Monthly Archives: April 2012

Some Quotes from Stan Lee’s Associates

Thanks to Patrick Ford for sending in some of these great quotes from some of Stan Lee’s associates who had to work “Marvel Method” for Lee in the 1960s. I think this gives you a great glimpse into what was really taking place behind the scenes. The first quote is from Lee so you can see his side of the story.

From Patrick Ford:

(1) Stan Lee Interview (in 1986 from an article in the Village Voice): 

“I really don’t want to say anything against Jack,” Lee says in an interview that begins in a massive, high-tech conference room at Marvel’s Van Nuys, California, animation studio and ends in his sculpture-filled office at the other end of the complex. “I love and respect him very much. He’s one of the most talented, hard-working guys I know, but I think he thinks he created these characters because he drew them. But, I would suggest how I wanted them drawn: ‘Make him a little bigger.’ ‘The head is too wide.’ And, of course, the characters’ concepts were mine, too.”

“I would give Jack an outline or tell him the plot I wanted and let him break it down to determine what each drawing would be. When I got them back, I would put in the dialogue to inject whatever personality I wanted. Kirby was doing what he’d always done,” says Lee, “drawing beautiful pictures. While they were not as sophisticated and polished as some artists, they had a raw power. But what brought about the renaissance of comics was the style change in the writing, my writing.”

(2) Wally Wood: 

Stan was the scripter, but I was coming up with most of the ideas. It finally got to the point where I told him that if he was the writer, he’d have to come up with the plots. So, we just sat across the desk from one another in silence.

(3) Joe Orlando: 

He really didn’t seem to have any ideas, but we worked out a plot, and he sent me the synopsis. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. In one line, Stan indicated that he wanted a three-page fight sequence, in a garage, or whatever. Nothing else. So I called and asked him what I should do. He said, “You know, throw some tires around, do something with some oil, make it up as you go.'”Well, that didn’t help.

(4) Stan Goldberg and Jim Amash interview excerpt: 

Stan Goldberg: Jack would sit there at lunch, and tell us these great ideas about what he was going to do next. It was like the ideas were bursting from every pore of his body. It was very interesting because he was a fountain of ideas. Stan would drive me home and we’d plot our stories in the car. I’d say to Stan, “How’s this? Millie loses her job.” He’d say, “Great! Give me 25 pages.” And that took him off the hook.

One time I was in Stan’s office and I told him, “I don’t have another plot.” Stan got out of his chair and walked over to me, looked me in the face, and said very seriously, “I don’t ever want to hear you say you can’t think of another plot.” Then he walked back and sat down in his chair. He didn’t think he needed to tell me anything more.

Jim Amash: Sounds like you were doing most of the writing then.

Goldberg: Well, I was.

(5) Steve Ditko: 

The fact is we had no story or idea discussion about Spider-Man books even before issue #26 up to when I left the book. Stan never knew what was in my plotted stories until I took in the penciled story, the cover, my script and Sol Brodsky took the material from me and took it all into Stan’s office.

Epic Epix Media Blitz

The media blitz is on for the new Stan Lee documentary, plus you have the Avengers movie coming out soon, so Lee is doing lots of interviews.

(1) Tomorrow at 1:30 EST he’ll be doing a live online interview:

http://www.epixhd.com/stan-lee/

Join us for a live interactive Q&A with the legendary Stan Lee on his new biographical documentary With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story, hosted by the LA Times’ Geoff Boucher Tuesday, April 24th 1:30 pm ET / 10:30 am PT

(2) Here’s a new clip where Lee discusses Captain America and the Avengers. He talks about how “we” came up with certain ideas, but he never mentions Kirby by name (he also makes sure not to mention Simon/Kirby created the character), and Lee takes all the credit for coming up with the storyline where the Captain America character is brought back in the 1960s via the frozen block of ice.

http://blog.zap2it.com/pop2it/2012/04/stan-lee-on-the-first-avenger-captain-america.html

(3) Here’s a video for the Epix Avengers weekend with Lee:

The EPIX Marvel Heroes Weekend

http://www.buddytv.com/articles/buddytv-contests/epix-marvel-heroes-weekend-plu-45188.aspx

This weekend, April 27-29, EPIX is celebrating superheroes with legendary host, Stan Lee. It’s a marathon of superhero movies like Iron Man 2, Thor, the television world premiere of Captain America: The First Avenger and the EPIX original documentary With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story. The documentary follows the life and creations of Lee who has co-created over 200 Marvel characters.

(4) Here’s some clips from the Lee autobiography. The first one has a story probably familiar to you all; Stan may have a bad memory, but boy does he remember his talking points.

http://www.comicbooked.com/epix-with-great-power-the-stan-lee-story-film-clips/

The writer of the posting says:

Many of these stories have been told before in books (you remember, those things made out of paper with a bunch of words, from the dark ages before digital readers and iPads?), but many of the previous books about Stan Lee tended to be somewhat one-sided or had agendas. This is the reason that With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story, is really intriguing; it seems as if EPIX has really worked to reach out to various creators to tell (what I hope is) a complete story.

Not sure what “one-sided” books the author is talking about. It seems to me no one has published a really scathing analysis of Lee’s fake version of the history. I think Lee’s own production company made this film, so I don’t even know if Epix or anyone else worked to communicate with a lot of Lee’s associates or actual comics historians who are objective.

