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“RAK TAC TAC TAC TAC.” COMICS! Sometimes They Do It All Over Again!

John Kane

So I went to the library and got this here book out. As is customary on my planet I read it and , as is inadvisable in my experience, I wrote this. Evasions, justifications, terrible writing, pointless digressions and probably unintended offence are probably in the offing. Why not join me as we look again at Marvel‘s first superhero team!

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Reed Was beginning To Suspect His Friends Would Never Share His Pleasure In His Colonoscopy Results.

Readers ripe for a rucking will have noticed that once again I am discussing a Marvel book featuring characters created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, despite the fact that I said I wouldn’t do so until they were credited on such works. That’s okay because what I find I really enjoy in my declining years is explaining myself to you. So I’m in the library (no, the Tories haven’t turned them all into Pay And Display Car Parks yet) and the first thing I do is head for the Kids section; not because I am a predatory sex criminal but because I am accompanied by my 6 year old son, okay? The second thing I do is spot BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE in-between TERRY THE TOASTER WHO FLEW and DEAD DOGS IN HAPPYLAND.

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“I’ll send you a love letter straight from my heart, f*****.”

So, the third thing I do is move B:TKJ to the Graphic Novel shelf because we don’t want an unfortunate court case involving Alan Moore, particularly as his Defence will have to call Dan Didio, and, as we have all seen this weekend, Dan Didio is the kind of man who writes Alan Moore the kind of ‘love letters’ called in evidence after the recipient has been dredged up from a canal with hearts carved into his face. While I am there single-handedly, with no thought of thanks or monetary recompense, averting another comics crisis my son strongly suggests I read FANTASTIC FOUR: SEASON ONE because he recognizes the characters from his aged and decrepit father’s bedside reading table. Yes, I find bringing a kid into the mix makes judgemental people back off real quick, I’m not proud of it but anyway…

FANTASTIC FOUR: SEASON ONE
Artist David Marquez
Writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Colour Artist Guru E-FX
Letterer VC’s Clayton Cowles
Marvel, $24.99 (2011)
The Fantastic Four created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee

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Not on this cover, “Created by Jack Kirby And Stan Lee”
(See comments below which have prompted me to come back and insert this:) And by the above I do NOT mean that it SHOULD be on the cover I am just taking the rise out of the fact that the “Created By” credit appears nowhere in the book including the cover. I would just like “Created By Jack Kirby and Stan Lee” to appear IN the book and, yes, the CREDITS page would be just peachy. Apologies for any miscommunication. Nice to see people are thinking about the issue though!

I guess the origins of this book can be traced to Marvel wanting Original Graphic Novels so new readers can just pick them up and get the relevant skinny on the main MARVEL characters before running back to the LCS to buy all those Marvel comics no one is currently reading. It’s a noble aim and one not entirely dissimilar to the origins of the original FANTASTIC FOUR (FF). According to published interviews with both creators neither Stan Lee nor Jack Kirby could agree on who came up with the FF, which is a real shocker right there. What is certain is that come up with the concept they did. It’s pretty clear that the reason was the need for sales, a change of direction was required and DC/National seemed to be doing okay with those superfolks comics so maybe Marvel should follow suit toot suite? It was worth a pop.

Marvel’s product pre-FF was getting pretty stale comprising as it did of  tales of such mind frying creations as “Taramasilata – The Mop That Frittered Its Youth Away like A Man!” (originally presented in Tales Of Shameful Evasion #630, Atlas Comics (1960)) These would usually involve a devastating rampage of destruction by said creature before a man who smoked a pipe stumbled on the fact that the creature was allergic to grass and then his girlfriend apologised on behalf of all womankind for being a nag. Sometimes a man who smoked grass would discover it was allergic to pipes, but he would be shot like the deadbeat he was by a cop and the world would die because it was weak. Steve Ditko usually drew those. Before anyone starts roasting my chestnuts over an open fire let me just point out that while the preceding is factually inaccurate I think it is accurate in spirit. These stories were formulaic and any fun was in the monster design and Kirby’s work seems sporting but hardly inspired. So formulaic in fact that these things could easily be believed to be self-replicating.

