Argumentative 1010 1st place
Imagine you are sitting at a table with a partner. On the table sits a single piece of paper, a pencil, some coloring tools and an ink pen. Now imagine that it is the job of you and your partner to create and design a comic book superhero with the tools provided. You both excitedly jump into action and talk out the personality, super-power, costume design, opposition and other aspects which will flesh out your character. Eventually, you reach a mutual decision, and the character has been fully drawn with explanations and notes trailing up and down both sides of it on the page. Your creation: “Dartboard Man.”
As soon as “Dartboard Man” hits the shelves, he is a hit. Copies sell out nation-wide, and “Dartboard Man” becomes a name worth millions and billions of dollars.
Now imagine as the years go by you begin to notice that your friend, the co-creator, is slowly moving more and more into the spotlight while you are drifting into the shadows. Your friend is gradually receiving and accepting most, if not all, of the credit for what you know was a joined effort. Eventually you back out, unable to compete with your friend’s success.
Later on, you die. “Dartboard Man” has slipped into all but the complete ownership of your former friend who to this day is claiming the millions and billions of dollars that “Dartboard Man” continues to create. You tell me: Fair, or unfair?
This situation is similar to the story of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Partners in the creation of the Marvel Universe where comic book heroes like Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk and the Fantastic Four vanquish the powers of evil; their separation remains one of the most tragic separation stories to comic book fans everywhere. But what lives on more than the story itself is the controversy behind it.Who deserves the credit for creating the Marvel superheroes, Kirby or Lee? Who is getting it now? These are questions hundreds of people, comic book fans or not, have been unable to answer for years, but looking into Lee and Kirby’s backgrounds puts these questions in perspective.
Stanley Martin Lieber was born into a Jewish family in New York, 1922. With Lieber’s vivid imagination, supportive family, friends and people in his life; it would seem he was destined for greatness from the beginning. His favorite teacher, Leon B. Ginsberg, for example, taught Lieber that it was easier to face life’s difficulties with humor (“Stan’s”). It was the influence of people like Ginsberg that enabled Lieber to have a positive attitude –even during the Great Depression— and to encourage the development of his own skill: writing.
When Lieber entered “The Biggest News of the Week Contest” at age 15, he was rewarded with a letter from the editor which complemented Lieber’s literary skill. The editor suggested that Lieber become a professional writer; something that Lieber took seriously (“Stan’s”). Martin Goodman, Lieber’s cousin-in-law, owned the firm Timely Publications. Comic books entitled “Marvel Comics” –which was a name that would show up again in the near future— and pulp-magazines featuring science fiction, horror and western stories were the firm’s specialty, but the comics were what Lieber would be getting into when he joined Timely’s staff as a “general gofer” following his high school graduation (“Stan’s”). The Sub-Mariner, the Human Torch and the Angel were only a few of the superheroes that made their debuts with Timely Publications.
This was far from his dream of becoming a playwright or novelist, and Lieber considered his writing to be “hack-work” (Heer). For these reasons he adopted a pen-name. There were a few: S.T. Anley, Stan Martin, and Neel Nats, but it was the name Stan Lee that was popular and would eventually stick. Stanley Lieber later changed his name to Stan Lee (“Stan’s”).
Also from New York –and a member of a Jewish family— Jacob Kurtzberg was born in 1917. Contrasting to Lee’s childhood, Kurtzberg was raised in the lower east-side of New York City where the streets were teeming with rival gangs and street fights. To escape such horrors, Kurtzberg delved into the world of novels and adventure films, but it wasn’t until the late 1930s that Kurtzburg would completely break away from the ghetto society by becoming a cartoonist. It was in this field that Kurtzburg, too, adopted a new name (Heer). He eventually became Jack Kirby, but other previous names were Bob Brown, Jack Curtiss, Lance Kirby, Teddy, Ted Grey, and a few others (Evanier).
Whether or not it was a coincidence that both of these men had their names changed is uncertain, but Mark Evanier, a professional writer who became an assistant of Kirby’s, said that Kirby’s name didn’t change because he was afraid of Jewish discrimination.
“Jack was very proud of his heritage and faith,” said Evanier. “. . . It wasn't so much a matter of concealing one's religion as of having a name that sounded like a professional cartoonist” (Evanier).
Again it is uncertain, but the same reasoning may have applied to Lee. He may have just needed to sound professional. The 1940s proved busy for both Lee and Kirby. Kirby and his old friend, Joe Simon –who he met at Fox Comics during his early comic book work— created Captain America for Timely Publications, the company that both of these men had been employed for at the time. Simon was the editor and Kirby was the artist for the all-American hero and sales were fantastic.
