Saturday, July 02, 2011
The Problem With Memory: Mark Evanier
Comics Interview #2 - 1983
MARK: I had lunch with Stan Lee a couple weeks ago and we spent hours talking about that. Jack kept tons of Stan's old plot outlines, so I have a pretty good picture of how they worked together. I have some of Stan's old plots and notes.
DAK: I have, a copy of the plot for FANTASTIC FOUR #1.
MARK: That's great. I have AVENGERS #4.
DAK: It turned up in the office when Roger Stern was cleaning and I xeroxed it. The outline, the bare bones of the story is there. It seems to indicate — whether or not it was done afier a conference with Jack — that Stan did actually give him a plot.
MARK: Stan told me something interesting. There was one point in the SPIDER-MAN books when the credits changed from "Art by Steve Ditko" to "plotted and drawn by Steve Ditko." At that point, Ditko had demanded to receive more than just artist pay and credit. The credits changed, but their method of working didn't change substantially. Stan said that simultaneously he offered the same thing to Kirby — to give him a co-writing credit — and Jack, instead, asked that the credits read "Produced by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby" or some variation of that. If you look at the credits, very rarely after that did it say "Written by Stan Lee." Jack asked to keep it ambiguous and Stan went along with it.
Yet on November 4, 2010, Evanier wrote in his official declaration in the Marvel v Kirby court case:
I want to emphasise that Kirby worked on his own, and supervised himself, and did not create under the direction of supervision of Stan Lee or anyone else at Marvel.
I wonder what made Mark change his mind. In the same interview Mark also states that he 'wrote' at least 10% of the New Gods saga and two to three issues of Jimmy Olsen that he "...wrote about half of." This is why the current Marvel v Kirby court case is so problematic - the testimony is conflicting. Having said that, I do hope that a positive outcome for the Kirby's is reached and soon.