Creator/publisher Zak Sally weighs in on the Kirby Matter, and the actions he suggests are more proactive:

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.)

While getting Disney to fund this might not be…feasible, maybe this is a better way to go. It’s my own feeling that getting support for actual things (i.e. crowdfunding) is easier than boycotts. At least you have a nice museum at the end of it.

Speaking of which…would an IndieGoGo or Kickstarter for the Kirby Museum do well?


  1. Maybe at this point in time there could be a Kirby wing in a major comic book museum. It would be dedicated to creators only and the major contributions they had done for the comic book industry.
    A Kirby museum would be nice but it would not attract the needed tourist to keep it going. By making a wing it would give public acknowledgement on his contributions and it would be great to see the comic book industry major corporations contribute as well as its workers to show respect for those who help get this industry going.

  2. I love the idea of this through Kickstarter…the one question I have is this – would a Jack Kirby Museum be self sustainable to the point where a decent amount of yearly financial compensation actually made it to the Kirby family?

    Is Jack Kirby really a big enough name (outside the comic world) to make this work?

    Perhaps a comic Hall of Fame with Kirby as its first inductee would be more suitable…with art and info spanning all of comics.

    I’d be super down for that…of course..I’d be super down for the Kirby Museum as well…just not sure it would or could be an item all of its own.

  3. And on a seperate note…for those who don’t know…Jack Kirby is a character in Ben Affleck’s next film do out sometime this summer…ARGO.

    Its based on a true story that occurred during the Iran hostage saga in 1979.

    Anyway…Kirby is in the film…or at least Michael Parks of Red State and From Dusk Til Dawn fame is playing him.

  4. “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?”


    Corporations are the creator of all things, jobs, prosperity, rights, life itself, and what they create they can destroy!!

    The lie that humans are “people” will soon be revealed! Only corporations are people! Puny humans are nothing but parasites and looters who hold corporations back! They will be entirely outsourced and eliminated soon enough!

  5. Zak Sally is *awesome*! SAMMY THE MOUSE is a great work that’s also a testament to working on your dreams.

    I’m in for joining a crowd funding movement to fund some sort of Kirby memorial. Disney’s never going to do it, but it’s something we can do. I’ve already donated some money to other things in Kirby’s name, so I’m down.

  6. @Brad

    I didn’t see that article before, but I agree it’s time for our great city to represent! I think a Superman museum or memorial or something can only help Cleveland. There’s a *ton* of cultural heritage hidden under Cleveland’s dour exterior.

  7. “all of you who are yelling about “well, they did it under a work-for hire contract”, which, yes, is legally binding”

    I wouldn’t use the word “contract”, as Kirby didn’t sign one until 1972, but yes, the courts have ruled that his work was made-for-hire based on the instance-and-expense test.

    It’s a subtle distinction but I think it’s an important one; not a Kirby thread goes by but someone says “Well he SIGNED A CONTRACT!” or “He was an EMPLOYEE!” and that’s just not the case.

  8. “Maybe at this point in time there could be a Kirby wing in a major comic book museum.”

    Major comic book museum…

    There is a comics museum which could use some corporate funding:
    The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum


    “The Sullivant Hall renovation project is estimated to cost $20.6 million. The university will be providing $6 million toward the project. The rest of the cost will come from private funding, Carroll said.

    “In addition to the [$7 million] donation made by the Graves Foundation, the library and museum has also received a $3.5 million donation from Jean Shultz, who set up the Shultz Challenge. Shultz donated an initial $1 million to the project and has agreed to match any donations, dollar for dollar, up to $2.5 million.”

    “The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum—the world’s largest academic facility dedicated to cartoon art—is home to more than 400,000 works and artifacts from all genres of cartoon art. Additionally, it houses 36,000 books; 51,000 serial titles; 3,000 linear feet of manuscript materials; and 2.5 million comic strip clippings and tear sheets.”

    Imagine if Marvel (and other publishers) started a matching campaign on their website!

  9. Are museums profitable in the US? The largest, most important and most popular private art museum in Argentina, the MALBA, has a yearly deficit of 3-4 million dollars. It has it’s own musum shop, a restaurant-cafe, a movie theatre, it charges a somewhat hefty admission charge and still loses money (which is covered by the founder).

  10. Most museums in the United States are non-profit (although salaries can be excessive). The best have extensive fundraising techniques and strategies, and many receive funding from city and state cultural offices.

    Sometimes a museum will stage a “commercial” show, to encourage people to attend. The Guggenheim did this when they hosted a travelling exhibition of Norman Rockwell’s work. A great illustrator, but generally not considered a “fine artist”.

