Friday, December 30, 2011

Art Spiegelman video interview

From the latest Angouleme Festival newsletter, here's a three-part video interview with Art Spiegelman, conducted by Jean-Luc Hees. I just noticed that you can listen to Spiegelman's answers in English via your left speaker, or to the French translation in the right one.

Also of interest: Tom Spurgeon's recent interview with Art Spiegelman over at The Comics Reporter.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Authors Coalition royalties

Found the following via Twitter and through a message posted by Kurt Busiek. The Authors Coalition of America has a list of authors and illustrators who may be owed royalties from non-U.S. sources due to what they call "foreign reprographic (or photocopying)". There are several well-known names in the list, such as:

  • Sergio Aragonés
  • Kyle Baker
  • Robert Crumb
  • Steve Ditko
  • Colleen Doran
  • Gary Hallgren
  • Andy Kuhn
  • Mike Luckovich
  • Patrick McDonnell
  • Mike Mignola
  • Art Spiegelman

And there are even some names of deceased comics creators:
  • Lee Falk
  • Brant Parker (presumably the Wizard of Id artist?)
  • Gil Kane
  • Alex Schomburg 
  • Joe Shuster
  • Rick Griffin
The site has the contact info and forms that authors need to fill in order to claim their royalties. I'm not sure how the whole setup works, but there's more information in the site's FAQ:

What is the Authors Coalition of America (ACA) and why are you sending me a check?
The Authors Coalition of America is a coalition of 22 U.S. author organizations that came together in 1994 to receive and distribute foreign reprographic (or photocopying) royalties. These royalties were non-title specific (authors unknown) and distributed by collective method to our Member Organizations to be used for the benefit of authors. In 2007, the Authors Coalition began receiving title-specific reprographic royalties for visual material authors. Under agreements with Reproduction Rights Organizations (RROs), the Authors Coalition is able to distribute these royalties to individual visual materials authors for photocopy use of graphic arts, illustrations and photographs outside the United States.
The check you received is for the portion of the RRO's distribution to Authors Coalition that is designated for you by the foreign collecting country.

Did the Authors Coalition authorize use of my work?
No. The Authors Coalition does not represent authors, does not license copyrighted works and did not authorize use of your work. We function strictly as a payment agent for RROs and other foreign collecting societies wishing to distribute reprographic royalty payments to authors.

If Authors Coalition did not authorize use of my work, and I did not authorize use of my work, was my work illegally copied?
Not necessarily. With few exceptions, a foreign RRO from which payment is being made collects license fees for photocopying under special legislation in its country that permits the use of U.S. works without authorization from the U.S. rightsholder. The laws of these countries include "statutory licenses" that give users the right to photocopy material on the condition that they report that usage and pay royalties to an RRO. Although the RRO in a particular country may not have received authorization from you or your agent to license your work, it will have collected photocopy license fees with full legal authority in its own country. Fees are collected for photocopying in schools, universities, businesses, research centers and elsewhere.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Artwork stolen from Joe Giella

The following message was sent by Jim Amash to various mailing lists:

For Immediate Public Release,

A certain person Joe Giella trusted apparently stole a few pieces of original comic art from his house, mostly likely on Sept. 7 and Oct. 13 of this year. We want to get the word out so that anyone who may have already purchased this work or may be contacted about it will know it's considered stolen property, and hopefully will help get Joe's artwork back to him. A police report has been filed in the case, but spreading the word to the comics art community is absolutely vital. Here is a list of the stolen art:

Flash #144 "Menace of the Man Missile", pages 1 and 9. Pencils by Carmine Infantino.
Detective Comics #329 "Castle with Wall to Wall Danger" pages 7 and 8. Pencils by Carmine Infantino
Green Lantern/Green Arrow #107 cover. Pencils by Joe Staton.

This person is believed to have taken art from another comics art veteran, too. Anything you can do to spread the word would be very appreciated. Let's try to catch this thief.

