My Interview Questions For Stan Lee. Part 4.2

My Interview Questions For Stan Lee, Part 4.2.

Panel 5: Jack cuts to the first appearance of the Thing. He’s wearing a trench coat, a fedora and some round shades. That was your idea, Stan — you mentioned wanting Jack to have the Thing in a trench coat in your synopsis. Your conception of the Thing as a creep in a trench coat reminds me of the archetypal flasher. Is that what you were going for?

A flasher

In panel 5, Ben Grimm is talking to a tiny little guy at the counter at a clothing store. You can see the guy is holding a shirt that’s way too small for the Thing – another example of Jack using humor in FF # 1.

That story element is not in your Fantastic Four synopsis, Stan. Did you tell Jack to put that in the story after you wrote the FF # 1 synopsis? If you don’t remember, is it possible Jack Kirby came up with that idea?

Wonderful use of perspective by Jack here giving you a long shot from a high angle. This makes the Thing seem less menacing.

Panel 6: The bald guy sees the FF smoke signal and freaks out.

That story element is not in your Fantastic Four synopsis, Stan. Did you tell Jack to put that in the story after you wrote the FF # 1 synopsis? If you don’t remember, is it possible Jack Kirby came up with that idea?

Panel 7: The Thing decides to reveal himself to the world.

That story element is not in your Fantastic Four synopsis, Stan. Did you tell Jack to put that in the story after you wrote the FF # 1 synopsis? If you don’t remember, is it possible Jack Kirby came up with that idea?

Panel 8: The clothing shop guy wonders why the Thing is taking off all of his clothes.

That story element is not in your Fantastic Four synopsis, Stan. Did you tell Jack to put that in the story after you wrote the FF # 1 synopsis? If you don’t remember, is it possible Jack Kirby came up with that idea?

Panel 9: A close-up of the guy’s shocked expression.

That story element is not in your Fantastic Four synopsis, Stan. Did you tell Jack to put that in the story after you wrote the FF # 1 synopsis? If you don’t remember, is it possible Jack Kirby came up with that idea?

I’m baffled by why so many comics’ collectors have said over the years they think Jack did a poor job on this story. I think this book is great. For example, I love the expression on that guy’s face. This is just like the Sue Storm sequence where you have Jack using humor to introduce the characters. Since there is no hint whatsoever of humor in your synopsis, Stan, I think all of the humor came from Kirby in the illustration phase. Do you agree, or do you remember telling Jack to put these comedic elements in this part of the story?

Panel 10: The Thing lumbers out the door as the little bald dude collapses.

Page 4

Panel 1: The Thing bursts through the front door (which leads to the question: how in the world did he squeeze in there in the first place?). Another example of great Kirby humor (obviously this was not a “Big and Tall” store). Bystanders flee the scene and avoid debris.

That story element is not in your Fantastic Four synopsis, Stan. Did you tell Jack to put that in the story after you wrote the FF # 1 synopsis? If you don’t remember, is it possible Jack Kirby came up with that idea?

Panel 2: The Cops spring into action. They head towards the Thing while pedestrians flee in the opposite direction.

That story element is not in your Fantastic Four synopsis, Stan. Did you tell Jack to put that in the story after you wrote the FF # 1 synopsis? If you don’t remember, is it possible Jack Kirby came up with that idea?

Panel 3: A cop takes a shot at the Thing, and misses.

That story element is not in your Fantastic Four synopsis, Stan. Did you tell Jack to put that in the story after you wrote the FF # 1 synopsis? If you don’t remember, is it possible Jack Kirby came up with that idea?

Panel 4: The Thing doesn’t just rip a manhole cover off the street, he rips out the whole chunk of street and the manhole cover goes flying. Another little bit of visual Kirby humor.

That story element is not in your Fantastic Four synopsis, Stan. Did you tell Jack to put that in the story after you wrote the FF # 1 synopsis? If you don’t remember, is it possible Jack Kirby came up with that idea?

Panel 5: The Thing falls into the sewer.

That story element is not in your Fantastic Four synopsis, Stan. Did you tell Jack to put that in the story after you wrote the FF # 1 synopsis? If you don’t remember, is it possible Jack Kirby came up with that idea?

