Marvel Worldwide, Inc. et al v. Kirby et al

Filing 65

DECLARATION of Randi W. Singer in Support re: 60 MOTION for Summary Judgment.. Document filed by MVL Rights, LLC, Marvel Characters, Inc., Marvel Entertainment, Inc., Marvel Worldwide, Inc., The Walt Disney Company. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit 2, # 3 Exhibit 3, # 4 Exhibit 4, # 5 Exhibit 5, # 6 Exhibit 6, # 7 Exhibit 7, # 8 Exhibit 8, # 9 Exhibit 9, # 10 Exhibit 10, # 11 Exhibit 11, # 12 Exhibit 12, # 13 Exhibit 13, # 14 Exhibit 14, # 15 Exhibit 15, # 16 Exhibit 16-1, # 17 Exhibit 16-2, # 18 Exhibit 16-3, # 19 Exhibit 16-4, # 20 Exhibit 17, # 21 Exhibit 18, # 22 Exhibit 19, # 23 Exhibit 20, # 24 Exhibit 21, # 25 Exhibit 22, # 26 Exhibit 23, # 27 Exhibit 24, # 28 Exhibit 25, # 29 Exhibit 26, # 30 Exhibit 27, # 31 Exhibit 28, # 32 Exhibit 29, # 33 Exhibit 30)(Quinn, James)

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Marvel Worldwide, Inc. et al v. Kirby et al Doc. 65 Att. 2 EXHIBIT 2 Page 1 1 2 3 4 5 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK MARVEL WORLDWIDE, INC., MARVEL CHARACTERS, INC. and MVL RIGHTS, LLC, ) ) ) ) No. 10-141-CMKF Plaintiffs, ) ) vs. ) ) LISA R. KIRBY, BARBARA J. ) KIRBY, NEAL L. KIRBY and ) SUSAN N. KIRBY, ) ) Defendants. ) -----------------------------) 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 CONFIDENTIAL VIDEOTAPED DEPOSITION OF JOHN V. ROMITA Garden City, New York Thursday, October 21, 2010 Reported by: KRISTIN KOCH, RPR, RMR, CRR, CLR JOB NO. 34124 TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 16 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential A. parachute. Freelancer. No -- flying without a No Absolutely no security. unemployment insurance, because I didn't have a job. No perks, no medical insurance, no Every year I would save 2- or $300 nothing. and then the government would raise the unemployed -- the -- I forget what the tax was. There was a tax that was applicable to freelance people, and that tax went up just about whatever I had saved, so I generally broke even every year. Q. And how were you paid? What was the basis for your compensation? A. I would do a certain amount of pages I at a certain rate, $25 a page, $30 a page. would do ten pages, $300. I would sign a voucher for $300 worth of work and they would pay me two weeks later or something. would be responsible for the taxes. believe they took the taxes out. Q. And I I don't I'm not sure. Did you Where did you do your work? do it in the Marvel office? A. Q. No. I worked home. Did you ever go into the Marvel TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 17 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential offices? A. Only to deliver the work, and occasionally have to stay in the bullpen where there was tables, other people doing production work, I would do corrections that Stan would demand. If he didn't like a certain look or a That was certain line, I would change things. common. Q. How -- can you describe briefly what the process was for creating a comic book in the 1950s? A. It was a shooting script similar to It was a script with a a film shooting script. title and a certain amount of pages allocated and they would say page 1, panel 1, the man walks through the door of the building and tells people "good morning everyone," that kind of thing. There are three people in the room. They give you -- they gave you directions on what is appearing. Then they had a caption at the top nine times out of ten which said "early one morning," something like that, "next day," and then there were balloons to the characters. So I would have to decide on the size of the TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 18 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential panels, depending on what was going on, where to place the captions and the balloons to the people, the dialogue balloons, and allocate the space for the illustration to explain what was happening in the story, to describe it. Q. A. Do you know who wrote those scripts? There was maybe a half a dozen There writers working for Stan at the time. were western writers, there were mystery writers, there were war stories, romance. remember three or four names vaguely. Bernstein and -- I don't remember most of them. Most of the stories I did Stan Lee would write. Q. scripts? A. chief. staff. Stan Lee. He was the editor in Who decided which artist got which So I He was the editor and only writer on The rest were -- all these other They writers were freelancers, like myself. were home working, Connecticut, Carolina, California, wherever they were. So everybody was working at home except for Stan and a production manager, which was Sol Brodsky at the time, and his secretary. TSG Reporting - Worldwide It was a very 877-702-9580 Page 19 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential small operation up at Timely. Q. Very small. After you did your drawings from the script, then what happened? A. I would turn in the pencils so that they could have them lettered in ink, and then if I were inking it, I would get the pages back and I would ink them. After a while, especially when I was working at DC, I would pencil and ink them and leave space for a letterer to do the balloons, because I had become so familiar with the exact allocation of space, so it saved time. I didn't have to go back and pick up the pages again. Q. Did you ever do that while you were at Marvel in the 1950s? A. I think I probably did occasionally towards the end of the '70s -- the first seven years when I got so familiar and Stan trusted me, I think I -- he would say "don't bother bringing it in to be lettered, just ink it up and we will have it lettered." It was just a matter of expediency and saving time. Q. Do you know who came up with the ideas for the stories? TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential A. I think -- my memory is that the writers would submit a synopsis, like a half-a-page synopsis saying this is going to be a story about a cattle baron and rustlers and Indians and Stan would say "I like that story, add a pretty girl," that kind of stuff, and then they would write the story. did all the selection. Stan probably He might have -- he might have even written some synopses himself and handed them out to writers to do this. Stan's brother was a young writer and he would do the same thing. He would give his younger brother a synopsis and the younger brother would do the script. Q. A. guess. Q. What would happen to the script when Do you know his brother's name? Larry Leiber. Lawrence Leiber, I you brought it back after it was inked and penciled, penciled and inked? A. Well, that's interesting. I'm not sure. I assume Maybe they just