Thursday, 12 June 2014


Remember a while back (in this post) when I said someone should stick a sock in ALAN MOORE's gob to stop him making a total t*t of himself almost every time he opens his mouth?  Well, listen to him accuse STAN LEE of claiming, in one of his ORIGINS books, to have created CAPTAIN AMERICA with JACK KIRBY.

I've got those Origins volumes - Stan never says he created the shield-slinger in any of them.  In fact, although he's been mistakenly credited as having done so by lazy reporters who don't know their comicbook history, he himself , as far as I'm aware, has never made such a claim in his life.  (Unlike Jack, who once claimed to have created SUPERMAN, and designed SPIDER-MAN's costume.)

Furthermore, to add insult to injury, Mr. Moore totally misrepresents the conversation between JONATHAN ROSS and Stan in the TV programme IN SEARCH OF STEVE DITKO, completely distorting what the two of them actually said and painting Stan in a bad light in the process. 

Mr. Moore would do well to remember that, without Stan Lee, there might not have been a comicbook industry in which to carve out a lucrative career for himself - largely using the creations of others who preceded him.


Anonymous said...

That was a bit of a hatchet job on Stan Lee for sure. I totally agree that without Stan superhero comics would either have faded away or been reduced to an irrelevant joke with nonsense like Superbaby and the Super-Pets. And Stan brought Marvel to Britain for which I'm forever grateful - that audience seemed to be lapping it up though !

Kid said...

You know what they say, Col - "You can fool some of the people some of the time, etc..."

Chris Sobieniak said...

Good thing I don't read his work then!

Kid said...

Some of it's all right, Chris - unlike his accuracy when recounting events.

Mr Straightman said...

He should try creating more of his own characters instead of putting other people's creations in rape scenarios or torrid lesbian relationships or whatever he does these days. Never been so disgusted, pah etc.

DeadSpiderEye said...

It's clear here that he's developed a degree of personal animosity towards Stan Lee without actually ever having engaged in much personal interaction. At the risk of seeming to play devil's advocate (I have said I've found these remarks offensive) he does end with a hint of regret that he's belied his personal feeling in an inappropriate manner and The inaccuracy of the details are a result of him playing the crowd I think.

The Ditko documentary was fresh in mind when I saw this and his portrayal of Lee's contribution contrasts with my impression quite sharply, there is some reticence from Lee but the detail here of absent lawyers, seems like creative license playing to the crowd again. It's a bit sad really, that he should have allowed the currency of comic world lore to intrude on his view of a figure, a figure of not insignificant standing, to such an extend that it's prevented his interaction with the man. Which is something I think he'll live to regret because it must be apparent to him already that the strife borne from the turmoil of creative endeavor always instills bad feeling somewhere.

Kid said...

Lee, I just don't understand him being so precious about his 'own' characters (thinly-disguised Charlton heroes) when he's lived off the back of using other people's creations throughout most of his career.


DSE, I'd be interested in knowing just how accurate his claim is that Stan Lee regards him as the person in comics he'd most like to chat to. If it's true, it would surely only be to slap him down for dissing 'the man' like he has for so long.

El Vox said...

In all fairness, Moore says it "might" have been one of the Origin books ie. allowing that he may have read it elsewhere. I don't let Stan Lee off the hook so easily because I've heard or read somewhere that he alludes to the same thing discounting the input of the artist involved, and I think when Kirby was involved it was quite a lot.

I read an interview with Jack Kirby in The Comics Journey where he dismisses the amount of input Lee contributed to writing some of those comics as well. Granted that may be sour grapes by Kirby due to the amount of profits paid by Marvel to him (which I can understand, but a different issue entirely).

It's true some of the characters that Moore has written have been around a long time (Swamp Thing et. al.) but a character is only as good as the writer. Just sayin'.

Kid said...

Actually, you're mistaken - he specifically says it was in one of the Origins books - no 'might be' about it. And I repeat, in all the things I've ever read, I've never seen Stan take credit for creating Captain America.

Also, he's never said anything bad (that I know of) about any of his collaborators, always being far more generous about them than some of them have been about him. In early interviews, he credits Jack as being as much the writer on the FF strips as he was, and he's always volunteered the fact the Jack originated the Silver Surfer character.

I'd also take issue to a degree with your statement about a character only being as good as the writer - in comicbooks the artist can be of paramount importance as well. Personally, as far as Swamp Thing goes, overall, I preferred the Len Wein stories over Moore's.

Marionette said...

The Ditko interview isn't quite as Moore recalls it, but he does get the gist. The relevant exchange goes:

Ross: But do you, yourself believe that he co-created Spider-Man?
Lee: I'm willing to say so.
Ross: That's not what I'm asking.
Lee: That's the best answer I can give you.
Ross: So that's a no, then, really.
Lee: I'm happy to say I consider Steve to be the co-creator. If Steve wants to be called the co-creator I think he deserves to be called the co-creator because he had done such a wonderful job.

It's like Lee is saying "you and I both know he's not really the co-creator but I'm magnanimously prepared to pretend he is." Which is a mean and horrible thing to say.

Kid said...

Not when you consider it in context of what else he said, and in relation to years of a sustained effort to rob him (Stan) of any and all creative input at all. Stan said something along the lines of him believing that the person who came up with the concept is the creator. And he's right - in as much that he's the creator of the concept. However (and this is me speaking now), as far as the realisation of that concept goes, Steve is certainly the co-creator. I don't think that, deep down, Stan would deny that, but he's been put on the defensive for so long now that his reserve is understandable in my estimation. And remember also, that Jonathan Ross admitted that he sort of tricked Stan into seemingly denying Steve his due.