(5) More about the Epix superhero weekend blitz:

http://wearemoviegeeks.com/2012/03/epix-celebrates-superheroes-and-legendary-stan-lee-with-marvel-heroes-weekend-april-27-29/

So to all you Lee fans out there — this is your weekend. Lee is at the pinnacle of his career. All of his creations are in movies. Now his Avengers creation is a film, he has a movie on his own life out there — unless he gets a Medal of Honor or a Nobel Prize, I don’t think the guy can ever possibly be more successful. So be sure to raise a glass and toast your hero this Epix Heroes Weekend.

The Truth Will Set You Free

Here’s another interesting reader comment at the Kirby Museum Facebook page on my series of interview questions for Stan Lee. I put the reader comments in block quotes:

Andrew Gerard Jones: Well, doesn’t this just go on and on and on and…

That’s the point. I wanted to show there is a literal mountain of story elements that made it into FF # 1 that were not in the Stan Lee “FF # 1 synopsis.” This series is a sight gag. It appears there are 100s of Kirby ideas in just this one book. Imagine if I was really relentless and I did this for every book Jack did in the 1960s for Goodman/Lee. Jack did about 10,000 pages for Lee. Jack may come up with an average of about 6 (or more) story ideas for each page on his own. That means Jack may have contributed around 60,000 – 100,000 ideas to “Stan Lee stories.” It looks like Lee might have contributed 3 or 4 ideas per story, maybe 10, if that. So, yeah, I am trying to visually symbolize the massive size of the amount of ideas Jack contributed to Lee stories in this series.

Does Rob Steibel get paid very handsomely for this? I hope so, because, otherwise, I can’t even begin to conceive of the size of the worm squirming around in his guts that compels him to seemingly spend his every waking hour dissecting a fifty year-old comic book, in what must be a never-ending quest to discredit a soon-to-be-90-year-old man’s legacy. Just when you think there are no greater depths of ‘pathetic’ left to plumb, he triumphs yet again.

If someone puts out my series of questions for Stan Lee in a paperback, the comment above would be a perfect caption for the book jacket!

A bit of news: Jack’s dead.

I’ve heard this argument before. When I was on the Kirby-l forum, a guy who is a pretty powerful big-shot at Marvel  nowadays was discussing the topic with all of us. I pointed out that I thought Jack deserved some credit and compensation from Marvel for what he contributed to that company. The Marvel big-shot joked, “Jack is dead, y’know.” his remark was sarcastic and condescending, like I was an imbecile too stupid to know Jack was dead. So I’ve seen this kind of dismissive and disrespectful tone before.

For the record, I am aware that Jack Kirby passed on. And he was a great loss to a lot of people. But his legacy lives on, his family lives on, and in my opinion the last chapter of the Jack Kirby story remains unwritten. I’d love to see the next chapter in the “Jack Kirby Story” feature Marvel making a financial settlement with Jack’s family, and Stan Lee telling the truth about their collaboration. Then we could close the book on the Kirby vs Marvel, and Kirby vs Lee debates, and move on. I’m an optimist — I do think things are going to work out. Wasn’t Lee the one who was always saying “Face front?” Let’s follow his advice and move forward.

And aside from a relative handful of us already ‘in the know’, nobody cares. But by all means, carry on preaching to the converted; I’m sure that’s a very valuable use of anybody’s time.

This is another argument I’ve heard before from Stan Lee fans hundreds of times. The whole “preaching to the choir” argument. I heard back from all sorts of people on this series — some agreed with me, some politely disagreed, one even said I would s@#$ on Lee’s grave one day, I got tons of feedback from diverse people — so all sorts of individuals surf the net, not just the “converted.” I’ve seen thousands of different POVs on this, all interesting. There are billions of people who surf the web.  If I’m “preaching” anything, it’s this — don’t believe everything someone like a Stan lee says, look at other evidence and see if you can figure out the real story. You can apply that philosophy to everything in life.

Stan’s 89 and he’ll be dead soon, too,

I hope Lee lives to be 110. I bear Smilin’ Stan no ill will. I just played the role of a prosecuting attorney in my series of questions on FF # 1 and asked him hypothetical questions. Why on earth are a couple of you so upset all of the sudden? I’m not a Nazi murdering millions of people.

I’m a bozo doing a comics blog posting questions for a dude who wrote comic books.

Er, I guess I’m actually a bozo doing a comics blog posting questions for a dude who claimed he wrote comic books. 🙂

and I’m sure all you Kirby Krusaders will have a party and will queue up to take a shit on his grave. Don’t send me an invite.

What can I say. Classic Stan Lee fan rhetoric. Instead of addressing the points I made, you use an elementary school playground term to describe Jack’s fans, you make demented assumptions that are absurd, and then you make an accusation that’s preposterous. The idea of “Kirby Krusaders” who “will have a party and will queue up to take a shit on (Stan Lee’s) grave” is an interesting visual, I guess, if you are a hardcore Lee fanatic, but I know of no one who would literally desecrate Lee’s grave in such a manner.

I do want to sincerely thank you for sending in that comment, though. Several people have joked that I was exaggerating when discussing comments I’ve heard from Lee’s fans over the years, so thanks for going on the record with a typical extreme Stan Lee fan comment so everyone can see what I was talking about. And I commend you for making the comment on the record, many of Jack’s critics hide in private chat lists where no one can challenge them.

To address your remark a little more, I’ll be very sad when Stan Lee passes away. I loved the reprints of his comics when I was 10-years-old growing up in the late 1970s. God, I have tremendously fond memories of reading comics as a kid. But I’m in my early forties now, I’m far more interested in learning the truth about the Kirby/Lee collaboration than believing in the Lee Origins fairy tale.

