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Thread: Stan vs. Jack

  1. #1
    Run Runner shaxper's Avatar
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    Default Stan vs. Jack

    I know the conversation usually ends up being about who contributed what, or who was more in the wrong about such and such, but I'm more curious to know which you'd judge to be better based on artistic merit alone. Based solely on the ideas, characters, and works we factually know each was responsible for, which was the better creator?

    Anyone who's read enough of my rambling knows my opinion, but I'm curious to hear yours.


    And please try to avoid "dissing" either creator, as that will inevitably ruffle someone's feathers. Let's try to keep the discussion focused on the positive.

  2. #2
    Senior Member mrc1214's Avatar
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    I would say Jack Kirby but I have to ask what are the older character we factually know he created on his own. Same could be said for Stan. I never really bothered to ask for lists of who did what.

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    Run Runner shaxper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrc1214 View Post
    I would say Jack Kirby but I have to ask what are the older character we factually know he created on his own. Same could be said for Stan. I never really bothered to ask for lists of who did what.
    In terms of Marvel, we know he created Silver Surfer, and I think we know he created Galactus. You can also easily look at how a book changes when Stan or Jack leap off of it. The very idea for this thread was prompted by the changes I noticed when Jack was removed from Sgt. Fury and Stan remained.

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    I'll note that though I do believe Kirby was the more creative, his work for the Simon-Kirby organization can't be attributed to Kirby alone, which a lot of fans tend to assume.
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    mil't 'sthete&consumerist
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    Two of the greatest aesthetes who ever lived. To be clear, shaxper is saying JK created SS, but it would be heresy to suppose he originated Galactus. I don't think JK would have specifically taken credit, rightfully, for creating SS if he had both of them. You know how I feel about JK if you've read me, e.g., in the Stan Lee thread by hondobrode. The answer: Stan, no contest. He MADE Marvel. Stan is high up on the list of the 100 people most influential on me along with FJA, Boris Karloff, Ray Harryhausen, relatives, and associates.

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    Run Runner shaxper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BDiogenes View Post
    He MADE Marvel.
    No doubt about that. The question, then, is whether that made him the superior creator in your opinion. I'm assuming it did.

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  7. #7
    Say WHAT?!?!?!? FanboyStranger's Avatar
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    It's funny: once I qualify that Stan and Jack had a unique synergy that resulted in wonderful comics, I tend to push the Jack side of the equation, but I just read Moebius' notes in the Silver Surfer: Parable HC, and he praises Stan to high heaven. In particular, he mentions that Stan only gave him a six page plot of the action of the story to begin with, but when he had roughed it out, it came out exactly to the expected 43 pages with all the necessary plot developments intact. Moebius had never worked in that "Marvel style", but he enjoyed it a great deal because it gave him all the necessary information while still alllowing him a remarkable degree of freedom. There's a gift in that, I think, and it's sort of become a lost art. (The only current creator I know that admits to preferring the Marvel style as a writer is Matt Wagner.)

  8. #8
    Cute.5 Aaron King's Avatar
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    On a purely artistic basis, I have to go with Kirby. I'm usually a "writer guy," but I really can't handle Lee's scripting, When I'm going to a book that he's written, I usually skip most of the words and just follow the art. This is especially true of narrative captions.

    I looooove Kirby's prose, though. He treats it the same way he treated art: do it right, but if something doesn't fit, wrench it and twist it and blow it up. There's a certain savage boldness to it that reminds me of the Romantics or Dylan Thomas or maybe even James Joyce (in its willingness to adopt attitudes; not necessarily in its skill).

    Also, his art is amazing. I like the stuff he was doing from New Gods all the way to Captain Victory much more than I like his Marvel-era stuff.

    This is all super-subjective, of course. People who disagree with me aren't wrong. They're just not invited to my birthday party.
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  9. #9
    Run Runner shaxper's Avatar
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    I guess I'll add this to the discussion. Both were great idea men, but while Stan seemed to focus more on critical messages, Jack was dreaming up far out worlds of imaginative fancy. Stan gave us the first superhero team that didn't get along, the first superhero with problems, the first anti-drug message in comics, the first death of a major character, some truly groundbreaking messages about racism and tolerance, etc, while Kirby gave us Silver Surfer, the Fourth World, The Eternals, and a whole new world of imagination and intrigue with virtually each issue of Kamandi.

