Thursday, 13 May 2021

PART SIX OF STAN LEE PRESENTS: THE UNCANNY X-MEN...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

Hi, true believers, Smilin' Stan Lee here again, inhabiting the form of a Mego 8 inch action figure through which I communicate with you earthbound fans from my comfy cloud in the Heavenly Hills.  Thus far we've looked at Thor, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and the good ol' Fantastic Four, so let's now turn our attention to The Uncanny X-Men.

Sometimes I just can't win.  Back in the '60s I gave writer Arnold Drake a crack at writing the X-Men, only to later learn that he thought I'd ripped-off his Doom Patrol series for DC Comics.  Both mags featured a wheelchair-bound leader of strangely-powered misfits, and each team had a group of baddies they fought on a regular basis.  In Doom Patrol's case it was The Brotherhood of Evil, and in the X-Men's case it was The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.  Doom Patrol debuted around 3 months before X-Men, but it usually took around 6 months to put a new comic together, so the timeline doesn't really allow for Arnold's claim.  He tried to get around that fact by claiming I must somehow have learned of his idea before it appeared in print - perhaps in a tip-off from someone at DC.

Then there are those who claim it was Jolly Jack Kirby who dreamed up the X-Men and all I did was dialogue his pages based on his margin notes - yet Jack is never accused of ripping-off the Doom Patrol, only me.  So if I had nothing to do with creating the X-Men, how can I have ripped-off the Doom Patrol?  And if Jack came up with Marvel's merry mutants, why does he get a pass on having plagiarised DC's team?  See what I mean?  I lose out either way - it's no wonder I suspect there are some people who just plain don't like me.  Anyway, contrary to those calumnious claims, I, along with Jack, created the X-Men, and the Doom Patrol had nothing to do with their birth.  It was simply one of those curious coincidences that occur from time to time in the world of comics.

I was the first scripter of the X-Men, followed by Roy Thomas, Arnold Drake, and almost countless others since then.  I gotta say I'm proud of Roy, who took on the mag without missing a beat and continued in a style almost indistinguishable from my own.  If it hadn't been for the credits, I'd probably never have been aware that I wasn't still writing the strip.  (I've got a terrible memory y'know - can't recall whether I've mentioned it before.)  Good on ya, Roy.  Incidentally, Arnold's up here too and I've forgiven him for his rash claims, so panic ye not, Merry Marvel Maniacs - harmony reigns in these here Heavenly Hills.

Excelsior!  And may your amulet never tickle!

My very own ish of DP's debut.  Copyright DC COMICS

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