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A few words about Jack Kirby...
July 14th, 2012 6:50PM

Many of you have heard of Jack Kirby, but Arlen Schumer wants to make sure, given that Stan Lee is in the spotlight as the writer behind classic Marvel characters like Spiderman. Schumer and others involved with the Jack Kirby virtual museum, have been working on it this week at the San Diego Comic-Con.

Schumer, the author of The Silver Age of Comic Book Art, aims to put Kirby and other comic book artists (for example, Dick Spranger, who gave Batman shape through the Fifties) in the spotlight. Even in his book on comic art, he uses illustration heavily to emphasize the importance of the drawing.

"Written word is just the initial structure. Until an artist visualized a script, you don't have what is called a comic book," he said. "Unfortunately, in our society, the writer is elevated above the artist."

He compares his theory of auteurship to the auteurship theory voiced by French movie critics, and likens comic book artists to great film directors. "Kirby should be considered the auteur of Marvel Comics, not Stan Lee, the writer," he says. Schumer notes that Kirby lost that battle in court last year, but hopes readers--and moviegoers--will take an interest in Kirby and his work.

"People have no idea that Kirby created the visual iconography that makes that vision possible," he said.

However, Schumer doesn't want to take away from writers. "Everybody thinks that I want to strip the writer of all credit. The writer is still the writer, just not the auteur."

To read more about the Jack Kirby Museum, go to http://kirbymuseum.org/

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