Neal Kirby, the son of the late legend Jack Kirby, is defending his father’s legacy, which he says has been overshadowed by Stan Lee.
Jack Kirby was a titan of the comic world, but how many of the millions piling into opening weekends for the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe adventure have never heard of him, especially compared with Stan Lee? According to his son, Neal, far too many…and we might have to agree.
While Stan Lee and Jack Kirby both played significant roles in molding characters like the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk and Iron Man, he is generally Lee that gets the majority of the credit, especially to the casual comic/MCU fan. But now Neal Kirby is expressing serious dismay over this, boiling over following the new Disney+ documentary, the aptly titled Stan Lee.
Neal Kirby took to Twitter – via his daughter’s account – to blast the Disney+ documentary and defend Jack Kirby’s reputation, which has fallen into the shadow of Stan Lee as time has gone on and Marvel has become a Hollywood juggernaut (yes, they co-created that character, too). “It’s not any big secret that there has always been controversy over the parts that were played in the creation and success of Marvel’s characters. Stan Lee had the fortunate circumstance to have access to the corporate megaphone and media, and he used these to create his own mythos as to the creation of the Marvel character pantheon. He made himself the voice of Marvel. So, for several decades he was the ‘only’ man standing…” Kirby noted that his father died in 1994; Lee, meanwhile, passed away in 2018, which gave him more time in the business and whose nearly three dozen cameos helped further solidify him as the mascot for Marvel. Neal Kirby added, “Are we to assume Lee had a hand in creating every Marvel character? Are we to assume that it was never the other cocreator that walked into Lee’s office and said, ‘Stan I have a great idea for a character!’ According to Lee, it was always his idea. Lee spends a fair amount of time talking about how and why he created the Fantastic Four, with only one fleeting reference to my father.”
He summed up his message regarding Jack Kirby not getting enough credit compared to Stan Lee with, “The battle for creator’s rights has been around since the first inscribed Babylonian tablet. It’s way past time to at least get this one chapter of literary/art history right. ‘Nuff said. Let’s hope for Neal’s sake that Marvel doesn’t try to further capitalize on Lee’s status…
Do you think Jack Kirby has been unjustly removed from the Marvel discussion due to Stan Lee? What do you think of Neal Kirby’s statement? Let us know.