This is how I learn — I ask questions and put my ideas out there. I’d love for a Stan Lee scholar to come here and instead of saying Jack’s fans are “Kirby Krusaders” who “will have a party” after Lee passes away and “will queue up to take a shit on his grave,” I’d love for a Lee scholar to educate us: for example, tell us what characters Lee created alone before he started working with Jack in the late 1950s – early 1960s. Instead of attacking some blogger like me on a personal level, present us with some shred of evidence proving Lee is telling the truth.

If Lee is lying about the genesis of the 1960s Marvel characters, then I would love for him to tell us what really happened. I think it would be great for his legacy. For example, do you follow baseball? Sorry to those of you from around the world who don’t follow American baseball. We had this guy named Pete Rose who played baseball here in the USA. And he got busted. While he was a player, he gambled on games and he lied about it.

Charlie Hustle. For many years he was a joke.

But you know what, finally people got through to Pete and he told the truth. I think in the long term that is going be good his legacy. Or at least it helps. He might not get into the Hall of Fame but instead of symbolizing someone who is STILL lying, at least he symbolizes a man who was a liar and he changed his tune. When you tell the truth, people tend to forgive you and you can move on (at least here in the US). I have much more respect for Pete Rose now that he came clean. Before that he was a laughingstock, a clown, a fool… despite his great accomplishments on the field. When someone lies to your face and you know that’s what they are doing, it’s rude and insulting, but more than anything it’s pathetic — you just pity them.

Same with Mark Mcgwire.

Everybody knew he used steroids. When he lied about it he was a human punchline for years. But he finally broke down and told the truth, and I think that will work out well for him. Sure he will always symbolize the steroid era in the MLB, but at least you can respect the fact the man was able to admit he lied about something. He’s TRYING to have some integrity. He’s TRYING to inspire people not to cheat.

I feel the same way about Stan Lee. I’m trying to help Stan.

Dear Stan Lee:

Stan, in your new documentary, please don’t tell the fake story for the thousandth time about how you were going to quit comics and write a novel in 1961; your wife encouraged you to quit your cushy job for your relative Martin Goodman; but before you were going quit, your muse inspired you to write one last comic, for the first time — an adult comic book, and that was the inspiration for FF. For once in your life, tell people the TRUTH: that you and Jack came up with the characters and story together. In fact, Jack  threw out most of your ideas and wrote a good 90% of the story with visuals.

My hope is that Stan Lee will do like Pete Rose and Mark McGuire and some of the other people who got caught with their pants down…

Stan, you got busted. You didn’t create everything alone. Everybody knows it. Let it go and just tell the truth. Then not only can you move on, but we all can move on!

I think it would be great for Lee’s legacy for him to end this debate… and great for comics. Lee’s behavior is a black mark on the hobby and the fact that it continues to this day is outrageous.

Some Jack Kirby fans have actually succeeded in making me respect Stan Lee a little bit more. 🙂

That would be like accusing a Yankees fan of succeeding in making a Red Sox fan respect the Red Sox a little more. 🙂 Kind of a non-event.

Congratulations, I’m sure that was your intent 🙂

Yes, that was part of my intent. My main goal was to put the argument out there that the FF # 1 synopsis proves pretty conclusively that Jack played a major role in creating the FF characters and Jack wrote most of the first FF story with visuals. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg folks…

If Jack contributed 100s of story elements to FF # 1, when comics historians like Greg Theakson argue Lee and Kirby were working closely together, imagine how much of the story Jack was responsible for from 1963 – 1970 when Lee and Kirby rarely met and Jack started directing Lee with the margin notes.

But, yeah, part of the “intent” of this series was absolutely to help Stan Lee get more respect — I’d like to see Lee address these types questions (preferably with a respected publisher like John Morrow for his Jack Kirby Collector publication), answer them honestly, and finally tell the truth about the Kirby/Lee working relationship. I think people all over the world would have more respect for Stan Lee if he comes clean about the Kirby/Lee collaboration so I’d like to see that happen.

Thanks for the comment.

A Day In the Life (Facebook Comment 3)

A few people were discussing Kirby/Lee on the Kirby Museum FaceBook page. Here’s my reply to a recent post by Mike Cagle.

 Hi Mike,

Thanks to you and everyone else out there for discussing this with me. I know many people are bored by the topic, and it makes some people angry, so sorry to those of you out there who come here wanting to see Jack’s art. As for the length of the series being too long, if this had been an article for a magazine obviously I would have spent a month on it, then edited it, then published it as one long piece. But this series is something I did in bits and pieces on my lunch break, so that’s why it seems like it’s dragging on. Plus I wanted to break it up so people would read it — I think a lot of people skip really long articles. I also received a lot of comments on the subject that I tried to address along the way. I’ve done almost 900 posts here at Kirby Dynamics so far, and I’ve shown over 1000 pieces of Jack’s art, so I hope those of you who hate the Kirby/Lee topic will forgive me this brief detour.

I’m personally fascinated by the Kirby/Lee authorship debate. Who created the characters and who wrote the stories? It’s probably going to remain a mystery. But if you look at other creators, people like Lennon/McCartney for example, in separate interviews they confirm pretty much every single thing the other man has said about the writing process (except for a tiny handful of things — like I think Lennon said he contributed a line to “Eleanor Rigby” and Paul says he wrote the whole song, but Paul is still very gracious).

