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Comic Legends: Marie Severin's Tribute When Jack Kirby Left Marvel

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and ninety-fifth installment where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

Sorry for the Labor Day delay in this week's Legends. Click here for Part 1 of this week's legends. Click here for Part 2 of this week's legends.

COMIC LEGEND:

Marie Severin left a tribute to Jack Kirby when he left Marvel in 1970.

STATUS:

True, but the specifics have been vague over the years

Today's legend brings into focus a few different interesting parts of the history of Marvel Comics the actual company. First, when it comes to Marie Severin, she had become a full-time staffer at Marvel sometime in the mid-to-late 1960s and it was a weird place to be for the lone female staffer on the art production side of things. She later recalled, “They say that women gossip, well networking is male gossip, and they ‘networked’ all the time. Sure, I’d have lunch with them once in a while, but the conversations were always male; it was just normal. So you’re sort of out of it.”

One of the ways that Severin would stand out (besides just being a super cheerful, awesome person who everyone loved to work because she was so friendly) was that she would do caricatures of her co-workers. This highlighted her great skill (that she shared with her older brother, legendary artist John Severin) of being able to draw great likenesses of people. It is a special skill that not all artists every really nail. Severin was adept at making a character look like a real life person, but she could also take that skill to extreme and make them into caricatures. I wrote about that aspect of Severin a few days ago here.

In that piece, I shared some of the drawings she did of her co-workers, including one I really love about how the fans reacted to Chris Claremont, Len Wein and Dave Cockrum's All-New, All-Different X-Men before they actually READ the comic books and loved them...

Meanwhile, you have to mix in the mood at Marvel when Jack Kirby finally got sick of how he was being treated by Marvel on the business side of things and quit the company. For many of the workers there, Jack Kirby WAS Marvel. The great John Buscema was shocked to learn that he was going to be drawing Fantastic Four now. He later noted that he was a bit confused at how they could even continue to publish comics without Kirby.

In Sean Howe's amazing book, Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, he wrote about what Severin did when Kirby left:

Somebody found one of the cigar butts that Kirby had left behind on his last visit to the Bullpen. "Marie Severin made a very elaborate plque out of it," [Marvel staffer at the time, comic book artist Herb] Trimpe later recalled, "labeling it 'Jack Kirby's Last Cigar a Marvel, with fancy scroll work on it. She hunt the plaque on the wall. It read, "Kirby Was Here."

I've heard variations of this basic story before, but each one seemed a bit more elaborate. Luckily, my buddy Andrew Farago was talking about this the other day on Facebook and, lo and behold, here is an actual photograph (I don't know who took it - feel free to e-mail me at brianc@cbr.com and I'll add a credit) of Marvel's bulletin board where Severin's tribute was placed!

Awesome, right?

Check out my latest TV Legends Revealed - Was Roseanne Barr's character almost killed off in the second season of her original sitcom, Roseanne?

OK, that's it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comics Database for this week's covers! And thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo, which I don't even actually use on the CBR editions of this column, but I do use them when I collect them all on legendsrevealed.com!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!

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See you all next week!

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