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AMAZING ADVENTURES #6 (Nov,1961) by Jack Kirby & Stan Lee

In 1960/61 Kirby would be allowed to be as inspired as he liked when it looked like the doors of Atlas would close forever and Stan Lee importuned him for his aid in the creation of concepts which would revive interest in the company’s products.  Jack Kirby did not disappoint. Or Stan Lee would not disappoint when he came up with the concept of THE FANTASTIC FOUR and asked Jack Kirby to draw it.  Depends, really doesn’t it? Anyway, FF #1 is clearly a transitional comic. It’s more monstercentric than superheroic. In fact the four themselves seem to have become monsters rather than heroes. The public react with fear and loathing at their appearance until the FF prove themselves by killing even bigger monsters than they are perceived to be. And those even bigger monsters look suspiciously like the very monsters the FF are intended to replace. Yes, it would be easy to get all post-modern about FF#1 here, but I’ll spare you.

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FANTASTIC FOUR #1 (Nov, 1961) by Jack Kirby & Stan Lee

Marvel’s comics of this era are often applauded for having a greater sense of realism than the opposition’s comics, and while this is because it wouldn’t be that hard to do FF is actually quite daring in its characterisation. None of the four are particularly likable and after the crash they just get positively junk yard dog on each other. It is quite a stressful situation though, I’d probably react badly too.  The rawness of the emotions on display and the attendant unpleasant characterisations don’t last long though. The four soon settle down in subsequent issues to become the reassuringly pleasant people we all spent so much money following in comics. The whole thing has an edgy, jarring quality and is all obviously a bit slapped together from the cover on in (Roy Thomas probably still wakes up sweating wondering where that rope binding Reed on the cover came from). But it worked enough for the seeds of greatness it contained to bloom fruit sweet enough to keep uncreative corporate employees drawing a salary for lo these many decades.

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You’d think retelling this origin story (and also #4) some several decades on would result in a far superior experience but that isn’t the case. There’s nothing wrong with this book I guess, none of it is actively awful or offensive. But, again, none of it is inspired or amazing. It’s innocuous, inoffensive stuff. It’s there to be read but beyond that it doesn’t inspire any strong feelings either way. Which is a bit of a problem when the whole purpose of the thing is to inspire you to buy more of these things, these comics. Aguirre Sacasa is a decent writer but here he appears hampered by the editorial dictates the book seems to embody. Now, I am not privy to the inner workings of Marvel editorial policy (I kept laughing so they threw me out) but I can reverse engineer the intentions behind this book, I think. Firstly it’s called “SEASON ONE” which has obviously been borrowed from the world of TV without any thought. This book isn’t a season, it’s more of a pilot; the length tells you that. The contents also don’t want you to have to think too hard, they are also all too happy to flatter the audience by referencing Proust but also to console them that there’s no elitism here by chucking in J J Abrams and Zack Snyder as well.  As it is now 2012 the book goes out of its way to avoid some of the dumber elements of early FF (hence skipping #2 and #3) but can’t avoid the core daftness of the concept. After all, it will probably never be possible to adequately explain why an intelligent man would crew his experimental space craft with his fiancé, her narcissistic brother and a school chum noted for his football skills. (Actually it is possible: it was a comic from 1961!) The characters get a TV update too, most notably Sue and Johnny. Overall the characters are blander than their initial appearance, but in an exciting reversal of gender stereotyping Sue Storm is actually presented as the most capable and effective member of the team. However, she is still a lady so she still has to spend a lot of time worrying about whether Reed will marry her or not. You can’t fight genetics! Johnny, however, is just played as a straight-up man-slut so I guess Reed will have his extendable hands full finding cures for all the STDs fizzing inside his future brother-in-law.

