Today is birthday number ninety-five for Stanley Lieber, aka Stan Lee. He was hatched on December 28, 1922. Have a good one, Stan.
On this momentous occasion, let’s hear about Stan from some of his colleagues, who knew The Man and obviously loved the experience:
« Did I say Stanley had no smarts? Well, he DID come up with two sure fire ideas… the first one was ‘Why not let the artists WRITE the stories as well as draw them?’… And the second was … ‘ALWAYS SIGN YOUR NAME ON TOP… BIG’. And the rest is history… Stanley, of course became rich and famous … over the bodies of people like Bill [Everett] and Jack [Kirby]. Bill, who had created the character that had made his father rich wound up COLORING and doing odd jobs. »
EC legend Bernie Krigstein, who collaborated with Stan at Atlas, and whose « Suppressed Desire » is featured in Spellbound no. 17 (September 1953) , with a glorious cover by the above-mentioned Bill Everett.
In the course of a 1960s interview with comics scholar John Benson, Krigstein responded to Benson’s statement of « I guess you know that Stan Lee has been the spearhead of the so-called current revitalization of comics »:
« I’m delighted to learn that. Twenty years of unrelenting editorial effort to suppress the artistic effort, encourage miserable taste, flood the field with degraded imitations and non-stories have certainly qualified him for this respected position. »
Then Gil Kane, who was Marvel’s principal cover artist for much of the 70s, and who collaborated with Lee on The Amazing Spider-Man in some of its most popular years, including the infamous, comics-code unapproved “drug” issues (nos. 96-97, May-June 1971), on the respective creative roles of Stan and Jack Kirby:
« On each page, from 1964 – 1970 next to every single panel Jack wrote extensive margin notes explaining to Lee what was taking place in the story. It took Jack about 2 weeks to do a single story, it may have taken Lee as little as 4 hours to add text to Jack’s art. »
And Steve Ditko, in a letter to the editor of Comic Book Marketplace, published in the magazine’s 63rd issue in 1998, on his and Stan’s respective roles in crafting an issue of Spider-Man:
« The fact is we had no story or idea discussion about Spider-Man books even before issue no. 26 up to when I left the book. Stan never knew what was in my plotted stories until I took in the penciled story, the cover, my script and Sol Brodsky took the material from me and took it all into Stan’s office, so I had to leave without seeing or talking to Stan. »
Further illuminating reading: http://kirbymuseum.org/blogs/effect/2015/07/25/according-to-kirby-1/
Once again, Happy Birthday to the Funky Flashman! ’nuff said and all that rot.