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  1. #136
    Extraordinary Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panic View Post
    Jack, you're just so extreme with your need to separate Stan Lee from a writing credit. I feel it's actually sabotaging your argument.
    It's not my argument: Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Alan Moore, among many many others have made this argument questioning whether Stan Lee can be said to have actually created these characters, if was not more an editor than a writer.

    As Riesman points out that there's no contemporaneous hard evidence that Stan Lee created these characters. There was never any script and we basically have to rely on Stan Lee's word that he developed these ideas. His own interviews in the '60s has him discussing stuff in terms of editorial prompts and he himself said that Jack Kirby was practically a writer alongside him.

    The question isn't that Stan Lee had nothing to do with the success of these comics, the question is can we credit Stan Lee for creating these characters or having any say in originating and generating these characters and stories. If we want to credit him for dialogue it's worth asking what people mean by that. Marvel Comics in the '60s were largely action and plot driven and certainly not as driven by dialogue as anything by Moore, Gaiman, Bendis, Gillen to name a few.

  2. #137
    Fantastic Member chicago_bastard's Avatar
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    Dialogue clearly contributes to the characterization of a character. And I'd say the characterization was more crucial to Spidey (or others) becoming a success than the plot of his early stories.
    Tolstoy will live forever. Some people do. But that's not enough. It's not the length of a life that matters, just the depth of it. The chances we take. The paths we choose. How we go on when our hearts break. Hearts always break and so we bend with our hearts. And we sway. But in the end what matters is that we loved... and lived.

  3. #138
    Spectacular Member captchuck's Avatar
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    There is no way we can be 100% sure of exactly what Stan Lee's exact contributions were. I still believe Stan wrote (in rough layout form) the earliest issues of The Fantastic Four. Stan also rejected Jack Kirby's original version of Spider-Man and worked with Steve Ditko on the early issues.

    Check out this post which includes part of a story synopsis by Stan Lee:
    https://tombrevoort.com/2020/11/08/l...tastic-four-8/
    Last edited by captchuck; 04-13-2021 at 09:44 AM.

  4. #139
    Astonishing Member JackDaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chicago_bastard View Post
    Dialogue clearly contributes to the characterization of a character. And I'd say the characterization was more crucial to Spidey (or others) becoming a success than the plot of his early stories.
    Dialogue played a part in characterisation. (And I think it fair to say that it’s practically certain that Stan did better dialogue than his rivals at DC most of the time.)

    But you’re surely not saying dialogue is the only thing that establishes character are you? In comics of all things?

    For me, the way Steve Ditko drew Peter, Aunt May and Uncle Ben was the primary thing that established character, most especially the close family love between the three.

    The “question” in my mind has never been whether Stan deserves a great deal of credit (I think he does) but whether Jack K and Steve D deserve even more in the creation of the main pillars of the Marvel-verse.

    For me...they do.

    First they did a lot of the writing (whatever you think about relative importance of plot and dialogue, creating the detailed plot is certainly a large part of the writing), and I think they played a more important role in original character creation than Stan.

  5. #140
    Extraordinary Member Mike_Murdock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    These were usually on levels of characterization i.e. making Susan Storm more wimpy than Kirby's original art portrayed (and subsequent history has aligned Susan with Kirby's pencils more than Lee's dialogue). Or Doctor Doom having more dignity and bearing in the art than the dialogue at times conveyed.

    The dialogue in most cases isn't plot-critical. ​
    I think the most obvious example off the top of my head is the Inhumans escaping from the Negative Zone Barrier. The whole build up seems overwritten where it appears that Black Bolt actually got his destructive voice from the machine he uses (hence why Black Bolt screamed from the machine without it destroying anything), but Lee's dialogue stated that he always had those powers and it was a secret from society. When the barrier is destroyed, it seems clear to me from the art that the Royal family is cast out by their society because they're mad at what he's done but the dialogue says they're happy but he makes the decision to travel the Earth away from Inhuman society.

    I think the Him story was another one where Kirby was famously pissed off that Lee changed the direction of the story to something contrary to his intent.
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  6. #141
    Fantastic Member chicago_bastard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackDaw View Post
    Dialogue played a part in characterisation. (And I think it fair to say that it’s practically certain that Stan did better dialogue than his rivals at DC most of the time.)

    But you’re surely not saying dialogue is the only thing that establishes character are you? In comics of all things?

    For me, the way Steve Ditko drew Peter, Aunt May and Uncle Ben was the primary thing that established character, most especially the close family love between the three.

    The “question” in my mind has never been whether Stan deserves a great deal of credit (I think he does) but whether Jack K and Steve D deserve even more in the creation of the main pillars of the Marvel-verse.

