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  1. #1
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    Default Is it true Stan Lee thought comics were juvenile?

    I saw someone on reddit say Stan Lee thought comics were juvenile (in a more negative way, I guess) but he liked the career he got from them. I tried searching but couldn't find more about this, but I thought it was kinda disappointing. I figured people here would know more.

  2. #2
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    Well he at least considered Golden Age comics juvenile, which is why he abandoned a lot of Golden Age tropes. For example, he hated child side-kicks like Bucky and Robin, which is why he killed Bucky off retroactively. I don't recall him ever calling his modernized take on the genre juvenile.

  3. #3
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crossfist View Post
    I saw someone on reddit say Stan Lee thought comics were juvenile (in a more negative way, I guess) but he liked the career he got from them. I tried searching but couldn't find more about this, but I thought it was kinda disappointing. I figured people here would know more.
    Lee thought superhero comics were juvenile and during the 50s, they were. Lee was much more drawn to MAD Magazine, EC Comics, newspaper funnies and other stuff than non-comic strips (which remember in the 20s to the 50s was the comics' mainstream). Stan Lee was an aspiring novelist and he believed that his career was in legitimate fiction. The reason he used "Stan Lee" as his nom-de-plume is that he thought that when he became a serious writer he would use his real name "Stanley Leiber" as a book writer to disassociate himself from his comics' work.

    When Lee wrote comics in the '60s, or rather collaborated with Kirby and Ditko (both of whom really did like the medium and didn't want to do anything else), he appealed to a more sophisticated taste and he was constantly name-dropping high culture stuff, and trying to promote Marvel by interacting with celebrities and going on the college tour circuit where he gave lectures. Stan Lee in fact can be credited for the stuff that John Byrne and others noted, i.e. making the comics audience age, and so on. Since he believed Marvel comics could appeal to college students and older readers and so on.

  4. #4
    Spectacular Member Stick Figure's Avatar
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    Well I mean comics were aimed at kids prior to Stan. Most were anyway. Iíve looked at some DC comics from the 60ís & 70ís and they are completely juvenile. Unreadable to me. Stan was instrumental in getting comics to where they are now.

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    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stick Figure View Post
    Well I mean comics were aimed at kids prior to Stan. Most were anyway. I’ve looked at some DC comics from the 60’s & 70’s and they are completely juvenile. Unreadable to me. Stan was instrumental in getting comics to where they are now.
    Yeah.

    Sometimes being a "fan" of stuff doesn't mean you're going to be good at it.

    Lee wasn't the biggest fan of "long underwear stories" but he had an outside frame of reference, a sense of the audience and an idea of how things could change.

    In Comic Creators on Spider-Man, Lee talked about how he loved to read Charles Dickens, Emile Zola and others growing up. He had a broad frame of reference than many others working in comics did/do.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the replies. It's nice learning about the business abs the creators behind it.

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    He aimed at a lot of deconstructionists elements in his comics. A lot of which would be considered commonplace now. Interestingly, I heard that he based Jameson off of himself. That being said, I can't source it.

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    Latverian ambassador Iron Maiden's Avatar
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    I remember reading some of the early Fantastic Four stuff when I was a kid. Stan did throw in some really sophisticated terms in there and being young, I had to crack open a dictionary. Doesn't seem like much now but it sparks the learning process.

    Here is some dialogue directed at Daredevil and then the Thing from Doom in FF #40

    I trust you enjoyed that last witticism. For it is the last you shall ever utter
    You blundering atavism
    Brave words, you orange-skinned misanthrope



    Some of the science talk may have come from Kirby too since he essentially co-wrote the book.

  9. #9
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Maiden View Post
    I remember reading some of the early Fantastic Four stuff when I was a kid. Stan did throw in some really sophisticated terms in there and being young, I had to crack open a dictionary. Doesn't seem like much know but it sparks the learning process.
    Lee always believed that he wrote for the curious and growing children, as well as teenagers, adolescents and young adults (which at the time meant late teens and early 20s). Likewise, Lee said he was a failed novelist...so I think he was unloading the fancy vocabulary he had learned, stored, and was itching to use.

    In a lot of ways, Marvel was the product of a mid-life crisis as far as Lee and Kirby go (Ditko was younger so for him this was his first big, and as it turned out biggest, chance). Kirby had a lot of success when he was young with Captain America and then he carried out his service for USA during the war and came back and worked with romance comics but after that he floundered for the 50s. Lee likewise had long suffered from impostor syndrome and insecurity and was 40 without achieving that literary career he wanted and so on.

    Stan Lee remember had a lot of ambitious ideas, if you consider the stuff he did that never panned out. He wanted to work with French avant-garde director Alain Resnais and as editor once tried to get the playwright Tom Stoppard to write for Marvel (https://www.cbr.com/marvel-comics-st...rd-playwright/). So yeah, Lee was underneath it all, quite a highbrow guy.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Lee always believed that he wrote for the curious and growing children, as well as teenagers, adolescents and young adults (which at the time meant late teens and early 20s). Likewise, Lee said he was a failed novelist...so I think he was unloading the fancy vocabulary he had learned, stored, and was itching to use.

    In a lot of ways, Marvel was the product of a mid-life crisis as far as Lee and Kirby go (Ditko was younger so for him this was his first big, and as it turned out biggest, chance). Kirby had a lot of success when he was young with Captain America and then he carried out his service for USA during the war and came back and worked with romance comics but after that he floundered for the 50s. Lee likewise had long suffered from impostor syndrome and insecurity and was 40 without achieving that literary career he wanted and so on.

    Stan Lee remember had a lot of ambitious ideas, if you consider the stuff he did that never panned out. He wanted to work with French avant-garde director Alain Resnais and as editor once tried to get the playwright Tom Stoppard to write for Marvel (https://www.cbr.com/marvel-comics-st...rd-playwright/). So yeah, Lee was underneath it all, quite a highbrow guy.
    And very few of these guys from that era ever went beyond public high school educations. But by all accounts, they read a lot. It wasn't really required anyway for a lot of jobs back then. Roy Thomas was I believe the first staffer to have a degree. But some staffers started much like Stan did as a teenager. Gerry Conway was only 16 and to think he wrote that one iconic Doom story "Though Some Call it Magic" when he was 18. Shooter started young also at DC.

  11. #11
    Ultimate Member Digifiend's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PCN24454 View Post
    He aimed at a lot of deconstructionists elements in his comics. A lot of which would be considered commonplace now. Interestingly, I heard that he based Jameson off of himself. That being said, I can't source it.
    I doubt it. Stan didn't look like Jonah back then. Stan had a full beard, not the moustache he later became known for.

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