 

Even when John and Paul were angry at each other, they still were honest about their working relationship, and if you listen to the music and look at the patterns in their work, I think this also confirms they are telling the truth when they discuss who wrote what.

 

Kirby and Lee tell totally different stories. Lee claims he created everything; Jack claimed he pitched key ideas to Lee and created key characters. Which story is true?

Stan and Jack are behaving like the people you see on those court TV shows who are fighting over an X Box. They both say it belongs to them and they both really believe that.

Stan Lee may believe deep in his heart he created something like FF alone; he may have indeed wanted to quit comics in the early 1960s and write a novel; he may have really been about to quit working for Martin Goodman (a relative of Stan’s) who gave him and his brother Larry their first big break into the business world; Lee might have been about to walk off a job where he set his own hours, Lee might have been about to leave a job where he sat in an air conditioned office and typed up scripts, Lee might have been about to quit a job where he paid himself multiple paychecks every month (Lee paid himself as the editor, the writer on several books a month, and apparently he gave himself an art director check as well); maybe (as Greg Theakston told us, or maybe Greg was making a joke) Lee had tremendous money stashed away in his savings account and he planned to live on that as he wrote his novel.

Maybe Lee’s wife did approve of her husband walking off a job after 20 years with no real second job lined up; maybe she did tell him to do one comic he was proud of before he quit; maybe Lee did decide to take her advice (and Lee felt if this made Martin Goodman angry, he could just fire Lee, Lee was going to quit anyway); maybe his wife’s inspiration did light up a bulb over his head, and Lee did tell his first adult story: Fantastic Four # 1.

Lee’s wife’s inspiration was the key to the book’s success — Lee finally told a story his way, he created the first comic for adults and he wrote his first comic for adults. Lee consciously reinvented the superhero genre. In FF # 1 he created characters that fought with each other and had problems.

Or maybe that story isn’t true. If you compare the synopsis to FF # 1 to the published book, it looks like Kirby and Lee worked on the story together. It also looks like Jack threw out several of Lee’s ideas, and as I discuss early next week as I wrap this up, the story content that appears in pages 1 – 8, and pages 14 – 25 of the published FF # 1 book is not even in the synopsis.

So I don’t believe Lee. I think his story about his muse inspiring him to create the first adult comic book story makes zero sense. Not only do I find it unlikely Lee would really walk off his job (millions of people every day talk about quitting their job, few really do), Lee’s synopsis clearly is not for an “adult” comic (unless you want to argue that Lee’s rejected version of the Thing was “adult”), and FF # 1 is not “adult.” It is a typical superhero comic book. The only really unique thing about it is that the heroes don’t have goofy costumes. That’s not in Lee’s synopsis so that was probably Jack’s idea. And to repeat so we don’t forget, the FF characters and origin are the same as Jack’s first Challengers of the Unknown story.

Here’s the truth: the only real thing that separated FF # 1 and Jack’s other books from the stuff DC was cranking out was Jack’s distinctive visual style — a unique storytelling style that Lee tried to get everyone at Marvel to copy. Kids picked up Jack’s books off  the stands because his covers grabbed them. Because what he was doing was different. Jack Kirby was reinventing the superhero genre every month, and kids dug it.

And of course, yes, Lee’s hyperbole in his bullpen bulletins, letters pages, and in the captions was something many kids in the 1960s liked as well. That was the icing on the cake.

But I’m not buying Lee’s origin for FF. I think FF # 1 was just another day in the life for Kirby and Lee.

John Lennon's handwritten lyrics for A Day in The Life (1967)

Or more specifically it was about 2 weeks in Jack’s life because that’s how long it took him to draw a book. Lee probably put a half hour into the synopis then maybe 4 or 5 hours adding text to Jack’s story.

Okay, here are Mike’s comments.

Mike Cagle: Here are my sources: Kirby Unleashed, p. 48: “Some artists, such as Jack Kirby, need no plot at all. I mean, I’ll just say to Jack, ‘Let’s have the next villain be Dr. Doom’ … or I may not even say that. He may tell me … he just about me

I think that quote is from around 1968, I’m not 100% sure where it first appeared, I recall someone mentioning it was in a Castle of Frankenstein magazine from 1968. This might be the cover. Castle of Frankenstein # 12 (1968).

If anybody has that interview please scan it. If the quote is also in Kirby Unleashed, I’d love to see a scan of that too.

So like the other quote we have from Lee in 1968 where he told the Excelsior fanzine that he conceived FF with Jack, we have another interview from 1968 where Lee confirms Jack played a key role in the writing process. As I mentioned in an earlier post though, there are two separate Stan Lee’s — There’s Stan Lee (1968) and then there is Stan Lee (1970 – 2012). The first Stan suggests Jack had a major role in the creation and writing process, the second Stan claims he created everything alone. This leads to another example we can add to my list of The Top 25 Stan Lee Solo-Creator Theories:

(28) Lee lied about Jack helping him conceive FF in 1968, and Lee lied about Jack writing stories with no plot in 1968, because Lee wanted to make Jack happy

This theory states that Lee was afraid if he didn’t pretend Jack had some input into the stories in interviews, Jack might have gotten upset, so Lee made up the story that Jack contributed plots. In reality, Lee wrote all the plots.

Mike Cagle: Also, it should be obvious that the invention of the “Marvel method” was not so as to be generous to the artists, but to save Stan time, and allow him to write all the comics he had to write (or script, or annotate, or whatever you want to call it), without having to hire more writers. It was a way to speed production. As side-effect, it led to the creation of some great (or really good) work, since they happened to have a few artists who were also good storytellers. Also good storytellers.

