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  1. #1
    Ultimate Member Mister Mets's Avatar
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    Default Stan Lee's Spider-Man

    Another discussion about best writers had the caveat "except for Stan Lee" because the answer is so obvious. But that ignores the discussion about why Stan Lee's work holds up so well, and why it's so damn good. You wouldn't have a similar discussion about Bill Finger's Batman, Jerry Siegel's Superman, or William Moulton Marston's work on Wonder Woman.

    A few things to start with...

    1. The Artists: When you have Steve Ditko and John Romita Sr doing character designs, and choreographing action sequences, you have a head-start on everyone else.

    2. Peter Parker and the supporting cast: This series had more focus on the superhero's ordinary identity than any other, exploring his home life, his experiences at school, as well as one of the most interesting places to work in the comics in the Daily Bugle. There would be a viable series even if Peter Parker wasn't Spider-Man.

    3. Clever quips- Stan Lee has a hell of a voice as a writer, and it's hard to match for the solid quips per page ratio. That makes the superhero stuff consistently fun to read

    4. Experiments- Stan Lee would devote the majority of an issue to the aftermath of a battle (Amazing Spider-Man #27/ 33), deal with the consequences of previous stories (When Spider-Man lost his memory in Amazing Spider-Man #55, he didn't get it back until several issues later; when Doc Ock destroyed part of his home, he worried the next issue about how the insurance can take care of it) or try to tell feature-length stories that would now be graphic novels (Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 with the Sinister Six, Spectacular Spider-Man #1-2.) He didn't limit himself to one kind of story.

    5. No Respect- Peter being Spider-Man screwed up his private life, but he didn't even find comfort as Spider-Man because the public was often against him. That's a consistently interesting dynamic.

    There's a lot more you could come up with, but what say you.
    Sincerely,
    Thomas Mets

  2. #2
    Mighty Member oldschool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    Another discussion about best writers had the caveat "except for Stan Lee" because the answer is so obvious. But that ignores the discussion about why Stan Lee's work holds up so well, and why it's so damn good. You wouldn't have a similar discussion about Bill Finger's Batman, Jerry Siegel's Superman, or William Moulton Marston's work on Wonder Woman.

    A few things to start with...

    1. The Artists: When you have Steve Ditko and John Romita Sr doing character designs, and choreographing action sequences, you have a head-start on everyone else.

    2. Peter Parker and the supporting cast: This series had more focus on the superhero's ordinary identity than any other, exploring his home life, his experiences at school, as well as one of the most interesting places to work in the comics in the Daily Bugle. There would be a viable series even if Peter Parker wasn't Spider-Man.

    3. Clever quips- Stan Lee has a hell of a voice as a writer, and it's hard to match for the solid quips per page ratio. That makes the superhero stuff consistently fun to read

    4. Experiments- Stan Lee would devote the majority of an issue to the aftermath of a battle (Amazing Spider-Man #27/ 33), deal with the consequences of previous stories (When Spider-Man lost his identity in Amazing Spider-Man #55, he didn't get it back until several issues later; when Doc Ock destroyed part of his home, he worried the next issue about how the insurance can take care of it) or try to tell feature-length stories that would now be graphic novels (Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 with the Sinister Six, Spectacular Spider-Man #1-2.) He didn't limit himself to one kind of story.

    5. No Respect- Peter being Spider-Man screwed up his private life, but he didn't even find comfort as Spider-Man because the public was often against him. That's a consistently interesting dynamic.

    There's a lot more you could come up with, but what say you.
    Great topic for a thread! Spidey fans often forget that other big-name heroes didn't necessarily have their first creators compose their best work. Far from it, in many a case. You really nailed why the Stan/Steve/Romita work has held up so well all these years later despite a few obvious flaws (cheesy dialogue and densely packed stories, some topical social commentary that crept into the later era work----admirable but seems dated today and overplaying the sick Aunt May hand---though that particular trope continued through for the next few writers as well). It really is remarkable among comics----perhaps only Stan's early FF issues could claim a similar position though I personally think Byrne's run is the best one for that title.

  3. #3
    Fantastic Member Sparko's Avatar
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    Mets, you're spot on with the supporting cast and how great those stories were. I enjoyed early Spider-Man so much for it not just being a "Spider-Man" story. You really do feel vested in the lives of the background characters in Stan Lee's issues. He created the best non-villain/kind of a villain, recurring antagonist in JJJ. I can't think of any other hero who had to deal with someone like JJJ.

  4. #4
    A Green Unpleasant Man Rob London's Avatar
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    I think that a lot of it is that a lot of what we think of when we think of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman didn't come from their creators, but was added to their mythos later - sometimes much later. Spider-Man, however, was Spider-Man right away. Basically everything you know about Spider-Man is right there, from Amazing Fantasy #15 and the first few issues of Amazing Spider-Man.

