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Monday, August 28, 2023 

Jack Kirby's Marvel legacy, and Kurt Busiek's Marvels

The Valdosta Daily Times commented on a new history book about the late Kirby's contributions to Marvel, specially dedicated to his contributions:
At the very least, Kirby deserves co-creator/development credit with Lee for characters ranging from the Fantastic Four to Dr. Doom, Galactus to the Hulk, Thor, the Avengers, original X-Men, etc. As much as Steve Ditko deserves equal credit with Lee for Spider-Man and Dr. Strange.

With “The Marvel Legacy of Jack Kirby,” Kirby gets his due in a deluxe coffee-table volume filled with colorful reprints of his artwork and insightful words and tributes from various Marvel creators. [...]

Given the book is Kirby’s “Marvel Legacy,” it mentions but doesn’t include the work and characters he created for DC Comics. The absence of Apokolips and the New Gods, etc., for example, are important parts of the overall Kirby legacy, and given the stature of those characters in the DC Universe, the absence makes a reader realize how pivotal Kirby has been not only to the comics industry but the superhero movie catalogs of several film companies.

Unlike Stan Lee who made regular cameo appearances in the Marvel movies, Kirby was gone before his characters became movie stars.
And one can only wonder if that's why, if we take the Eternals as an example, the production outfit for making Marvel movies wasted no time injecting wokeness into the screenplay, costing the movie dearly at the box office. Sure, Kirby may deserve some credit for providing influence for the movies, but in the long run, these films were hardly worth it compared to the much superior comics of yesteryear.

There's also another item from the same paper about Kurt Busiek's Marvels miniseries from around 1994, which says:
The entire storyline behind "Marvels" was well-known when it was first published 25 years ago. Arguably, it may be less known now with a remastered version than it was then.

[...] Kurt Busiek writes a moving story that makes the familiar tales of Marvel's early years new. Alex Ross creates powerful painted illustrations to tell the tale. Most readers knew these origin tales by heart when "Marvels" was first released in the mind-1990s. The MU was only about 30 years old then.

Now, 25 years later and numerous revamps, start-overs, etc., the MU is nearly 60 years old and the Marvel Cinematic Universe origins are far better known than the early stories from the 1960s.

But "Marvels": The Remastered Edition is still epic storytelling, adding new dimensions to modern myths.
Be that as it may, Busiek spoiled everything by writing it with a bias, if we take the 2008 sequel, Eye of the Camera, into consideration, and how Mary Jane Watson's appearance there was muted at best. And, Busiek wouldn't put any emphasis on MJ and Peter Parker's 1987 marriage, halting the tale at what may have been a time shortly before that wonderful event in Spider-Man, as protagonist Phil Sheldon passed away. Anybody who's going to let, shall we say, a heterosexual marriage get their feathers that ruffled clearly isn't much of a realist, nor has what it takes to appreciate the concept of love between sexes as we know it. And no doubt, some of this aversion to the 2nd most famous marriage in the MCU after Reed Richards and Sue Storm married in Fantastic Four 2 decade prior, stems from the very negative view of marriage that's become commonplace over the past decade or more in the USA. It's also undoubtably because Peter and MJ's marriage was considered iconic and inspirational, one more reason all those "No-MJ" fanatics took every opportunity to dismantle it, and to do it in such crude fashion as have Peter make a deal with Mephisto proves they hated it so much, they were willing to do it in the most contrived way possible if that's what it took to make clear how much contempt they harbored.

Funny how the columnist says the MCU was 30 years old at the time Marvels went to press, when it all began much earlier in 1939 with at least 3 anthology entries, the Golden Age Human Torch, Sub-Mariner, and even the original Ka-Zar stories, which Stan Lee drew indirectly from for inspiration for creating Lord Kevin Plunder in the mid-60s, the explorer whose parents found an entrance to an alternate world beneath the Artic, in the pages of X-Men. And then, he says 60 years old? Again, that's obscuring at least 2 decades more, and if it hadn't been for those important milestones like Captain America's Golden Age tales, how would the Silver Age tales have been possible? Yes, what Lee created with Kirby starting in 1961 was important, but so was what came before that. On the other hand, Busiek, aside from being one of comicdom's most left-wing writers, seemed to specialize far too much with the past, as some of his work from the 1990s suggests.

Marvels may be significant as a product of that time, but if you look at how what was established up to the turn of the century has been made a mockery of since, that's why one must wonder if Marvels had a long ranging negative effect, as later one, some writers became too obsessed with tampering around with previous story elements, and J. Michael Straczynski's run on Spider-Man was just one example of how this all turned out for the worse.

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  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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