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Art-wise the whole thing is pretty tepid. There are some scenes of action which are less memorable than , um, that thing, er, I forgot and the talky scenes aren’t electrifying either. Judging by the scant sketches in the back of the book Marquez is a talented artist but there’s a difference between that and a talented comic book artist. Mostly Marquez struggles to be Steve McNiven but sometimes stumbles into the Liefeld-ian. There’s really nothing interesting about the storytelling, I’m afraid. It’s pretty basic, which means it works fine but doesn’t play to the strengths of the medium. Which it should. You’re trying to hook people on comics here, Marvel; so it might be an idea to show them what comics can do rather than attempt to replicate the readily available and cheaper experience of watching a TV show. Just a thought. On the whole, yes, it’s just too TV for me. As the case of most TV while I am forced to recognise I am not the target demographic I also have to recognise that it is all competently done; I don’t feel the need to seek out any more of it but neither do I feel inclined to harm things smaller than myself as a result of having experienced it. I guess that makes it OKAY!

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FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #1 (1963) by Jack Kirby & Stan Lee

The totally okay OGN portion is followed by a reprint of the first issue of Jonathan Hickman’s run on the regular FANTASTIC FOUR title. This particular issue is okay as well; packed with ideas and possibilities. But that’s usually the case with first issues of modern day runs called things like “stellar”, “landmark”,”pipe cladding” and “skirt raising” by people who are professional reviewers.  It is hilariously concerned that you get that it’s about Fathers And Sons, really hilariously so. So much so in fact that it becomes the comic book equivalent of visiting a Fun Pub on a Saturday afternoon; watching all the workaholic Dads wondering what to do with the freedom sapping alien which shares their face as it sullenly sips on stale Fanta next to them. Oh, calm down, I’m just having some fun, I’m sure Jonathan Hickman’s “bum tickling” run on FANTASTIC FOUR is fine. What isn’t fine is that Jonathan Hickman’s name is the only name that appears on this reprinted issue.  I’m not a Jonathan Hickman follower but I’m pretty sure that he doesn’t write, pencil, ink, colour, letter and edit every issue of his “cat hazing” run on FANTASTIC FOUR.  Really, Marvel, you’re like a recalcitrant child and it’s unbecoming in one so old. Sort it out, eh?

And then I was off to pick up some milk’n’bread before the shops shut. Those Sunday hours!

Hope you all had a good weekend with some COMICS!!!

29 Responses to “ “RAK TAC TAC TAC TAC.” COMICS! Sometimes They Do It All Over Again! ”

  1. Does it really matter that much to have Stan and Jack’s names all over the book? Does it really?

    They don’t own the characters.

    And they sure as hell didn’t create FF: Season One.

    As long as there’s a credit in the, you know, CREDITS page, isn’t that enough?

  2. It matters to some, Pete.

    Not so much to others.

    I think it’s been acknowledged by a lot of people that it’s a personal thing and we’re all free to make our own decisions about it.

    But, in a very real way your logic is faulty. They DID create FF: Season One because if they hadn’t done their thing years and years ago their wouldn’t be a FF:SO. No Reed, No Sue, and so on and so forth. Hence, the need for prominent credit. It’s a retelling of their original story. If not for prominent credit the drone minds of today might well think that Mssrs. David Marquez and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa created the FF in this, frankly and charitably, middling effort.

    So, anywho, before I go off the rails you’re not going to change John’s (or anyone who has put thought into their position) mind(s) by going, “Really?!?”

    Like I said, you know, live and let live where our own opinions are concerned but your statement (as constructed) is akin to throwing gasoline on an admittedly nerdy fire.

  3. @Pete: Well, I think Mr. J_Smity covered it but…
    the credits page would be fine. However, it isn’t on there. The actual physical location of the credit is secondary to its actual appearance. For me, anyway.