I think there is some truth to this, but it’s probably a little more complicated than that. First of all, if we believe Lee, Lee didn’t even want to do comics in the 1960s, he was bored, he wanted to quit, so why on Earth did he keep doing comics? My guess is because when Jack came onboard and the sales started to skyrocket, Lee was finally getting fan mail, the money was rolling in, so Lee was probably in heaven.

Obviously if Lee was too bored or too busy to do his job as a writer – a job that he credited himself for on all the books every week – he could have hired someone else to do it. So Lee didn’t have Jack write the stories JUST because he was busy, Lee had Jack write the stories because Jack was great at it and the stories were a smash. Sure, this did free Lee up to give more guidance to people like his brother Larry, Dick Ayers, Don Heck and Gene Colan, and the other Marvel staff and artists, but again, if Lee was too busy to give them scripts, hire somebody. New York was full of writers in the 60s who could have cranked out superhero schlock.

This actually leads to another item we can put in “The Top 25 Stan Lee Solo-Creator Theories”

(29) Lee gave artists like Dick Ayers plots, so Lee must have given Kirby plots

The problem is that Jack and Dick were different. Dick may have liked having some guidance. Or Lee may have felt his guidance helped Dick tell a better story. And Lee was (after all) getting paid as the writer, so at least giving the artist a plot makes the Marvel Method arrangement ethical. But Jack was different. Jack needed no guidance, and if you believe Lee’s “Jack Kirby needs no plot at all” comment, this suggests Jack worked on the stories on his own.

So sure, I think Lee “invented” his “Marvel Method” partially because he was too busy to write 20-page scripts for all his artists, but in the case of Kirby, I think Lee figured out immediately it was better to just cut Jack loose, unleash Kirby, and add text to Jack’s stories. Lee could have hired a writer to come in and do the stories if he was too busy. I think the main motivation for the “Marvel Method” was that Lee wanted that paycheck for spending 4 hours adding text to a story it took Jack 60 hours to write with visuals, plus once the fan mail started pouring in, Lee loved the attention he got from the fans as the writer of Jack’s stories.

With Great Power Review

Here’s a review of Lee’s With Great Power movie from 2011. It premiers on Epic March 27.

“With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story,” Reviewed
by Matt Singer

Here’s a few excerpts:

Though there are dozens of other interview subjects, from historians to contemporaries to adoring fans (including Paris Hilton, of all people), Lee’s first person recollections provide the spine of the film. If the origins of Spider-Man, Iron Man, and the Hulk sound familiar after innumerable repetitions on DVD supplements, at least their presentation looks fresh and vibrant, thanks to beautifully animated renderings of classic Marvel artwork by Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and more.

The most interesting material is the less well-known stuff; Lee’s wartime recollections and his adorably feisty relationship with his longtime wife Joan, who talks like a character from a Howard Hawks screwball comedy. Joan brags that we have her to thank for all of Lee’s creations; she liked to spend Stan’s money, which meant Stan had to keep dreaming up exciting new characters to keep the creditors at bay. 

Made in association with Lee’s production company POW! Entertainment, “With Great Power,” is not exactly a hard-hitting expose. In making their film, directors Terry Dougas, Nikki Frakes, and Will Hess appear to have sacrificed depth for access. Lee’s voice permeates every frame, but it’s the same voice we know as the narrator of cartoons or the goofball who loves to cameo in Marvel movies; if there’s a guy beneath that exterior, he’s nowhere to be found here.

His frayed relationship with Kirby is acknowledged and quickly blamed on an errant newspaper article and the worst details of his disastrous entrance into the dot com boom, Stan Lee Media, are covered in a single title card. The frustrating lack of information on less savory topics feels worthy of a No-Prize, but it also suggests something about the rose-colored lenses Lee sees the world through. I guess that’s why he’s always wearing those sunglasses.

Facebook Comment 2

Mike Cagle: I don’t think Lee said he wrote the stories alone and generously let the artists add a little something once in awhile. I think he claimed that he would give the artist a general idea for a story, or he and the artist would come up with that idea together in a conversation, or, with Kirby and Ditko, he would often give the artist little or nothing to go on – maybe a suggestion as to which villain to use – and they would come up with the story idea on their own. And then, so the typical description of the process goes, the artist would draw the story, and in the process, they would obviously work out the details of the storytelling – events, plotting, pacing, staging, page layout, etc. So by this conventional Stan Lee description of the process, obviously the artist (at least some of the artists, like Kirby and Ditko, who were skilled storytellers) were what you and I would call co-writers. The reason Lee doesn’t consider them writers (besides ego, and legal considerations) is that he has his own definition of the term: The writer is the one who puts the words in. That has a certain kind of logic, even though I would describe “writer’ as more than that – the person who decides what happens in a story is a writer, too, in my opinion (and yours I think) – but that’s not how Lee uses the term.

You make some great points, but again, Lee always suggests that the ideas were his so he was the one who created the characters and wrote the stories. There are really only a few rare interviews where Lee admits Jack came up with plots alone and I don’t recall him ever giving a specific book.

This is a typical quote Lee made recently. Actually I think this is in his documentary.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1IuQhVrTxo

Lee does gush over the artists briefly, but he always adds that the original ideas were his. And this is typical Lee mumbo-jumbo. Just say, “I would have an artist like Jack Kirby write the stories, and I added text.” Why is that so impossible for him to do?