By this time, Lee was a leading writer for Timely. He reached this position due to Timely’s limited staff, which included Kirby and Simon, and its “unlimited” deadlines. Lee had been put to work and given the task of writing a text piece titled, The Traitor’s Revenge, for Kirby and Simon’s Captain America #3. Though The Traitor’s Revenge was his first published work, Captain America #5: Headline Hunter, Foreign Correspondent, was his first comic book script (“Stan’s”). Already published and fresh out of high school, this was no small feat for Lee.
The comic was a hit. Due to its political focus, Captain America became an icon, (especially in the midst of World War II). Kirby’s childhood shone through the pages, coming alive with realistic fight scenes and epic battles, but it was his war service that further pushed the realism that the comic portrayed.
Pearl Harbor brought Kirby and Lee to a near stand-still, calling both of them to service. Lee joined the Signal Corps, a military branch responsible for military communications, through which he designed war-related posters and advertisements. Kirby served in the infantry, aiding in the invasion of Normandy. Both Lee and Kirby returned to their original comic book work when the war ended only to find that there had been some changes.
Masked men and superheroes were losing popularity, the new craze being horror and westerns. Regardless, Kirby and Simon continued, presenting new approaches which concentrated on romance and drama. Young Love, Young Romance, and Western Love are some of the titles they created, none of which were very popular. Lee, too, tried to bring something new to the table while working with Timely, but with mild success.
The Blonde Phantom, Millie the Model, Venus, Namora and other superheroines poured out of Timely Publications in the late 1940s; all of which Stan helped to create. These crime fighting super women were an attempt to re-capture the reader’s attention, but only a few of them managed to do well. The Blonde Phantom and Venus were two that had a fair amount of popularity, while some, for example: Sun Girl, only lasted three comic book issues (Nolan).
The 1950s were even harder on Lee and Kirby. Bombarded with the public out-cry against comic book violence, comic book companies created the Comics Code Authority (CCA) to censor their comics. Though the CCA appeased the mobs, it dramatically lowered sales and by the early 60’s, the public was ready for something other than moral lessons and over-all “goody-goody” comic books (Staples A16).
On top of the CCA difficulties, Atlas Comics, a branch of Timely that Lee now managed, was forced to cut staff, leaving Lee as editor and chief writer for eight monthly comic books; and Kirby’s partner, Simon, left the comic book field to seek a career in advertising. It was during this difficult time, when the public was screaming for something new and Lee and Kirby were on the lower end of the scale, that the two men came together.
Armed with a quick artistic hand, Kirby became a great asset to Atlas. Lee, on the other hand, with his heavy work load had little time to write out stories in detail. This was why he created the “Marvel Method,” a method in which the artist, Kirby, did the artwork and plotting for the story while Lee, the writer, added dialogue (Heer).
This has become the basis of many future arguments involving Lee and Kirby. Many suggest that Lee’s work was minimal in comparison to Kirby’s. This is a fair assumption, considering that about three fourths of what makes a comic book is the imagery, but could you imagine reading a weekly or monthly comic book that didn’t have dialogue? Unless the artist’s original intention was to create a story using only pictures, I consider both art and dialogue to be important.
John Romita, the artist who picked up working with Lee on Spider-Man after Steve Ditko, expressed his opinion with The Comics Journal when confronted with whether or not he ever pursued, or felt he should be, getting credit for plotting the comic books:
“I didn’t ask for [the plotting credit],” Romita said. “Jack Kirby demanded it, and Ditko demanded it. I didn’t demand it because I didn’t feel the need for that kind of stuff . . . Frankly, I was a good soldier. I never made waves, even though a lot of times I would grumble . . . But I would never go in and say to Stan, ‘I’m tired of this,’ or ‘If I don’t get this, I’m not going to stay’ ” (Romita).
Romita admires Kirby as “the genius of comics,” and personally knew him (Romita). Their relationship was friendly, making the above a simple statement of fact with no intention of discriminating against Kirby.
At first, Lee and Kirby kept it simple and basic, but by the late 60’s, it was time to kick it in to high gear. DC Comics, Atlas’ rival, was finding success with comic book heroes like the Flash, and Green Lantern, so Atlas concentrated on getting back into the masked men genre in an attempt to beat the competition (Heer). This act alone was the birth of some of the greatest names in comic book history.
