Stan Lee (and ... Jack Kirby?) on the Marvel/Disney deal

When the Marvel/Disney deal went down yesterday, Stan Lee, former chairman of Marvel Comics, was just as amazed as the rest of us, according to an interview with Fox Business.

"It came as a complete surprise, a very pleasant surprise," said the man responsible, along with artists such as Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, for the creation of Spider-Man, the Hulk and the Fantastic Four. "It's like two of your best friends are coming together."

When pressed as to whether the two entertainment powerhouses could mesh well due to Disney's child-friendly characters and the more adult-oriented Marvel characters, Lee defended the merger by saying that the creations weren't all that different at heart.

"Because the characters of the Hulk and the Silver Surfer and Bambi and so forth, they're characters that you have to care about," he said "And whether you're caring about an orphaned deer or you're caring about a big green monster who wishes he weren't a big green monster, it's the same thing. It's all characters that you remember and you're interested in."

You can check out Fox Business for the complete interview. But where can we go to learn what Jack "King" Kirby, the co-creator responsible for many of the characters spawned by the House of Ideas, might have thought? It turns out that Craig Yoe, writer of the recent Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman's Co-Creator Joe Shuster, can offer a clue.

Over at his blog I.T.C.H.: International Team of Comics Historians, Yoe looks back at The Art of Mickey Mouse, a coffee-table art book he orchestrated in 1991 that featured the work of Charles Schulz, R. Crumb, Andy Warhol, Moebius and—Jack Kirby. (See below.)

"I got artists from around the world to do their interpretation of 'The World's Favorite Mouse,'" said Yoe. "One of the first people I called was Jack Kirby. He and his wife Roz were very excited about the idea. He sent me two drawings, as I recall, and I chose this one. ... Jack's contribution was part of a touring exhibit of art from the book throughout Japan."

So while everybody in the world is doing their Disney/Marvel mashups in response to the merger, remember that the man who help build Marvel did it first!

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