Listen, I’d love for a Lee scholar to put all Lee’s quotes together and give us a reference book on this. I’m not a Lee expert. I wrote about 800 posts here and very few of them are about Lee. Mainly I was throwing out a theory: that Jack helped create FF and Jack wrote the bulk of FF # 1 with visuals. If there are quotes where Lee credits Jack as a writer on 60s books like FF # 1 or there’s a quote where Lee says Jack created a particular character like the ones in FF # 1, I’d love to see it. That would certainly shut me up woudn’t it? 🙂

In most of the interviews with Lee I’ve seen, Lee talks about how the artists were great, but all the ideas were his.

Here are some additional Facebook comments on this from Patrick Ford and John Sagness:

Patrick Ford: The thing is Lee never credited Kirby for plotting in the pages of a Marvel comic book (Kirby did get two writing credits in the ’60s), and Kirby was never paid for his plotting. Prior to the time Marvel was purchased by Perfect Film and Chemical Inc. in late 1968, Lee did on occasion credit Kirby with plotting in interviews.

Patrick Ford: In his recent deposition Lee was asked about all of his old interview statements. Lee now says Kirby was not involved in the creation of plots and characters. Lee says in the old interviews he tried to make it sound like he and Kirby were working out stories as a team, because he knew Kirby would see the articles, and he wanted to make “Jack feel good, like we were doing it together.” Lee’s current sworn testimony is not a matter of bad memory, he was surrounded by lawyers (his own personal counsel, as well as attorneys representing Marvel and Disney) while delivering his deposition, and Lee was in consultation with the attorney’s during the breaks in testimony. The legacy under attack is Kirby’s. The idea Lee is being torn down is plainly ludicrous. It’s Kirby who is being torn down, and Lee is doing most of the damage.

Patrick Ford: What is most interesting about Lee’s fans is their opinion that Stan Lee is in some way the slighted party in Kirby/Lee debates. The fact is Lee took full credit for writing and the full writers page rate back in the Silver Age. In his typical televangelist style Lee described The Marvel Method as something Lee came up with out of a good natured concern for the well being of “his artists.” In his description of the Marvel Method Lee reminds me of a passage from Tom Sawyer: “At this dark and hopeless moment an inspiration burst upon him! Nothing less than a great, magnificent inspiration…” In Twain’s story Tom convinces his friend Ben to do his work for him, even convinces Ben Tom is doing him a favor by allowing Ben to do Tom’s work. Now Lee didn’t convince Kirby, or Wood or Ditko of this, they weren’t quite as gullible as Ben, but Lee did a wonderful job of convincing so called “comics scholars and historians” that he was doing Kirby, Ditko , and Wood a favor by taking credit and and the full writers page rate. For me it’s incredible to see Lee’s nonsense parroted almost word for word to this day. I would hope people couldn’t read Lee’s account of the Marvel Method without bursting into laughter, but it’s sadly not the case. And it isn’t as if Lee was averse to taking a plot credit himself for stories where he didn’t add the dialogue. Since the Silver Age Lee has continued to demean Kirby at every opportunity. It’s true Lee praises Kirby as a penciler, but that is the full extent of his praise. Lee’s claims are so entrenched his fans take any attempt to point out Kirby created characters and plotted stories as an attempt to tear down Lee. I suppose that’s logical because after all Lee says he created everything but the artwork all on his own. So Lee has placed himself in a position where anyone who tries to credit Kirby with creating characters or plotting is taking credit Lee has given himself, and giving some portion of it to Kirby.

John Sagness: Stan has been perpetrating a colossal lie for fifty years with the complete backing of a giant corporation. It was and is utterly unfair, disrespectful and cruel to Kirby and his family and it needs to be exposed once and for all to the light of truth. Just because Stan is “old” now doesn’t mean he should be absolved of all moral and ethical responsibilities! And it also doesn’t mean his lies should be allowed to go unchallenged. As you said, with the great power that Stan has, he also has a great responsibility to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. But since he’s never even done that under oath in a court of law, I don’t expect him to do it any time soon — at least not until he has to testify in the Divine Courtroom (a date which is fast approaching)…at which time I sure as Hell wouldn’t want to be him!

Facebook Comment

Another Facebook comment:

Mike Cagle: Rob, I wouldn’t have been nearly as harsh as the commenter you quoted. But I do wonder what’s the point of all the kvetching about Stan Lee.

This series was an experiment. I realize it went on too long, but I wanted to do it leading up to the premiere of Lee’s movie on Epix and I wanted to break things up so that people didn’t just skip the whole thing. If I could do it over I’d change certain things like the time the series took up, but such is the nature of doing things live on the fly very quickly.

And not just once, but over and over. There are many quotes from Lee where he mentions the contribution of Kirby to the storytelling — saying, basically the two of them were co-writers,

I don’t ever recall Stan Lee saying Jack was a “co-writer” with him on a story. Certainly not on FF # 1. If he did, I’d love to see that and publish the quote and source here, because I agree with Lee if he said that. It’s also helpful to have the context to make sure Lee doesn’t throw in, “but the ideas were mine.”

saying, sometimes Kirby came up with the stories with minimal or no input from Stan, etc. He’s often mentioned being surprised by the appearance of the Silver Surfer.

The Surfer is the only character I recall Lee saying he saw for the first time in the art. If Lee admitted he saw any other Kirby characters for the first time in the art, again, I’d love to post that quote here.