destroyed it. he just saved it for future use. I do remember after six or seven years that I would get TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 21 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential eerily similar story lines. If I would do a western, I'd say to Stan, "you know, I could swear I did this story before." They would change the names -- some writer would change the names and give -- or maybe it's just a coincidence that they had the same idea five years later, but I did remember doing a lot of duplication. It was a sausage factory kind of Very hard to thing, just churning them out. keep tabs on things. Q. Mostly memory. When you would bring the pencils back to the office, would anybody look at them? A. Q. A. Stan Lee. And what would he do? He would tell me if there was He would anything that needed to be corrected. tell me "don't do this too much in the future, do more of this, do more of that." I remember one time I -- for some reason I was doing a documentary type of thing or a science fiction type of thing and I did a little bit more elaborate rendering on the inking, which was a terrible mistake, because Stan Lee said "I love that technique" and I said "oh, my God," and he TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 23 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential adventures in the west, love stories and war stories. Q. So it was rather generic. Okay. So can you give me an example during that time period of a correction that Stan might have asked for? A. He would ask for sometimes a smile In other words, on a face instead of a frown. if an artist is not thinking, sometimes he doesn't read every little subtlety in the description or in the dialogue. He might just do an automatic expression or no expression and he would say "you need more expression." was always very good. careful. Stan Most editors were not as They would take your work and never say -- they would grunt and take it and you don't know if you were right or wrong. Stan would always make sure you knew if you were right and when you were wrong, he told you, which was how I learned. Practically everything I learned was because of that extra attention he gave to things. He used to say "it's okay now, but don't do this in the future," that kind of stuff, which was always good instructions. TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 32 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential Q. Was that also the case when you were at Marvel in the 1950s, that if you got -- if you did the work, you would be paid for it? A. Q. A. Oh, yes. Even if they didn't use it? Well, unless it was a very badly-done job, I don't -- I don't remember ever seeing that. I think Alex Toth, one of the best artists in the world, once submitted a story to Roy Thomas and it was so different than Roy had asked for that he never used the story. I don't know if he paid him or not. I think he did, but that would have been an occasion when, I think, the editor or the writer would have had a right to say, "well, listen, you did this so absolutely contrary to what we wanted, we can't use it." just thrown it back at him. He may have I don't know. Because Alex Toth was one of those individualists who didn't believe in listening to anybody else. Q. That would have been later, that wouldn't have been in the 1950s? A. No. I think that was in the '60 -TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 39 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential other, going up the West Side Highway. I would have never done it, but Jack Kirby does it and Stan Lee accepted it. And I ended up doing the drawing and made it work and they loved the story. Q. Now, why was it necessary to have a pacing guide? A. Because I was not familiar with the way Stan wanted the stuff done and I had not -I had not seen the books. See, I never -- I never knew what was making them tick, the same way as DC didn't think -- didn't know. Q. Did you get a script when you were back -- this is 1965 -- at Marvel? A. No. It was a plot. Wait a second. I'm not sure. Q. A. I think it was a plot. And what do you mean by a plot? A plot is either a written At description of what the story is saying. the beginning, there will be a fight for five pages, Daredevil will end up wounded, will go limping to his girlfriend's house and she will dress his wounds. events. Just a general sequence of Generally a page long, maybe a page TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 40 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential and a half. plot. Q. A. Or like I foolishly did, a verbal We would get together and trade ideas. Who would get together? Stan and I would get together in a room and say, okay, the villain is going to be The Lizard and The Lizard is going to turn into The Lizard on page 3. He is a doctor, a one-armed doctor, and he turns into The Lizard and his family is kidnapped and he is now tearing up the city trying to find his family. That's about all we would get. And then I would have to do the nuts and bolts sequential between every episode -- every little thing that happens you have to tie them together and make them sensible, so the artist's problem -I was terrified because I had always worked with a script. This was the first time I was deciding what was going to go on the splash, what was going to go on page 2, what was going to go on page 3. It was very difficult for me, very hard, but it turned out to be the greatest thing for the industry and for me, because the comic -- the comic medium had been a script first and visual second and this made it visual TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 41 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential first and script second, which was probably the greatest innovation, completely done for expediency sake. Had nothing to do with They didn't -- he So he anything except expedience. didn't have time to write the scripts. was feeding plots to artists to keep them busy temporarily. At first he used to say "I will send you a script in two days, so start the story," and it ended up being the entire story would be verbally dictated over the phone or in a personal interview with the artist. Q. plots? A. Only expedience. Because he was Why would he switch from scripts to doing seven or eight major titles all by himself. Q. A. And "he" is Stan? He used to split -- Stan Lee. Stan Lee would split the week sometimes and work two days home, three days in the office, sometimes two days in the office and three days at home, whatever it was. He would write four scripts in one day, bring them in the next day, and then the following day he would then stay home TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 