Jack Kirby on professionalism

“I’ve never done anything bad. I can’t do anything bad. It’s got to be professional. It’s got to look professional. It’s got to read professional. In other words, it serves its purpose by entertaining a reader, see? If a carpenter makes a chair that’s comfortable for the person who’s going to sit in it, he’s done his job. If a train engineer gets a train in on time, he’s going to make someone happy who’s waiting at the station. And if an artist draws the kind of a picture that people are going to enjoy looking at, or he makes a visual story which people are going to enjoy reading, he’s done his job. I can say that I’ve done my job extremely well. My only beef is that a lot of people have put their fingers in whatever I’ve done and tried to screw it up, and I’ve always resented that. I always resent anybody interfering with anybody else trying to do his job. Everybody has his own job to do. If he’s good, he’ll do well, but if he’s mediocre, he’s not going to do as well as he should. I believe that I’m in a thorough, professional class who’ll give you the best you can get. You won’t get any better than the stuff that I can do. In the Army, during the war — which my wife won’t talk about — [Laughter.] I didn’t know whether I’d make it or not, but I can tell you that I did my very level best, OK? And that, scared or not, I did my job, and I would do my job wherever I am.

If I had to, say, give up my life for my family, I wouldn’t hesitate a minute, and if I had to do anything for a good friend, I wouldn’t hesitate a minute. I wouldn’t ask any questions at all. I’m that kind of a guy. I’m a guy who’ll do it. If you ask him to do it, and he wants to do it, you’ll get it full measure. I’ve never done anything half-heartedly. It’s the reason my comics did well. It’s the reason my comics were drawn well. I can’t do anything bad. I won’t do anything bad, and I resent very deeply bad people who haven’t got the ability, who try to interfere with the kind of work I’m trying to do because nobody’s going to benefit from it. If you’re a thorough professional, and they won’t let you do a professional job, nobody’s going to benefit from it. The people who produce it won’t benefit. The people who buy it won’t benefit from it. They’re going to get a half-assed product, and I believe that’s what the editorial people in comics at that time bought. They bought a half-assed product, or they created a half-assed product, and that’s what they got in return, they got half-assed returns.”

— Jack Kirby (via)