As you mentioned yourself, the Marvel reprints credit Kirby as “co-plotter,” I think you said.

The problem is that was only one book (An FF # 5 Marvel Essentials reprint). I think they stopped doing it soon afterwards. I don’t think they did that on any of the Thor books. Obviously someone nixed that idea. But it is fascinating that happened. Marvel did publish at least one book with Kirby listed as a “co-plotter” on the table of contents. It happened! We may never see that again in our lifetime or that may become the norm. Who knows?

Given Lee’s ego, I think he’s gone about as far as anyone could expect him to in admitting that many of the ideas were Jack’s. He’s a human being with flaws; he is what he is

I agree, but I still wanted to put the questions out there.

– do you expect him to change his personality? This is like with a parent that you keep wishing would be different – they’re not, and you just have to deal with it, either love them anyway despite their shortcomings, or break contact and stop obsessing about them.

I still say Lee is alive, so that’s why I asked my questions. He can answer them or not. I honestly don’t even care, I just had fun asking. Those were questions I had doing my research, so there they are.

Anyway, does it really matter a lot what he says?

Sure, if Lee drops the fake persona and admits he didn’t tell the truth about his working relationship with Jack and shows a little regret, I think that would mean a lot.

One has only to look over the marginal notations to see plainly that a lot of the story material came from Jack. I think it’s wrong to assume, though, that Stan made no contribution at all

I never said that. Lee contributed a lot. I’d just like to see him admit Jack did as well. I’ve used this analogy before: If Paul McCartney started claiming he wrote all the Beatles songs alone, people would be outraged. So why is Lee able to get away with it? Why? Because Lee’s story is the one most people accept as fact. Only recently are people beginning to realize his version of the history is mythology.

— after all, he was the editor and art director, and often had things changed to reflect his own vision of how they should be.

Very true. No one I know of has ever argued that Lee was not the editor.

At any rate, Jack is dead and Stan is in his 80s – they both had famously bad memories – this is no longer a current issue – why spend so much time and emotional energy rehashing it over and over now??

Again, I think maybe it just seems that way. Maybe I should not have broken all the posts up. My thinking on  this was: this is Stan Lee month, so I stretched out the posts. After they premiere the Lee With Great Power documentary, I think it’s on Friday, I will drop the subject.

I hesitated to comment, after all, it’s your blog and you can (and should) write about whatever you want — but I’m probably not the only reader who skips the rants about Stan Lee, and looks forward to the postings that are actually about Kirby’s work.

Never hesitate to comment. I love criticism. I mean that. That’s how I learn. This isn’t just my blog, it’s a blog about Kirby and I’d hope anyone would feel comfortable commenting on it or anything else at the Museum Facebook page or email me. I found the feedback on this series very useful.

I have about 5 months of posts about Kirby art coming up starting soon, so it will be back to normal after Lee’s documentary is unleashed.

Thanks for the comment.

Marvel Method?

Here’s another Facebook comment on Kirby/Lee.

Jason Burnett Not trying to be argumentative here, but isn’t the whole premise of the “Marvel Method” of writing more or less the answer you are looking for? Seems like you are asking a question which has been answered by Lee probably thousands of times. I wont insult your intelligence with quotes about how the writer / artist dynamic was supposed to work at Marvel. If you want to know how Stan looks at the question of “character creation” watch his interview with Jonathon Ross about Steve Ditko. It is hard not to KINDA see his side of things (at least a little bit)

Lee’s contention starting in the early 1970s was that he invented something he called the  “Marvel Method. I’m paraphrasing, but Lee claimed his invention was a system where (1) he (Lee) would create all the main characters alone, (2) he (Lee) would write the stories alone, then (3) he (Lee) would give a penciler (like a guy named Jack Kirby who worked for him) the Lee-created-characters and the Lee-created-story, and a penciler like Jack would then pencil the Lee story for the Fearless Leader. But … out of the kindness of his heart, Lee did give pencilers like Jack the freedom to add something once in awhile to a Lee story. Jack did this once — one time, Jack introduced a character on a surf board. Lee talked about that in his Origins book (1974).

But that was in the 70s. Remember disco? Must we still believe everything we believed in 1974? (Actually Saturday Night Fever came out in 1977, so this is probably a bad photo to use.)

It’s 2012! Now we have more than Lee’s Origins book, we have Jack’s interviews, Ditko’s interviews, interviews with Kirby/Lee associates, fanzine articles, fan accounts of conversation with Lee and Kirby, conventions stories, TV interviews, radio interviews, I’ve had hundreds of off-the-record conversations with insiders who don’t want to talk about this for fear they might have a hard time getting work in comics, we have 100s of articles by historians, 1000s of fans commenting, we have 1000s of Lee’s conflicting interviews (despite the fact he only has about 20 talking points), and a lot of other information and documentation, and new things keep popping up like the fanzine article from 1968 we saw recently where Lee admits that he and Kirby conceived characters like FF together — all of which suggests “Marvel Method” is just a name Lee invented for the word “ghostwriter,” in the same way Lee made up the term “bio-autography” for his ghostwritten autobiography. This fits his pattern.

Jack Kirby didn’t work “Marvel Method” — Jack was Lee’s ghostwriter. Yeah, Lee may have given Jack a plot early on, or maybe not, and yeah, Lee added the text to Jack’s story, but Jack “wrote” the story with visuals and deserves to be considered a writer of those stories. Notice I said “a” writer. Lee does deserve credit for the occasional plot and for his text. But why isn’t Lee as kindhearted towards Jack? Why make up some goofy name for their collaboration and list himself as the only writer on the books.