The name of the company itself was the first name to appear. Atlas Comics became Marvel Comics –referring to the title of the comics published in the company’s early years— in 1961, and it was under this name that the names of hundreds of other comic book heroes would arise; the first being, the Fantastic Four (Heer).
The Fantastic Four was considered unique to the comic book world. It certainly had its share of action, but it also had a very thick, dramatic flavor. It was Kirby’s dramatic/romantic comic book background mixed with the skill Lee got from making sharp phrases on war posters –creating exciting dialogue— that made “The Fantastic Four,” a category all its own. It was this collaboration of different skills that became the Marvel Formula: “flawed superheroes fighting crime while worrying about their personal lives” (Heer). It was this formula that made the Marvel characters in-depth and relatable.
Ben Grimm was a man whose entire body was constructed of rocks and man-power, Reed Richards had a rubber-band body, Johnny Storm could light up like a Roman candle, and his sister, Sue Storm –who is also Reed’s fiancé— had invisibility (Heer). All of these abilities were thrust upon these individuals who were struck by a terrifying, cosmic blast; thus creating the Fantastic Four. The super-powers themselves were, and are, the basis of just about any comic book; but it’s the characters and their personalities joined with these powers that made the Marvel Formula.
Ben Grimm often had a temper just as monstrous as his body, Reed and Sue had their dramatic, soap-opera like spats; and Johnny was a “hot head.” None of these were typical, “all-American superhero” traits, and it was new to comic book fans. The Marvel Formula was revolutionary.
Joining the Fantastic Four, Captain America was revived and Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, the X-Men, the Mighty Thor, the Silver Surfer, the Black Panther, and many others became new additions to the Marvel Universe. In 2003, a recorded 4,700 comic book characters were in Marvel Comics ownership (Croal 50).
The golden age of comic books lasted an incredible 10 years before it came to an end (Staples A16). As time passed, Lee was slowly coming into the lime-light. He was named spokesperson, manager, figure-head and the public voice of Marvel Comics; while artists, including Kirby, were slipping into the background (Heer). Lee was receiving a lot of credit for the ownership of characters that he had co-created.
Steve Ditko, who assisted in the designing of Spider-Man and Dr. Strange, was another one of these fading artists. Ditko and Lee’s separation was just as harsh as Lee and Kirby’s to fans. This separation was due to conflicts concerning the creation of Spider-Man.
The wall-crawling, web-spinning superhero made his first appearance in 1962 as a result of Lee and Ditko’s collaboration. It was Spider-Man’s debut that revolutionized the comic book world of powerful, bold and fearless men running around in tights (Subramanian). Peter Parker was your typical teenage nerd with an Aunt May to care for and a criminal record of his own just after his first attempt at fighting crime. Again, as with the Fantastic Four, we see the Marvel formula in action.
''The most important thing is to do the right thing,'' Mr. Lee said, referring to the main message in the Spider-Man comics. ''You don't have to be the greatest at anything. That young kid with no special power who does right is more of a hero than a superhero'' (Nichols B29).
But was Lee himself doing “the right thing” behind the scenes? The Lee – Ditko partnership, like the one with Kirby, was gradually falling apart. Lee was claiming millions for giving the characters voice, while Ditko was getting minimal profits for both the art and plotting. Ditko left Marvel in 1966 due to unpaid royalties and broken promises, leaving Spider-Man in the hands of artist John Romita (Subramanian). Though Spider-Man managed to weave his way back into the lives of fans, quotes Blake Bell, “. . . It changed from a revolutionary series to just a well-written, well-drawn superhero book” (Subramanian). Bell is the author of, Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko.
Unable to compete with Lee’s rise in popularity, Kirby also left Marvel in 1970 to join DC Comics (Heer). Both Kirby and Ditko left Marvel on non-speaking terms with Lee.
Years later in 1994, after several years of harsh words, downsizing and battering directed at Lee, Jack Kirby died of heart failure. But during an interview with Lee and Underground Online’s (UGO’s) Daniel Epstein, Lee commented that things had been smoothed over between himself and Kirby before he passed away.
“We did patch things up,” Lee said. “Everything was fine. I met him at a convention and we talked for a while. I even spoke to his wife. In the later years, people had been telling Jack that he had been cheated and not treated well, so he sort of lumped me in with the rest of management. But at the end, he realized I wasn’t management in those days” (Lee).
Also pre-death, Lee reunited with Kirby and did a novel-length version of the Silver Surfer, published in 1978 (“Stan’s”).