    @J_Smitty: Cheers for taking the time out from kneading your dough to so pithily and politely address the issue.

    Thanks as ever to all!

  4. Abruptly stated, but the point “They didn’t create Season One” is valid. Not that Stand and Jack aren’t due credit, but not for Season One.

    When I see a book (words on paper, to the young ones in the audience) with a tiles like “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six” or “Roger Zelazny’s Alien Speedway”, I feel ripped off. I know Zelazny is not writing the book. And while I might enjoy his ideas enough to see someone else’s take on them – I do read comics, after all – I find it duplicitous to try and sell the book on the power of his name. Imagine how you would feel about “Before ALAN MOORE’S Watchmen”. (Probably the same way he felt when, as Watchmen took off, DC suddenly found a TPB’s worth of “Greatest Alan Moore Stories Ever Told!”)

    Do they deserve credit? Absolutely. Do they deserve top billing? Not any more. Do they deserve the last word, as in “And Starring Sir Anthony Hopkins as Odin”, not in alphabetical order or order of appearance, but listed last to highlight their importance? Actually, I think that is appropriate.

    (Eight point type somewhere below the Assitant Editor? No, that’s not cool.)

  5. @David Oakes: good points, there. But…Whoa now!

    I think I see the problem! I’m not asking for “Created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee” in the sense of the book itself. No, no, no.

    It’s more “The Fantastic Four created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee” IN the book somewhere. Is that okay? That’s what I get for cutting corners with cut’n’paste and then not realising the implications of my slight dig when combined with the COVER. Cover credits have power and I forgot this in my rush. I have brought this on on myself. I have forgotten the face of my father. (He’s not very memorable looking).

    Credit on the credits page is fine. That’s all I want! I’m not backing down from that one!

    Sorry for the failure to communicate, everybody!

  6. @David Oakes: Hey, “Roger Zelazny’s Alien Speedway” exists! I just looked it up. Amazing.

  7. David nailed it. Aside from making it to the credits page as original creators, those guys have nothing to do with this book. They certainly don’t deserve credit on the cover. They didn’t publish this book.

    As to the ridiculous claim, “Well, if it weren’t for those two, you wouldn’t be reading this book,” then I guess we should also credit whoever was the editor of the first issue of FF, as well as who the chief was at the time. Hell, we should credit everyone in charge of the first issue of the book, because without them, it wouldn’t have been published. But wait, why stop there? Let’s credit every editor who kept the title going over 50 years, and every EIC, and . . . yeah, no.

    Now personally, I think Marvel should change its name to Stan and Jack and Wolverine Comics, mainly because the company has been primarily thriving off the creations of those two guys, and Wolverine, for most of its existence, with almost no creation since taking hold, but that’s a different argument.

  8. Hmm, Lee’s not even credited, huh? when was it that they stopped plastering “STAN LEE PRESENTS” on every credits page? Hard to tell sometimes if leaving him off is an improvement… is it better to just make people look up who actually created it than continue to believe he someone did it all on his own, as most people do (if in fact they have given thought to it).

    By the way, i’ve tried to tell “normal” people about Kirby and they glaze over quick-like (it might be me too, in all fairness). I get the feeling that just having to know who Stan Lee is took up enough space in their brain when it comes to the subject of “the birth of Marvel.” Heck, sometimes they seem hostile to the very concept of comics even in the same breath of “let’s go see Avengers” (at least they don’t call it “Marvel’s The Avengers,” who the hell would do that.

    Oh, and yeah I think this book ESPECIALLY should have credits, specifically “based on the original story and characters created by Kirby & Lee” (the more i see your “reversal” of the names the more I like it, especially i this situation). Weirdly there was an entire kiddie line of Silver Age “retellings” for a while in the previous unnamed decade, called “Marvel Age,” and I seem to remember that there WAS some kind of credit just like that. Maybe they’ve doubled down on their bad behavior since the Kirby lawsuit? I do think it’s mostly ass-covering.

