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Michael Casselman
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Posted: 01 March 2021 at 1:33pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

In 1963, holding a 12 cent comic, I probably would have been part of a target audience where the last thing on my mind would have been parsing the nuances of creating, writing, co-plotting, idea-generating, etc., and trying to white-knight on behalf of much of either side of the creative spectrum that was 'behind the curtain'. Cool stories, cool art. Gimme another one, please.
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Jason Czeskleba
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Posted: 01 March 2021 at 2:05pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

 Peter Martin wrote:
We do know he wrote before this that 'twas Steve's idea. And we know he didn't write 'twas Stan's idea.
Very true. But it's also true that he didn't write "twas Steve's idea" (or anything that might suggest Ditko had any role in conceiving the character) in Origins of Marvel Comics.  And the vast majority of people who read Origins of Marvel Comics were not aware of that letter he'd written to Jerry Bails years earlier, which was published in a fanzine.

The reason I brought up this point in the first place was to refute the suggestion that Stan always fully credited his collaborators, and never did anything to give people the wrong impression about his role in the creative process.  Here's one example where he did give the wrong impression.  When I first read this I came away believing he created Doctor Strange and gave it to Ditko to draw, and I suspect most others who read that book (with no prior knowledge) did likewise. 
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Jason Czeskleba
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Posted: 01 March 2021 at 2:16pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

 Michael Penn wrote:
Do we know that Stan Lee, thinking of Chandu, at some point didn't very broadly suggest to Steve Ditko, how about a magician for a character? -- and then Mr. Ditko "on his own," as he said, specifically came up with the entire first issue?

That's not impossible, I suppose, but it strikes me was extremely unlikely.  Ditko was a guy who was very precise about his use of language (I assume you've read his dissection of Stan's use of the word "consider" in "I consider Steve Ditko to be the co-creator of Spider-Man").  I doubt he would say he wrote and drew a story "on my own" if it was in response to a request from Stan, or if Stan had given him a springboard (even an extremely vague one).

And Stan was frequently on record as believing that the person who came up with the initial idea for a character was the creator, regardless of how much it was developed or elaborated upon subsequently by collaborators.  So if he'd given Ditko a vague springboard, I doubt he would have said "twas Steve's idea."


 QUOTE:
Moreover, while he does not have the reputation that Lennon has for a faulty memory, both the other Beatles as well as their intimates and many a historian have found his recall to not necessarily be more reliable.
At the risk of going off topic completely... I don't have a strong opinion on In My Life.  But it's notable that McCartney has shown himself in latter-day interviews to have a fairly flawed memory.  One example is Yellow Submarine:  in the 90s he claimed to have written the melody entirely by himself.  But in a 1967 interview, Lennon said that he wrote the verse melody and McCartney wrote the chorus (they were initially two separate songs that were put together).  McCartney was present and agreed with Lennon at that time.  An illustration of how memory can fade over time.

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Rodrigo castellanos
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Posted: 01 March 2021 at 3:14pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

But it's notable that McCartney has shown himself in latter-day interviews to have a fairly flawed memory. 

After much, much reading on the subject with the Beatles I came to a simple conclusion: if John sings it, it's a John song. Same for Paul and obviously George. If Ringo sings it... it's probably a song John or Paul wrote as a joke XD

They collaborated but each brought their own songs and the other one would have some feedback, suggestions, etc. but the originator of the song was clearly "the real" songwriter. They didn't come up with songs on the spot together (save a few exceptions, I think "The Word" was one of them).

I think that's the way everyone understood it so there is little controversy overall of which song is whose. Comics are not that clear, obviously.


He was being paid for writing and I was being paid for drawing but he didnt have any ideas. Id go in for a plotting session and wed just stare at each other until I came up with a storyline.

I'm not anti-Stan at all but this, however, is very insightful.

I work as a creative in advertising and this has happened to me lots of times when brainstorming with very accomplished professionals with tons of creative awards under their belts.