42 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential and do four or five more scripts. But when he was behind, when he couldn't keep up with the artists and he did not want the artists to stay idle, because the deadlines were looming, he would give them a descriptive verbal or written -- quickly-written synopsis of what to do. And that's how the plot first and script second, script third came about, which was called the Marvel method, which I believe made the comic industry what it is today. I believe there would be no comic industry if it weren't for that. Q. Was that how all of the comic books at Marvel were done in the mid '60s? A. scripted. I think so. There were some Rawhide Kid was still being written Some of the other second by Larry Leiber. line -- teenage romance books were still done, I think, by script. I'm pretty sure. I'm not too sure -- I'm not a hundred percent sure on that, but I believe that's the way it was -the ones that Stan had to write were generally plot -- plot first, plot, pencils, script. Q. And when you say "script" in that TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 44 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential the writer and it took a little bit of hard work from pencilers to do it, but it ended up being good for a penciler too, because it stretched his muscles and stretched his capabilities and his results. MS. SINGER: tape? THE VIDEOGRAPHER: minutes left. MS. SINGER: THE WITNESS: Do you need a break? No, not yet. If We have 24 How are we doing on the anybody else wants a break, I will wait. BY MS. SINGER: Q. So when you got back to Marvel in the mid '60s, Stan asked you to do Daredevil. How long did you stay on Daredevil? A. I did twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen -- I think I did from twelve to eighteen. I was off the book and on Spider-Man. Q. Spider-Man? A. He and the Spider-Man artist And why did you switch to Nineteen disagreed on almost everything. TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 45 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential Q. A. Q. A. with him -Q. A. Q. A. With -With Stan. That's okay. Stan and Steve Ditko were doing I'm sorry. "He" is? Steve Ditko. Okay. Steve Ditko had started Spider-Mad Spider-Man for 38 issues plus annuals, 40-plus issues, and it was the second most -- second best selling book in the Marvel stable. Stan asked me to use Spider-Man as a guest star in Daredevil for two issues, number 16 and number 17, I believe, and I put Spider-Man in and drew him as well as I could and it turned out that he was feeling me out as a possible replacement. I didn't know that he and Ditko were at odds so extremely, but they ended up not being able to work together because they disagreed on almost everything, cultural, social, historically, everything, they disagreed on characters, so he asked me "do you think you could do the book?" TSG Reporting - Worldwide I assumed 877-702-9580 Page 46 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential foolishly that Ditko would not stay away too long, because if I would have had a hit series that was three years and growing in audience, I would have never left it, so I attributed the same kind of sense to him, which turns out he had no intention of coming back. I thought I was going to do a short couple of months fill in and I'd go back on Daredevil, once again showing I don't know what I am talking about. And I ended up doing seven straight years and maybe fifteen years on and off on Spider-Man. Q. How did it go when you first started drawing Spider-Man? A. It was very difficult, because Ditko's -- I felt obliged -- I felt the reader needs not to have a jarring change on a hit book. If you are a Spider-Man fan and you are buying it for three years, I don't think you would like to see a different style and a different approach. I felt the obligation of all artists who replace another artist to simulate and use the same style, at least temporarily, at least for a while, and I didn't expect I would have to stay on it long enough, TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 55 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential needed what we call the indoctrination, meaning the Stan Lee approach to comics and how to handle it, how to approach the story, the excitement level and the dynamics of the story, and I used to be able to slowly -- slowly but surely I got used to every instruction Stan gave and I would start to do it whenever he wasn't around, so I became a de facto art director without pay, without portfolio, without anything. Q. And -- What were your responsibilities as the de facto art director? A. Well, they were nothing written out. I just ended up doing some of the things that Stan would do if he were in the office. Whenever he was not in the office, they would come to me and ask me "tell this guy what Stan would like," and so young artists used to come to me and it led to eventually an apprentice program which I supervised later on after Stan Lee level. Q. So when Stan was there you mentioned that one of your duties was a correction artist. What was a correction artist? TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 56 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential A. Sometimes artists would bring in the story and leave out something or put in something that he objected to and he would ask me to make a change. Q. A. Stan would? Stan Lee would ask me to -- sometimes he didn't like a girl's face, some artists are very good at girls, at drawing girls, and some are not so good. So if a guy did a girl that he thought was not as glamorous or not as effective as it should be, he would ask me to make the changes. I used to change a lot of people's faces for which I got a reputation of being an egomanic. I was initiating it. They thought I was just following And so I -- whenever orders like a Nazi guard. somebody's costume was wrong or whenever the setting was wrong or if it was a nighttime scene and it should have been a daytime scene, all of these little things fell into my lap to the point where we would then hire some people to be around to help out. More than one person I also was was hired to help me out with that. given the assignment of doing cover sketches. TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 59 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential done, then you can -- then you know what costume to put on the person and what situation to do because it has not been done until the penciling gets done. Q. You mentioned villains. Who had the idea for what villains were? come about? A. story. How did villains Stan Lee or whoever was writing the Eventually