Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Kirby, Bissette, Shooter, Cap and boycotts

Honoring A Fallen King, Part 3: What of the Wings of the House That Steve Built? by Stephen Bissette continues and on-going and very interesting discussion of the creation process as part of what Marvel Comics owes to Jack Kirby, morally if nothing else, as I concluded for myself in Goodbye, Marvel.

I want to add one more point regarding this.

Generally, I shy away from boycotts and I'm not sure, for the same reasons, I'm comfortable considering this a boycott.

Boycotts generally "work" when public sentiment has already shifted to the point where the boycotted party was likely to make a change anyway to catch up. Everyone gets to jump on board at the last minute and feel like they participated.

I think fandom has reiterated its true colors in this discussion, and I don't imagine that changing.

Fandom frankly barely tolerates creators themselves. It's a tenuous balance, especially when there exists the possibility of changing companies or even characters. Fandom is nothing if not fickle.

Fandom seems to actively despise heirs. It's an ugly and seemingly deep-seeded reaction that fires off whenever these kinds of disputes come up. It seems as good a reason as any to keep my distance from fandom.

Adding that into a credible way in which fandom will actively curb their own appetites in support of heirs is pretty tough to do. I can't imagine it, and I'm usually pretty good at imagining.

It came to mind this weekend. I was at Half Price Books looking over shelves of Marvel titles, most of which were Kirby creations. I knew I could justify buying them used. I could justify it to someone else, but not to myself.

I could also justify picking up the new Ultimate Spider-Man - stop by Ultimate Spider-Man Bun Toons! YAY! by Ty Templeton for analysis of surrounding controversy - because it's Steve Ditko instead of Kirby.

Whatever, how long until Dr. Doom shows up and I'm officially cheating?

Nah, I think my regular Marvel reading (and viewing and whatnot), outside what's already here at my apartment, is simply over. Probably forever.

I'm sure there's some book or context I can make a legitimate exception for in there, but basically I'm guessing that's it.

It's weird to think.

On the other hand, I then read this series, Storytelling Lecture, Strange Tales by Jim Shooter, and am reminded what Kirby did and how well he did it. I'm sure Shooter - I may or may not have more to say about him one of these days - has no intention of me using this to support a boycott on Marvel for this reason.

But looking over his analysis, that's all I see. I see how much of what Marvel created is built on what Jack did. Not only his characters, his designs, his imagination, but the entire way he told stories.

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