WOW, Creator Rights day on the Internet rolls on with what we might call Stan Lee’s Hilary Rosen moment: an unforced error that cannot be rolled back. In an interview with Moviefone, of ALL PLACES, Stan is asked POINT BLANK about whether Jack Kirby should be credited on THE AVENGERS:
Q: Fans of Jack Kirby are concerned that his name appears nowhere on the credits of “The Avengers.” What’s your take on their concern?
A: I don’t know how to answer that because in what way would his name appear?
Q: His name isn’t mentioned anywhere in the film production as a co-creator.
A:Well it’s mentioned in every comic book; it says “By Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.”
Ugh. Fucking ugh.
Now, we know Stan is employed by Marvel and has contracts and it’s all legal and what could he really say and blah blah. And he’s 89 and maybe doesn’t have the best answers for something. But maybe a “Oh that’s a legal matter” would have been better than this:
I know, but you’re talking to the wrong guy because I have nothing to do with the credits on the movies. I’m credited as one of the executive producers because that’s in my contract. But Jack was not an executive producer. So I don’t know what he’d be credited as. Again I know nothing about that, I have nothing to do with the movie’s credits. You’d have to talk to whoever is the producer of the movie. Is there anything you want to ask me about the documentary because I thought that’s what I was supposed to be talking about.
Aside: Has the fan press suddenly GROWN a pair? Or have they just figured out that controversy sells?
Anyway, we all have given Stan a pass because he’s Stan and he’s 89 and so on, but this is a very disappointing answer from “The Man.”
Also, we were watching CAPTAIN AMERICA the other night (we’re late, we know, short review: no story, great tone) and at the end the credits had special thanks to Lee and Kirby and if we remember correctly, Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting, Joe Quesada, and Brian Michael Bendis.
If THE AVENGERS doesn’t even contain this level of tiny-type thanks to Kirby that is just shameful.
UPDATED: It is now emerging that Kirby’s name DOES appear in THE AVENGERS, at the end in tiny type, as it did in CAP, as verified by those who saw the film:
@AndyKhouri It’s in the end credits.
— Eric Larnick (@Hi_HorseLarnick) April 25, 2012
This doesn’t make Stan’s comments any less squirmy/justified, but it does change the tone of the questioning a bit.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.