JayJay here. I’ve asked Jim to answer some of your recent questions. I’m glad you asked! I was curious about some of these things, too. Here are his answers. We will get to more questions in the future.
Marc Miyake said... (in Reference to Secrets of the Secret Wars)
Why was Mike Zeck the artist of the first SW? Given that many fans first got into comics through SW, that series was their first taste of his work - which was the case for me.
Mike was available and I thought he was capable. Mike did great work on Master of Kung-Fu. SW presented new challenges -- designing alien things and doing vast-scope action. The vast-scope action was new territory for Mike -- MOKF and his other, previous work had been single characters, all up close and personal -- so I actually thumbnailed some of the issues for him. The design stuff he did brilliantly. Witness the black Spider-Man costume.
What's the story behind the new characters introduced in SW: Titania, Volcana, and the new Spider-Woman (only a year after Jessica Drew's demise!)?
I introduce new characters often. I saw opportunities and I took them. Titania and Volcana provided ongoing romantic interests, and the new Spider-Woman...? Well, I thought we needed one.
There were a number of big props and sets on Battleworld, but I don't remember anything specifically resembling the toys. Was there any pressure to include playsets and vehicles in the comic?
I think I included some of the toy stuff, but Mattel pulled some bait and switch. They showed us things that they later ended up using for He-Man and stuck the Marvel license with cast-off gadgets and items. The important thing to them was that there were "playset" fortresses and vehicles of some sort. If things didn't match up perfectly, no big deal.
How did readers react to the unseen Beyonder in the first series and his variable appearance in the second? It's hard to come up with a single design for an ultimate being. Kirby pulled it off with Galactus and Ditko did it with Eternity, but usually such attempts end up like Dominator from BLOOD S.C.R.E.A.M. ("James S. Jackson-Weiss III" and Hoang Nguyen out-Imaged Image. Hope to see you blog about Broadway!)
Hmm. I never had any complaints regarding the Beyonder. I did the best I could. I hope it worked.
Piperson said... (in Reference to Secrets of the Secret Wars)
I really loved the new Spider-Woman and was sorry no one at Marvel seemed to know what to do with her.
And what about Spidey's new costume? How did this come about?
And what about Spidey's new costume? How did this come about?
I think the new Spider-Woman was introduced at the behest of the legal department. They feared someone else trademarking the name. I wanted every Secret Wars participant to come back a little changed by their experience. Some creators embraced the idea and ran with it, like John Byrne who did a major arc with the Thing. A fan had suggested a new, black costume for Spider-Man a year or so prior to SW. That was his entire contribution, the words "black costume." His suggestion was that it was a high-tech suit made for Spider-Man by Reed Richards. I bought the "black suit" idea from him -- my recollection is that we paid him $500. I had a note to myself in my desk drawer for a long time -- then when Secret Wars came along, I said, "Aha! Now would be a good time to use this."
Jermaine Rogers said... (in reference to The Jack Kirby Artwork Return Controversy)
BTW, did Ditko accept his artwork back with no objections?
When I told Steve he could have his old artwork back if he would sign the standard artwork return form, he said he would if I guaranteed him that no one, especially Jack Kirby, would get a special deal. If everyone had to sign the same form, he was okay with that. But if anyone, especially Jack, got a better deal, he would not sign. I assured him that as long as I had any power there, everyone, including Jack, would be treated the same and sign the same form. Jack's attorney's demanded a special, customized agreement. I dug my heels in with Marvel's attorneys, company officers and the board of directors of Cadence Industries, and I am proud to say that it was one fight I won. Jack signed the exact same agreement as Steve. And all was well.
Marc Miyake said... (in reference to Reminiscing About Jack Kirby)
You've worked with some of the greatest artists in comics. Do you ever wish you had worked with Kirby?
I worked with Jack as an editor. It might have been cool to write something he drew.
Kris Brownlow said... (in reference to Reminiscing About Jack Kirby)
Is there any truth to these rumors that people in the Marvel offices were calling him "Jack the Hack" and trying to fill his letter columns with knock letters?
Marvel paid creators, usually the writer of the series, to go through the fan mail, choose letters to print and write replies. Because Jack was in California and didn't want to do the lettercols, David Anthony Kraft was assigned (before I became EIC) to write the lettercols for Jack's books. DAK chose largely negative letters. Jack called me and complained. We fired Kraft and got someone else. Kraft's excuse was that he was writing an "honest" lettercol, reflecting the general tenor of the mail. Horseshit. A lettercol shouldn't bash the book it's in.
Jack was generally revered by those of us in Marvel's offices, especially by Len, Marv and the older guys. A few Philistines, noting the lousy sales figures, had unkind words for Jack.
Piperson said... (in reference to Reminiscing About Jack Kirby)
So Jack was working at Marvel but Stan and Jack weren't on speaking terms?
What do you mean single digits? like 1-9 issues? Didn't Stan and Jack do the Silver Surfer graphic novel at that time? How does this work into this story?
As far as I know, while Jack was working at Marvel, he and Stan were friendly or, at least, civil. The time I was referring to, that I think you're referring to, was many years later. "Single digits" refers to sell through numbers at the newsstand. Jack's books were selling under ten percent when all other Marvel titles were selling in the high forty percent or fifty-plus percent range. Thirty-some percent was break-even.
Stan and Jack did the Silver Surfer GN in the early seventies. Though Jack had previously left Marvel and done his parodies of Stan and Roy ("Funky Flashman and HouseRoy") -- which Stan found funny, by the way -- they were still on civil enough terms to work together.
Kris Brownlow said... (in reference to the Missing box of Marvel Artwork)
Hi Jim, were the police called about the theft?
No. Not by me, anyway. I alerted our office manager and he did whatever he did. I suppose I should have called the police, though I doubt they would have taken the matter seriously.
uncannyderek.com said... (in reference to Hank Pym was Not a Wife-Beater)
It's amazing how a simple "mistake" can have such a long-lasting effect.
Getting into comics late, I only knew Pym as a wife beater. It's mind-boggling that that's not the case.
Jim, what WAS your intent for Hank Pym then? What was the ultimate goal of the storyline or the future of Hank?
I wanted to take a man to the absolute bottom and then have him rise up and strive again, ultimately becoming the hero he truly was. That to me is real heroism.
Paulo said... (in reference to Hank Pym was Not a Wife-Beater)
Later in that story, Hank doesn't appear to show remorse when Jan takes her glasses off and shows she has a black eye. Can anyone explain that?
In my script, it was an accident. Hank wasn't particularly remorseful. A little embarrassed, maybe.