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7348Re: Ask Chris #172: 'The Problem"

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  • Edward Bebee
    Jul 3, 2014
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      Darci sez:
      > Are there any other books to cross-reference?

      According to Evanier's book on Kirby ("Kirby: King of Comics"), it went like this....

      Kirby had been working without a contract at Marvel for awhile and Marvel had recently gotten new owners.

      The new owners eventually sent a contract -- no raise and he would have to sign away any claim he might have to anything now or in the future. In trying to negotiate it, a lawyer for the new owners allegedly chewed out Kirby for claiming partial credit to "Stan's ideas". There were other issues Kirby was having with Marvel but this contract was the last straw.

      Evanier says Kirby then "made the call to Infantino" but this isn't inconsistent with Infantino's account that he had visited Kirby and let him know he was interested. That visit would have given Kirby a backup plan if talks with Marvel didn't pan out -- which would be a smart thing to have, natch. 

      Infantino notes that he offered Kirby more money than Marvel. Elsewhere I've heard that Kirby had a guaranteed amount of work as part of the contract as well -- towards the end of his DC run, he filled his quota with a lot of spec projects like Kobra and what appeared in 1st Issue Special.

      As regards Jimmy Olsen, Kirby was apparently offered any DC book he wanted and spent time looking over their line. He wasn't drawn to any book but picked Olsen because it had no regular creative team and Kirby was concerned about potentially putting someone else out of work. Olsen is said to have been nowhere close to being DC's worse selling book (although I'd be willing to believe it was the worst selling of the Superman line which is how I've heard it described in other retellings of this story). 

      Something Evanier disagrees with Infantino on is the redrawing of Superman & Olsen. Infantino says Kirby never complained and understood the reasons why it was done. At least privately, Kirby did complain and felt it was part of the reason Olsen eventually failed sales-wise -- readers weren't getting the "full Kirby". Apparently the first issue sold through the roof but things went into a steady decline from there.

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