    And, you absolutely can't dismiss that Stan WAS the Marvel Universe. He was the cheerleader, the continuity guy, the advocate for creator recognition, etc. He made ours Marvel.

    But, and I have to echo Aaron King on this one, I can't stand the guy's scripts. There are VERY few Stan stories I actually enjoy reading, and I think all of them were co-created with Kirby.

    Kirby, meanwhile, was fully capable of generating amazing work on his own. I often feel his art was overblown (love the dynamic poses, but I can't stand those faces!), but his panels were definitely fun to look at, his writing was solid enough, and his concepts were sheer genius.

    So, in the end, I respect both immensely, but I put Jack on a whole different level than Stan. Stan was historically critical to the industry; Jack was a creative genius.


    ...at least, that's my take.

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  10. #10
    S.P.E.C.T.R.E. destro's Avatar
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    Jack was the superior creator imho.. But he was so creative he needed to be reigned in a bit at times. As cool as things like New Gods, Eternals, Kamandi, etc.. were, they weren't very marketable.

    Stan could take Jack's raw creative power and mold it into something appealing to the masses. And Stan brought the drama and showmanship. Everything was big, every issue was a minor event (even the stinkers).

    That's why I feel their best work was done together. Like Kirk/Spock, kinda...both possessed something important that the other lacked. Apart they were still super talented. Together something magical happened.

    And I think the same is true of Lee/Ditko.
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  11. #11
    NOT Bucky O'Hare! The Confessor's Avatar
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    For me, the superior creator was...Steve Ditko!

    My serious answer would be Stan Lee. Stan is Silver Age Marvel for me and although his collaberators undoubtedly brought an awful lot to the table, it was ultimately Stan who was steering the ship, creatively speaking.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron King View Post
    On a purely artistic basis, I have to go with Kirby. I'm usually a "writer guy," but I really can't handle Lee's scripting, When I'm going to a book that he's written, I usually skip most of the words and just follow the art. This is especially true of narrative captions.

    I looooove Kirby's prose, though. He treats it the same way he treated art: do it right, but if something doesn't fit, wrench it and twist it and blow it up. There's a certain savage boldness to it that reminds me of the Romantics or Dylan Thomas or maybe even James Joyce (in its willingness to adopt attitudes; not necessarily in its skill).

    Also, his art is amazing. I like the stuff he was doing from New Gods all the way to Captain Victory much more than I like his Marvel-era stuff.

    This is all super-subjective, of course. People who disagree with me aren't wrong. They're just not invited to my birthday party.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member edhopper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaxper View Post
    In terms of Marvel, we know he created Silver Surfer, and I think we know he created Galactus. You can also easily look at how a book changes when Stan or Jack leap off of it. The very idea for this thread was prompted by the changes I noticed when Jack was removed from Sgt. Fury and Stan remained.
    Yes Kirby created the Silver Surfer. But Lee created Norrin Rad and the angst ridden hero that became a cult classic. Kirby was unparallelled at character creation. Lee was unmatched at given them voice and soul. That was the genius of their collaboration.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Dizzy D's Avatar
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    Basically Stan+Jack >>> either of them on their own. (And personally Stan+Steve > Stan+Jack. Just more of a Doc Strange fan than Fantastic Four.)

  15. #15
    Senior Member Polar Bear's Avatar
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    It depends on the rules.

    If you start from 1960 and go forward, it's Stan. Count his enduring successes minus Jack (Spider-Man and his entire cast of villains, Dr. Strange, Iron Man, Daredevil, and more); then count Jack's successes minus Stan (Darkseid and ... well, yeah, Darkseid).

    But if you allow works pre-1960, it's clearly Jack (Captain America, Boy Commandos, Young Love, Boys' Ranch, and the entire brand of artistic innovation his artwork started, whereas Stan has pretty much nothing).

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