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  1. #1
    Incredible Member Hybrid's Avatar
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    Default How much credit do Stan Lee and Jack Kirby deserve for X-Men?

    X-Men is one of the biggest examples of "My Real Daddy", where a work becomes more popular and defined by a different creator than the originator. It's definitely true that Chris Claremont was biggest mastermind behind X-Men we know now (alongside others like Len Wein, David Cockrum, John Byrne, and so on). He may not have created the X-Men themselves, but he did create many, many characters and worldbuilding elements associated with the team, such as Rogue, Psylocke, Shadowcat, Phoenix Force, the Brood, Lockheed, the Shi'ar, the New Mutants (Magik, Sunspot, Cannonball, Karma, Cypher, Warlock, Magma, Wolfsbane, Dani Moonstar), Excalibur, Madelyne Pryor, Mr. Sinister, Gambit, the Hellfire Club, Emma Frost, Strong Guy, Rachel Summers, Forge, Mystique, and so on.

    I also notice that X-Men is probably the Marvel property least associated with The Man and The King, compared to the likes of Fantastic Four, the Avengers, Spider-Man (for Stan), Captain America (for Jack), and the general MU. It's actually rather easy to forget Stan and Jack were technically the creators of X-Men, and they were the ones who created iconic characters Cyclops, Angel, Beast, Iceman, Jean Grey, Professor X, and Magneto, as well as coming up with the mutant concept in general, originally to avoid having to come up with intricate backstories of how they got their powers, but also to commentate on real world social issues without the baggage of the real thing.

    In my opinion, you can't really say they aren't the creators, even if the X-Men as a whole became radically different, more expansive, better defined, and much, much more popular without them. At the end of the day, they were still the ones who put pen to paper and conceptualized the X-Men to begin with. Yes, it was met with lukewarm reception, middling sales, with both men leaving relatively early in the run, and was seen as a poor man's Fantastic Four that ultimately got cancelled for five years before coming back better, but they still provided the foundation of for later creators to work with. Put simply, it's like denying that Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created Superman or that Bob Kane and Bill Finger created Batman, even though they themselves changed radically over the decades that followed.

    It's also a counterargument I refer to when someone tries to suggest the X-Men are somehow "less Marvel" than the others and should be separated into their own universe. That of course being "The X-Men were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. You don't get more Marvel than that".

    So that being said, how much credit do Stan and Jack deserve for X-Men overall?

  2. #2
    Kinky Lil' Canine Snoop Dogg's Avatar
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    All of it. Glory to the progenitors!
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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hybrid View Post
    X-Men is one of the biggest examples of "My Real Daddy", where a work becomes more popular and defined by a different creator than the originator. It's definitely true that Chris Claremont was biggest mastermind behind X-Men we know now (alongside others like Len Wein, David Cockrum, John Byrne, and so on). He may not have created the X-Men themselves, but he did create many, many characters and worldbuilding elements associated with the team, such as Rogue, Psylocke, Shadowcat, Phoenix Force, the Brood, Lockheed, the Shi'ar, the New Mutants (Magik, Sunspot, Cannonball, Karma, Cypher, Warlock, Magma, Wolfsbane, Dani Moonstar), Excalibur, Madelyne Pryor, Mr. Sinister, Gambit, the Hellfire Club, Emma Frost, Strong Guy, Rachel Summers, Forge, Mystique, and so on.

    I also notice that X-Men is probably the Marvel property least associated with The Man and The King, compared to the likes of Fantastic Four, the Avengers, Spider-Man (for Stan), Captain America (for Jack), and the general MU. It's actually rather easy to forget Stan and Jack were technically the creators of X-Men, and they were the ones who created iconic characters Cyclops, Angel, Beast, Iceman, Jean Grey, Professor X, and Magneto, as well as coming up with the mutant concept in general, originally to avoid having to come up with intricate backstories of how they got their powers, but also to commentate on real world social issues without the baggage of the real thing.

    In my opinion, you can't really say they aren't the creators, even if the X-Men as a whole became radically different, more expansive, better defined, and much, much more popular without them. At the end of the day, they were still the ones who put pen to paper and conceptualized the X-Men to begin with. Yes, it was met with lukewarm reception, middling sales, with both men leaving relatively early in the run, and was seen as a poor man's Fantastic Four that ultimately got cancelled for five years before coming back better, but they still provided the foundation of for later creators to work with. Put simply, it's like denying that Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created Superman or that Bob Kane and Bill Finger created Batman, even though they themselves changed radically over the decades that followed.

    It's also a counterargument I refer to when someone tries to suggest the X-Men are somehow "less Marvel" than the others and should be separated into their own universe. That of course being "The X-Men were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. You don't get more Marvel than that".