    I wanted to write some words on getting comics at the library which is a favorite pasttime of mine, but I’ve already blathered enough on the credits subject, so there.

  9. It is kind of ironic that in a print production of a season 1 – called so without a doubt because todays customer recognize the concept – there is no credit of the people who invented the characters – even in tv series where they threw out everything except the name of the hero the consument will see a line like “based on concepts created by XY”.

    Only in comics TPTB can conveniently forget this and a big slice of the audience is downright hostile to the idea that this is not okay. This is hard to understand.

    Liked your comment on the “Love letter”, John. I thought the same when I read this. Every new press release celebrating the virtues of BW sounds worse then the last one.

  10. Pete, Stan Lee was the editor and the chief at the time of FF #1. (Well, I guess Martin Goodman was THE chief, but he wasn’t really involved in editorial.)

  11. AndyD can’t read, because absolutely no one has opposed those guys being credited on the credits page.

  12. @Hieronymus Bosch: I’d just like to say that I am using the formulation “Kirby & Lee” based on scientific principles.

    As an experiment I created a comics panel using the Marvel Method. I told myself to draw “Thor falling into some magical whatsit created by that bald convict guy whirling his ball’n’chain round a lot while Jane Foster watches helplessly. Make it exciting!” Then I drew the picture and gave it back to myself. Then, in the word balloon over Jane Foster’s head that the other me had helpfully left free, I wrote “Thor is doomed! And yet…he still looks dreamy!” Surprisingly, actually drawing the picture so that people would still want to look at it fifty years later was a lot harder than all the other bits. So I tend to put Kirby first. Any combination is fine, though; depends on personal preference, I guess. I like to put the artist first because comics is a primarily visual medium and I think artists get shortchanged in the credit dept. Such as, for example, the artists etc. not being credited at all in the reprint of FF at the back of FANTASTIC FOUR: SEASON ONE. Exactly like that.

    Feel free to talk about library going, whelk farming or whatever takes your fancy. It’s all of interest because you are all persons of interest!

    @AndyD: Actually I think a big slice of the audience doesn’t give a hoot about creators being credited; you are a very optimistic man! Y’know, I can see why Didio went the way he did with the BW thing; saying “BW is a love letter to Alan Moore” sounds better than saying “BW is like flicking hot piss in Alan Moore’s face.”

    @Pete: I reckon AndyD was referring to the wider world than this thread. At the very, very least there are obviously some people at Marvel opposed to people being credited on the credits page. Even extending this opposition to encompass the people who actually physically worked on the thing – see the reprint of FF in the back of FF:SO – only the writer is credited.

    Thank you all for the songs you each stir in my heart!

  13. Oh god, you’re gonna moan about Before Watchmen too?

  14. “Surprisingly, actually drawing the picture so that people would still want to look at it fifty years later was a lot harder than all the other bits.”

    Thank you for saying this. The plain and simple fact that the art is the most crucial and time-consuming aspect of comic book production seems to be lost on a staggering number of people.

    Oh, and I laughed at the Ditko joke.

  15. “The plain and simple fact that the art is the most crucial and time-consuming aspect of comic book production seems to be lost on a staggering number of people.”

    1. Which is one of the reasons the full-script approach to writing comics is such a bad idea. Who has a better visual sense, the artist or the writer? I believe the “it looks like TV” effect Kane notices is almost entirely due to the use of full-script as opposed to “Stan Lee style”.

    2. The art may be the most important and time-consuming part of a comic, but that’s like saying the special effects were also the most important and time-consuming part of the movie Battleship.

