history.


I’ve been hearing whispers about this for a while, and Marvel’s lack of actual paperwork remains a ticking time bomb under the desk that even Alfred Hitchcock would find suspenseful.

Stan Lee talks to Playboy about everything—but is it the truth?

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[Stan Lee answers the greatest question of all: who would win, Thor or the Hulk in this shot from the Wizard World FB page.]

Playboy has a long interview with Stan Lee here (link NSFW but not really as much as you’d think), Normally I’d call this an “autumnal” interview, but under the circumstances, it’s more…the lion in winter. Lee, perhaps realizing this is one of the few spots he has to dig in a little, sometimes avoids the kind of jokes and spin he uses in other interviews. And while his memory is always spotty (and any Lee interview includes may places where he takes the question and moves the answer to more familiar territory) his grasp on things is still pretty sharp all things considered. This is truly a “you need to read the whole thing” interview, as he discusses Kirby and Ditko at length, discussing the last time he saw Ditko (10 years ago) attending Kirby’s funeral 20 years ago and staying in the back (something I can attest to as I was there) but ultimately saying he did the best he could by them. And that’s his final word, I’m sure. But I’m sure this interview will eventually get some vetting. Mark Evanier has already noted that there is a LOT to dispute:

A lot of the history is not only at odds with my understanding but it’s different from things Stan has said in the past, both in print and in private conversations. I suspect an upcoming issue of Playboy will feature a letter from Steve Ditko saying much the same thing.


That said, there is still a lot of vintage Stan:

You have to understand that growing up during the Depression, I saw my parents struggling to pay the rent. My father was always unemployed, and when he did have a job, he was a dress cutter. Not very much money there. I was happy enough to get a nice paycheck and be treated well. I always got the highest rate; whatever Martin paid another writer, I got at least that much. It was a very good job. I was able to buy a house on Long Island. I never dreamed I should have $100 million or $250 million or whatever that crazy number is. All I know is I created a lot of characters and enjoyed the work I did.


And memories of WWII:

PLAYBOY: You went off to the Army in World War II and wrote military pamphlets with an elite group that included Frank Capra, William Saroyan and Theodor Geisel. What’s your standout memory?

LEE: That Dr. Seuss was slow. In the comic-book world, you live and die on your speed, but Geisel was slow. Most of them were slow. I was writing faster than all of them. One day the major who was in charge of our unit said, “Sergeant, will you work a little slower? You’re making the other guys look bad.” I wrote all these training films about things I had no knowledge of. I remember I did one film, The Nomenclature and Operation of the 16 mm IMO Camera Under Battle Conditions. What got the most attention, though, was something I wrote about venereal disease.


I think Lee has slowed down a bit over the last few months. Since his lawyer Arthur Lieberman died in 2012, we’ve seen a lot less “pacting”. I haven’t seen Stan showing up at quite as many comic-cons of late, although he’s confirmed for Dubai. Certainly the guy has earned a wee rest, and whatever the sins of his past, Stan’s late in life resurgence has allowed fans of all ages to connect with a living myth.

Nice art: Very early Jack Kirby

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Via. More if you poke around.

RIP Al Plastino, the man who replaced both Kirby and Schulz

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Golden age artist Al Plastino has died after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was 91.

Plastino was best known as a Superman Artist—he was the last surviving Golden Age Superman artist, in fact. Among the characters he drew first: Supergirl, Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad and Cosmic Boy. He also co-created the Parasite and drew comic strips including Nandy and was in general the model of a busy cartoonist.

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In recent days Plastino was involved in a struggle to retrieve some artwork featuring JFK that he had donated to DC Comics some 50 years ago. Plastino was surprised to see the art up for auction on Heritage, and a battle to find out why the art had not been donated and who really had claim to it was underway.

Plastino was known as a guy with the perfect clean style. This led to two rather bizarre episodes in comics history. In one, PLastino was hired to redrew Jack Kirby’s Superman pages to make them adhere better to the house style.