Just tell it like it is: Jack helped write all those stories.

I understand using a guy like Jack to be his ghostwriter, lots of people use ghostwriters, I know a guy who makes six figures a book ghostwriting books for a popular writer, the point is that I’d love for Lee to just tell us that’s what his relationship was with Jack back in the 60s. Lee did not create all the characters alone and Lee did not write the stories alone. Why can’t he just admit this? It’s amazing to me.

But hey, Lee’s documentary will be on in  a few days. Maybe Kirby will get some Lee love. I remain optimistic the day will come when Lee will make it clear Jack played a tremendous role in creating all the 60s characters and writing all of his 60s stories. If not? (Shrugging my shoulders), oh well, at least I put the questions out there.

Anyway, I’m going to go watch Water for Elephants on cable. I heard it was a good flick. Have a great night, folks.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility?

There were a few interesting reader comments at the Kirby Museum Facebook page on my series of interview questions for Stan Lee. Here’s one:

D Jason Fleming: Your animus toward Stan Lee is now so unhinged, petty, and ugly that I will no longer follow your page or blog. This is simply the clearest example — give him credit for something, then twist it into some kind of perversion. But, oh, you’re not SAYING that, you’re just asking a QUESTION. Sure.

Like I said several times during this series, this is a piece of satire, I don’t expect Stan Lee to answer any of these questions. I asked the questions about FF # 1 because Lee is still alive to answer them. I’m not attacking a dead man; I’m not badmouthing a guy who can’t speak up for himself; I’m posting online questions for a guy who is alive and well. I wanted to once and for all clearly show there are 100s of individual story elements in the published version of FF # 1 that were not in Lee’s synopsis. If Lee has an explanation for that, I hope he will share that with us.

And let me tell you, if you didn’t enjoy reading this series? For me, writing this series was a bore. Do you think I wanted to go through FF # 1 frame by frame? But I had to slog through Lee’s synopsis and FF# 1 to see what elements made it into the published book. And now I’m glad I did it. I didn’t realize Jack introduced so many wonderful comedic elements into that story. But I didn’t do this because I have some kind of “animus toward Stan Lee.” I did it because I put forth a theory: Jack Kirby created the FF characters with Lee, and Jack wrote the first book with Lee — I think a comparison of the FF # 1 synopsis  to the FF # 1 book proves this. I wanted to be semi-thorough (there’s actually a lot I left out) so I went through the book point by point. And I even phrased my observations as questions so as not to “bash” Stan, but to give him a chance to reply.

When Stan passes on there will no longer be a need to ask him these types of questions, he’ll be gone. So I figure now is as good a time as any to put them out there. I actually hope Lee will admit the truth. I’d love to see a happy ending to this.

You say I’m “petty?” I say not giving Jack credit for creating the FF characters and not giving Jack credit for writing the vast majority of the first FF story is “petty.” But that’s my opinion. We all disagree on all sorts of topics. Here in the USA some people will vote for Romney others will vote for Obama. That’s life. But is there anything wrong with asking either of those gentleman questions? Why is Stan Lee supposed to be off-limits when it comes to questions?

And what exactly is “unhinged,” “petty,” and “ugly” in that post? The fact that I pointed out Lee wanted the Thing to be dressed like a flasher? You know what I think is “unhinged,” “petty,” and “ugly?” Lee’s version of the Thing character: it was creepy. Thankfully Jack threw Lee’s ideas out and once Lee got Jack’s story, Lee ran with Jack’s version of the character. What on earth was Stan thinking with having a character in  a trench coat sneaking around “lusting” after his best friend’s girl, right in front of her brother, while trying to prevent the other 3 from helping humanity. And that in a comic book for 10-year-olds? You think that would have been a success? Didn’t Lee learn anything in his 20 years of doing Archie rip-off stories and EC rip-off stories about storytelling? Lee’s Thing was bizarre and his whole synopsis is a mess.

You know what else I think is “unhinged,” “petty,” and “ugly?” Stan Lee’s treatment of Jack Kirby over the last 60 years. Lee took credit for creating Jack’s characters and for writing Jack’s stories while Jack was alive and he has continued to do so since the day he passed away. That’s the “perversion.” A perversion of the truth.

But don’t worry, Saint Stan’s With Great Power documentary will be on Epix on April 27th so all of his fans can celebrate his life and worship their hero. In the meantime I took a moment to go through Fantastic Four # 1 and show all of you a good 90% of the published book is not in Lee’s synopsis by asking Lee a few questions.

Reflecting on the title of Lee’s documentary, here’s another question for Stan Lee:

Why doesn’t Stan Lee practice what he preaches? If Stan Lee really believes that with great power comes great responsibility why doesn’t Lee use the vast power he has as a celebrity to set the record straight and tell the truth: Lee did not create Fantastic Four alone, Jack Kirby helped create the characters and Jack wrote the bulk of the FF # 1 story.

Maybe Lee will mention this in his new movie.

Thanks for the comment. I appreciate the feedback. By the way a Kirby Dynamics no-prize to any of you who can identify each character behind Lee and tell us who the artist was that designed the costumes for each character. (Note: Burgos designed the first Human Torch, but Jack’s design for the Torch’s flame is pretty distinctive; and although that’s not Jack’s Iron Man design, Jack did design the first Iron Man costume).

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.