    For me...they do.

    First they did a lot of the writing (whatever you think about relative importance of plot and dialogue, creating the detailed plot is certainly a large part of the writing), and I think they played a more important role in original character creation than Stan.
    Of course not, I wrote that it contributes to the characterization, not that it's the only thing to do so.

    I believe there is a middle ground and your opinion is perfectly fine whereas I think the position Riesman takes in his book is too extreme.

    I'm not even very fond of Stan Lee, I already complained about his writing of female characters some pages ago, but nonetheless I think his importance can't be neglected the way Riesman does.
    Tolstoy will live forever. Some people do. But that's not enough. It's not the length of a life that matters, just the depth of it. The chances we take. The paths we choose. How we go on when our hearts break. Hearts always break and so we bend with our hearts. And we sway. But in the end what matters is that we loved... and lived.

  7. #142
    Extraordinary Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by captchuck View Post
    I still believe Stan wrote (in rough layout form) the earliest issues of The Fantastic Four.
    The words "rough layout" again implies some kind of pre-written document which doesn't exist.

    Stan also rejected Jack Kirby's original version of Spider-Man and worked with Steve Ditko on the early issues.
    Kirby claimed that it wasn't Stan rejecting it so much as him changing his mind to not do the project, and then Ditko taking it up. Kirby still contributed far more to Spider-Man's creation than Lee did in terms of development, especially since Kirby supplied the name "Spiderman" and came up with the concept of the hero staying with his Aunt and Uncle.

    Check out this post which includes part of a story synopsis by Stan Lee:
    And Tom Brevoort points out that the synopsis reads (to him) like Stan jotting down notes after a back-and-forth exchange between him and Kirby and not at all an actual story written before contact and communication with Kirby. In other words it reads like an editor and writer having feedback on a project.

    Quote Originally Posted by chicago_bastard View Post
    Dialogue clearly contributes to the characterization of a character. And I'd say the characterization was more crucial to Spidey (or others) becoming a success than the plot of his early stories.
    The fact is that Stan Lee's dialogue in general wasn't very good. It was unique and flavorful and different characters sounded different and that's a virtue, but it was too pulpy and sing-song for the most part. Mostly it's average dialogue, sometimes above average and it worked in that time but fundamentally these comics worked because of the art and storytelling by Kirby and Ditko, and others.

    Take Mary Jane Watson, great design of the character by John Romita Jr. and excellent set-up by Ditko but then Stan Lee decided to make her sound like a hippy or his approximation of a hippy and the dialogue makes just no sense as anything other than camp. The plotting and actions of the characters which made her come across as charismatic and interesting is by Romita Sr. and that's why readers liked her even against Lee's attempts to sabotage his most interesting and best female character. Later writers, Gerry Conway radically had her dialogue altered to make her sound more realistic.

    Quote Originally Posted by JackDaw View Post
    Dialogue played a part in characterisation. (And I think it fair to say that it’s practically certain that Stan did better dialogue than his rivals at DC most of the time.)

    But you’re surely not saying dialogue is the only thing that establishes character are you? In comics of all things?
    I mean that's worth asking because it actually gets into an interesting discussion on comics theory. What counts for more, the character and panel action and movement or the actual dialogues in the balloons? I think it depends on the genre and the writer and artist. Like Bendis' comics are very much about the dialogue, as is Nick Spencer's, and so on. The dialogue drives the story and the stories are very dialogue driven. But Lee's comics with Kirby and Ditko aren't dialogue-driven storytelling.

    First they did a lot of the writing (whatever you think about relative importance of plot and dialogue, creating the detailed plot is certainly a large part of the writing), and I think they played a more important role in original character creation than Stan.
    Bingo.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_Murdock View Post
    I think the Him story was another one where Kirby was famously pissed off that Lee changed the direction of the story to something contrary to his intent.
    The Him story was editorial censorship of political content. The "Him" story was intended by Kirby was a spoof and critique of Ayn Rand's objectivism and Lee, an admirer of Rand (not as much as Ditko later, but certainly a small-r admirer - it was Lee who introduced Ditko to Rand's books), didn't care for that.

  8. #143
    Latverian ambassador Iron Maiden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    What exactly is this supposed to prove?
    Why don't you tell me what you think it proves? Did Gene Colan write / plot the entire Daredevil 2 issue arc and then tell Stan it had to continue in Fantastic Four? Or did Jack Kirby tell Gene Colan/Stan Lee to start a story 2 months prior to FF #73 that would have it's starting point in Daredevil? Or was Jack Kirby planning a crossover with Daredevil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Panic View Post
    Jack, you're just so extreme with your need to separate Stan Lee from a writing credit. I feel it's actually sabotaging your argument.
    Yes, I agree. The fact that he can't accept that Stan wrote the multi-issue arc where Daredevil has a fight with the Trapster that continues / concludes in a Fantastic Four issue because it would take away (either partially or entirely) Jack Kirby having any input.