    Mike

  16. I’ve read the comments and I’m not entirely sure what the argument is. Is it creators don’t deserve to get any credit in the work anywhere? Is it creators are worse than child molesters? Or is it creators are infallible beings who are the conduit for God? I dunno…

    But I do know I sure enjoyed “Taramasilata – The Mop That Frittered Its Youth Away like A Man!” That story also has 1000X the creativity of Season One. I’m sure the Season One creators are fine people just looking to earn a paycheck, and I don’t look down on that, but whomever had the idea for Season One? Maybe that guy (we know it’s not a women because it’s comics and women working in comics? Marvel and DC can’t even keep a straight face while saying that), but maybe that guy needed to think a little bit more on what the market is actually asking for.

    I can say Proust and Zack Snyder belong in each and every sentence together. I can’t get through the works of either despite all my best efforts. Proust’s over-reliance on slow-mo shots of special effects is equalled only to Snyder’s tendency to be overwritten an extremely wordy. There needs to be a Law of Definite Porportions governing how many words and slow-mo special effects shots are allowed versus the length of the story.

    Your objection to Mr. Hickman’s credits…And I dunno, Mr. Kane. Monsieur Hickman, or the Hick from French Lick, as he’s known in the trade, did write, pencil, ink, colour, letter and edit every issue of his “cat hazing” run on NIGHTLY NEWS. I especially like the stapling because you can taste his sweat and blood on the staples if you go for a run, bite your lip, and tell yourself it’s the same thing.

  17. “The art may be the most important and time-consuming part of a comic, but that’s like saying the special effects were also the most important and time-consuming part of the movie Battleship.”

    Sooooooo… is this statement implying that comics, as a medium, are as frivolous as the movie Battleship, or that art, the visual component to storytelling, is as frivolous a contribution to storytelling as special effects are to movie making? Or are you trying to make some other point, but are just doing so rather badly?

  18. “is this statement implying that comics, as a medium, are as frivolous as the movie Battleship, or that art, the visual component to storytelling, is as frivolous a contribution to storytelling as special effects are to movie making?”

    Neither comics nor the visual component to storytelling is frivolous. You original point is. The length of time it takes to draw a comic has no more meaning to the overall process than how long it takes to come up with CGI special effect for something like Battleship. Likewise, the FX in Battleship is the most important part of the film, just as the artwork is the most important part of a comic. All that high quality FX, however, doesn’t change the fact that Battleship stinks on ice and a comic can be well drawn in many ways and still be a terrible read.

    Mike

  19. Do the people saying Jack and Stan don’t deserve credit in/for this book understand that it’s not just using the Fantastic Four characters those two created, but that it’s also retelling the story lines they did with the characters?
    Not new story lines with the same characters, but re-tellings of stories that Jack and Stan did – and y’know, I’d argue that having your specific stories retold does count as being a part creator of FF: Season One.
    Shakespeare is mentioned in the credits of Ten Things I Hate About You, Robert Louis Stevenson is mentioned in the credits of Muppet Treasure Island, but Stand and Jack don’t deserve credit in a Marvel Fantastic Four book retelling their earliest stories?
    Going with the books very concept – retelling the FF stories of Jack and Stan – I would have thought that it would be a selling point to mention those gents on the cover, let alone credit them on the inside.

  20. No one has said that, Ben Lipman.

  21. Which part did no one say Pete?
    Because people have said they don’t deserve any credit for creating FF Season One – the first to do so was you. The next person to say so was pointed out as having nailed it, by you.

    Also Pete, Stan Lee was the editor and EIC on the first issue of Fantastic Four, so I’m all for crediting those two roles as well.

  22. Read closer, Ben Lipman, and try again.

  23. I’m not sure what part you think I should be re-reading, because my post said what I think in response to the claim that Jack and Stan had nothing to do with this particular book – I think they deserve more credit than just character creation – and that I think it’s odd for Marvel not to credit them at all. I’d have used it as a sales point.

    So I’m not sure where you think I’ve gone so wrong I deserve instant dismissal, but I’ve tried again in bite size pieces!

    “Does it really matter that much to have Stan and Jack’s names all over the book? Does it really? ”

    Yes.