-Jim Amash

[Artwork/bio at the top of this post taken from the National Cartoonists Society's webpage]

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lynda Barry interview on Late Night with David Letterman (video)

I was reading this much linked-to Lynda Barry profile from the New York Times, and the article mentioned that she'd been a guest half a dozen times in David Letterman's show. It turns out that one of these interviews was uploaded to YouTube less than a week ago. The interview (ostensibly to promote Barry's book The Fun House) is from 1988, when she had recently moved to New York.

The first volume of a ten-volume set reprinting Lynda Barry's work, Blabber Blabber Blabber, will be published by Drawn & Quarterly in November.

UPDATE: Mike Lynch had already posted it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Unpublished Superman story from 1944

Looking at the original art for sale over at Heritage Comics I found the following: a complete (and previously unpublished) 12-page Superman story from 1944, "Supermite!", presumably written by Jerry Siegel and drawn by Joe Shuster's studio. The pages can be found here.

Maybe not as exciting a find as the famous "K-Metal" story from 1940, but still an entertaining story featuring mad scientist Luthor and the classic Superman-Clark Kent-Lois Lane triangle. I don't know much about prices for original comic art, but some of the current bids seem to still be quite low. The next few weeks should let us know if these pages end up selling for a price as high as the price of Jerry Siegel's potential clone.

2011/10/28 update:  A couple of details I didn't mention yesterday: Heritage's description mentions that the story came from the collection of Jack Schiff, and also that the late Richard Morrissey had identified the writer as Jerry Siegel (which would suggest that the story has been circulating in fandom for some time).

Sunday, October 9, 2011

An amazing resource: Martin O'Hearn's blog

Martin O'Hearn is a fan and historian who has been studying American comics for decades. I remember first hearing about him thanks to the late Rich Morrissey, who'd share O'Hearn's research with us over at the Grand Comics Database mailing lists, describing his capacity for identifying uncredited writers thanks to thorough and detailed examinations of their tendency to use certain words and patterns in their work, and by identifying their writing quirks in general. Several of the credits you see in the GCD today are due to Martin O'Hearn's research.

I had noticed a few months ago that he'd started posting comments in comic-related blogs, identifying uncredited writers and artists. But what I didn't know was that he'd started a blog for sharing his knowledge. He's been posting writer William Woolfolk's records, posting corrections to GCD credits, and even identifying a Jack Kirby story that has been miscredited for decades. Give his blog a look.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Publishing Updates, 2011/09/02

More news about upcoming comics-related books:

I first read about this over at The Collected Comics Library, but now there is an official press release. Russ Cochran and Grant Geissman will be continuing the series of EC Archives, reprinting entire runs of EC titles in chronological order, that was interrupted some time ago (apparently due to Steve Geppi's financial problems). The first two volumes will be Haunt of Fear Vol. 1 (reprinting the first six issues), and Vault of Horror Vol. 2 (reprinting issues 7 to 12). Presumably there will be enough of an audience for both these recolored reprints and the upcoming Fantagraphics series of artist-focused EC volumes in black-and-white.

The MAD Fold-In Collection by Al Jaffee reprints in 4 volumes all of Jaffee's Fold-In pages from 1964 up to 2010 (found via Boing Boing). According to Chronicle Books' website, the collection will also include essays by Pete Docter, Jules Feiffer, Neil Genzlinger, and Jaffee himself. Looks like a nice addition to the previous Don Martin deluxe collection. (What other MAD artist would be a good candidate for one of these collections? I'm thinking a Wallace Wood volume could be quite welcome.)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Publishing Updates, 2011/08/25

News about upcoming comics-related books:

Now available: Skip Williamson's Spontaneous Combustion, his second autobiographical volume, which according to Jay Lynch covers "the sordid underbelly of the underground comix years" (link found via Lynch's Facebook page).

