ITEM! While we’re on the subject of credit-where-credit-is-due, let me just say a few quick words about my former co-conspirator, co-plotter and co-creator, artist extraordinaire Jack “King” Kirby. While I promise to delve much more deeply into this subject in later missives, there’s at least one manic misunderstanding about my relationship with Jolly Jack that I want to clear up in the right here and now. That misunderstanding is that Jack and Yours Truly were in any way at odds with each other on a personal basis!
Sure, there was that period in the late 60s when Jack would barely speak to me. And the 70s. And the 80s. But even the bestest of biddy buddies get a little cross with each other now and then. The important thing to Ol’ Smiley is that I knew in the warm little cockles of my heart-of-hearts that Jack and I shared a mutual respect for each other that time and unreturned phone calls could not erase. Still, I have to admit there was the ever-slightest teensey-weensey bit of discord between us. What can I say? We artistic types can be like that.
Fortunately for all concerned, Jolly Jack and I were able to finally bury the hatchet before his untimely passing. By "bury the hatchet" I mean that Roz stopped hanging up on me when I called and Jack stopped putting his cigars out in my salad plate when we would grab a bite to eat together out in L.A. I remember the exact moment we put all past sins behind us and finally shook hands on it. This was in the early 90s when Jack was just starting to get back what was left of his original pencil pages from Marvel. Not that any of that happened on my watch, mind you (I’m looking right at you, Jim “Shoot-First-and-Ask-Questions-Later” Shooter). Anyway, Jack offered me one of his Roi-Tan cigars and a quick glance at Roz’s stern expression told me that I’d best not take a pass on the proffered peace pipe.
Now the Smiling One has been known to enjoy the occasional Cuban, but I haven’t really been much of a smoker since we finally outlawed pot from the Marvel Bullpen circa 1969. Still, I lit up one of Jack’s Roi-Tan’s as a gesture of good will, took a puff, and then I swear to God I almost died on the spot. And let me warn the older among you: Roi-Tan and Poly-Grip DO NOT mix well. My advice? If you survived serving in Patton’s 3rd Army during World War II like Jack did, then a Roi-Tan probably won’t kill you either. Otherwise, leave them alone, True Believer! And I knew better, to-boot. Back during the last couple of years Jack was at Merry Marvel, I remember when a packet of his peerless pencils would arrive from sunny California and we would open it. Talk about a room-clearer. It was like somebody set off a Roi-Tan nerve gas bomb. We should have worked that into a Sgt. Fury comic somewhere along the line. Hell, maybe we did. All I know is that it was a good thing that Joltin’ Joe Sinnott was born with a deviated septum and almost no sense of smell, and that Vinnie Colletta chain-smoked with his Mob friends like there was no tomorrow. Otherwise we’d have never gotten an inker to touch Jack’s notoriously nicotine-laden pages. I don’t really know Marvelous Mike Royer all that well, but that man must have cast iron lungs too!
Any-hoo, as a tribute to the late, great Jack Kirby, Irving Forbush has placed something called a “link” below to an old Roi-Tan commercial (from way back when they allowed that sort of thing on TV). The characters in it are practically ripped right from a Krazy Kirby Komic! Enjoy!