    Universities will often host a museum, if it supports the curriculum. Sometimes, a professor will donate their research collections to a university library, or a local individual will donate their archive. This will then serve as a kernel around which a larger collection will develop.

  11. Once Disney opens a Marvel Universe, they will get all the tourists. In fact, wouldn’t that be a great opportunity for a historical portion as well? An animatronic bullpen….?

    So would you rather have a superhero museum or a single original cover on permanent display at the Met?

  12. thanks for the comments, all (and, so, monopole– are you saying that there WAS no contract, just a handshake/ professional thing til a point? good lord, that’s crazy). and, yeah– i have very little idea of whether the Musuem could be sustainable (which is why Marvel fronting it outright is such a wonderful idea, because that’d go a LONG WAY towards sustainability)…probably not, in the short term (sadly); but i do think that it would go towards the public beginning to see that this guy was (lets be frank) COMICS, Marvel and elsewhere, (rather than…some others who now cling very tightly to that crown), and it would continue that conversation forward. and if the place was CURATED well enough, and in the right way, it could definitely be something that draws people to it, in the same way as other “fringe” but very legit museums like the Visionary/ Outside museum in Baltimore, etc etc. and for those who read my whole rant– i KNOW that Marvel/ Disney funding this is…not what they do. but corporations DO do things like this when it can provide them with really good PR, or to take the heat off. plus i can only assume they need a few tax writeoffs right now. 3 billion bucks, close to 3rd biggest movie of all time. Kirbys? not a single fucking dime.

  13. I don’t know if a Kirby Museum would be self-sustaining. How much traffic do the other cartoon/comics museums in the U.S. get? How big are those museums?

    The Schulz Museum succeeds because the creator is as well known as his creations. Kirby… less so. If you call it “The Jack Kirby Museum of Comics Art”, you might grab some attention.

    Otherwise, it’s another “National Cartoon Museum”.

    (I would love to see Disney turn their archives into a museum, separate but near the theme parks.)

  14. I think that in the long run, it would be good for all if Disney were able to embrace and celebrate Jack Kirby as a key creative force in helping to build what is now a major part of the great Disney library… much as they’ve celebrated the Nine Old Men, or (perhaps more to the point) as they have celebrated Jim Henson in some ways.

    However, it is difficult to do so while one is embroiled in a struggle with the man’s children. May that all come to a swift and equitable conclusion.

  15. Disney can already establish a wing to superheros or to its Marvel line in its San Francisco museum, also San Francisco has the Cartoon Art Museum of San Francisco that has an upcoming Avengers exhibit.
    Both are easy to get to by private and public transportation.

  16. There was no contract. There was not even a stamp on the back of a check Marvel/Disney could produce.
    The earliest paper document Marvel/Disney was able to produce as a cancelled check from 1973(ironically made out to Steve Gerber) with a copyright waiver stamped on the back.
    Marvel/Disney won on the instance and expense clause because Stan Lee claimed Kirby never brought him a character during the years 1958-1963.

  17. yeah; i hope this comes through in my main article, but i truly believe that, had Marvel at any point just acknowledged the guy and done right by him (or, for that matter, Alan Moore), they would have a) earned good PR b) not been embroiled in these nasty legal battles c) they could be CELEBRATING their history rather than having to avoid the question and d) these talented folks perhaps would (have) CONTINUE(D) CREATING FOR THEM, thereby earning more of what they want, which is money (not “happy feelings”). Kirby should be regarded like Disney’s 9 old men, and had Marvel ever took the long view, he could be that for them. i think the if the Museum was awesome enough, it might help make that case in a new and different way; i honestly believe that a Kirby museum presented in the right way could have a “holy shit!” factor that extends well past the comics nerd populace (i’m not being snotty; obviously, i count myself in this camp). you go far enough with Kirby and it’s just about impossible to not leave with a sense of awe. this is all aside from just doing the right thing, of course. but we can’t expect that; we can only expect the opposite. sad thing, that.

  18. patrick– WHAT?!?! ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!? he seriously claimed that? NINETEEN SEVENTY THREE?!?! there was a time when i cut Stan some slack; that time is officially OVER.

  19. “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”

    That’d be one long legal nightmare. The classic golden age characters were created independently and shopped to publishers. Marvel in the 1960s was a collaborative character creation engine, overseen by Stan Lee. Who created Spider-Man? Most people would say Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. But both Kirby and his heirs have claimed it was Kirby, because he created a completely different character called Spiderman. Of course, it was under John Romita that Spider-Man became a superhero version of Archie… and became Marvel’s top selling book. And who “created” Mary Jane Watson- Steve Ditko (who drew her in shadow) or John Romita (who revealed her face)? The Marvel universe was very much a collaborative venture. But I would like to see Marvel give back in some way.