As the 1970s turned into the 1980s, powerhouse artist and creative genius Jack Kirby was becoming increasingly disillusioned by the way the history of the creation of the Marvel characters was being recounted for the public. Beginning particularly with the publication of ORIGINS OF MARVEL COMICS in 1974, Kirby found his role in events diminished, reduced to being just a pair of hands who carried out the creative directive of editor and scripter Stan Lee. Kirby knew that he’d done a lot more than he was being given credit for–he had done the hands-on plotting for most of the stories he worked on with Lee, and many of the formative characters had started out from his ideas. Already in a contentious battle with Marvel over the return of his original artwork from the 1960s–Marvel’s legal team demanded that Kirby sign an onerous four-page document declaring that everything he had ever done for the firm had been done at the direction of Lee and/or Marvel founder Martin Goodman, and hat he held no claim to any of it. Even the artwork itself was classified as a “gift”, one that Marvel could rescind the rights to at any time. it was a document that Kirby felt that he could not sign.
Kirby began to become more vocal in his interviews in this period about his full role in those early Marvel days and the creations of the characters, beginning with one printed in Kitchen Sink Press’ THE SPIRIT Magazine #39 with his old boss, Will Eisner. At some point during this time, Kirby hand-wrote a summary of his perspective on the creations of the assorted Marvel characters. The particular date at which he did this is unknown, but it appears to have happened in the early 1980s.
Formulated in 1939 by myself & Joe Simon – Created in Joe’s apartment and submitted to “Atlas”
Published in 1941
FANTASTIC FOUR – HULK – SPIDERMAN –
THOR – SGT. FURY
When I arrived at Marvel in 1959 it was closing shop that very afternoon according to what was related to me by “Stan Lee”
The comic book dept. was another victim of the Dr. Wertham negative cycle & definitely was following in the wake of EC Comics. “The Gaines Publishing House”
In order to keep working I suggested to Stan Lee that to initiate a new line of Super Heroes he submit my ideas to Martin Goodman the publisher of Marvel
The line that I came up with was
“FANTASTIC FOUR” A team of Super Heroes
“THE HULK” Which was a spin-off of a single story that I did for “Marvel”
“SPIDERMAN” Grew from a different script called “The Silver Spider” which was written by Joe Simon’s brother-in-law Jack Oleck – who is now deceased
Joe was out of the field at that time & I utilized the “Silver Spider” script to create a single new character. This was given for development to Steve Ditko after I drew the first cover with the original costume
THOR quickly followed & was fleshed out with the character of the original legend
SGT. FURY, a mixture of the “Dirty Dozen”, James Bond & my own war experiences became another successful book
I created many costumes for new “Super Heroes” such as IRON MAN – ANT-MAN & created all related characters such as “SILVER SURFER” & GALACTUS – THE INHUMANS & many more which are included in the enclosed list.
To ensure sales I also did the writing which I was not credited for as “Stan Lee” wrote the credits for all of the books which I did not contest because of his relationship
with the publisher “Martin Goodman”
This was later changed to “Produced by “Stan Lee & Jack Kirby” in some of the books.
Although I was not allowed to write the balloon dialogue, the stories, the characters & the additional planning for teh scripts progress was strictly due to my own foresight & literary workmanship.
There were no scripts. I created the characters & wrote the stories in my own home & merely brought them into the office each month.
F.F. published 1961
The Hulk 1962
Spider Man 1962
Sgt. Fury 1963