other editors and writers So whoever was writing a would be on staff. story and introducing a character would come to me and say "we would like a character called The Rhino" or "we would like a character called The Shocker." Sometimes they came and said "we have a character we would like to have, he is a vigilante, we want to call him The Grim Reaper." He turned out to be The Punisher. Some They would just come in with a name. editors later on -- Stan would just give me a name. Very seldom had any visual to offer me. He would give me a name and say "The Rhino" and I would do -- devise some kind of a costume that showed rhino elements and a villain element. Nine times out of ten he accepted my TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 60 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential drawing. Occasionally he would say, "no, that doesn't look right, add a little this, put a cloak on him, don't put a cloak on him, put a mask on him, don't put a mask on him." So it was give and take, but invariably most of my ideas were accepted. Q. And in the 1960s, the late 1960s, would anybody other than Stan have been giving you the ideas? A. It's hard to tell when Roy started Probably before 1970 Roy was to make requests. asking for things too and we used to work together with cover ideas. Sometimes we would work out sketches in a very rough way and give them out to artists, each artist that needed a cover idea. in the '60s. 90 percent of the time it was Stan Once the '70s came Stan was not always in the office and always very busy probably as each conglomerate that took over the company -- Marvel would have different demands on him and give him a different position. He would go from editor in chief to president of the company in some instances, so his duties changed and whoever was left with TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 61 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential editor in chief assignment I would then be at his mercy and at his beck and call. Q. At Marvel in the 1960s who was responsible for deciding which artists would draw which stories? MR. TOBEROFF: Objection to 1960s as -- do you mean after 1965 when he worked there? MS. SINGER: question. A. Stan Lee decided. As far as I You can answer the remember, in the '60s Stan Lee would decide. Later on when Stan was not in the office as much sometimes the production manager would make a decision like that, because he was keeping tabs on who was available and who had time, who was fast, who was slow. So other people did make that decision later on. Q. Were there any other artists who were working in the offices full-time? MR. TOBEROFF: Vague as to time. MS. SINGER: question. TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Same objection. You can answer the Page 64 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential couldn't take those weeks where I couldn't produce enough to pay my bills. rather casual. So it was all The same thing -- Marie went from being a production person and a colorist to a penciler in a gradual circuitous way. Larry Leiber suddenly wanted to become an artist and he started -- he gave up his writing assignments and became an artist. worked there. Herb Trimpe And we had all of the look of a bullpen, but it sort of like grew like a fungus. It didn't -- it wasn't ever planned. Things just occurred. It just happened. Q. What was the mechanism for payment for your freelance work? A. Whatever pages I did outside the office I would vouch for. Q. them? A. If I did ten pages on a weekend, I What was the process of vouching for would vouch ten pages of Spider-Man and -- I don't know how they did the bookkeeping, because some of it was done on staff and some of it was done on freelance. mayhem we caused in the -TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 God knows what Page 65 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential Q. Was there a form that you filled out or was there a voucher? A. It was a voucher, an actual small slip with the name of the book, the number and month of the book, how many pages, your rate, and you sign it. Q. And then what would happen after you filled out the voucher? A. I would submit it to the editor and the editor would process it through the bookkeeping department and they would send me a check. Checks used to be like every two weeks I'm not even sure. or something, once a month. It varied. Especially with different incarnations of conglomerates. Q. Do you recall would there be anything printed on the check? A. There was a disclaimer on the back. No disclaimer. MR. TOBEROFF: MS. SINGER: question. A. It was -- it was fairly clear. It Vague as to time. You can answer the was saying that we were giving up the rights to TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 66 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential anything that was done in the books, the future rights to them, so we -- I wanted to cash the check, so I signed it. Q. I am going to show you something that, for the record, has already been marked as Plaintiff's Exhibit 2 at the deposition of Stan Lee on May 13, 2010. Mr. Romita, don't worry about the front of this. I just would like you to turn to the last page of Plaintiff's Exhibit 2. A. Q. signature. A. The back of the old checks. Okay. I know this isn't your It's a little hard to read. No, that's John D'Agostino. MR. TOBEROFF: I would like to object to this exhibit because the -despite the inferences in the affidavit, which I find somewhat misleading, the check is actually, I believe, a 1987 check. If you look at the markings on the back of the check, it says City National, JE-87, so it's a 1987 check we are talking about. Q. So, Mr. Romita, I know it's a little hard to read, so, for the record, of the back TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 67 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential of the check, we are looking at Plaintiff's Exhibit 2, says: "By acceptance and endorsement of this check, payee acknowledges, (a) full payment for payee's employment by Marvel Entertainment Group, Inc., (b) that all payee's work has been within the scope of that employment, and (c) that all payee's works are and shall be considered as works made for hire, the property of Marvel Entertainment Group, Inc." A. Q. Do you see that? Yes. I read it many times. And is that similar to what you recall being on the backs of your checks? MR. TOBEROFF: "Similar." A. Basically it's the same. Same -- it Objection. Vague. always went over the same territory and to the point where some of my colleagues were threatening not to cash the checks. Q. Do you recall approximately when it was that your colleagues were