    So that being said, how much credit do Stan and Jack deserve for X-Men overall?
    Technically they gave up on the X-Men and the characters stayed on the sidelines for several years until Giant Size X-Men revitalized them. Sure they deserve credit as the original creators, but in the end they had nothing to do with the lasting popularity. The lasting popularity foundation was created by Len Wein, Dave Cockrum, Chris Claremont, John Byrne and others.
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  4. #4
    spit and hades! Andru's Avatar
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    Weren't the X-Men fighting grasshoppers under Lee's pen?

  5. #5
    VEGETATIVE INJUSTICE! Kurisu's Avatar
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    About as much as Liefy deserves for Deadpool. They created them, but no one cared until someone else got hold of them.

  6. #6
    Mighty Member Electricmastro's Avatar
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    If you ask me, I think that house foundation builders should always get credit for building the foundation of the house, while later people like Chris Claremont, Len Wein, David Cockrum, and John Byrne helped add all sorts of walls, furniture, and decorations. Those tend to be noticed first before noticing the foundation, but Stan and Jack's foundation isn't any less deserving of credit at the same time.

  7. #7
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    The creator credit (which finally got added to all the Lee/Kirby creations after Disney settled with the Kirby estate) is just that, a credit. It's like a TV series, where the person who wrote the pilot gets creator credit forever even if they never had anything to do with the show in all the episodes that followed. Lee and Kirby were more important than that, because so many concepts and characters from the early issues have remained a vital part of the franchise, but it is true that others improved on their run, and it's not considered the benchmark for the entire series like the Kirby "Fantastic Four" or the Ditko "Spider-Man." So I'd say they deserve credit for creating the series and others (Thomas, Adams, Wein, Claremont, Cockrum, Byrne, etc.) deserve credit for making it good.

    Last edited by gurkle; 11-08-2019 at 09:22 PM.

  8. #8
    Incredible Member FIGHT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurisu View Post
    About as much as Liefy deserves for Deadpool. They created them, but no one cared until someone else got hold of them.
    Pretty much.

  9. #9
    Astonishing Member AbnormallyNormal's Avatar
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    My interpretation of it is, given the later canon and writing and everything now if you go back and read those early Lee/Kirby issues you can get more out of them in hindsight but without all the later work those early issues would just read as empty pointless "monster of the week" type ad hoc storytelling (for the most part).

    The main contributions Lee/Kirby made were Sentinel idea, Juggernaut, Magneto definition, concept of Brotherhood, and sort of the basic variety of mutant abilities among the O5.

    But a lot of it was ultra convoluted and just filler
    "So many killers... so much screaming... so many dying. I didn't know where to turn, who to help - which sentinel to stop first. And with the accusations of human judgement screaming in my ears... all I could think was that he was right. MAGNETO HAD BEEN RIGHT ALL ALONG!"

  10. #10
    Astonishing Member Grey's Avatar
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    Claremont and others are amazing but they didn’t create mutants.

    Original creators deserve credit, no matter how much better later people handle it.

    This is why some of the best went to try and create their own characters in addition to playing with existing toys.
    Your favorite superhero- the one you visit these forums to talk about. Would they talk to others the way you do on this message board?

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member The Kid's Avatar
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    They deserve credit for a lot of the basic concepts although yes, a lot of the major work done to make the X-Men as big as they were goes to many others.

    I do find it funny though that the only reason the concepts of mutants exist is because Jack and Stan were too lazy to come up with origins for all the characters so they invented 'mutants' to save time and energy
    DC, hurry up and make your own version of Marvel Unlimited!

  12. #12
    Astonishing Member Vegan Daddy's Avatar
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    No shade but Lee and Kirby were just ripping off Doom Patrol when they created X-Men, so Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani deserve most of the credit.

  13. #13
    Incredible Member Hybrid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vegan Daddy View Post
    No shade but Lee and Kirby were just ripping off Doom Patrol when they created X-Men, so Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani deserve most of the credit.
    Didn't they come out at like the same time? Doom Patrol was out only three months before X-Men, not nearly enough time to get the whole series together and on-stands. Besides, Doom Patrol wasn't exactly a Superman-level smash, so I doubt Stan and Jack would've had much incentive to rip it off. There's a lot of similarities, but it's mostly coincidental I believe.

  14. #14
    Astonishing Member Omega Alpha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hybrid View Post
    Didn't they come out at like the same time? Doom Patrol was out only three months before X-Men, not nearly enough time to get the whole series together and on-stands. Besides, Doom Patrol wasn't exactly a Superman-level smash, so I doubt Stan and Jack would've had much incentive to rip it off. There's a lot of similarities, but it's mostly coincidental I believe.
    Exactly. It's just hipster non-sense to claim they ripped off the DP.

  15. #15
    Kinky Lil' Canine Snoop Dogg's Avatar
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    The O5 needs to die in a horrible explosion in order to save a town. Then when someone floats by the idea of renaming the town after them and building a statue, everyone else is just like, "Ooooooooh, aaaaah, mutants... nah..."
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Stark
    That's what I have over Beelzebub now, Honoka-chan. He thinks he's a third-year school idol. I know what I am. And in this fight-- that makes me INVINCIBLE!

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