Friday , March 31 2023

Captain Comics: Stan Lee – Entertainment & Life – Time Recording


The words of praise for legendary Stan Lee, who died on November 11 at the age of 95, are flooding all over the world this week. In some respects, the Marvel Comics image of the last five decades will receive too much praise – but in other ways, it will get too little.

It all began in 1939 for the born Stanley Martin Lieber (who legally changed his name to Stan Lee in the 1970s). Then one of Lee's relatives, Martin Goodman, decided to publish comic books.

Goodman, editor of a constantly changing pulp and magazine line, hired Lee at the age of 17 to be essentially a gofer for Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, the superstar team that created Captain America. Lee's first story, as it happens, was a piece of "Captain America Comics" # 3 for Goodman's Comics on time.

But Simon and Kirby fell with Goodman and moved to greener grassland. In 1941, Lee was the editor of the entire comic book line. There he remained, as he turned into the Atlas in the 1950s, writing and editing virtually every genre, including Western, horror, teen humor, romance, war, fun animals, monsters, suspense and yes, super- heroes.

And, by the 1960s, superheroes had become the hottest ticket again after a long period of time. In 1961, Goodman asked Lee to come up with a copy of the "League of Justice of America", who was doing baffle business at the contest. But, according to Lee's autobiography "Excelsior," the writer / publisher has long been about to quit. He was tired of hacking simplistic stories.

Joan's wife had another idea.

"This could be a chance for you to do it the way you always wanted," Joan said, according to Lee. "You could dream about plots that have more depth and substance for them and create characters with interesting personalities who speak like real people." And he intended to give up anyway, so what did he lose?

The result was "Fantastic Four," in tandem with Kirby, no longer playing with Simon and looking for work. Lee would have given him a lot because "Fantastic Four" was a huge success. Soon, the duo combines to release a number of new characters and superhero features including Ant-Man and Wasp, Avengers, Black Panther, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Hulk, Inhumans, Iron Man, Silver Surfer, Thor, X -Men and a revived Captain America.

At the same time, Lee collaborated with Steve Ditko on "Amazing Spider-Man" and Dr. Strange in "Strange Tales". A list of all-star artists came aboard to give Kirby a break, including John Buscema ("Silver Surfer"), Gene Colan ("Tales to Astonish" Submariner), Bill Everett ("Daredevil") and Don Heck "Avengers").

Lee was edited alone, and art turned to the ever-expanding line that was once renamed Marvel Comics. He did most of the writing as he did – he did some complete scriptures, but Lee especially hired the "Marvel Method," which meant to offer some of the most capable artists only a synopsis of plotting and surrendered Kirby and Ditko creative giants are more than just a ramp for launching one or two sentences. Lee will talk about the pages after they have been drawn, adding subplots, romantic entanglements, characterizations, and so on by word balloons.

The benefits were double. The Marvel method allowed Lee to spread thinner, while retaining a single "voice" creative for the entire line. And the talented list of artists had more freedom to tell more dynamic stories, with any pacing, layout, and visual fist that they chose.

The disadvantage, however, was that some artists – especially Kirby and Ditko – became dissatisfied. Kirby, in particular, felt he was doing too much work for too little credit and did not have enough money. He struggled that Lee was interviewed by one news outlet after another as a creative force behind Marvel, with little mention of Kirby's promise – and no correction after that.

And he had a point. While Fantastic Four was a collaborative effort, one could see a crude project in a feature called Challengers of the Unknown, which Kirby had made for another publisher in the '50s. The silver surfer wholly burst out of Kirby's pencil, much to Lee's surprise, when the Space Channel Sentinel appeared fully in art for "Fantastic Four" # 48.

As for Ditko, he and Lee have had such serious disagreements that they have rarely spoken before the artist returns to Spider-Man's pages. Dr. Strange, Lee admitted in a correspondence, was entirely Ditko's idea.

So yes – Lee has too much confidence for the "Marvel of the Caricatures," that explosive decade when the little Atlas turns into a powerful Marvel. But we should not mistake too much in this direction. These comics were very much a collaboration.

There is no doubt that Kirby's DNA is on Marvel Comics. Spider-Man and Dr. Strange owe a great deal of their uniqueness to Ditko. But it's not a zero-sum game, and Lee's contributions as a writer, editor, director of art, and scriptwriter have been equally indispensable. Like John Lennon and Paul McCartney, two contemporary collaborators, the sum of Lee & Ditko or Lee & Kirby was higher than the sum of his parts.

Mark Evanier, a one-time Kirby assistant and long-time writer, has pushed forward the controversy of credits in his book "Kirby: The King of Comics". Referring to the first title signed in 1961, he wrote: "Among those who worked around them at the time, there was a unanimous opinion:" Fantastic Four "was created by Stan and Jack.

That was true throughout the publishing line. For example, when Silver Surfer and Dr. Strange were presented with Lee, it was not the end of creation – it was the beginning. Lee took the ball and ran. This was his dialogue, his characterization, his romantic subtleties that transformed these drawings into the heroes we know. Lee and Ditko offered the plot and the action, but Lee – often quoting Shakespeare or the Bible – breathed in the soul.