The Someday Funnies, the until-now unpublished anthology of 1970's comics edited by Michel Choquette is still on track, and cartoonist Bado has some preview pages to prove it, including work by Sergio Aragonés, Don Martin, and Gahan Wilson. See also this earlier preview, with pages by Jack Kirby, Harvey Kurtzman, and Bill Griffith. This is a project I've been wanting to see ever since Bob Levin revealed its history in the pages of The Comics Journal #299.

The Cisco Kid - The Complete Dailies will be published by Charles Pelto's Classic Comic Press (the same publisher of other fine strips such as Mary Perkins On Stage, The Heart of Juliet Jones, and Big Ben Bolt), featuring writing by Rod Reed and the wonderful artwork of José Luis Salinas. Pelto has done a good work of establishing a marketplace niche for these continuity-driven strips that may not rank as high as the work of masters like Caniff, Herriman, or Foster, but which still are well worth preserving and reading.

Over at the Comic Strip Classics mailing list, Pelto has written:

Volume 1 includes an introduction from Sergio Aragones, a piece by Dennis Wilcutt, and a brief overview of the Cisco Kid in various formats - tv, movies, etc. I'm also reprinting O Henry's The Caballero's Way (the orginal appearance of Cisco from O Henry's Heart of the West).

Then each volume will cover a different aspect of the Cisco legacy - Volume 2 will cover the movies, Volume 3 - the Radio Shows, etc. At one point we'll cover the Dell Comics and I promise to reprint all those covers in glorious color!!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Imagine Chris Ware doing the Fantastic Four"

Two things that came to mind after reading Grant Morrison's comments about Chris Ware's work in a recent Rolling Stone interview.

First, Grant Morrison's website, more than 10 years ago:
Grant Morrison on Chris Ware doing the Fantastic Four

(I remember showing the above quote to a friend at the time. His response: "Yeah, right.")

And, from a 1999 interview with Grant Morrison:

I really like Chris Ware formally, he’s formally brilliant. The black humour is at a pitch where I can enjoy it just for the sheer nastiness of it, the black depth of it. But what worries me is that there’s so many of those American guys - and I have this problem with the Fantagraphics books, not all of them, but most of them - is that there’s a lot of really bad ones, I think.

They live in the most privileged, the most wonderful country in the world, and they keep writing about how shitty their lives are, and I’m sorry, I come from Scotland, I come from a place where no one’s got work, no one’s got money, and I’m reading these Americans in California telling me that life is shit, and it’s like, Get Therapy, y’know, I don’t want to read your comics, ‘cos you’re boring bastards. And there’s nothing fun, there’s nothing empowering or useful in that. You know, I love Dan Clowes’ stuff, when he was doing Velvet Glove, and Ghost World, but when he writes that stuff, this is who I hate, because Dan Clowes walks in and says “I hate that kid over there because she’s got a big arse, and I hate that one... it’s like, shut up, shut the fuck up, keep it to yourself, that means nothing to me, it’s just attacking humanity for no good reason, do something. And the good thing about him is, he does, but a lot of these Fantagraphics guys do nothing but “I hate this!”, nihilistic, pointless... But like I say, these guys are living in California...
Superman by Chris Ware
This time, Morrison's comments have generated attention from places such as The Comics Journal and The Beat. I don't agree with his comments about Ware or Fantagraphics cartoonists in general, but I can understand his point of view. (Also, the quotes above suggest that he's been aware of Ware's work for some time. I assume he arrived to that conclusion after reading the work, at least.)

To be honest, I'm much more disappointed by his cavalier dismissal of Jerry Siegel's and Joe Shuster's treatment by DC, as Abhay Khosla and Paul Gravett pointed out a month ago. To say that corporations screwing young creators is something natural ("it's kind of the world") and something that he can't possibly have an opinion about (because he "wasn't around" at the time) strikes me as much more nihilistic than anything Chris Ware or Daniel Clowes have published in their work.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ariel Dorfman on Action Comics #900

Noted comic-book critic Ariel Dorfman, co-author of How to Read Donald Duck, has weighed in on the Action Comics #900 controversy.