threatening not to -A. I think somewhere in the late '70s. They would threaten, but, of course, they would TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 68 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential cash the checks eventually. Smith thought it was unreal. Barry Windsor I don't know what he was creating, what he felt he was creating, but the point is they tried it. I never -- it never occurred to me not to sign the check. Q. In the '60s when you were drawing Spider-Man and Daredevil, who did you think owned the rights to Spider-Man and Daredevil? A. Marvel Comics. MR. TOBEROFF: I am just going to make a running objection so I don't have to interrupt the flow of this. When you say "in the '60s," my objection is we are really talking about after 1965, so I am going to have a running objection. Whenever you say "in the '60s," my objection is it's vague as to time. MS. SINGER: Okay. You can have a standing objection to that. MR. TOBEROFF: Q. Thanks. Mr. Romita, did Stan ever reassign a book or a character that you were working on to somebody else? A. Yeah. He would have replacements 877-702-9580 TSG Reporting - Worldwide Page 69 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential for me, substitutes, guest artists do Spider-Man if he needed me on another book. Occasionally Captain America and then at one time Fantastic Four obviously needed to be done and he would ask me to do them and someone would fill in on Spider-Man for me during those periods. I sometimes did three, four or five months on Captain America and I did four issues, I believe, on Fantastic Four. Spider-Man was done by John Buscema and Gil Kane in those instances. Q. Do you know why he would reassign books or have artists do different things? A. I never questioned it. I assumed it was because Captain America needed help and he didn't have a proper artist to do Captain America to his liking and he liked the way I did Captain America, so he would -- he used to use me like a bullpen pitcher. and relieve. I would come in Whatever he felt was a bad situation, I would do the book and revive it and sometimes he used me to do -- to establish a certain style and direction in the book and then he would give it to somebody like Jim TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 70 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential Steranko or somebody else to carry it on after I would go back on Spider-Man. Q. We talked about this a little bit, but who would write the dialogue? A. The person who wrote the script, Stan Lee in his cases, Roy Thomas in his cases. They wrote all the dialogue. Q. A. Did artists ever write dialogue? The only thing we used to do, because we worked from a plot, we used to write notes above and below the artwork and sometimes in the margins to -- we would make notes and say -- to remind him what we had talked about in the plot and this is my response to it and this is how I'm building up to it. So yes, remember that this is -- we are now going into the fight phase and such and such, on the next page we would go to -- so there were instructions by the artists as a reminder to the writer what we plotted, or if we were deviating from it slightly. Say I needed to add a panel here because we forgot how he was going to get from the east side to the west side in thirty seconds. You know, that kind of 877-702-9580 TSG Reporting - Worldwide Page 71 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential stuff. So a lot of writers disregarded those things, and when you do the artwork, you are faced with the reality of actual bridges and connections. You can't just make believe -- Spider-Man used to swing to Manhattan from Queens, go on the rooftop, take an elevator down and come out as Peter Parker, and I used to tell Stan -- and I was such a fanatic for believability and sense, common sense, I said, "Stan, what did he do, how did he -- where is his costume?" He said, "it's underneath." And then he would forget. Sometimes he would have him go into a doctor's office and take off his shirt and be examined and I would say, "Stan, he has got the costume on underneath." never thought of those things. He I had him so browbeat with my reality check that he once made me for a year take off Peter Parker's shoes and I had to put them on -- tie the shoelaces and put them around his neck so that as Peter Parker he could walk up a wall, because somebody told him -- after all the times I had tried to make him think realistically, somebody told him, "well, how TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 72 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential can he walk up the walls when he has got shoes on?" His spider abilities doesn't -- he should The point is I have even taken his socks off. had to do the damn shoes for at least a year or six months. That's the -- I also created a web pack where Peter Parker would take his clothes and put them in a web sack and put them around on his back like a knapsack so that when he got to New York he could take his clothes out of the web sack, put them on and leave his -- and go downstairs, you know. In other words, now at least you know he could put his clothes on. Where the hell were his clothes all the time? You know. So I was a realist and Stan was The reader Well, I think So that's That's always -- "it's not important. doesn't think of those things." of them. I can't stand it that way. the kind of stuff we used to have. where all of the changes come from. Q. So what would Stan do with notes or the dialogue in the margins? A. I used to write notes that I thought I'd say "maybe he should say were clever. 'what's up'," you know, something like that. TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 73 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential They sounded clever to me while I was doing the drawing. clever. 