And what soul was. Time journalism liked to label what Lee did as "troubled heroes." It's true, but what he really did was create heroes who, like us, had clay feet. While the "League of Justice" of the epoch contained kitchen cutters, legless heroes, flawless errors, Lee's characters were more accessible and relational.

And that extended what could be a "superhero book", turning a genre into an environment. Lee could tell any story in the love of the superhero – and he did. Spider-Man was soap (with occasional supervillain). Thor was a big fantasy (with secret identity issues). Fantastic Four was about family dynamics, and family dysfunction (plus Galactus).

And Lee decided to put these characters in the real world or at least in the adjacent real world. So, while DC's characters have populated generic places like Gotham and Metropolis, Marvel's mysterious mysteries were mostly hung from their heads in a recognized New York City.

Which meant they could get mad at each other. And this was probably the most important contribution Lee made: a coherent universe where teams were the norm, instead of the exception, where different characters were rubbing their elbows constantly – or they were blowing. To realize what a great business is, think no further than "Marvel Cinematic Universe".

In addition to Marvel's workload, Lee was also a unique comic strip ambassador in the late 1960s, offering lectures on college campuses to reform the negative image that most adults had about comic books . Almost no other figure in the comic strip could do it-none of them had Lee's self-deprecating spirit, his flamboyant hyperbole, his infectious enthusiasm. It is not surprising that this eminently quoted pitchman was quoted a lot.

Which brings us to the area where Lee probably does not have enough credit. And so he engaged with the fans.

Lee handled the letter pages and sent creators news on a monthly Bullpen Bulletins page – as if all the creators would work in a single room, instead of being entrepreneurs who worked more from home. He wrote a monthly editorial called "Stan's Soapbox." He invented different degrees like Real Frantic One and Titanic True Believer, which fans could have rewarded for achievements such as finding a friend on Marvel Comics or buying more than three titles per month. He sent "No-Prizes" by e-mail – an empty envelope – to the readers who made a mistake and then offered a plausible attenuation. He helped launch two fan clubs, the Merry Marvel Marching Society and F.O.OM. (Ol 'Marvel's Friends).

All of this was done in Lee's sign language style of chest. Each interaction was closed with the expression "Excelsior!" (For the uninitiated, it is Latin for "Ever Upward" – and the state motto in New York.)

The idea – possibly lifted from the success of EC comics in the early 1950s – was to create a fan community, a "secret club" that welcomed all readers. This is most critical. It was not just the voice that Lee brought to all of these interactions, though that was a big part. It was Lee's progressive spirit, his inclusion, which made every child be last chosen to feel volleyball.

And above all, Stan Lee hated the bullies.

It was shown in his stories, where the heroes were often the victims of the cruelty that rose over their circumstances. Peter Parker, for example, was rejected by his colleagues and tormented by Flash Thompson – but Spider-Man did not take a punch. Bruce Banner has been constantly defeated by the cursing general "Thunderbolt" Ross – but Hulk has never been assaulted.

And then it was "The X-Men," the final example of being born differently. It was a metaphor for every child who felt alienated – who, sooner or later, is every child.

But those who responded the most were children who had large glasses, disabilities, or too short, or had the wrong color of the skin, worshiped another god or were bad at sports, or spoke English as a second language, or were attracted to the same sex, or … well, you have an idea. Desert. Lonely. The aggressors.

Stan Lee – and the heroes he wrote – were champions for those kids.

"Let's put it on the line," Lee wrote in a famous soapbox of Stan in 1968. "Bigotry and racism are among the most deadly social dilemmas that affect the world today, but unlike a super-villain team they can not be stopped with a punch in the snoot or a plug from a ray gun. The only way to destroy them is to expose them – to reveal them to the insidious evils they really are. , fanatic, indiscriminate, if his prison is black, he hates all black people, if a redhead offends her, hates ALL redheaded, if a stranger beats him at work, he never saw – people he never knew – with the same intensity – with equal venom.

"Now, we are not trying to say that it is not reasonable for a human being to slip another." But although someone has the right to not be despised by another individual, it is completely irrational, obviously crazy to condemn an ​​entire race – despise an entire nation – to violate an entire religion. Sooner or later, we must learn to judge each other for our merits. Less sooner or later, if man is ever worthy of his destiny, he must we are truly worthy of the concept that man was created in the image of God – a God who calls ALL His children.

– Pax et Justitia, Stan.

Eventually, however, the Marvel era had to end. Ditko left Marvel in 1966, Kirby in 1970. Lee continued as editor (and writer "Amazing Spider-Man" and "Fantastic Four") until 1972 when he was promoted to the publishing house.

Eventually he went to Hollywood and worked to bring Marvel characters to big and small screens – with some success, it seems. He also tried to launch various media companies, although most failed. Then there were some controversies to the end, where she feared she was the victim of elder abuse.

Nothing matters.

Stan Lee will always be remembered as the beloved face and the voice of Marvel comic age. He will be honest as a modern mythologist, in tandem with some incredible talents. People will always talk about their dedication to tolerance and inclusion, which continues at Marvel, and the industry as a whole, to date.

And he will be remembered as a man who hates stuttering.

Excelsior, Stan. Thanks for everything.

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