My Interview Questions For Stan Lee. Part 4.3

Here’s part 4.3 of my look at Fantastic Four # 1 with Stan Lee.

Page 7

Stan, page 7 is a wonderful piece of art where Jack starts off with 3 panels separated by borders that look like electricity, providing a bridge between events happening in different locations. Jack had been working in comics for 2 decades in 1961 so he was a master at these types of comics’ storytelling techniques. Were ideas like that his, or did you direct him to use that approach?

Panel 1: The Mayor wants action. He yells at a radio-man.

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: A jet fighter is rolls off the runway with the airport in the background.

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: We see a close-up of the face of a shocked airman as he sees the Torch for the first time.

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?

This is a motif you see throughout FF # 1. We see close-ups of the expressions of the people in Jack’s version of New York City (what Lee calls “Central City”) when they see the FF characters for the first time. So far we’ve seen several close-up reaction shots of several faces: Sue’s friend, a cabbie, a clothing store owner, a bunch of cops, and now this pilot. All gawking. Jack uses these various faces of the people of NY to draw the reader into this world. We are witnessing an event with many participants, all of whom represent us – the reader watching the tale unfold. This is a common storytelling strategy, but again, it’s not in your synopsis, Stan, so probably Jack’s idea? Or do you recall directing Jack to use this storytelling technique?

Panel 4: The Torch is flying loops around the airplanes.

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 Torch melts a United States Air Force jet.

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?

So much for your direction to Jack that the torch can’t burn anything but ropes and doors. And what happens if the melted plane lands in the city and kills a bunch of people? What if the plane blows up and kills the pilot? You’re talking the murder of a US soldier. But of course: this is comics, none of it is supposed to be logical. No cops or civilians ever die, it just looks good visually, and that’s why Jack put this in the story.

Panels 6 – 8: a great cinematic sequence where a missile zeroes in on the Torch.

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 8

Panel 1: Amazingly, Mr. Fantastic stretches up and grabs the missile.

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?

That means the missile must have been floating directly over him for him to make that grab. Silly, but convenient to move the story forward and introduce Mr. Fantastic’s power. I love how the sleeves on his arms are able to stretch hundreds of feet in the air. And so much for your direction that stretching hurts Mr. Fantastic. He catches a missile for crying out loud, no pain. How were you going to pull off that gimmick anyway, Stan. Was Mr. Fantastic going to exclaim ”AARGGH — stretching — is — so — painful!!!!” in every dialogue balloon?

Panel 2: Then we see Mr. Fantastic’s arm throw the missile into the river. I guess the FFs meeting spot must also have a view of the water.

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: The torch inexplicably burns out. This might actually be an element that came from your synopsis. You proposed that the Torch can only burn for 5 minutes, but you don’t tell the reader this in the caption and that concept was immediately discarded.

Panel 4: Mr. Fantastic is also in perfect position to catch Johnny as he falls.

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: Mr. Fantastic swings into a room through an open window carrying Johnny.

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: All four members of the Fantastic Four group are together. This is also in your synopsis – the FF meet. But notice so far there are a lot of story elements that were not in the synopsis, meaning you either gave Jack another synopsis, or Jack contributed a significant number of story elements to FF # 1.

Tomorrow I’ll wrap this up.