Monday, March 11, 2013

Jack Kirby, Incorrigible Prankster (Part 3, Conclusion)

Jack Kirby pictured at a 1974 Hollywood mini-con

Back here and here I've been discussing whether Jack Kirby was a prankster who knowingly misled fanzines about his then-upcoming projects.

I asked Maggie Thompson of The Comics Buyers' Guide if she had recalled anything about such a scenario. She answered:

Clearly, Jack enjoyed jokes, but deliberate hoaxing? Well, never with us. Mark Evanier would have the best perspective.

Mark Evanier did work side by side with Mr. Kirby in the days of the DC Fourth World titles, so maybe he would have some insight on this topic. I checked in with Mark, and here's what he said:

I never knew Jack to be a prankster, incorrigible or any other kind.  There were times when he told plans to some fanzine and then the plans changed...but those couldn't be classified as pranks.

The only thing I can think of is this.  One time, Jack read an article in which Martin Goodman, the publisher of Marvel, claimed to have created Captain America.  Jack was, of course, annoyed by this.  I said to him, "Everyone should know who created Captain America."  Jack said, "You're damned right."  Then I said, "I did."  Jack thought this was very funny, especially given the fact that I was born in 1952.

A little while later, a fanzine phoned and did a brief interview with Jack.  One of the questions they asked him was a pretty dumb one: "Who created Captain America?"  Just to amuse me and himself, Jack told them, "Mark Evanier" and they printed it.  That one instance is the only one I can come up with.

Well, the evidence is in and I'm ready to make my ruling. I believe that whichever fanzine Folo saw accusing Jack Kirby of being a prankster  was overreacting to situations in which information that Mr. Kirby supplied was inaccurate through no fault of his own. The lone instance M.E. described was an unusual exception I hereby rule that Jack Kirby was NOT an incorrigible prankster. Next case, please.

(By the way, the photo at the top accompanies an article that Mark E. wrote in 1974 and which you can read for yourself over here.)


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