They just stare at you... how is it possible? It can be even infuriating if you're not in a particularly good mood.

But I came to realize there's idea "originators" so to speak and idea "managers": they get the idea, offer good feedback, punch it up a little and (very important) come up with strategies on how to sell it. But they very rarely originate it.

Also, the gift of gab of which Stan had in spades. That leads me to think he was this second "type" of idea man, which is not bad and very important.

It does contradict his own statements on the guy coming up with the thing originally being the real creator. Or maybe it's worth exploring what does that mean to him. Is saying "the FF should fight God!" really coming up with something?

It's a fascinating subject.







Edited by Rodrigo castellanos on 01 March 2021 at 3:21pm
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 01 March 2021 at 5:05pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

[Moptop drift starts]

After much, much reading on the subject with the Beatles I came to a simple conclusion: if John sings it, it's a John song. Same for Paul and obviously George.
-------------------------------------------------
This is frequently true, but there are many exceptions.

For example, George sang Do You Want to Know a Secret? which was written by John.

Paul sang Day Tripper but it was written mainly by John.

Though they did largely write separately, Lennon and McCartney did occasionally make significant songwriting contributions to each other's songs. An example of this is We Can Work it Out, which is mainly a McCartney song, but with a middle eight by Lennon.

[Moptop drift ends]

 Jason Czeskleba wrote:
Here's one example where he did give the wrong impression.  When I first read this I came away believing he created Doctor Strange and gave it to Ditko to draw, and I suspect most others who read that book (with no prior knowledge) did likewise.
You obviously feel that way because you got the wrong impression. Having done that, you ascribe it to Stan as being his fault. I'm not sure how fair that is. What Stan wrote is unclear, I think we agree on that. If you draw a conclusion from something that is unclear, that can't all lie with Stan.
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Jason Czeskleba
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Posted: 01 March 2021 at 6:21pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

 Peter Martin wrote:
Paul sang Day Tripper but it was written mainly by John.

Ah, more Beatles thread drift.  John and Paul sing Day Tripper together.  Paul sings the first line solo, but then John comes in and they sing together on the verses.  John is the lead voice on the chorus ("she was a day tripper...") with Paul singing a high harmony in the background.  The fact that John is the main voice on that chorus portion makes me think of it as primarily a John vocal. 

I think Rodrigo's point is generally true in the sense that I can't think of any song that was primarily written by John but had a lead vocal by Paul, or vice versa.  There's songs where the writing was split pretty evenly yet one person takes the lead vocal (eg I Want To Hold Your Hand) and there's songs where one person was the main writer but they share the lead vocals (the aforementioned Day Tripper).  But I can't think of any song that's mainly John but has a Paul lead vocal, or vice versa.


 QUOTE:
You obviously feel that way because you got the wrong impression. Having done that, you ascribe it to Stan as being his fault. I'm not sure how fair that is. What Stan wrote is unclear, I think we agree on that. If you draw a conclusion from something that is unclear, that can't all lie with Stan.

Can you honestly say you would have come to a different conclusion in my shoes?  It's a book in which Stan describes creating characters.  In every other chapter, he describes his process as:  I came up with an idea for a character, wrote a synopsis, and gave it to Jack or Steve to draw.  In the Doctor Strange chapter, he describes how he thought of something that inspired the character, and then says Steve took up "the art chores."  Stan says nothing at all to suggest Ditko had any role in the character creation process, and obviously somebody had to create the character.  And again, the finished story carries a credit of "written by Stan Lee."  Absent any prior knowledge, one would need to be psychic to come to a different conclusion than the one I did, which was that Stan created Doctor Strange. 


Edited by Jason Czeskleba on 01 March 2021 at 6:25pm
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 01 March 2021 at 6:51pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Jason, I think it depends how casually/carefully you read it. It's a weird passage. I can see how you drew the conclusion you did, but I disagree that it's inevitable that that is the only conclusion that could be reasonably drawn. As I've said, I haven't read the book, so I'm going on what you're saying and the bit that's been reproduced here.