    “And they sure as hell didn’t create FF: Season One.”

    I’m saying they did. It’s characters they created, and plots they created.

    “As long as there’s a credit in the, you know, CREDITS page, isn’t that enough?”

    There isn’t even that.

    “David nailed it. Aside from making it to the credits page as original creators, those guys have nothing to do with this book. They certainly don’t deserve credit on the cover. They didn’t publish this book.”

    But they not only created the characters, this book is retelling the exact stories they told with the characters. In what way does that leave them with nothing to do with this book?
    It would be like Gus Van Sant’s Psycho remake not mentioning Alfred Hitchcock. It was more than just a remake, and this is more than just a new FF beginning – both are heavily in debt to those that came before.

    “As to the ridiculous claim, “Well, if it weren’t for those two, you wouldn’t be reading this book, then I guess we should also credit whoever was the editor of the first issue of FF, as well as who the chief was at the time. Hell, we should credit everyone in charge of the first issue of the book, because without them, it wouldn’t have been published. But wait, why stop there? Let’s credit every editor who kept the title going over 50 years, and every EIC, and . . . yeah, no.””

    It’s very true, though. Even with no other FF creators ever, you do need those two to have created the FF and written these stories for THIS book to exist.
    Pick any other FF creator IN THE WORLD EVER – this book could exist without them.

  24. I agree Stan and Jack should deserve credit. Their names would become as ubiquitous on the credits pages (there! that’s my vote!) as the old Stan Lee Presents …

    I liked Roberto Aguire-Sacasa’s run on the “4″ book of FF stories, and while this was blandish, I do suspect editorial mandate and a desire to not scare off newbies by being not-like-TV-on-paper.

    I am confused about this “only credits Hickman” business. I see that in reproducing the cover to the issue in question, there’s a note about it being the start of Hickman’s run. That makes complete sense, since Hickman as current writer has been the driving force on FF for some time, and t’s the Hickman-ness that makes this reprint issue the ground zero for new readers, as Marvel sees it. Yet the original credits page is reprinted, and I read the names of Dale Eaglesham, Paul Mounts, VC’s Rus Wooton, variant cover artists “Cassaday & Martin,” Lauren Sankovitch, Tom Brevoort, Joe Quesada, Dan Bucklely, “executive producer” Alan Fine and, SWEET BABY JESUS, “Stan Lee & Jack Kirby.”

    (The fact that these two Jewish creators are credited with “the final solution” is, y’know, sub-optimal, and unclear to newbies that it’s an “original creators” credit, but, hey, it’s SOMETHING.)

    John, finally–thanks once again for the high-quality writin’. Remember that exciting phase when every time someone posted anything on Savage Critics, two-thirds of the comments would be readers (and, technically, jackasses) complaining that this free site they don’t pay for didn’t have enough reviews and such anymore? I partly credit the podcast posts, and largely credit you, for silencing THAT line of commentary. Good, good stuff, week after week.

  25. @moose n squirrel: Hey, thanks for that. Nice to see support for that point.

    @MBunge: It’s probably best to let you two sort this one out. But I’m not sure M’n’S said exactly what you are saying he said.

    @Chris Hero: Cheers, I enjoyed your comments almost as much as you enjoyed your staples a la Hickman!

    @Ben Lipman: Well, you’ve convinced me! Thanks for that. Although to be honest I don’t think @Pete was too invested in the whole thing really, bless him, but I certainly appreciated your patience and clarity.

    @BrianMc: Heck, now I’m super-confused. I’ve been over my copy top to tail and there’s no credits for the reprinted issue. I even held it upside down and shook it in case they fell out. If I am in error I can only apologise for my rabble rousing. Maybe I have somehow got a dodgy copy? Although the chances of that seem…fantastic? I’m currently at work dying inside by inches but I’ll have another look when I get home but…I’m totally flummoxed now. Christ, I hope I didn’t go “credit blind” or something. Don’t make me apologise to Marvel!
    Kirby and Lee credited with “The Final Solution”, really? What’s wrong with people these days? A little thought, people!
    As for the thanks; that’s awfully sweet of you indeed. If anything I think I have probably helped silence two-thirds of the comments by driving two-thirds of the audience away! You can’t fight Occam’s Razor, baby! Nyuk! Nyuk!

