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F&SF Forum » The Process of Writing

Stan Lee, R. I. P.

(9 posts)
  • Started 1 year ago by BevanEvansMcdougie
  • Latest reply from Mark Pontin

  1. BevanEvansMcdougie

    STAN LEE (Stanley Martin Leiber), of Marvel Comics (and MCU cameos) fame, has died, at 95. I can:t link, really, on this phone, yet once again l'hopital - I suppose the Hollywood Reporter or New York Times? This too " about-the-process " here? If so, please forgive me. Excelsior!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  2. Marian

  3. MattHughes

    We come, we shine, we go.

    Quite a number of folks I have known have died lately. Makes me think it won't be all that long before the bus arrives at my stop. Then off I get.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  4. Steve R.

    Every Stan Lee Marvel Movie Ranked

    From Rotten Tomatoes: In his over nine decades of life, and especially during the 78 years spent working at all levels in the entertainment industry, Stan Lee established himself as a warm and affable figure across comics, movies, and television…who also happened to alter the course of sequential art history and laid the foundation for the biggest pop culture renaissance the world has known.

    Without Lee, the superhero movie would never had strayed out of darkness, and it is through his creations that the genre now represents how we filter our dreams, hopes, fears, politics, and fantasies. Read on to see every movie starring one of his creations, ranked by Tomatometer. We’re including only movies that have a character of Lee’s in the film’s title, which will notably leave off Captain America, Wolverine, and the Guardians of the Galaxy (Lee approved the original ’60s team as then-Marvel editor-in-chief; the 2008 reboot is credited to other writers upon which the films are based). What remains is still the most towering list of comic creations ever attached to one person. Ever hear of Spider-Man, the Avengers, Iron Man, Black Panther, The Fantastic Four, Thor, Ant-Man, Daredevil, the Hulk, and X-Men? ‘Nuff said!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  5. Mark Pontin

    Steve R. wrote: 'What remains is still the most towering list of comic creations ever attached to one person.'

    Actually, they're attached to two people. And the other person has more names on the list -- like Captain America -- than Lee has. Though his estate had to sue for the credits.

    Jack Kirby’s side of the story —

    Posted 1 year ago #
  6. Steve R.

    I was quoting from Rotten Tomatoes. Anyway there is a new Rotten Tomatoes dedication to Lee. Five Ways Stan Lee Helped Change TV and Movies Forever

    Posted 1 year ago #
  7. BevanEvansMcdougie

    ...The whole " How much was Stan Lee ' Credit-grabbing Stan Bragg '? " question ~ As for Kirby and Ditko, they were people who could write - BUUTT, kind of had difficulty writing smooth, commercial, comic book scrips, back when comic books were less " respected "/source material for zillion dollar movies but more actually wider-selling - He smoothed out their rough edges, dialogue-wise, etc. Kirby's had-contractual-final-cut 1970s DC material is much praised - but I recall a not-really-a-comics-fan late acquaintance of mine commenting that he'd tried some 70s DC Kirby (KAMANDI? The " THIRD WORLD " material?) and it threw him off/puzzled him. One person I saw said " If Stan Lee was nothing else but an editor for comic books, he was a great one "!, or similar - and I do think he was more than " JUST " one - Do you?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  8. Mark Pontin

    Re. Kirby & Lee --

    Let me return to my misspent childhood and admit I've seen a lot of Kirby w. Lee, Kirby at DC without Lee (New Gods, Kamandi, etc.), and Marvel post-Kirby, and Kirby back at Marvel (THE ETERNALS).

    It's clear that Stan Lee was good on the dialogue. Decades ago, I saw one of the fumetti aka photo comic books --
    -- that Lee did around 1965-67. No story, just funny captions. It's definitely a skill and Lee had it.

    Conversely, to a remarkable degree for a guy who'd been in the business for two decades by that point (the 1960s), he was almost bereft of the basic ability to construct and pace even a comic-book plot. He’d gotten by by being able to lean on Kirby (and Ditko) during the Atlas monster book period that Goodman Publishing did in the 1950s before it became Marvel. Every interview w. anybody involved in that period makes clear that Lee had already started then with the 'Marvel method' of having the artists do most of the plot construction and pacing.

    As for Kirby’s work on his own, I'm very familiar with the New Gods, etc, as I say. If one wants to be kind, one can say something like 'Kirby dialogue does not function in the normal ways.' In truth, Kirby dialogue is fairly relentlessly bombastic. You either tolerate it for the staggering flow of imaginative story ideas and dynamic art or you don’t.

    But how can you not tolerate it? I’m not a kid any more and yet Kirby’s imaginative power seems as impressive to me now – actually, more so because I now understand how few people have such imaginative power – than it did back then. He’s the pop culture Michelangelo of the 20th century.

    Lee, by contrast, pretty much had zero ideas beyond hiring Kirby and telling him something like, 'Hey, Jack, how about next issue the Fantastic Four fight God.' Kirby then comes back a week and a half later with Galactus, the Silver Surfer, all the backstory with the Watcher, and all that amazing art. (And this in a period when he’s churning out 60-100 pages of comic book story and art a month with other books like THOR, etc.!)

    Am I being unfair to Lee? One keeps on coming back to the fact that Lee NEVER -- not once -- created a hit after Kirby left him.

    Lee as editor? I don’t give him that much credit there. You’ve got to have better story construction skills than he had and, if you probe a bit into who did what, it turns out that Lee dumbed down and screwed up some of Kirby’s better ideas. For instance, the FF two-parter beginning with ‘What Lurks behind the Beehive’ in issues #66 and 67 was meant by Kirby to be a story about scientists who actually want to do good by creating Homo Superior and how that project could go astray; Lee turned it into a standard biff-bam, mad scientists story.

    On the other hand, in something like FF#51, “This Man, This Monster,” Lee’s skills with dialogue raise a great Kirby story and concepts to a level that’s – yes – greater than Kirby would have done on his own and something that’s better than a silly superhero comic book has any business being.!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  9. Mark Pontin

    And yes. Excelsior!

    Posted 1 year ago #

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