You say for everything else he states he came up with the idea for the character, wrote a synopsis and gave it to the artist. Here he doesn't say that. He does a little song and dance about Chandu -- how he remembers none of it basically but the bong -- and then it's oh, and Steve drew it, I wrote the words and out of that came that character.

I genuinely think a neutral reading is that he is saying the character came from both of them. Steve drew; I added the words; and then Dr Strange was born.
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Michael Penn
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Posted: 01 March 2021 at 7:19pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Little tiny Beatle drift... the Beatles song that McCartney wrote but Lennon sang lead was their very first teenage recording, "In Spite of All the Danger." That would've changed with "Love Me Do," which was co-written but mostly McCartney, yet Lennon sang lead -- except that George Martin wouldn't allow Lennon to oddly shift from the chorus to the harmonica and be unable to sing the "do" in the title. I cannot think of a Lennon song that McCartney sand lead on.
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Jason Czeskleba
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Posted: 01 March 2021 at 9:22pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Aha, good point about In Spite of All The Danger, Michael.  That one is kinda the exception before the rule had even been established, I guess. 

Lennon wasn't supposed to sing a solo lead on Love Me Do... they always sang the bulk of that song together.  But the original arrangement called for Lennon to sing the one solo line "love me do" that comes after "so please..." and right before the harmonica.  That didn't work because the harmonica overlapped that line.
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Rodrigo castellanos
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Posted: 01 March 2021 at 10:32pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

[Obligatory moptop drift]

Yeah, I always thought of Day Tripper as a John song despite the initial verse being sung by Paul. John's voice becomes more preponderant later in the song and the lyrics, melody, everything just screams John.

Was kinda surprised to see Paul playing it live a few years back though, he doesn't typically play "John songs" outside of the homage moment he usually does in his shows were he also plays a George song (usually "Something", which Sinatra also used to sing and introduce it as "his tribute to Lennon/McCartney" no matter how many times he was corrected that it was a Harrison).

Good one on "Do you want to know a secret", but it was before George began writing songs (or worked up the courage to show one of them to the main duo). I remember reading Lennon saying something along the lines of "it was a simple enough song that even George could sing it" in his typical joking/not joking passive aggressive tone. Gotta love the guy.


Absent any prior knowledge, one would need to be psychic to come to a different conclusion than the one I did, which was that Stan created Doctor Strange. 

Agree, I interpreted the same thing. 

If Ditko's account is to be believed, he came up with it on his own and drew the pages, no synopsis, no nothing.

So I think Stan, quite cunningly, tried to imply having created him from this supposed Chandu inspiration while not directly saying that as in this case it wouldn't be just a different interpretation/"you had to be there" thing but an outright lie.





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Robert Bradley
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Posted: 02 March 2021 at 10:22am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Note that Stan didn't say "Doctor Strange reminded me of Chandu." he worded it so that the most logical way to take it was "Stan remembered Chandu and he then had Ditko draw the story."

Sure, if you have knowledge of how it really happened you might take it the other way, but based on his Chandu story alone, I don't see that as the logical interpretation.

The real question is "Did Stan knowingly mislead the readers in this instance?"  And I would lean towards "Yes."

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Mark Haslett
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Posted: 02 March 2021 at 12:16pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I think an aspect that doesn't get mentioned enough is that this debate about Stan's grabbing credit is under an illusion created by Stan's success at using credits to create an aura of success.

The truth is that, although Stan may forget the details of how Doctor Strange was created, he remembered very well how the entire company had nearly gone under and how this time around, Marvel's stability could disappear just as easily at it had before. It's the ongoing success of the company that makes these early decisions problematic.

Edited by Mark Haslett on 02 March 2021 at 12:31pm
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