3 in the morning everything sounds He invariably would not use them, and I asked him once "why wouldn't you use -- why wouldn't you let him" -- he said something similar. He said, "because I can't speak in He says, "when I somebody else's vernacular." am writing my characters, I am writing in Peter Parker's personality and Aunt May's personality and I write the captions in my personality. If I start putting your personality in there, I am going to confuse the reader." So he used to -- he told me -- he invariably did not use anything that was in the margins that was cleverly suggested by the artists, because he said he did not want to stray from his normal approach. reader. He had a dialogue going with the Saying "dear reader, this is your He used to do I used to editor speaking right now." that. It used to drive me crazy. tell him "you are puncturing the illusion." It's like opening a door in the theater and letting the sunlight in and everybody realizes they are watching a movie now. TSG Reporting - Worldwide I said "you are 877-702-9580 Page 74 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential ruining" -- he said, "it doesn't matter. talking to my readers." Q. Do you know whether it was just your Would he use anybody I am dialogue he wouldn't use? else's dialogue in the margins? A. I don't think so. MR. TOBEROFF: speculation. A. I don't think so. I don't think he Calls for ever -- I think he -- more than once I've heard him saying he avoided anybody else's expressions in the scripts. Q. Who had the final say on what the dialogue would be, what the characters would say? A. Stan. MR. TOBEROFF: A. Vague as to time. Stan edited the book until the minute it was yanked out of his hands to take to the publisher and nobody had anything to say after that. Q. A. When did you first meet Jack Kirby? Shortly after -- between July of '65 and January of '66 I brought some artwork in TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 75 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential and Jack was sitting doing a correction the way I eventually would do all the corrections on a Steve Ditko cover, Jack was making a change, and I was introduced to Jack Kirby, who ten years earlier, twelve years earlier had been my idol when I was a kid and Captain America came out. It was like meeting, you know, the president of the United States. Q. Why would Jack Kirby have been making changes to a Steve Ditko cover? A. tradition. Because of Stan's long-honored Whoever was caught in the office when he needed a change was subject to the assignment. If you came in, you had to have a If you didn't have a pencil But Jack was Stan didn't pencil with you. with you, you were out of luck. amenable to making the change. like something Ditko had done on the cover and Jack changed it. Whenever I -- even in the first seven years before Marvel Comics existed I would go in and deliver a mystery story, four pages, and hope for another script. Stan would say, "while you are here, can you do me a favor and change -- this is Arthur Peddy's romance TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 76 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential story here. Would you change this expression, would you change this figure, would you add a car in this scene." No pay. He did it all the time. You know, and "Just do me a favor." the inference was you want a script, do me some corrections. Q. Did you ever make any changes to any of Jack Kirby's work? A. Yes. And it was hard for me, I used to Now, Jack because I idolized the man's stuff. change occasionally girl's faces. used to do girls that I loved. girls. I loved his But Stan used to find sometimes something that he didn't like, an expression, two wide a face, too narrow a face, mostly too wide, and he would ask me to adjust it. liked the way I did one of the female characters in Captain America better than the way Jack did it, so I would occasionally change the faces. Much to my chagrin, people accused He me of being an egomaniac, again, because they thought I was the one changing it. Since I was a de facto art director, they said, "look this Romita, he is changing everybody's work." TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 77 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential Barry Smith almost put a contract out on me because I changed somebody -- a girl's face on a Conan cover. To this day I still don't know We are friends, but I why he is talking to me. know he wanted to kill me then. Q. Whose idea were those changes? Were they ever yours? A. Uh-uh, never. I would never change anybody -- I had to change Jack Kirby's work, Gene Colan's work, John Buscema's work. idolized all of these guys. violated me to have to do it. I I would -- it I cringed. And I will tell you, the worst thing is initially we didn't have the equipment or the technology to do it less obtrusively, because originally we didn't have photostats and xeroxes to work with. I erased things. To this minute I -- the hair on the back of my neck stands up when I am thinking I am erasing a Jack Kirby face and putting my face in there. a criminal act. choice. That, to me, is I did it because I had no We had no Stan asked me to change it. technology. As soon as I was art director and Stan was on the west coast and we had the TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 78 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential technology to have a photostat, I devised a system with iodine to erase things on a photostat with iodine and I would get a clean photostat, perfect surface, and eliminate a face. So I would take a photostat of a page or a panel, I would iodine the face out, I would put in the face that stand wanted or the editor -- Roy Thomas or whoever was the editor then, and we would paste that over the artwork. At least I could say to myself when the art goes back to the guy I idolized, he could peel it off and you could see his original art. Then I felt better. But until we had the technology, I used to actually deface artwork that I idolized. And it was not fun, but I did my duty as I was instructed. Q. Did it ever occur to you not to do it if Stan asked you to? A. It occurred to me, but I never You know, one thing I I did not figured it was worth it. gotta constantly remind people of. envision a world where anyone would not only care or even remember that there was a comic industry. From the '50s on I assumed the comic TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 80 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential Stan were buddies. Every time he visited, "I want to give him a daily, I want to give him a Sunday." I would take one of my Sunday pieces He I of art and sign it "to Andre, John Romita." would sign it, and we would give it to him. gave away artwork that is now selling for $50,000. I gave them away in the office. That's my -- that was my -- my take on the future of comics and the future worth of the artwork was absolutely who is gonna give a damn about this. In five years nobody will even So help me. That was remember we lived here. my take. So as much as I cringed changing it, I never felt serious guilt because I thought who is gonna care. That's my defense. I mean, maybe I would still get convicted of a crime. I don't know. Q. That would be my defense. Do you know whether Jack Kirby was working from -- do you know how he would get his stories in the 1960s? MR. TOBEROFF: to time and calls -A. No, no, he was plotting them the With Stan. TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Calls