  9. #144
    Latverian ambassador Iron Maiden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chicago_bastard View Post
    Of course not, I wrote that it contributes to the characterization, not that it's the only thing to do so.

    I believe there is a middle ground and your opinion is perfectly fine whereas I think the position Riesman takes in his book is too extreme.

    I'm not even very fond of Stan Lee, I already complained about his writing of female characters some pages ago, but nonetheless I think his importance can't be neglected the way Riesman does.
    I totally agree. The fact that Marvel continued to climb after Kirby left until it did overtake DC bears that out IMO.

  10. #145
    Extraordinary Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Maiden View Post
    Why don't you tell me what you think it proves?
    I didn't actually understand the point you are making, so that's why I asked you to clarify, I didn't want to respond to a point I didn't understand.

    Did Gene Colan write / plot the entire Daredevil 2 issue arc and then tell Stan it had to continue in Fantastic Four? Or did Jack Kirby tell Gene Colan/Stan Lee to start a story 2 months prior to FF #73 that would have it's starting point in Daredevil? Or was Jack Kirby planning a crossover with Daredevil?
    For that kind of specific stuff you'd have to scour published interviews about the issues in question. I personally don't know. Nor would it be especially relevant to the discussion.

    Yes, I agree. The fact that he can't accept that Stan wrote the multi-issue arc
    I simply didn't understand the comment. It has nothing to do with I can or cannot accept. The entire story you discuss didn't seem to have anything to do with the main thrust of this thread. I am still struggling to understand how it fits.

    ...where Daredevil has a fight with the Trapster that continues / concludes in a Fantastic Four issue because it would take away (either partially or entirely) Jack Kirby having any input.
    I don't see how that takes away or discounts anything. I mean the two parter with Daredevil and Doctor Doom crossing in multiple titles is mostly an action issue and a fight issue, most of which would have to be blocked or staged by the artists in nay case. It's not like this was some detailed crossover across multiple times each of which had to be written by one writer in particular.

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Maiden View Post
    I totally agree. The fact that Marvel continued to climb after Kirby left until it did overtake DC bears that out IMO.
    "Continued to climb" is an odd way to describe Marvel in the early to mid-70s which was in editorial disarray and as per multiple testimonials only kept solvent because it managed to acquire the license for Star Wars. It stabilized when Jim Shooter came in.

    And I don't see how Marvel overtaking DC could have been accomplished without the years of word-of-mouth built on Kirby and Ditko, as well as the entries into animation made in that time period.
    Last edited by Revolutionary_Jack; 04-13-2021 at 09:18 PM.

  11. #146
    Ultimate Member Mister Mets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chicago_bastard View Post
    Dialogue clearly contributes to the characterization of a character. And I'd say the characterization was more crucial to Spidey (or others) becoming a success than the plot of his early stories.
    I would also say that Stan Lee's dialogue stands out in comparison to his contemporaries (Gardner Fox, John Broome, Edmond Hamilton, Bill Finger, etc.)
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  12. #147
    Extraordinary Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    I would also say that Stan Lee's dialogue stands out in comparison to his contemporaries (Gardner Fox, John Broome, Edmond Hamilton, Bill Finger, etc.)
    It's hard to make a comparison because again dialogue is contextual and dependent on the story and plot.

    Dialogue depends on what the characters do, what the situation is, where the story is set located, and also who the audience is for that kind of story.

    Furthermore, in the case of Bill Finger and Gardner Fox (I can't speak for Broome, Hamilton), they wrote full-scripts, and originated and generated their ideas and concepts.

    But leaving that aside, the fact is that they wrote for an audience of children, and their stories and characters were set in fantastic cities (Gotham, Metropolis, Coast City, Central City and so on). What that means is Finger and Fox and others eschewed regionalism and topical references so as to make their characters universal? Whereas Lee was writing for an audience of teenagers, and he used the setting of New York City to insert regional flavor and topical ideas. Does that mean that Finger and Fox were inferior writers of dialogue simply because they targeted children, wrote in fictional settings without regional flavor, nor did they make many pop-culture references?