Para Leer el Pato Donald Dorfman Mattelart

In an article written for Spanish newspaper El País, he ties Superman's recent announcement of his intention to renounce his U.S. citizenship with recent events regarding Barack Obama and Osama Bin Laden. A brief summary for non-Spanish speakers:

Dorfman summarizes for his readers the Superman backup story from Action Comics #900 (in which the Kansas-raised character turns his back on his adopted country) as well as the outraged reactions from conservative U.S. bloggers, mentioning that this is being seen by some as further sign of the decadence of the U.S.A.

Even though Obama is more of a Spider-Man fan, Dorfman believes that somebody must have drawn this story to the U.S. president's attention. Realizing the danger of being accused by Republicans of his having "lost" Superman to anti-U.S. interests (in the same way Cuba and Vietnam were lost), Obama must have decided to kill Osama Bin Laden in order to show everybody that America didn't need superpowered beings to defend itself.

Dorfman goes on to point that Obama still had one further point to address: the doubts regarding the accusations that he, like Superman, was an illegal alien, brought to the U.S. by his Kansas-born mother (noting the "kafkanian letter K" coincidence of the initial letter shared by Kenya, Krypton, and Kansas). By providing proof of his birth certificate, he proved that he was a legitimate president, which in turn allowed him to eliminate the United States' number one enemy.

The article ends with Dorfman's suggestion that Obama and Superman join forces in order to remove all U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Dorfman concludes:

"It would be nice to read this in the next adventures of the Man of Steel, it would be encouraging to have Obama and Superman -- both with their origins in Kansas, both belittled for being 'aliens' -- collaborate in creating at least a small oasis of peace in a world in which unfortunately both truth and justice are now in short supply."

DC's blog in the meantime is amusing for two things: it's showing me on the left side of the screen an ad for a Thor computer game, and it continues to be remarkably free of any mention of the controversial Action Comics #900 backup story.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Action Comics #900

After Rich Johnston correctly pointed out that Action Comics #900 was a "Fox News Story Waiting to Happen", there have been several reactions to the story in which Superman renounces his U.S. citizenship.

What I find more amusing about this is how unprepared DC was for all the media attention. Unlike Marvel, which for the most part manages to have news media focus on the "news" Marvel want them to publicize, DC clearly had no idea that this story would have repercussions.

Evidence? Well, how about checking DC's blog? There's an entry posted one day after the comic came out, which mentions an "earth-shaking twist" contained in the comic and warns us of "spoilers" after the jump.

The big reveal? An image showing several Superman look-a-likes about to battle four versions of Doomsday, a character who was popular in 1992 (back when DC knew more about how to generate media attention). Pretty exciting, eh? This is what DC chose to publicize on their blog after the comic came out.

There will be many people picking up copies of Action Comics #900, but if any of these new readers decides to stick around for next month's issues of Superman and Action, hoping to see more about Superman's decision to renounce his American citizenship, I have the feeling they'll be severely disappointed.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Jim Shooter on Kirby's artwork

Over at his blog, Jim Shooter has posted his version of the story about Jack Kirby's struggles against Marvel in order to get his artwork back. This is a controversial issue even today since in the end Kirby didn't get back all of his artwork (many of his pages were stolen or lost).

The Kirby family tried recently to sue Marvel and claim damages for the lost artwork, but that particular claim was dismissed. However, their attempt to terminate Marvel's copyrights on Kirby-created work still proceeds. For more about this, check Daniel Best's blog.

Shooter's post is an updated version of something he posted back in December 1998, in the message boards, a copy of which I saved back then. Here's his original post (which I haven't altered in any way):

Before the mid-70's, no one got artwork returned. Actually, few cared about it. As the collector market grew stronger, and the artwork became valuable, artists started caring.

