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CSBG Archive

365 Reasons to Love Comics #2

Two days in a row? I’m on fire!

Make sure to scroll down and read all the other wonderful posts we’ve had today. I’d hate for you to miss anything.

1/2/07

2. Stan Lee

Here’s is swingin’ 70′s Stan “The Man”:

And here is an older, wiser Stan, ready to kick your ass:

Let’s be honest here, you all saw this one coming after yesterday’s.

I’ll admit it, I fell out of love with Stan for a long stretch there, even after he was my childhood idol. He stopped being cool. He started being a sell-out. I began giving more credit to the artists. That kinda thing.

But, you know, Who Wants to Be a Superhero brought back the love. I couldn’t believe it myself. I figured the show would be stupid and that Stan had gone crazy.

It was stupid. And he *did* go crazy! Hence, it was brilliant. (I still want a Fat Momma comic, consarn it.)

And that, friends, is why Stan Lee is cool. He’s the last remaining titan of the comics industry. He created or co-created all the bits of the Marvel Universe that people actually care about. And he’s bat-guano insane.

And dammit, I liked Ravage 2099.

So happy several-days-belated birthday, Stan.

For extra fun, here’s a YouTube video of Stan on the old game show To Tell the Truth. It’s been making it’s way around the internet lately, and you may have seen it. Hell, maybe it was on this blog. I have a terrible memory.

See you tomorrow.

17 Comments

Say whatever else you want about Stan, make accusations of credit-hogging, hucksterism, and corniness. The Man — note the capitalization — gave the comics of the 1960s and 1970s a face they needed and, to a large extent, a voice they needed. He has been comics’ ambassador, enthusiastic and charismatic, for decades now.

Go Stan!

“(I still want a Fat Momma comic, consarn it.)”

That makes two of us!

Did the film and the comic featuring the winner ever show up? I can’t recall seeing them.

I will chime in in support of Fat Momma, too. She would have been a much bolder and non-traditional choice for a superhero than Feedback. I don’t doubt Feedback’s sincerity, and I am sure Stan Lee had a hard time saying “no” to a guy who told him that Spider-Man saved his life . . . but, still. Fat Momma had heart (remember in front of all those kids?) and would have been awesome. Maybe she and Feedback can team up on occasion?

I’m thankful for the various characters Stan Lee co-created, but I don’t think I’ve ever managed to actually enjoy a Stan Lee comic. Not a criticism, but they from an era and of a style that I haven’t been able to appreciate since my teens.

Dan

Truthfully, I don’t know if there are any comics I love as much as early Spider-Man and Fantastic Four. Maybe the first 50 or so issues of each title. Kirby and Ditko (and Romita) contributed a lot to those books, but the scripts by Stan Lee are what make those great for me.

“the scripts by Stan Lee are what make those great for me” Really? The plots, sure, but the scripts? Stan Lee’s scripts are full of the most cliched, tacked-on, masturbatory language I’ve ever seen. Not to mention the redundancy of it all. His characters narrate every moment of their lives, and usually out loud.

I gotta disagree, Dan. Yes, the characters narrate their actions (well, Spider-Man does; I’m not so sure about the FF), but they do so in a highly entertaining manner. And the dialogue is great! Spidey’s wisecracking during fights is a great tradition that Stan started, and his banter between Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm is priceless. I’ll try to dig out my Essential volumes when I get home today, and I’ll post some examples of his dialogue.

I’ve gotta say a big YES to Stan’s scripts too. The wisecracks and banter is great, but I also really love the narrative boxes! and captions! Comics really ought to go back to the rule that every sentence should end in an exclamation mark! Whether it’s warranted or not!

And I love the alliteration, hyperbole, and long words that you had to look up in the dictionary when you were a kid.

“Stan Lee’s scripts are full of the most cliched, tacked-on, masturbatory language I’ve ever seen. Not to mention the redundancy of it all. His characters narrate every moment of their lives, and usually out loud. ”

Yeah, but wow, he makes it work.

The Kirbydotter

March 9, 2007 at 12:05 pm

It’s too bad that Stan Lee got all the media attention for so many years as the sole ‘creator of the Marvel universe’.

Like Bob Kane, who should have given credit to co-creator Bill Finger for Batman, and Walt Disney being perceived by the general public as the creator of all the Disney’s stable of characters, Stan Lee has always managed to keep the spotlight on himself since the Pop Art era of the 60s. That meant leaving creators like Ditko and Kirby in the dark.

If he was SO instrumental in creating the Marvel universe, how come he stopped being so ‘creative’ after Kirby and Ditko left Marvel? Yet, Kirby and Ditko went on and created many other characters with other publishers. What did Lee create without those two? Stripella?

I respect Stan Lee as an ambassador of comic books, and for bringing a sense of regular life to superheroes (granted a lot of that is melodrama). I have to agree, though, that I have a hard time reading his scripted comics. I have several 60s Marvel Essential collections and his scripts are just awkward to me. So much purple prose. The worst is how he wrote female characters. I much more enjoy reading the comics scripted by Larry Leiber (Stan’s brother) who actually made those same women stronger, and seemed to have a more natural storytelling style.

If there’s one aspect of Stan Lee’s involvement that’s perhaps a little UNDER-rated, I think it was his work on the early letters pages and the Bullpen Bulletins (back before he limited himself to Stan’s Soapbox).
He created something really unique and engaging in those first years, that snared young readers almost as much as the Kirby-Ditko creativity.
Well, somwhat almost as much, maybe sorta.

“The Man — note the capitalization — gave the comics of the 1960s and 1970s a face they needed and, to a large extent, a voice they needed. He has been comics’ ambassador, enthusiastic and charismatic, for decades now.”–Interestingly, those decades have also seen the decline of comics as a medium of entertainment. Readership just keeps dropping. Because Stan just keeps presenting comic book fans as nerds. Who Wants to be a Superhero was offensive to the comic book reader and fan on every level, in a way that made American Idol look respectful of musical integrity. His cameo appearance in Mallrats took a great, underrated Kevin Smith movie and made its lovable goofball Jason Lee character into a moronic nerd fanboy that no one would want to hang out with. The guy is a pox on comics. Oh, and his writing is Godawful. Did you actually read the WWtbaS spinoff comic? It was gutwrenchingly horrible.

He created Spider-man and hired artist to do the artwork. It all came from his mind, and it was his creation. The artist deserve some credit too, but Stan the man was in charge. If it had not been for him, the characters probably would not have existed today.

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“If he was SO instrumental in creating the Marvel universe, how come he stopped being so ‘creative’ after Kirby and Ditko left Marvel? Yet, Kirby and Ditko went on and created many other characters with other publishers. What did Lee create without those two? Stripella?”

He co-created She-Hulk, but that’s besides the point: what have Kirby and Ditko created without Lee that compares to what they did with Stan Lee? Characters without a personality, without, you know, character. Without human interest.

Stan Lee has a lot of flaws, he did a lot of bad things, but denying him credit for Marvel and for – let’s face it, here – advancing American comic books is unfair. Blaming him for the negative stereotyping of comic readers is just silly.

If not for Lee, super-hero comics would either be dead or stuck in a pre-60′s childish rut.

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