In another, when United Media thought that Charles Schulz might not be returning to Peanuts following surgery, they hired Plastino to do some fill-in strips. They never ran.

You have to be a pretty good cartoonist to sub for the two greatest American cartoonists ever.

You can read the Mark Evanier obit here.

Jack Kirby Pop-Up Museum opens today!

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A pop-up museum for comics legend Jack Kirby located on the Lower East Side — where he was born— opens today. The effort was funded via Kickstarter and is located at 178 Delancey Street.

There will be many special events this week including

* Opening Night Celebration! with a brief presentation by Rand Hoppe – Monday, November 4th @ 7pm
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* Jack Kirby and the Auteur Theory of Comics – a presentation by Arlen Schumer – Tuesday, November 5th @ 7pm
* A conversation with James Romberger – Sunday, November 10th @ 5pm

I’m told there will be a scanner on hand if anyone wants to bring in their Kirby art to be scanned for the museum’s digital archive.

The pop-up is only there for a week, alas, but the online Jack Kirby Museum remains a primary source of information about the artist, whose co-creation THOR opens in a movie later this week.

It’s Jack Kirby’s 96th Birthday

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Today would have been the 96th birthday of Jack “King” Kirby. 26 years ago, on the occasion of Jack’s 70th birthday, I was in the basement of the Hotel San Diego with about 600 of my fellow professionals as we waited in a dark room for Jack to appear. (San Diego Comic-Con used to be held later in the year.) I’ll never forget the excitement and love in the room. I was standing near the late Carol Kalish and she could barely restrain her excitement. We all knew that Roz (who was in on all the planning along with Mark Evanier, and I believe Mike Thibodeaux. Greg Theakston, and a few others) was somehow luring Jack to the basement of the Hotel San Diego. To this day I’m not quite sure what story she used, but I do remember, as they came down the elevator, Roz saying in a stage whisper “Oh, why is it so dark!” as they entered the room, and then there was a big “Surprise!” followed by laughter and cheers. There was dancing and Jack and Roz did a slow dance (I’ve seen some photo of Jack and Roz dancing on the internet, I like to think they are from that party.) [Read more…]

The Beat Podcasts! More To Come – Comics are for Everyone

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Straight from the offices of Publishers Weekly, it’s More to Come! Your podcast source of comics news and discussion starring The Beat’s own Heidi MacDonald.

In this week’s episode, Heidi and the rest of the More to Come Crew – Calvin Reid and Kate Fitzsimons – discuss Mark Millar, Todd McFarlane and the relationship between women and superhero comics, Skype Hype: a new way to connect comic shops and creators masterminded by Ron Marz, Jimmy Palmiotti and Steve Niles, celebrating Jack Kirby with the Hero Initiative, comic cons around the world including Comiket, the Taipei Comic Exhibition and Comic Con Express Hyderabad, top picks of the week  and much more in this podcast from PW Comics World.

Now tune in Saturdays for our regularly scheduled podcast!

Catch up with our previous podcasts or subscribe to More To Come on iTunes

The Beat Podcasts! More To Come – DC’s 3D Cover Woes

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Straight from the offices of Publishers Weekly, it’s More to Come! Your podcast source of comics news and discussion starring The Beat’s own Heidi MacDonald.

In this week’s episode, Heidi and the rest of the More to Come Crew – Calvin Reid and Kate Fitzsimons – discuss DC’s 3D novelty cover shortage and how it impacts retailers, the DC Comics ICv2 interview, new digital business models from Mark Waid’s Thrillbent, Keith Knight and the Sequential app, creator rights topics including the Kirby WFH legal ruling and Chris Claremont’s movie snub,  movie reviews of The Wolverine and Two Guns, manga obscenity arrests in Tokyo and much more in this podcast from PW Comics World.

Tune in for our next regularly scheduled podcast!

Catch up with our previous podcasts or subscribe to More To Come on iTunes