for -- vague as same as I was. Page 81 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential MS. SINGER: and then -THE WITNESS: MS. SINGER: MR. TOBEROFF: Oh, I'm sorry. That's okay. It's not my peace. I Let him say his peace make certain objections as to form in a deposition, so I am just objecting to the form of the question and then after I object, you can answer, but I have to get my -- sorry to interrupt. I have to get my objection in before you answer. THE WITNESS: interrupted you. MR. TOBEROFF: vague as to time. So my objection is Calls for speculation. I'm sorry I Calls for opinion testimony. A. I was present at at least two plotting sessions of John -- Jack and Stan Lee. They were the same as my plotting sessions and the same as Gene Colan's and Herb Trimpe's and John Buscema. John Buscema actually did his plotting by phone, because he lived two hours away from the city. But anybody else who went in, Colan would come in, Jack Kirby would come TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 82 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential in, I was at the office, we would plot in Stan's office, and with Stan and Jack, most of the time -- some of the times Jack would -Stan would drive both of us home on a Friday night or whatever night he was in plotting. They would finish or almost finish and then Stan would say, "come on, I will drive you guys home." He would drop me off first and then he would take Jack, who lived about twenty minutes past me in the same general area of Long Island. So I was in the back seat of Stan's Cadillac on two occasions that I remember distinctly, maybe more, where they were continuing what they had not finished in the office, continued plotting. I remember one particular Fantastic Four plot about the birth of the son of the two major characters in the Fantastic Four. Mr. Fantastic and The Invisible Girl were having a baby and it was a boy and they were discussing whether the boy would be gifted, a mutant like they were and gifted with powers and talents, or whether he would be a normal boy, and I remember the reference -- I even referred to them and said TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 83 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential it's like the Munsters. There was -- in the Munsters television show they were all bizarre mutated people except for the little boy who was raised -- or there was a girl. there was a girl. person. I think She was the only normal So I said you could make the kid a And then normal guy in a family of mutants. they said they considered that, and then said, "well, I don't know" -- and I was thinking to myself, wow, wouldn't it be great if they had him and you never know if the kid has powers and slowly but surely he would exhibit -- for instance, he would levitate a glass or something. And so I am thinking all these things while they are talking and I remember them talking. One guy would make a suggestion, Jack would say, "that's not a bad idea, but what if we did it this way," and then Stan would say, "okay, but only if we did it that way" and "only if we did it this way." They were both talking different plots and it's -and the reason I know it is because when Stan and I would plot, I foolishly did it from memory. I never recorded it. TSG Reporting - Worldwide Gene Colan was 877-702-9580 Page 85 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential his setting, I would do everything he would ask for, but I had to do the nuts and bolts of the story. When it comes to characters, he would ask me "give me a character called The Shocker." I would create -- he would tell me the -- he has the powers to shock people with electric bolts from his wrists. shocks people. Q. A. Stan would tell you that? Yeah, he would say that's what So I would create a costume I didn't So he The Shocker is. for it. I didn't create the name. create anything else. powers. I didn't create the I put him I Stan I just created the costume. in a quilted outfit, believe it or not. thought it was going to be laughed at. accepted. He was quilted so he could absorb The next time it would be He his own shocks. The Rhino. He is a man in a rhino skin. could drive himself through a wall. head right through a wall. Just butt I just did a guy in a rhino skin with his face showing through the open mouth of the rhino. accepted it. Brilliant. Stan And then he would take the TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 86 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential character and make him valid. He would make him valid by his behavior, by his dialogue, by his -- the results of what he does, the mayhem he caused, and he would give the guy a personality. Q. A. That's all it was. Who owned those characters? Marvel Comics. MR. TOBEROFF: Calls for a legal opinion. THE WITNESS: MR. TOBEROFF: Q. I'm sorry. It's okay. What was your understanding of who owns those characters? MR. TOBEROFF: opinion. MS. SINGER: A. You can answer. Calls for a legal I assumed Marvel Comics owned them. I know Stan didn't own them and I didn't own them. Q. When Jack Kirby would bring his pages in when you were working in the office, what would happen to Jack's pages? MR. TOBEROFF: A. Vague as to time. As I remember one thing about them. TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 88 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential back of a costume. he did was glorious. page. I remember one pirate shot It was on the back of the I am sure -- I haven't seen all of the Kirby collectors magazines and oversized books, reprints. I'm sure some of those are in there, John Buscema some of the glorious drawings. used to do works of art on the backs of his pages just to loosen up his wrist before he started to pencil. He would do beautiful People used to copy animals, beautiful girls. the front of the page with Buscema and the back of the page. That's all I could tell you. Until That's my memory of seeing those pages. I had to make changes on them. Q. Did Jack know that you were making changes to his artwork? A. You know, I never asked him. MR. TOBEROFF: A. Vague as to time. I assumed he I never asked him. did, because I assumed he would look at the book and see things were changed, although, frankly, I think Jack probably never even bothered to look. Q. Why do you think that? TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 109 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential scratch his nose. He will lose an eye. So I They said all right, make them retractable. retract. Like a cat puts its claws out and Make them retractable So I retracts them, right? into his forearm. That's all I said. created that part of him. the name. But I