Panel 6: He floats in what looks like a pretty nasty substance for a few blocks.

That story element is not in your Fantastic Four synopsis, Stan. Did you tell Jack to put that in the story after you wrote the FF # 1 synopsis? If you don’t remember, is it possible Jack Kirby came up with that idea?

Panel 7: Now that he’s evaded the cops, he bursts through the street. As I mentioned recently, this sequence is a carbon copy of the Bruttu sequence in Tales of Suspense # 22 (Oct 1961). Jack had no problem swiping from himself.

That story element is not in your Fantastic Four synopsis, Stan. Did you tell Jack to put that in the story after you wrote the FF # 1 synopsis? If you don’t remember, is it possible Jack Kirby came up with that idea?

Page 5

Panel 1: Terrific Kirby illustration of the Thing emerging from the ground and stopping a car.

That story element is not in your Fantastic Four synopsis, Stan. Did you tell Jack to put that in the story after you wrote the FF # 1 synopsis? If you don’t remember, is it possible Jack Kirby came up with that idea?

Classic Stan Lee dialogue: “What is that… right in front of me?” A tremendous amount of your dialogue tends to state the obvious, Stan. A lot of it doesn’t drive the story or develop character – that’s in the visuals. Was that intentional so that you don’t slow down Jack’s narrative? Or were you really just cranking out text to fill in the spaces Jack left at the top of the panels so you really didn’t give a lot of thought to the text? How long did it take you to add text to a Kirby story? 4 or 5 hours? More or less than that?

The Thing’s dialogue is equally silly. He’s in the process of smashing a car and he’s talking to the driver?

Panel 2. The Thing on the prowl. Pedestrians are scrambling.

That story element is not in your Fantastic Four synopsis, Stan. Did you tell Jack to put that in the story after you wrote the FF # 1 synopsis? If you don’t remember, is it possible Jack Kirby came up with that idea?

Panel 3 – 4. Cops are about to attack the Thing. In contrast to the screaming civilians, the Kirby cops are always cool and calm under pressure. They’ll handle this calamity.

That story element is not in your Fantastic Four synopsis, Stan. Did you tell Jack to put that in the story after you wrote the FF # 1 synopsis? If you don’t remember, is it possible Jack Kirby came up with that idea?

Panels 5 – 6: Jack cuts to Johnny Storm working with his buddy on a hot rod.

That story element is not in your Fantastic Four synopsis, Stan. Did you tell Jack to put that in the story after you wrote the FF # 1 synopsis? If you don’t remember, is it possible Jack Kirby came up with that idea?

Page 6:

Panel 1: Johnny’s friend points to the skies. Johnny sees a “4” flare floating above. I guess Mr. Fantastic has different flares?

That story element is not in your Fantastic Four synopsis, Stan. Did you tell Jack to put that in the story after you wrote the FF # 1 synopsis? If you don’t remember, is it possible Jack Kirby came up with that idea?

Panel 2 – 3: Storm bursts into flame.

That story element is not in your Fantastic Four synopsis, Stan. Did you tell Jack to put that in the story after you wrote the FF # 1 synopsis? If you don’t remember, is it possible Jack Kirby came up with that idea?

Panel 4: The Torch takes off.

That story element is not in your Fantastic Four synopsis, Stan. Did you tell Jack to put that in the story after you wrote the FF # 1 synopsis? If you don’t remember, is it possible Jack Kirby came up with that idea?

Why in the world would the Torch melt a car he was working on? Another story element that defies common sense, but it looks terrific visually. I do love the sparse dialogue in this panel, especially the “!” Still, kind of funny you would like us to believe this was your first comic aimed at “adults.” This is the same kind of monster stuff you had been doing with Jack. There’s nothing new or innovative here so far. And as I’m sure you are more than happy to admit, Carl Burgos created the Human Torch, but why not also admit Jack helped you out with your reboot  at the very beginning of the process?

Panel 5: Pedestrians point at the Torch blazing across the sky.

That story element is not in your Fantastic Four synopsis, Stan. Did you tell Jack to put that in the story after you wrote the FF # 1 synopsis? If you don’t remember, is it possible Jack Kirby came up with that idea?

Tomorrow: part 3, then I’ll wrap this series up the day after that.