Also, I don't see how Stan saying that Steve being deserving of being called co-creator is in any way horrible or mean. What he's essentially saying is "I came up with the concept, Steve did a great job in realising that concept." It must be remembered that Steve wouldn't have had anything to 'realise' if Stan hadn't supplied him with the initial idea.

But thanks for sharing your point of view, Marionette - don't be a stranger now.

Marionette said...

And Stan would have just had some notes on a piece of paper if Steve hadn't turned it into a character in a costume with a certain body language and all the other iconic aspects of the character.

Sure, if Stan had given the notes to another artist, they would have realised it them in their own way and probably come up with a very different take on the basic idea. And then they would have been the co-creator.

And I did try to use my own name. I also ended up rewriting the entire post because the first one disappeared without asking me to give my username. *kicks blogger*

Kid said...

Yeah, but remember that Stan is the man who made sure readers knew what the artists' name were, and going from his lavish praise down through the years of their contributions, I'm sure he knows just how essential their input was.

Ross touched on the very thing in your second paragraph - what if someone else had drawn Spidey and it hadn't been successful? Stan says something like then he'd have been the creator of a not very successful concept. I think it needs to be remembered in what context Stan answered these questions - the latest in a long line of attempts to diminish his own contribution to the success of the Marvel Universe.

And fret not, Mighty Marionette - once you'd identified yourself, I deleted the remark about using your own name.

But let's get to the topic in hand. Don't you think it's mean and horrible of Alan Moore to misrepresent what was said and to accuse Stan of claiming to have created Captain America when he's never said any such thing?

Marionette said...

Moore did admit to having a bad memory. I find it hard to believe that Stan ever claimed ownership of Captain America, but all we can say for sure is that he didn't say so in any of the Origins books.

I believe Stan was an editor at the time, or very soon after, despite his tender age. There's a terrible story in Sun Girl #3 that feels very Leeish to me.

However, it seems to me that what Moore was actually saying was that he doesn't like Lee because of the way he treated Kirby. He really should have stopped at that point and moved on to the next question. He didn't need to justify it with poorly remembered anecdotes to prove Lee was a dick.

Kid said...

Well, I'd take issue with lee being a d*ck - without him, Marvel would've had Kirby's and Ditko's great art, but no heart, soul, substance or style. One only has to look at how poorly Kirby's & Ditko's later projects fared with the comics-buying public to realise that there were some interesting ideas, well-drawn, but poorly executed.

Also, I don't think that Moore's blatant distortions should be allowed refuge in the excuse of a poor memory when he derides Lee for the same thing. Having met both Lee and Moore, the former is charm and charisma personified, the latter an amiable, shuffling, duffer who seems to speak without thinking. In the fullness of time, Stan will still be a legend, Moore an interesting footnote.

Marionette said...

Yes, but which one would win in a fight?

Kid said...

Stan - nae bother.

El Vox said...

I hardly think everything Kirby did after his Marvel stint was poorly executed. I think Kamandi & The Demon are pretty well done, as was his Fourth World series to some degree or the other. But what did Stan Lee do afterwards that rated much? I don't see it. I often wondered why if Stan Lee scripted so many Marvel characters why did he stop scripting and making up great characters? Doesn't an artist or writer still want to create?

I'll grant you that I think they both did much for the comic book industry, and truth to tell we'll never know who actually did what specifically. Here's a good article on that:

I do think Stan's contributions was more about promoting, and creating a new realm and era for comics that turned into fandom, continuity, collecting, and so forth. And I'd agree if anything else the whole debate should give pause for any artist to know what they are getting into before signing on the dotted line.

I also think like the above article notes that perhaps Kirby remains in better light today because he wasn't financially rewarded like Lee, and Lee still has to hedge/lie and not tell the full story/truth so that Kirby's ancestors won't get any financial windfall.

Back to Moore though, he's taking the underdog's side for Kirby as I'm sure he can understand a bit of how large corps operate and understand the frustration that might ensue. He's also playing to the crowd ironically enough the way Stan Lee is known to do.

Kid said...

Last point first, if I may. Stan never 'played the crowd' for the purpose of tarnishing anyone's reputation so what Moore is doing is hardly comparable in that sense. It's even more ironic when he seems to be making it up as he goes along, essentially doing what he accuses Stan of.

Kirby's and Ditko's work after Marvel was entertaining, sure enough, but compared to what they had achieved with Stan, their stuff was 'poorly executed' as far as dialogue and characterisation were concerned. Their mags also tended not to last too long or sell too well.

Stan kept FF, Spidey and Thor going after Kirby and Ditko left (for longer in Spidey's case than the others, admittedly), but he was promoted to publisher which carried with it other duties and responsibilities. Whatever Stan's input was with Jack and Steve, it was the magic ingredient that transformed competently-told tales into something special. That's something that Mr. K and Mr D never quite seemed to manage on their own (to the same extent, I mean).

Not wishing to put down Jack Kirby, who I'm a huge fan of, but he once claimed that he had created the Punisher (the Frank Castle version, not the one who belonged to Galactus). In actual fact, when Gerry Conway, John Romita and Ross Andrew first dreamt up the character, they didn't have a name for him so approached Stan. "What does he do?", Stan asked of them. "He punishes criminals" was the response. "Then he's the Punisher" said Stan. As the name often defines a character as much as his motivation, it could be argued that Stan has almost as much of a co-creator claim as the other guys - not that he's ever claimed such a credit, I hasten to add.

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