Comic Book Urban Legend Revealed #48!


Reader Ted Watson wrote in with the following question,

Actually, I don't know that this qualifies as an U.L. or just a mystery, since I've never encountered a suggestion that anybody else suspects it, but I've wondered about this ever since the underlying event happened in the mid-70s. At that time, DC instituted a new policy, prohibiting an editor from writing for his own comics. They even changed the job title, with "Story Editor," if memory serves. It didn't last long, and was history when Roy Thomas arrived from Marvel (Gerry Conway also edited his Firestorm revival, Fury of....). As the new policy went into effect, the first issue of Kobra was published, a comic created, plotted and pencilled by Jack Kirby, but admitted to have been reworked by scripter Martin Pasko, with the artwork retouched, by Pablo Marcos, I think. The question: Was the new rule motivated by a desire to get rid of Kirby, who was essentially running his own company out of his studio, and putting out comics that the vast majority thereof suffered from poor sales and quick cancellations (in those pre-direct-distribution-to-comic-shops days)? Please note that no disrespect whatsoever to the King on my part is intended by the above theorizing.

It was an interesting question, so I put it to everyone's favorite "guy who knows a lot about comic, specifically Jack Kirby comics," Mark Evanier.

Here is Mark's reply:

The policy was instituted after Kirby left. KOBRA was published some time after it was done. And Kirby's sales track record at the time was no worse than anyone else's. DC had dozens of comics that were quickly cancelled.

The no writer-editor policy was instituted because there were several people who wanted that status but DC's then-management felt they were not worthy. Rather than alienate those people, the publisher decided to just eliminate the position. But this was a decision made after Jack was already back at Marvel.

Thanks, Mark!

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