"Kid, comics will break your heart."
—Jack Kirby note
"If Stan would only come out of his hiding place and tell the world everything would go great. It isnt obscure. He knows it, and I know it. There wont be a resolution. People dont change. They cant change. Sometimes its too late. You just go on being what you are. Human beings go on being human beings. I can predict everything that Stan will do. I know I cant change Stan. He says his piece, and I say mine. I could shake hands with Stan till doomsday and it would resolve nothing, the dance goes on."
— Jack Kirby on Stan Lee at the end of his life and why they would never reconcile for real.
"One of the things that struck me about Jack was the similar temperament, and even the physical similarities between him and a filmmaker by the name of Samuel Fuller. Probably their backgrounds were similar: They're both of a certain generation that fought World War II as teenagers; both were from New York, and both were really sort of "men's men" — cigar-chomping, opinionated. When I say opinionated, it's different than when I say he was self-effacing. He was like Sam in that way. They'd been through the eye of the storm at a very early age, and I think it shaped their outlook and the way they dealt with life; but he was fun and funny, and fun to be around. If anybody had the right to be angry or upset that he had not been fully recognized, or deserved his own artwork back, it was him — but it didn't infuse his personality, if you know what I mean. He seemed to be somebody who was a lot more adjusted to it than even his supporters."
"Unfortunately, from day one, Jack was doing part of Stans job, and Stan was not doing part of Jacks job," says comics historian Mark Evanier, who worked as Kirbys assistant and has worked on and off with Lee since the 1970s...Its hard to appreciate today just how radical a shift in tone the first Fantastic Four was. But there was another revolutionary aspect of the series, one hidden from the reader but unendingly controversial: It was the first superhero series to use the so-called "Marvel method." To save time while writing a dozen or more comics at once, Lee had recently developed a thrifty alternative to writing out full scripts. Hed merely come up with a rough plot as much as I can write in longhand on the side of one sheet of paper, as he put it in a 1968 interview - talk that over with the artist, then make the artist go off and create the entire story from scratch. Every emotional beat, character interaction, and action sequence was now the responsibility of the guys drawing them, who until then had been accustomed to just drawing whatever a script told them to draw. Now it was the artists who built the narrative architecture, and the writers who did something more like buffing up: Once Lee got the artwork back, hed interpret what he saw and cook up dialogue bubbles, narration, and sound effects. Some artists, such as Jack Kirby, need no plot at all, Lee said in that 1968 chat. I mean, Ill just say to Jack, Lets let the next villain be Dr. Doom. Or I may not even say that. He may tell me. And then he goes home and does it. Hes so good at plots, Im sure hes a thousand times better than I. ... Theres also the issue of how the artists were credited on an issue-by-issue basis — something far more provably damning for Lee. As Marvels popularity grew, he wisely chose to engage fans by giving specific credits at the front of each issue, something the fly-by-night comics industry had rarely bothered to do. But when readers saw RUGGEDLY WRITTEN BY: STAN LEE, ROBUSTLY DRAWN BY: STEVE DITKO or SENSATIONAL STORY BY: STAN LEE, ASTONISHING ART BY: JACK KIRBY, they were being profoundly misled. The mechanics of the Marvel method meant that, by any reasonable definition, his artists were actually authoring the stories with him. Their resentment grew.
"I met Jack very briefly before or after that panel, but all I remember was that aura he had around him. This sort of walnut colored little guy with a shackle of white hair and these craggy Kirby drawn features. This sort of stockiness. I just remember him chatting with me and Frank Miller and he was saying in this kind of raspy voice, "You kids, I think you're great. You kids, what you've done is terrific. I really want to thank you." It was almost embarrassing to have Jack Kirby thanking me. I just assured him that it was me who should be thanking him, sort of because he had done so much to contribute to my career. He had a glow around him, Jack Kirby. He was somebody very, very special."
"There are many ways you can describe Jack Kirby's art style, but 'minimalistic' and 'sterile' are not among them. The dude infused energy into every single panel. He relished in the chance to create this kind of energy field effect, dubbed the Kirby Krackle, with lots of dots and stuff. Space is no longer a black void, it's pink and purple and black and holy CRAP there's just so much STUFF!"
Jack Kirbys writing is not the subtlety of Hemingway, its the scream of myth.
— Tom King
Nobody has done more for comics than Jack Kirby. Nobody.