didn't create And I I always But I I just created the costume. never considered that I created him. tell people I created the costume. didn't name him and I did not give him a personality. Q. Who would give characters personality? A. The writer. MR. TOBEROFF: A. Vague. I mean, the writer is the one who The gives him his dialogue and his history. history of a -- we used to have a series of books called the Marvel -- I can't remember the name of it, but it was the history of every character, the look of it and how it was devised and what his history was, and that was written by the editor or the writer. It could have been the editor, it could have been the TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 110 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential writer. The editor sometimes tells the writer So the to give him a history of the character. personality of the character is done by the writer and the editor. The look of the character is done by the artist. Q. Did Jack Kirby have anything to do with Wolverine? A. I don't think so. No. In fact, Wolverine was not a member of the original X-Men. It came -- it was in a Hulk book the He was a character -- a Canadian That's another part of first time. villain out of Canada. the history that was created that I didn't create. the Hulk. He was a Canadian and he appeared in He had nothing to do with the X-Men. He was added to the X-Men when the X-Men was being done by Cockrum. Dave Cockrum was doing They the artwork and Len Wein was writing it. created the new X-Men and they included Wolverine in the X-Men. Q. come about? A. Again, like The Rhino and That's all. How about Kingpin, how did Kingpin The Shocker, he would say "next month I want TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 204 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential Mr. Amash that there was something inaccurate about his quotes of your statements in this interview? A. Q. Not that I remember. Turn to page, please, 428. In the first column of the interview it says, if you look at the second full paragraph on the left side: "Timely publisher Martin Goodman used to If expenses close shop at the drop of a hat. got too high, he'd say "the hell with it," and close shop. Nobody had any protection because there were no pensions, no severance pay or insurance plans, or saving plans. Everyone who worked in comics were flying by the seat of their pants." A. Q. A. Q. A. True. Is that a true statement? That was my impression. That's your understanding? That was my impression of the way I the industry -- the way he ran his company. wasn't very bright. Q. Does what you said about Marvel also apply to your experience at DC after you left TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 242 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential Q. But did you usually work from a script during the period you worked in the '50s? A. that time. Q. And that's when -- that's -- the I always worked from a script at period you spoke about was more of a kind of I think you used the term sausage factory? A. Yeah, they were turning them out. The scripts were repetitious and similar and the artwork was somewhat the same. were just trying to make a dollar. Q. And do you recall how much in the Most of us '50s they would pay you for your work? A. mid 40s. It ranged from the mid 20s to the There were weeks -- there were years where we had terrible times and there were good years and there were bad years. years, one bad year. year. Two good Two bad years, one good In comics -- in those fifteen years I could there was nothing you could count on. make $6,000 one year, I could make $8,000 the next year and I could make $5,000 the third year, because the ebb and flow was always TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 243 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential questionable. Martin Goodman would decide he Then he So it wasn't going to publish as many books. would decide to publish 25 more books. was very erratic, very hard -- very difficult to plan a life when you didn't know where the money was coming from. live. Q. When you worked in this freelance It was a dumb way to fashion, they always bought your work by the page? A. Q. By the page. You referred to your working at some I point at Marvel as a correction artist. believe it was after you started working as a full-time employee. Can you try and pin down for me the date or approximate date when you started working as a correction artist on staff at Marvel? A. date. I don't believe there was any actual It sort of -- it sort of creeped into It preceded my eight years at DC, By the way, I also did corrections Whenever I was in there, they 877-702-9580 the process. by the way. at DC sometimes. TSG Reporting - Worldwide Page 273 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential THE WITNESS: MS. SINGER: Thank you. I have just a couple, I'm sorry, and then we will get you out of here. MR. TOBEROFF: have more questions. FURTHER EXAMINATION BY MS. SINGER: Q. A couple of things. When you were In that case I might talking with Mr. Toberoff, you mentioned that the Fantastic Four was a trademark book of Jack's. When you used the word "trademark," were you using that in a legal sense? A. No. It was -- he was associated That's what I with it as a successful title. meant. He had started it with Stan and they were riding the crest of a wave of success. Q. Do you know whether Jack owned any of the characters or any of the works for Fantastic Four? A. Q. I don't believe so. You were talking about the legends on the back of the check. TSG Reporting - Worldwide 877-702-9580 Page 274 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Romita - Confidential When you were at Marvel in the 1950s before you left in '57 or '58, when you would get checks from Marvel or Timely or whoever it was for your page rate, do you recall whether there was a legend on the back of the check? A. I believe there was. I think they wouldn't have -- well, I'm assuming there was. I think I vaguely remember there was. Sometimes a shorter paragraph, sometimes a longer paragraph. MS. SINGER: further questions. MR. TOBEROFF: the hook. I will let you off Okay. I have no I have no further questions. Before we go off the MS. SINGER: record, I just want to clarify, Marc, that Mr. Romita has appeared today both in response to our subpoena, in response to your subpoena, you have cross-examined him, he has fully answered all your questions on your subpoena and he is done. agreement on that? Are you in You have had your opportunity to question him. MR. TOBEROFF: I am not -- I think 877-702-9580 TSG Reporting - Worldwide

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