  26. Been away from the laptop for the weekend and, wow, but anyway Since I know of no other way of contacting the comics guerilla fighter known as JohnK(UK) I thought I’d mention here that I received Chaykin and (holy god was he drilling it in this) Jose Luis Garcia Lopez’ Twilight and enjoyed it very much for what it turned out to be. Felt HVK might have pulled back a bit on the latter characterization of Tommy Tomorrow but the police on stilts pretty much make up for it.

    Additionally, the cat who sold them to me must have missed his shipdate by like fifteen minutes because he also sent me, gratis, BLACKHAWK BLOOD AND IRON! All three books! Free! And he sent me a signed Chris Sabo Cincinnati Reds card. Wotta guy!

    As a slight aside, do they really name people, like, Death Mayhew over there?

  27. @J_Smitty: At work, so in brief: TWILIGHT is ring-s-ding-ding! Garcia-Lopez is OFF DA HOOK! on that one. Man, TWILIGHT is one of the Great Lost Comics. Upset a lot of old-timey Golden Age fans I believe. heh. Wonder why? Oh, Howard Victor Chaykin you bad man!

    BLACKHAWK:BLOOD AND IRON is my favourite Chaykin for this year (it rotates; last year it was TIME2). Why, yes, don’t you have folk called “Death” over there? You have good taste and your seller is a gentleman indeed. I hope you enjoy them all!

  28. Ben Lipman, all you’re doing is making a case for putting them in the credits page, where they belong.

    They created these characters 50 years ago. That’s the limit of what they deserve credit for in FF: Season One.

    They don’t own these characters. They’re not publishing these characters. Marvel does and is.

  29. @JohnK – I went and had a look in the collection of the Ultimate Fantastic Four Vol.1 I still have, and there was no mention of Jack or Stan in there, either.
    I also looked up the credits page to Heroes Reborn FF #1, and there’s a ‘Stan Lee Presents’, but no mention of his role in creating the FF, and no mention of Jack, so this trend is well over a decade old.
    (The ultimate line… no mention of the original creators, yet they used to credit Bill Jemas as ‘Publisher and Inspiration’. Just think, at some point a grown man either said to another adult to put that as his credit.)

    Also, I checked the first issue of Hickman’s FF – it does credit Jack and Stan as the final solution. Weird.

    @Pete – “Ben Lipman, all you’re doing is making a case for putting them in the credits page, where they belong. ”

    Actually, I was making a case for going beyond that.

    “They created these characters 50 years ago. That’s the limit of what they deserve credit for in FF: Season One. ”

    Not true – this isn’t a case of taking their characters and giving them new stories, or starting over with new beginnings, Season One is specifically re-doing the earliest issues of their run. It is more in debt to what came before than the Ultimate line was.
    It’s not just Jack and Stan’s characters, but their stories as well.

    As I tried to show to you, with a few very different examples, it is very odd to be lifting this much wholesale from someone else’s work and not putting their name there is unusual.

    “They don’t own these characters. They’re not publishing these characters. Marvel does and is.”

    … and that’s why Marvel gets to put their publisher logo on the book, and get lion share of the profits. We’re talking about giving credit to those whose minds and hands all this came from.
    Is it truly honest to advertise/credit this as written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa when he’s using characters and plots from other people?

    (Also, ‘They don’t own thee characters’ is really just waving a red flag at a bulls in this context. Best to leave that one at home when discussing Kirby, because Marvel’s ownership is only because of a contract he signed a decade after creating them, in exchange for money he was already owed and desperately needed from Marvel).

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