How is "Darkseid" pronounced?
As if spelled "dark side," as in "the dark side of man's nature."
That's how Kirby always pronounced it around me.
But at least once, when some fan who pronounced it "dark seed" was excitedly
telling Jack his theories about the character, Jack went along with it, rather
than correct the kid. And the kid went around telling everyone who'd
previously told him he had the name wrong, "No, I was right. That's how
Jack Kirby pronounced it."
Jack occasionally did that with people. He hated to dampen
enthusiasm and passion, and so would often "go with" what others felt or
believed. So his attitude was kind of like, "If you want to pronounce it
your way, go right on ahead."
How did Jack feel about other writers imposing their political
beliefs on Captain America?
I covered that in this article. Basically,
he thought Captain America was bigger than any one writer's momentary politics,
which is why he didn't inject his own into the stories he wrote.
Why did Jack change his name from Kurtzberg to Kirby?
Well, it certainly wasn't from any desire to hide the fact that he
was Jewish, which is something that has occasionally been suggested by folks who
didn't know him. Jack was very proud of his heritage and faith.
When he was starting out in his career, he was somewhat frantic to
make a living and very prolific. In many of the publications in which his
early work appeared, he did multiple strips and, like other artists in that
situation, signed them with an array of pen names. These included Bob
Brown, Jack Curtiss, Lance Kirby, Teddy, Ted Grey and many others. It
wasn't so much a matter of concealing one's religion as of having a name that
sounded like a professional cartoonist.
Finally, when he began working with Joe Simon, Joe suggested Jack
pick one name and stick with it. He picked Jack Kirby. In later
years, he got quite irate if someone suggested it was to hide his lineage.
Is it true that when Martin Goodman (owner of Marvel Comics) sold
the company, Kirby and some of the other artists soaked Goodman for big bucks to
False. This story was circulated during Jack's infamous battle
with Marvel Comics over the return of his original artwork. A Marvel editor was
quoted in some sources as spreading it, and claiming Stan Lee had told him
that. Stan told me he absolutely never said or heard of such a thing, and the
editor in question recently claimed to me he'd either been misquoted or
misinformed — I'm not sure which. Whatever, he no longer believes it, and
there is no evidence in Kirby's files of any such soaking and apparently none in
Did Jack ever intend to kill off Thor and do the New Gods at Marvel?
Jack came up with the concept for New Gods while at Marvel but he
never had any intention of doing it there. At the time, he had become convinced
that Marvel was reneging on various promises to him of financial participation
in characters he'd co-created. He therefore was not about to give them another
idea unless there was a significant change in the way they did business. That
did not happen so, as you can see, his last few years at Marvel were not as rich
with new characters. Ideas were forever coming to him but he was saving them to
offer DC or any other potential publisher that might emerge.
Did Jack design Spider-Man's costume?
No. Steve Ditko designed the distinctive costume we all know and
love. Jack did claim to have presented the idea to Stan Lee of doing a hero
named Spiderman (no hyphen) who walked on walls and had other spider-themed
powers — a claim which Stan vociferously denies.
But for all the things Jack did well, he was not great at being
interviewed. He occasionally got carried away or confused. There was one
interview where, without realizing what he was saying, he said he'd created
Superman. Needless to say, he never really believed that but somehow, that's
what came out of his mouth.
This kind of thing most often occurred when the topic veered near
an instance where Jack felt he'd been undercredited and undercompensated, and
Spider-Man was such a case. In at least one such conversation, he misspoke and
claimed he'd designed the costume for the final version of Spider-Man. I'm
guessing the gaffe had something to do with the fact that he did pencil the
cover of Amazing Fantasy #15 with the first appearance of that costume.
There were a number of cases where Jack designed a character on a cover, and
then Don Heck or Dick Ayers or someone else drew the interior story, following
his design. In this case, however, the cover was drawn after Stan had rejected
one drawn wholly by Ditko
Jack knew that. And he also knew what it was like to have someone else
claim credit for your ideas. So he very much regretted the error.
What did Jack do on the first stories of Iron Man and Daredevil?
The first Iron Man story was wholly drawn by Don Heck. The first
Daredevil story was drawn mainly by Bill Everett. Steve Ditko and Sol
Brodsky completed the inking, mostly by filling in backgrounds. Kirby
aided Everett in some undetermined manner, though he definitely did not do full
breakdowns as has been erroneously reported about this story and the first Iron
These falsehoods, I had a hand in spreading back in the early
seventies. At the time, Jack claimed to have laid out those stories and, I
repeated his claim in print — though not before checking with Heck who said, in
effect, "Oh, yeah. I remember that. Jack did the layouts." We all later
realized he was mistaken. Soon after, I met Everett and found him to be equally
confused. He initially confirmed it and then, when I told him I didn't think it
looked like Kirby layouts, he said, "Oh, I guess it wasn't."
The confusion in these cases is, I think, understandable. Heck
and Everett both did do work over Jack's layouts...just not on those stories.
Both also believed that Jack had contributed to the plots of those debut
appearances — recollections that do not match those of Stan Lee. (Larry Lieber
did the script for the first Iron Man story from a plot that Stan gave him.)
Also, in both cases, Jack had already drawn the covers of those
issues and done some amount of design work. He came up with the initial look of
Iron Man's armor and he seems to have participated in the design of Daredevil's
first costume. My suspicion, after interviewing both Kirby and Everett on the
topic and getting only vague remembrances from each, is that Jack worked up a
costume and Everett modified it — to what extent, we'll probably never know.
Everett did tell me that Jack had come up with the idea of Daredevil's billy
One of the things you have to keep in mind when researching this
kind of thing, or evaluating conflicting accounts, is that you're often dealing
with people who have or had truly rotten memories. Jack's was sporadic, at
least when was speaking to the world on a convention panel or for an
interview. He was a lot better in private conversations, especially with people
he trusted. Stan almost brags about how poor his memory is, and Bill Everett
had what we now politely term "alcohol-related problems" at the time of
Further muddying up the memories on this one is the fact that
Jack, in effect, drew the first page of that first Daredevil story. In the rush
to get that seriously-late book to press, there wasn't time to complete Page
One, so Stan had Sol Brodsky slap together a paste-up that employed Kirby's
cover drawing. You may note Artie Simek's lettering on that one page, whereas
Sam Rosen lettered the rest of the issue.
The biggest question here is what else Jack did on the first
Daredevil story. Everett volunteered to me that Jack had "helped him" though he
wouldn't — or more likely, couldn't — elaborate on that. He just plain didn't
remember it well and in later years, apparently gave others who asked a wide
range of answers. They ranged from Jack contributing only encouraging words to
working out the entire plot with him. The latter is what Jack recalled after
he'd been corrected about actually doing the layouts. Stan says that's not so,
and he may be right. Or Everett may have sought out Kirby's help without
telling Lee. (Don Heck sometimes did that, as did Wally Wood.)
So there's another one of those "we may never know" questions.
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