In the same interview, Lee also commented concerning Steve Ditko. He said, “Steve and I didn’t socialize at all, but I liked him very much and still do. He was just an independent guy and very reclusive in a lot of ways. I met him again a few years ago at Marvel and we even discussed working together on a new strip, but we couldn’t agree on what it would be” (Lee).
A “recluse” indeed. Ditko does not give interviews and he hoards thousands of his original comic book pages (Subramanian). Having lost most of the creative-control and credit for “Spider-Man” to Stan Lee, it’s not difficult to assume why he wouldn’t be talking. He probably has nothing too good to say. From Lee’s viewpoint, it generally sounds like it was all a big misunderstanding. He and Kirby were well in the end, and even he and Ditko had spoken –even if it was once, and it didn’t assuredly resolve former conflicts. It would seem all ended on a better note between the comic book makers, Lee, Kirby (and Ditko); but one event about six years later changed all that:
In November 2002, Lee filed suit against Marvel Enterprises, Inc. Yes, this is the very same company he helped establish in 1961; now one of the largest comic book companies in the world. Suit was filed for Marvel’s failure to uphold terms of a 1998 employment agreement that clearly entitled him to 10% of profits made from live action or animated movies and television shows that use Marvel characters (Marvel).
When asked in the interview with UGO how the suing of Marvel was going, Lee said, “Yeah, it’s going, but it’s probably the friendliest lawsuit in history. It’s just a case of there being a clause in my contract that I interpret one way and [Marvel Enterprises] interpret another way. We decided to let the court decide and there is no acrimony on my part. I love Marvel and the people there. I’m glad I’m still part of it” (Lee).
January 2005; the gavel falls, ending the case. A Manhattan federal judge ruled in favor of Lee, entitling him to $10 million –10% of profits— from Marvel Enterprises. The ruling lit the old, “who gets the credit” flame right back up.
“It’s amazing that he walks away with all the credit and all the money for some of the creation of these characters,” Robert Katz, Jack Kirby’s nephew, said concerning the case. “The artists who did the lion’s share of the creation have walked away with absolutely nothing” (Ives C8).
I believe this statement is true. I have a high respect for Jack Kirby and his contribution to the creation of comic books and the heroes on their pages. Stan Lee has certainly received the money, and most of the credit, for the creation of something he merely added dialogue to. As Marvel’s chairman emeritus, he receives $1 million a year (Ives C8). More so, his wife, Joan Lee, is entitled to 50% of that million for her entire life should he die; and should both Joan and Stan die, their daughter is entitled to $100,000 over a five year period (Marvel). Lee and his family are financially stable. The Kirby family is a little different.
“I don’t know how they live with themselves,” said Jack’s daughter, Lisa Kirby. “The [Kirby] estate gets no compensation at all” (Ives C8).
Though Lisa Kirby may not see it, and my respect for Jack remains, the point of the matter is that Jack Kirby has no contract with Marvel which entitles his family to any amount of money. Looking at it from an even less specific point of view, the family didn’t draw or create anything; Jack did. Why should the family be entitled to anything? I feel the same way about Lee’s family, but Lee ensured he had a contract under his belt which provided family support whereas Jack didn’t.
I am unsure whether or not Kirby sought or was offered signing a contract that would ensure compensation for his family, but an article in The Comics Journal described Kirby’s reaction to a contract offered in 1979:
“. . . he balked at the new contract and departed Marvel for good. He told The Comics Journal then, ‘Maybe this is the right time of life to try other things’ ” (Dean).
The details of the contract are unknown to me, but I find his reaction interesting enough. He obviously was not interested.
Unlike the Kirbys, Marvel responded to the ruling with the same, collective manner that Lee had:
“Stan is one of the founders of today’s comic book industry,” said John Turitzin, Marvel’s Vice President and General Counsel. “We are pleased with the settlement and are happy to have resolved all of our disputes with him” (“Marvel”).
This was obviously not a heated argument between Lee and Marvel –proven by their statements. It’s clear that the Kirbys remarks had been focused on the fact that Lee was getting more money in his pockets, and not the court case itself which concerned an entirely different matter: Stan’s employment agreement.
“The Stan Lee dispute is really a dispute about an employment agreement that’s very specific to Stan Lee,” said Turitzin. “It’s not an agreement about his role as a creator of Marvel’s characters” (Ives C8).
