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  1. #1
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    Default Comic Creators Who Don't Like Comics

    I apologize if this is a repeat thread.

    What comic creators (writers or artists) do you know of who don't like or don't care about comics? It seems most people in the industry today are in the business because they really want to be there, but I know that hasn't always been the case.

    I know Jack Kirby never thought too much about his work, mainly considering it just a way to make a living (well that is what he claimed anyway). Curt Swan didn't seem too proud of his work although he was a fan favorite. And then there are creators who seem particularly against comics. The two I can think of are John Buscema and CC Beck. John Buscema has always seemed rather cynical about the business, pretty much saying that he just hacked out work to make as much money as possible. I believe CC Beck has said that comics shouldn't be treated as a serious artistic medium, and that using too much effort on your work is a waste. If I made a mistake just let me know, this is just what I remember from reading interviews and such.

    Do you know of any other writers or artists who have worked in comics who seem to have a dislike towards the medium and the work they've done? Anecdotes and quotes would be appreciated!

  2. #2
    Senior Member InfoBroker's Avatar
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    I'm interested in having you quote some references, especially the impression you have about how Jack Kirby felt about his work. Over all the interviews that I have read and reread, and the many moments that Mark Evanier and others have shared about there encounters with Jack, and even including my breif gab session with Jack at the San Dieago Comic Convention during his 75th birthday bash, I think it is extremely safe to say that he had great admiration for the medium, he pushed it to the limits and wanted to see it treated more ligitimatedly than it was for the bulk of his career. He had downer periods, and after his period with Marvel in the late 70s didn't feel that the industry offered the growth directions he wanted at that time.

    Yes, I can think of snippets of quotes where he explained that money and feeding his family was a part of his occupation equation, but it wasn't the overall negative that you have concluded. Not by a long shot.

    There are all kinds of levels and all kinds of days in the career of a creator. Most creators (even the current crops who grew up loving the media) understand both the good and the bad aspects of the comic industry, its ups and its down.

    From my vantage point, I find your conclusions on most if not all of these guys to be too negative. I'm sure they have all criticized the medium, perhaps in frustration, perhaps in anger, and perhaps to seek improvements. But I think all four of them, overall, found comics to have strong potential and for the most part, provided them with a nice outlet for creative expression.

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    Last edited by InfoBroker; 11-17-2006 at 11:58 PM.
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    Hmmm... Well I have never heard Jack Kirby say that he didn't like his work or anything, just that he had a workman like attitude, saying things like "I just tried to sell books to feed my family" and things like that. I could maybe find some quotes from the online portions of the Jack Kirby Collector, as I think that is where I read those quotes. I know I am not just pulling this idea out of nowhere though because other people have said they were surprised Jack Kirby had such a practical attitude about his work.

    John Buscema and CC Beck have been very vocal with their feelings about their work. I think those are generally known so I won't worry too much about backing them up. However I did look up a quick interview with CC Beck located at http://cagle.msnbc.com/hogan/interviews/beck.asp where a little of his negativity is shown... I think I also remember hearing that it was CC Beck who got mad at Will Eisner for saying comics was an art-form? And for John Buscema just read the very beginning of this interview: http://twomorrows.com/alterego/articles/13buscema.html

    I wrote for anybody to correct me if they thought I was wrong because I was just going on what I remembered from past interviews I have read. I probably shouldn't mentioned Kirby or Swan because I haven't heard them say anything negative about comics, more like ... well they just didn't seem to take their work as seriously as their fans I guess. With Jack Kirby actually I don't really believe he was as nonchalant about his work as he sometimes said he was because alot of the time he would get very excited about it. Sorry if I am wrong about anybody here, I thought these things were fairly well known! I was just wondering what other artists/writers didn't like comics and what their reasons were.

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    Ex-Cheeks Reptisaurus!'s Avatar
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    Read down a bit in the John Buscema interview.

    Mostly, he says he doesn't like superheroes. And he's annoyed with the penciler/inker factory system.

    Sentiments which are certainly not unique to John Buscema.
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  5. #5
    It's Too Quiet Red Oak Kid's Avatar
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    I don't know of any creators who don't like the medium.

    I think all of them at one time or another have griped about the "business" of comics. The low pay, the long hours, lack of health benifits and a share of the licensing money from their creations.

    Since the wages in comic books have been notoriously low, it would be weird to find someone who would create something he didn't enjoy AND not make money. Usually the opposite is true. A person gets paid lots of money to do a job they hate. But they keep doing it because the money is so good.

    Wally Wood is on record as bitching about comics. But he was angry at the editors and publishers who screwed up his art or didn't appreciate the effort he put into it. I believe he loved drawing comics, he just couldn't stand the business of getting it published.

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    Usually the opposite is true. A person gets paid lots of money to do a job they hate. But they keep doing it because the money is so good.
    I don't have any annecdotes at hand to quote, but Al Capp would fit this definition quite well. He didn't particularly care for the comic strip medium.

    And its a baffler to me, but while Bill Watterson absolutely loved the comic strip medium, he can be quoted from one of his Calvin and Hobbes books as not thinking much of the comic book medium and even less of the fans.