    In any case, superhero comics weren't #1 among children's entertainment in the '50s and early '60s. Carl Barks' Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck outsold Superman in that time, and Carl Barks' is by far a greater writer -- dialogues, plots, stories -- than Stan Lee was, in terms of tone, characterization, and personality. He made Donald Duck, the shouting and incomprehensible sourpuss of Disney into a three-dimensional character with virtues and vices, and Barks' was able to write for children and older readers. As Jeet Heer said "He was a prolific writer but not a particularly distinguished one (his cornball dialogue paled in comparison the urbane snappiness of Carl Barks’s Uncle Scrooge or John Stanley’s Little Lulu)" and as he would add in later, "Lee as creator of the Marvel Universe was a myth. Kirby and Ditko were the main creators of the characters and they plotted out most of the stories they worked on. Lee added the dialogue in after the fact. And the dialogue was always the weakest part of any comic he worked on."
    (https://newrepublic.com/article/1611...-comics-review)

    Stan Lee could sometimes write above average dialogue and most times he was more average than bad. Some of his ideas like trying to make sure different characters have dialogue that sounds different isn't bad. But at the same time, some of his attempts are cringe and camp. Stan Lee's Mary Jane is a good example of that. Most of the time the dialogue would often spell out and repeat the plot for the reader, or have villains talk about their scheme.

  13. #148
    Extraordinary Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    By the way I came across this cool YouTube video on Twitter.

    This is Stan Lee as people knew him in the 1960s at Marvel. The famous Stan Lee look (wig, glasses, mustache, permanent cheshire cat grin) came about 1970.

    It's kind of uncanny, but this is the Stan Lee who collaborated with Kirby and Ditko, and how they largely remembered him:



    It's a look at the "man behind the curtain" none of that slick, slangy presentation that came later.

  14. #149
    Spectacular Member captchuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    By the way I came across this cool YouTube video on Twitter.

    This is Stan Lee as people knew him in the 1960s at Marvel. The famous Stan Lee look (wig, glasses, mustache, permanent cheshire cat grin) came about 1970.

    It's kind of uncanny, but this is the Stan Lee who collaborated with Kirby and Ditko, and how they largely remembered him:



    It's a look at the "man behind the curtain" none of that slick, slangy presentation that came later.
    This had a different audience - advertisers and TV people I would guess. The hip persona was for the general audience. He probably thought he looked too "square" in that old video and created a new character for himself. I think we could all agree that he became much more "zingier".

  15. #150
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    I didn't actually understand the point you are making, so that's why I asked you to clarify, I didn't want to respond to a point I didn't understand.
    For that kind of specific stuff you'd have to scour published interviews about the issues in question. I personally don't know. Nor would it be especially relevant to the discussion.
    I simply didn't understand the comment. It has nothing to do with I can or cannot accept. The entire story you discuss didn't seem to have anything to do with the main thrust of this thread. I am still struggling to understand how it fits.
    I don't see how that takes away or discounts anything. I mean the two parter with Daredevil and Doctor Doom crossing in multiple titles is mostly an action issue and a fight issue, most of which would have to be blocked or staged by the artists in nay case. It's not like this was some detailed crossover across multiple times each of which had to be written by one writer in particular.
    I think most people in this thread are in agreement that Stan Lee took more credit than he warranted. There is lots of evidence to support the idea that the artists were generally more responsible for the plotting of the stories than they were given credit for at the time. And that Lee screwed them.

    However, it's your argument that Stan Lee deserves no credit at all, that he didn't write or plot anything, that is being challenged by this example, and why it is relevant. A storyline continuing between two titles with two different artists does suggest that someone else (maybe a writer/editor credited on both titles) may have had a hand in plotting that story. Otherwise you would have to offer some evidence that Gene Colan and Jack Kirby got together and worked out the Daredevil/FF crossover themselves. Occam's Razor would suggest that it was Stan Lee who had the idea of crossing those two titles over. Yes, his role might have been limited to a very barebones suggestion, but YOU are the one who is claiming that Stan Lee did no plotting at all, and this example (and I'm sure if I dug through my Essentials volumes I could find others) seems to disprove that assertion.

    As mentioned upthread, your militancy around this subject is a turn-off. I have long been someone who believes that Kirby/Ditko/et al have been denied the credit they deserve for creating and writing the stories that the entire Marvel Universe is based on, and that Stan Lee unfairly took that credit for himself. But he is still an integral and irreplaceable part of Marvel's success and longevity. BOTH THINGS CAN BE TRUE. Your insistence that they cannot demonstrates a real bias on your part (as is also evidenced by your dismissive refusal to engage with the Daredevil/FF crossover example and its implications) It's almost Randian in its "A is A" "black is black and white is white" dogma.

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