By the time I became editor in chief at Marvel in 1978 (and therefore in a position to have a voice in the management), both Marvel and DC had instituted artwork return policies. Marvel's, set up by Roy Thomas, gave writers a share of the pages. Go figure. As soon as I could, I changed that --- one reason why a few writers like Moench and Thomas didn't like me. Tough.

Kirby worked for Marvel during that period and had artwork returned to him just like everybody else. The dispute arose over the old art from before the return plan was instituted, which was in a warehouse.

I was on the side of Kirby and all the other old artists. I tried to convince Marvel's brass to return the old artwork. There were many reasons cited bythe corporate counsel, financial officer, etc., why this was a problem --i.e., the art could be considered an asset, and couldn't be disposed of with no benefit to the stockholders of a publicly traded company, tax issues, and lots of other nonsense.

Over time, I successfully overcame those objections, and got approval from the board to return the old artwork. Kirby's contract had expired at about the same time, and he'd left. As soon as he'd left, he sued Marvel for ownership of the characters he'd had a hand in creating. The return of the artwork was one aspect of that case.

Because he was suing Marvel, the lawyers felt that the artwork couldn't be returned -- it's complicated, but doing so could have tended to support his claims. In fact, they wouldn't let me return artwork to anyone while the case was pending. Imagine the frustration of guys like the Buscemas and Joe Sinnott.

The legal sparring went on for a long time. Though it was a complex case about who owned the characters, the way it was pitched to the public bytheirside was that Marvel, and in particular, JIM SHOOTER wouldn't give Kirby his artwork back. Unwilling to badmouth a founding father, I said nothing.

Eventually, I convinced the lawyers that it wouldn't compromise the case if other artists got their art back, and I was allowed to return everyone's but Kirby's.

The Kirby case ended when, in discovery, Marvel produced a number of documents, including several signed with Marvel parent Cadence Industries' predecessor proving that Kirby had specifically agreed several times, in exchange for compensation (beyond the original payment for the work) that Marvel owned the work -- art, characters, everything. One document specifically listed every story Kirby had ever done -- part of the proof Martin Goodman had been required to provide to show that he'd owned what he wasselling when he sold Marvel to Cadence, I believe. Kirby's lawyers, who were apparently unaware of the existence of these documents, immediately apologized (!) and dropped the suit.

Marvel's lawyers would have shown the documents earlier, but never dreamed that the other side wasn't aware of them.

The only remaining thing was returning the artwork. Kirby then demanded as a condition of accepting the artwork (!) that he must be given sole credit as creator on all the characters he'd co-created with Stan, and that Stan must be given no credit whatsoever. Kirby also insisted that he'd created Spider-Man.

I talked to Jack and convinced him that Stan should be allowed some credit, and that Stan and Ditko created the Spider-Man that was actually used (Kirby had done a sketch of a version that was rejected).

And finally, Kirby got his artwork back.

During these years, my relationship with the corporate bosses had gone downhill. They were trying to sell Marvel, and I found some of their dealings injurious to the creators and damaging to the company's future. I fought every step of the way.

Because the board was increasingly at war with me, they were only too happy to let the blame for the Kirby mess stick to me, and they did everything else they could to damage me. Why? Because at the point this all began, they felt that if I left a lot of creative people would leave with me. They did a good job of undercutting me, though, and by the time I left, everything but the Challenger disaster was my fault. People threw parties.

I'm no good at political infighting. My battles with top management took place behind closed doors, and while I'm cashing somebody's paychecks, I don't feel that I should be bad mouthing them in public. By the time I wasn't on the payroll anymore, no one wanted to hear my side.


Jim Shooter

It's interesting to compare Shooter's account(s) to The Comics Journal's version. The latter is interesting since it makes no mention of Kirby suing Marvel. It also mentions some interesting details that Shooter omits, such as that in 1984 Marvel was only able to account for 88 (!) pages of Kirby artwork, out of a total of more than 8000 pages that he produced. Kirby was being asked to sign a four-page document in order to get his 88 pages back, with no guarantee of getting more pages, and under conditions that were much more restrictive than the ones that other Marvel artists were being asked to submit.