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    Last edited by InfoBroker; 11-18-2006 at 06:45 AM.
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  7. #7
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    It's not so much that people like Buscema and Swan "didn't like comics", it's that they entered the industry purely and simply to make money at drawing. They weren't fans. They were there pretty much at the start of the medium and hadn't grown up reading comic books. They were fans, generally, of the more illustrative comic strips, such as Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon, Hal Foster's Tarzan and Milton Caniff's Terry and the Pirates, etc. If things had been different, they'd have earned their money doing advertising (Buscema did just that for years), or illustrating books. They had no special love of the medium, per se: it was drawing that they loved.

    In the early days comic books were very much looked down on, and artists working in them were perceived as lesser than those working in newspapers. It was only with the influx of new talent in the late '60s that fans became creators of the medium they grown up loving -- and these days, probably just about everyone in comics was/is a fan.

    Kirby cared very deeply about his work --- while he was creating it. Once he'd finished it, he was on to the next story and cared little for what happened to the previous one, hence the often inappropriate inking he received. He was primarily a storyteller. Buscema, while something of a curmudgeon about his work, cared immensely about it. He just felt he was never able to do his best as putting food on the table was, at the end of the day, what it was all about. He'd have dearly loved to have spent a year working on a Conan graphic novel, for instance, but couldn't afford it.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Perpetual Failure
    Hmmm... Well I have never heard Jack Kirby say that he didn't like his work or anything, just that he had a workman like attitude, saying things like "I just tried to sell books to feed my family" and things like that.
    I suspect you'd find a similar attitude from anyone who entered the business prior to the 70s (when actual comic fans started writing and drawing comics). It doesn't mean they didn't like comics, just that they were treated like crap by the publishers and didn't own any of their own work, so they didn't look at it as an "artistic statement", any more than George Martin thought he was making an "artistic statement" when he produced Please Please Me. Doesn't mean he didn't like music, though.

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    Senior Member JKCarrier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by InfoBroker
    And its a baffler to me, but while Bill Watterson absolutely loved the comic strip medium, he can be quoted from one of his Calvin and Hobbes books as not thinking much of the comic book medium and even less of the fans.
    There's always been a bit of a "class divide" between comic strip and comic book artists. I don't think the attitude is quite as prevalent today, but back in the '40s and '50s, newspaper strips were considered high class and respectable, while comic books were thought of as kind of sleazy. If you read interviews with golden age comic book artists, landing a newspaper strip was the "brass ring" most of them aspired to.
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  10. #10
    Månriddare Agentum's Avatar
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    I don't think CC Beck really disliked comics as he was very loud about how DC treated Cap. Marvel, and he had lots of own ideas how comics should be done etc.

    Maybe some didn't like superhero comics, but you know there is other types of comics so that doesn't mean they hate comics.

    And of course they had to be around people in the old days that just thought about their comic work as a living.

  11. #11
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    I think that the term "labour of love" applies more aptly to Jack Kirby and comic books, than perhaps any other creator in the medium. Doubtless, he lamented the financial rewards were not richer throughout much his career. But my impression has always been, as long as I've been following the career of the King of comics, that the man had nothing but excitement and enthusiasm for the great majority of his work. There were times, such as before he left Marvel for DC in preparation for his launch of Fourth World, that the evidence might suggest he held back on some of his most creative ideas, but this was not to do with any comic book ennui on his part, but more to do with business relations gone sour.

    Like ROK said, in this respects his situation at times resembles Wally Wood's. Again, here we have a man who was often embittered by the business side of things, but held the art of the comic book itself, the creative side, to be the sine qua non of his personal expression. He was not only a creative genius, but a true fan.

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    Senior Member MDG's Avatar
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    I think a lot of this has been touched on--most creators like--if not love--comics, but didn't like 1) the business and how they were often treated, and 2) having to draw superhero stories to make a living.

    On a positive note, there are two creators that I've met at several conventions who always seemed to have a real love for comics: Al Williamson and Murphy Anderson.

    MDG

  13. #13
    Peace and Quiet. Jonathan Bogart's Avatar
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    Didn't Irv Novick express contempt for the medium of comics now and then? I seem to remember John Byrne saying at one time or another that he never read comics for fun.

    Oh, and it wasn't C.C. Beck who quarreled with Eisner about the artistic value of comics, but Rube Goldberg. At least in the story Scott McCloud tells in Reinventing Comics.
    Last edited by Jonathan Bogart; 11-18-2006 at 05:55 PM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member InfoBroker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JKCarrier
    There's always been a bit of a "class divide" between comic strip and comic book artists. I don't think the attitude is quite as prevalent today, but back in the '40s and '50s, newspaper strips were considered high class and respectable, while comic books were thought of as kind of sleazy. If you read interviews with golden age comic book artists, landing a newspaper strip was the "brass ring" most of them aspired to.
    That's not the part that's the baffler with Bill Watterson, his commentary was directly diragatory to the comic book medium and the fans. Wish my copy of the book wasn't packed away, I'd really like to get the exact quote and put it into the context of the paticular C&H strip that facilitated his comments.

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  15. #15

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    Benday-Dot is right about Kirby's attitude towards his work. Perpetual Failure has it wrong.
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