Friday, 26 July 2013

Breaking Stan & Jack's Record

Fantastic Four #1
by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
(Marvel Comics, 1961)
(from Now I'll Ask You One with David Branstetter,  4 August 2011)
...a PART of me expected to hear from Stan Lee and/or Jack Kirby congratulating me and Ger for breaking their record no one ever thought would be broken on the Fantastic Four of 102 issues. I THOUGHT that was the kind of field that I was in: like sports, where any time someone is about to break someone else's record, the guy makes an effort to be at the stadium when it happens to offer congratulations or, at the very least, makes a phone call to offer congratulations. In this case, no one even mentioned that we had broken the record.

And that still seems to be the case, seven years after Cerebus came to an end. The reaction to Dave and Ger breaking Stan and Jack's record is that it didn't happen, that basically Cerebus doesn't exist and can be made not to exist if no one says anything about it. So far so good, I'd have to say. My recurring thought since 1987 has been, "You're an INTERESTING bunch, I'll give you that, anyway."

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby collaborated on a total of 108 issues of Marvel Comics' Fantastic Four between 1961 and 1970 (102 regular issues, and 6 annuals that featured original stories) setting the record for a creative team working on consectutive issues of a monthly comic-book. Dave Sim (with Gerhard from #65) published 300 monthly issues of Cerebus between December 1977 and March 2004. Cerebus #102 was published in September 1987.


Anonymous said...

Funny #102 (aka "the revolving issue") was the very first one I ever bought.

Thanks to Bruno at « Album » in Paris for showing me the way!

Anonymous said...

With the greatest respect to the duration and quality of the Sim-Gerhard partnership, the above is terribly egotistical.

First, I think it only makes sense to say that Dave and Gerhard "broke the record" at issue 168. Dave did the book pretty much solo for the first 64 issues, then officially collaborated with Gerhard from issue 65 on.

With all due respect, I think it's a bit much to expect that arguably the two most important comics creators ever should have been interested in the duration of the Sim-Gerhard partnership, especially considering the impact of Lee-Kirby is inarguably much greater than Sim-Gerhard.

Also, by issue 168, Jack Kirby was approximately a year away from his death. He probably had other priorities.

Finally, many other creators have enjoyed different forms of longevity in the comics field. Should Stan Lee be calling these people up to give them a pat on the back? Seems pretty silly to expect that.

Michael Hoskin said...

If we're in a mood to split hairs over when Gerhard joined, what of all of Kirby's inkers? Joe Sinnott, Dick Ayers, Steve Ditko, George Bell, Chic Stone, Frank Ray, Vince Colletta & Frank Giacoia each inked Kirby during the 102-issue run. Does it diminish Lee/Kirby's achievement when they required all those inkers to reach 102 issues?

The lack of acknowledgement Sim/Gerhard received from Lee/Kirby probably speaks to how much fans have idolized the 102-issue run over the decades; I doubt Lee & Kirby received bronze plaques in 1970: "Longest consecutive-issue creative partnership!"

(On the other hand, Stan Sakai has done 100+ Usagi Yojimbos solo)