The court case had nothing to do with the argument concerning Stan’s character ownership, or even Jack Kirby. Whether or not the Kirbys remarks and their continuing hatred of Stan Lee are influenced at all by jealousy, greed or other reasons remains an unknown, but I find it curious that they would pounce on Lee with accusations as soon as he was making money; money that a federal court had proved he was entitled to. Do you see now the conflict behind the “Dartboard Man” analogy? In a very complex series of events, Stan Lee has become a symbol of hatred for those who believe Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko were ripped off. All he did was dialogue. Should he be getting any credit for that? John Romita was in the same situation as Kirby and, particularly, Ditko. What would Romita have to say about Lee having worked along-side him for several years? In the same interview with The Comics Journal, he states:
“A lot of people [including Marvel artists] claim that Stan took too much credit. My attitude is that if I had done the same work for another editor, it wouldn’t have been as good. Jack Kirby was a genius, but the fact of the matter is that Jack Kirby didn’t have any long runs on any books . . . all the magnificent things that were done in Fantastic Four in that ten-year run. He didn’t do that with Joe Simon . . . Don’t you think Stan Lee deserves some credit for that? . . . As much credit as Stan gets, I think he deserves most of it. I think he was the best editor that ever lived, and one of the best writers. I always felt ‘Why should I ask for equal credit with the guy who did most of the creation here’ ” (Romita)?
Having gone through Kirby’s history, this appears to be true. Other than Captain America –which was done through Timely and which Lee assisted with on occasion— Kirby hasn’t necessarily had a taste of fame, bulging pockets or a house in Hampton. I don’t believe that it was because Kirby had a lack of talent that his other comic books were not popular, but he met success when his comics were done through Timely/Atlas/Marvel. Lee just so happened to be part of that company. Perhaps Kirby’s dispute was more with the company than it was with Stan.
I agree that dialogue doesn’t sound like much of a challenge, and I agree that I would not grant anyone full credit to a co-created work like “Spider-Man” for simply putting words in bubbles while the other person drew those bubbles, the characters using them and the backgrounds that these bubbles and characters are set in; all while developing a plot. But it is not just the dialogue and the art that we are talking about here. I believe that Lee’s success and claim to the characters is not solely based on how much work he put into the physical comic book; but his status, how much he has done for the company as a whole, and his “Hollywood” appeal.
Head writer, editor, art director, top creative force, president, executive producer, Stan “The Man” Lee, “Mr. Marvel,” and now Chairman Emeritus: all of these are titles which Stan Lee has held over his 67-year period with Marvel Comics. In those 67 years, no one has given Marvel more.
The Marvel Method and the Marvel Formula were revolutionary to the comic book world, and it was Stan Lee who created them. The Marvel Method shortened the time it took to create a quality image/comic book, while the Formula gave comic book readers a glimpse into the life of a character. They weren’t just reading a perfect, “good triumphs over evil” story with a “goody-goody” moral at the end of it; but thick, juicy stories that had colorful characters that they could relate to and sympathize with. It was a huge step towards making the Marvel Universe a reality, and one that obviously made an impact.
Lee has been involved many “activities” over the past few years. He currently owns his own company, Purveyors of Wonder (POW!), specializing in entertainment through movies, television, DVDs, video games, etc.; and continues to write for a Spider-Man comic strip that he syndicated in 1977. His younger brother, Larry Lieber, does the penciling, and it’s one of the longest running comic strips in history (“Stan’s”), but both the company and the comic are small in comparison to Marvel’s latest source of income: cinema.
Lee is the executive producer of many of the Marvel films that we enjoy today. Spider-Man, Daredevil, the Incredible Hulk, the X-Men, Iron Man, and many more of the Marvel characters have come back to life on the big screen, making the company expand even more because of Lee’s efforts (“Stan’s”). Spider-Man, the movie, alone grossed $822 million when it was released in 2003. The movie’s popularity caused the sales of 2 million Spider-Man video games, and $290 million in profits made from the sales of comic books, action-figures, and other merchandise. In 1998, Blade collected $70 million, and in 2000, X-Men brought in $157 million at the box office (Croal 50).
“Things are fantastic [at Marvel],” said Allen Lipson, CEO of Marvel Enterprises in 2003. “I don’t think they could get much better” (Croal 50). The only problem Marvel ran into with the big screen was bad experiences working with studios that were outside of Marvel’s ownership. Spider-Man and its sequel were made through Sony Pictures, while X-Men, X2: X-Men United and the Fantastic Four were made through 20th Century Fox. Because of this, Marvel lost a lot of the revenues from DVDs and box-office sales to these companies (Ives C4).