Shooter doesn't mention the following either (quoted from the Journal's article):

Kirby received the form in August of 1984 and, over the months that followed, he attempted to negotiate some form of compromise with Marvel Editor in Chief Jim Shooter, asking that a more thorough list be compiled of the original Kirby art in Marvel's possession and offering to send a representative to assist the company in cataloging the materials. Shooter refused all such requests, explaining in a Jan. 25 letter to Kirby that it would be "unfair" to single Kirby's art out for special treatment -- though he apparently saw nothing unfair in devising a release form that targeted Kirby exclusively. Marvel's position remained firm that the artist must sign the four-page document in its entirety or he would receive no art back.

One thing I find strange about Shooter's version of events is his statement that Kirby's lawyers "dropped the suit" once Marvel showed them that they had documents in which Kirby had signed away his rights. This doesn't take into account that the existence of these documents was more or less well-known at the time.

Transcripts from a panel from the 1986 U.K. Comic Art Convention as published in The Comics Journal #114 show Gary Groth asking the very reasonable question: if Kirby had effectively signed away his rights (something mentioned in public by Marvel staffers such as Tom DeFalco), why were Marvel asking him to sign them away one more time (as a condition for getting his artwork back)? Shooter doesn't answer this, and in his version Kirby's lawyers were so surprised by the existence of these documents that they even apologized to Marvel.

The Journal article also mentions that Kirby's lawyers had made claims of copyright ownership, but there are no mentions of a lawsuit against Marvel. Back when Shooter posted his original version of the article, I decided to ask him about this discrepancy:

I've read other accounts of the Marvel/Kirby dispute, and they've clearly stated that Kirby never sued Marvel. He wasn't asking for ownership of the characters, he only wanted the art back.

According to you, when did Kirby sue Marvel? Are there any other sources we could check in order to confirm that Kirby sued Marvel?


Rodrigo Baeza

Shooter's reply was as follows (parts of this reply were incorporated in his 2011 post):

Dear Rodrigo,

Kirby wanted ownership of the characters. He framed his demands for the return of the artwork in such a way that to do so would be a tacit admission by Marvel that it was "his" art, i.e., he owned the underlying rights, and therefore the characters.

It is my understanding that Kirby's lawyers actually filed suit against Marvel, which is what triggered the release of documents to Kirby's lawyers, which is what prompted them to capitulate.

My recollection is supported by a copy of a letter in my possession, dated Aug. 5, 1986, from Kirby's lawyer, Mr. Paul S. Levine, Esq.,of Stephen F. Rohde, P.C., to Marvel's lawyer, Mr. Stuart J. Sinder, Esq., of Kenyon and Kenyon. This letter refers to the matter as "Kirby v. Marvel Comics."

I also have copies of several letters from Sinder to Levine written around the same time referring to the matter in similar fashion. Earlier correspondence was written under the heading: "RE: Kirby."

Whether the suit was filed, not filed, or filed and withdrawn due to the eleventh hour revelations by Marvel is minutia. As I said, I was given to understand that a suit was filed. That technicality notwithstanding, this much is well known and well documented: starting, as most do, with a period of threats and legal maneuvering, in 1978 the Kirby side began an aggressive legal and PR attack on Marvel that ended (or lessened somewhat) in mid-1986 when the matter was settled.

As editor in chief, I was certainly kept apprised of significant developments, but I wasn't privy to every detail of the process. I was occasionally called upon to provide information, such as the inventory of Kirby art in Marvel's possession. This should have fallen to the office management department, which ran the warehouse, but my people could recognize Kirby work and theirs couldn't.