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    I wholeheartedly agree that Stan Lee is the greatest Spider-Man writer of all time; I just left him off of my previous thread because just about everyone would name him as their favorite. And why wouldn't they? Not only did he create the character, but he established all of the defining characteristics, classic villains and beloved supporting characters that every writer has tried to follow since.

  6. #6
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    When i think of who is the best Spider-Man writer,Stan Lee is who i think is the best.
    So even with Spider-Man stories having so many great writers,Stan Lee with the stories he wrote estabilished a level of good stories,with a great super hero and one of the best (if not the best) suporting cast of characters and many great villains as well.
    Many other characters had their mythos added through the years as Daredevil,X-Men,Avengers.But with Spider-Man there were just great stories from the first issues Stan Lee wrote to the conclusion of his run.

  7. #7
    Loony Scott Taylor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    Another discussion about best writers had the caveat "except for Stan Lee" because the answer is so obvious. But that ignores the discussion about why Stan Lee's work holds up so well, and why it's so damn good. You wouldn't have a similar discussion about Bill Finger's Batman, Jerry Siegel's Superman, or William Moulton Marston's work on Wonder Woman.
    I'd say Finger compares favorably with Lee, adjusting for cultural variances between the 1940s and the 1960s. Haven't read a whole lot of Siegel or Marston. Finger's Batman stories had a certain viciousness to them which arguably established the "character" of Gotham and Batman's world. And he created the Joker, which is probably the best comic villain period.

    What attracts me to Lee are his sense of timing and nuance. He could make even a mundane scene be believable and interesting.
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  8. #8
    Ultimate Member Mister Mets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Masked Guy View Post
    I wholeheartedly agree that Stan Lee is the greatest Spider-Man writer of all time; I just left him off of my previous thread because just about everyone would name him as their favorite. And why wouldn't they? Not only did he create the character, but he established all of the defining characteristics, classic villains and beloved supporting characters that every writer has tried to follow since.
    While your thread inspired this, it's not a knock on you. You had a valid point that Stan Lee would be the overwhelming favorite, and that would dominate the discussion, and that it might be more interesting to have people argue about the merits of Stern, DeMatteis, JMS, Slott, Bendis and others, without focusing on the elephant in the room.

    I just noticed that there hadn't been much discussion about Stan Lee's strengths, and a remedy was necessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Taylor View Post
    I'd say Finger compares favorably with Lee, adjusting for cultural variances between the 1940s and the 1960s. Haven't read a whole lot of Siegel or Marston. Finger's Batman stories had a certain viciousness to them which arguably established the "character" of Gotham and Batman's world. And he created the Joker, which is probably the best comic villain period.

    What attracts me to Lee are his sense of timing and nuance. He could make even a mundane scene be believable and interesting.
    I don't want to knock on the other guys. The Joker stories from Batman #1 are pretty decent, and a good sample of Finger's work.
    Sincerely,
    Thomas Mets

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    While your thread inspired this, it's not a knock on you. You had a valid point that Stan Lee would be the overwhelming favorite, and that would dominate the discussion, and that it might be more interesting to have people argue about the merits of Stern, DeMatteis, JMS, Slott, Bendis and others, without focusing on the elephant in the room.

    I just noticed that there hadn't been much discussion about Stan Lee's strengths, and a remedy was necessary.
    No hard feelings; I didn't feel insulted. I agree that Stan Lee deserves as much praise and discussion as possible for his creation and contributions of/to the Spider-Man mythos.

  10. #10

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    He made sarcastic Peter funnier than quippy Spider-Man.
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  11. #11
    Fantastic Member SpiderNerd's Avatar
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    Something about Stan's run that I really loved is that every issue, no matter if it was meant to be part of a larger story arc, felt like a complete story. He managed to pack a lot into every issue, and he was successful for the most part. I never walk away from an issue of classic Stan Lee Spider-Man feeling empty or unsatisfied.
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  12. #12
    All-New Member Kurus's Avatar
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    Personally, I find Stan Lee to be one of my least favorite Spider-man writers.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurus View Post
    Personally, I find Stan Lee to be one of my least favorite Spider-man writers.
    Why is that?

  14. #14
    All-New Member Kurus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Masked Guy View Post
    Why is that?
    I find the books overwritten, the villains are cardboard cut outs, the romance is laughably melodramatic and the plots are pretty formulaic. I didn't start to actually enjoy the book until I reached the 70s.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurus View Post
    I find the books overwritten, the villains are cardboard cut outs, the romance is laughably melodramatic and the plots are pretty formulaic. I didn't start to actually enjoy the book until I reached the 70s.
    Stan Lee's writing is certainly campy and can be an acquired taste, but it's a lot of fun.

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