To prevent further money loss, Marvel has organized Marvel Films with Stan Lee as the head of operations. With Marvel Films, Marvel will be able to pay for its own productions, and keep the revenues (Ives C4).
The next Marvel movies we can expect are The First Avenger: Captain America, and Nick Fury; which, in 2005, were expected to be in theatres in 2007 or 2008 (Ives C4). Now, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) states that Nick Fury will be released in 2010 and The First Avenger: Captain America in 2011 (IMBd). Stan Lee himself makes cameo appearances in just about all of the Marvel movies. This alone presses the idea that perhaps a lot of the credit Lee has received is based off of his “Hollywood” appeal and popularity.
“It started out (with 2000’s X-Men) as a courtesy,” Lee said concerning his cameos, “but [the movie makers] are beginning to realize that’s what brings people into the theaters” (Keck 06D).
In the same article, Lee comments on his movie-going experiences:
“When I go to the theater to see [Marvel movies], I’m able to just sit there and enjoy the movies without thinking, ‘Hey, I created that’ ” (Keck 06D).
Sound conceited? In the early creation of this essay, I had yet to decide whether or not I sided with Lee. Then I read the article the above quote was taken from. Here Lee was in Keck’s article from USA TODAY, relentlessly using the word “I,” as if to mock the very names of Kirby and Ditko. It made my stomach churn with disgust. I thought for sure that this would be the article that would prove him as nothing more than a conceited, old man that had plundered all the credit for creating the Marvel Universe from Kirby and Ditko. . . . But then I read the UGO interview.
“I realize that you don’t have a lot of duties on these Hollywood movies,” UGO inquired, “but as the executive producer, did you ever lobby for Jack Kirby . . . to receive credit” (Stan)?
Lee responded. “I would have loved it, but when you say executive producer, it’s sort of an honorary title. I really don’t have anything to say with the movies. I thought it would be nice if everyone of these movies said ‘Based on characters created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’ or Lee and Steve Ditko, or whoever the book was done by, but they have not done that with these movies” (Stan).
“Why is that?” UGO asked (Stan).
“I don’t know whether it’s an oversight, or whether they figure those people will start suing them for a share of the profits,” Lee replied (Stan).
At first, I was skeptical. He’s got to be covering it up. I bet he’s being his conceited, old self by claiming he’s innocent and that he had nothing to do with it. He just wants all the credit for himself, without a doubt. But throughout my research, I found otherwise. In all of the many documents I have searched through, I have found no ill word directed at Steve Ditko or Jack Kirby spoken by Lee. That, and considering the nature of Hollywood, I believe he is sincere. Hollywood is focused on the money and staying out of court. It would seem Lee has not forgotten the names of Kirby and Ditko. As for, “Then why hasn’t he done anything about it?” I cannot say, but remember –tragic as it may be— Kirby is deceased, and Ditko has, thus far, remained reclusive.
As you can see, Lee has given a great deal to Marvel Comics, but what I consider his biggest contribution is his power-house of imaginative ideas, leading to the development and co-creation of the characters that today sit comfortably under the company name. Stan Lee has never grown out of his childhood imagination. If Marvel were Disneyland, Stan Lee would be Walt Disney. This seems a fitting analogy, too, because Disney, though he drew Mickey Mouse and what-not, was not the only man behind the animation/cartoon magic. It was a whole team of animators that brought Mickey Mouse to life.
In the case of Lee, there may have been other people that threw out ideas which ultimately created Spider-Man, or the Incredible Hulk, (Stan might have thought up the name, but Ditko might have thought up the costume; etc.); and I am positive that no one man is deserving of all the credit for the creation of these characters. Creating a comic book hero is a collaborative effort, but I know that there’s one man in this world who deserves no less than what he gets –if not the credit for the creation of Spider-Man— for the hard work, revolutionizing ideas and creative spirit that he has contributed to Marvel Enterprises. That man is Stan Lee.
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Nolan, Michelle. “The Super Women of Timely.” Certified Guaranty Company website. 10 Aug. 2008 .
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Staples, Brent. “Marveling at Marvel: You Say Spider-Man, but I Say the Thing.” The New York Times 25 Mar. 2005: A16.
Subramanian, Sarmishta. "The invisible hand behind Spidey: brilliant but eccentric, Spider-Man's forgotten right-wing co-creator surfaces in a new book." Maclean's. 121. 29 (28 July 2008): 58.