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Rebecca Jansen
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Joined: 12 February 2018
Location: Canada
Posts: 2662
Posted: 02 March 2021 at 1:19pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

There was some kind of lack of distribution for Marvel still in the early '60s that got overcome, but the comics themselves found that Stan Lee personality around the same time so that when they were found readers definitely noticed and started to look for others (which were increasingly well promoted across most all of the titles).

There was a pattern of partnership credits before Lee and whomever... there was Siegel & Shuster, and there was Simon & Kirby in the earliest days of superheroes. Charles Biro also imparted a sort of editorial identity to the Lev Gleason line, and being an artist the covers he designed and drew established a lot of that, sometimes the cover blurbs border on the Stan Lee-ish. Bill 'Melvin' Gaines Jr. at E.C. in the '50s was another high point in that editorial identity approach.
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Jason Czeskleba
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Joined: 30 April 2004
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Posted: 02 March 2021 at 7:26pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

 Rebecca Jansen wrote:
There was a pattern of partnership credits before Lee and whomever...

Yep.  And remember that Marvel used "partnership credits" like that on their early superhero stuff too.  The first eight issues of FF and the first four of Hulk carry a "Stan Lee & J. Kirby" credit, and Amazing Fantasy #15 is credited to "Stan Lee & S. Ditko."  Stan's big innovation was printing credits that broke things down in specific terms of who did what.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think there were any comics prior to Marvel that featured detailed credits like that. 

Of course, when you break things down that way, it can lead to resentment if there is disagreement about who did what, or if people feel the credits are not accurate.  It's notable that from the November 1966 issues onward, Stan reverted to what was essentially the old "partnership credit" approach on work he did with Kirby, using "Presented by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby" (or some variation thereof) for the remainder of their partnership.  I believe that was done at Kirby's behest, because he was unhappy being credited solely as artist. 


Edited by Jason Czeskleba on 02 March 2021 at 7:28pm
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Rebecca Jansen
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Joined: 12 February 2018
Location: Canada
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Posted: 02 March 2021 at 8:26pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I remember some credits that would say "Story: Gardner Fox, Art: Gill Kane & Murphy Anderson" on some very early The Atom in Showcase, and the same only "Story: Gardner Fox, Art: Joe Kubert" on early Brave & Bold Hawkman, so around 1961-62?
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Jason Czeskleba
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Posted: 02 March 2021 at 8:58pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Aha, you're right Rebecca!  I had thought Julie Schwartz didn't start running credits until later, but those Showcase and B&B issues do have them, and they are from 1961.  Brave and Bold #34 with Hawkman is cover-dated March 1961.
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Rodrigo castellanos
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Joined: 03 July 2012
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Posted: 03 March 2021 at 2:12am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Picked up the e-book.

Ohhhh boy...

Only a few chapters in (skipped the childhood part as I often do with bios, might return to it later) and it definitely doesn't paint a pretty picture.

One man's self-aggrandizing but lovable comics figurehead can be another man's con man and compulsive liar. The author seems to align with the latter.

I'm finding it a very good and interesting read. It's VERY well researched and while the author clearly has an opinion it seems based on what he found out, quite dispassionately. He's no fanboy.

The recurring thought I have while going through it is: "Well... you didn't really think Stan's claims and tales could possibly hold up to serious scrutiny, did you?"

And they mostly don't. It's good investigative reporting, something very rarely found in the comics niche.

With Marvel blowing up as a cultural icon the way it has in the past two decades it was bound to happen eventually. And it's interesting enough now for regular folks to find out how this particular sausage was made. 




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Shawn Kane
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Joined: 04 November 2010
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Posted: 03 March 2021 at 5:53am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I doubt I'll read the book but I've read interviews with the author. He does seem intent on proving Stan to be a huge con man. It seems there's an information between books and television specials that probably give Stan too much credit and books like this that want to "expose" him as a fraud who stole credit. 
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Michael Penn
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Joined: 12 April 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 11256
Posted: 03 March 2021 at 6:48am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

I apologize for another just short Beatle-ish tangent, but Rodrigo's assessment of this biography (which I've not read) reminds me of Albert Goldman's still controversial biography of John Lennon, which aimed to de-mythologize the "sainted" post-assassination Lennon. Mark Lewisohn, who is likely the most knowledgeable historian about the Beatles had this to say about Goldman: “He is a much more impressive researcher than I ever realized … extraordinarily thorough.” Yet, Lewisohn acknowledged Goldman's consistent habit of rejecting in various ways any evidence that didn't fit with the specific portrayal of Lennon he was after.

The Stan Lee described in this new biography may be accurate, and yet still not the complete picture by any means.
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Rebecca Jansen
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Joined: 12 February 2018
Location: Canada
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Posted: 03 March 2021 at 1:22pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

If Stan Lee was to be described as a con man it would have to be prefaced by lovable for me to accept it at all. The nature of the structure of a U.S. publishing company at that time, at the bottom end of publishing in terms of prestige, cover price (10 and 12cents when 'serious' magazines were at least twice that and up per copy), disposability is what would put all editors, or editor-authors, in conflict with freelancers in various ways. Plus the relation to someone higher up part. I don't see the malicious intent, the planning or swindling, deliberate lies. I remember an easily thing he wrote about using Stan Lee like a pen name in case he ever wrote a serious novel where he'd want to be credited as his full Stanley Lieber. Jack Kirby was also a pen-name but don't think he had an aspirations for something signed Jacob Kurtzberg. Even so, couldn't using pen-names show they themselves did not imagine they were creating something for the ages particularly?

Ideally Jack Kirby as with all the other creators of characters that would last, would have had to be dealt something in legally acquiring rights, just as Edgar Rice-Burroughs or Robert E. Howard had to be even when they weren't alive. Between not entirely legal work-for-hire contracts (on the back of a paycheck and witnessed by a bank teller even?), and just 'assuming' ownership, these bottom rung (below any text fiction magazines) publishers profited while 99% of people were either entirely unaware or just never thought about it as being anything important. Even further up the publishing ladder full painted magazine covers for genre text magazines were thrown out after publication, or offered back to the artist mainly on the basis they might want to re-use the board or canvas, if they would come and pick the things up I'm sure!
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Rebecca Jansen
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Joined: 12 February 2018
Location: Canada
Posts: 2662
Posted: 03 March 2021 at 1:29pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I would say it was Pauline Sutcliffe's book on her brother Stuart that de-mythologized John Lennon for me. The first edition (released around 'that' September 11th) which I read was later softened quite a bit for later editions which I found odd. Lennon is an important person though for people to learn about generally I feel, I'm sorry but I don't think Stan Lee offers anything like those contrasts and extremes. Maybe I could get some 'hate' up however for non-creative business people above him, or those who were at best unpleasant to Jack Kirby when his wife was needing health care that cost a lot. They should've been gathering up artwork to return a.s.a.p. and organizing special publications in benefit of the Kirbys, not nickel-and-diming the guy, nor trying to force a concession on anything legally at a time like that! >:^(

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