About a dozen times, I requested an audience with the upper management and/or lawyers to argue in favor of generousity toward Kirby. One thing I proposed was offering a settlement which would include Kirby (and all other founding fathers) in the character-creator incentive I'd established for current Marvel creators. This incentive was a profit sharing plan that paid a royalty for ALL uses of a character. It works like partial ownership. I asked for it to be retroactive to the date the plan had been installed. Retroactive payments of any kind beyond that date had been previously, adamantly ruled out by management. As it turned out, my more modest plan was ruled out too. Louise Simonson might remember this. I seem to recall discussing it with her.

The fact is, though, I fought for the interests of Kirby (and Ditko, and Heck,and Cockrum, and Ayers, and Sinnott, and every other creator) to the best of my ability. As an employee, I didn't have the option of publicly bad-mouthing Marvel management decisions.

Kirby himself seemed to know that I wasn't the enemy. He was always friendly to me, always happy to see me, and always a gentleman.

After Kirby agreed to the final phase of the settlement, which I represented to him at the San Diego Con in 1986, I asked Jack and Roz to come to the Marvel 25th Anniversary Party as a personal favor to me. Roz was reluctant,but, indeed, that evening they showed up. Stan and I spent a good while chatting with them.

A huge picture of Cap, drawn and inscribed by Jack: "To Jim -- a good friend," is one of my most cherished possessions.


The bottom line is that the Kirby action against Marvel was real and significant whether or not the complaint was filed. I have represented it accurately. It did no one any good, certainly not me. To this day, people use my supposed roleas mastermind of the evil scheme to deny Kirby his artwork as the basis for attacking me. Ask Joe Sinnott how hard I worked to get artwork returned to the older artists. People who have been conditioned to assume the worst possible motive for anything I did or do never seem to question the motives of my detractors.

Jim Shooter

In this reply Shooter backtracks a little, and tries to lessen the importance of his earlier statement (whether the suit was filed or not is, in his words, "minutia"). The above exchange was discussed at the time on the now-defunct Kirby-l mailing list. Mark Evanier posted the following on December 29, 1998, in which he disagreed with Shooter's version but in which he agreed with him that it was inaccurate to portray Shooter as the sole villain:

Regarding Shooter's version of the events...

I really don't have the patience to get into a point-by-point refutation of the whole situation at this time. But Jack Kirby never sued Marvel. Shooter says he did, then he backs off that claim and says, in effect, "Well, maybe the suit was never filed, but that's not important." Obviously, there is a big difference there. Yes, Jack's lawyer occasionally threatened to sue Marvel, usually in response to a similiar threat from Marvel to sue Kirby. But it would be inaccurate to say that Marvel was actually suing Jack, just as it is inaccurate to say that Jack was actually suing Marvel.

I have copies of all (I think) the correspondence between the two sides, as well as Kirby's lawyer's notes on the matter. If you look at it in its totality, and in sequence, it lays out a very different picture than Shooter paints.

I will say that I think it's a bum rap to give Jim Shooter the blame for Kirby's art not being returned. As far as I can see, he had very little to do with that situation and probably did, at some point, try very hard to get Jack's art sent back to him, if only to abate a colossal embarrassment to the company. But his version of who did what and why does not correspond to my understanding.

In early 1999, after a software glitch at deleted the original postings (luckily, I'd saved copies of them), Shooter decided to post an updated version. I won't quote it in its entirety, but I was amused at the time by the fact that he'd changed some of his wording (saying for example "Because he was threatening to sue Marvel" instead of saying "because he was suing Marvel"). He also added the following note at the end:

That's the truth, the whole truth, or at least an accurate capsule description thereof, and nothing but the truth.

In a case of history repeating itself, Shooter's claims have been questioned again, and a follow-up article has been posted. In it Shooter doesn't go into much detail about the lawsuit (or lack thereof), preferring to concentrate on the way he has (in his opinion) been unfairly treated all this time. I'm glad to see he's once again posting his version of events and willing to engage in a dialogue with readers, but I still believe his version of events isn't "the whole truth", for the reasons explained above.