Friday, March 11, 2011

Hating on Stan Lee

Apologies in advance for a longish, rambling non-gaming post.

This is an attitude I encounter occasionally, and it always sort of floors me when I run into it.

A lot of the dislike Stan Lee gets seems to be that he did better than many of his contemporaries. He got the money, he has lived a long life, he has become a mainstream icon and he seems genuinely HAPPY.

Especially compared to Jack Kirby, who certainly didn't get the money or the fame that would have come with comics exploding onto the mainstream like they have. Or compared to Ditko, who just seems really unhappy in a lot of ways.

For someone who doesn't have a financial interest, worrying about the deals that someone else made always seemed really silly to me. Stan should have gotten the money. So should Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, etc etc.

Just because some of them didn't get the money doesn't make Stan a bad guy cause he did.

But beyond this, where I *really* tend to get irked is people who seem to want to disparage Stan's talent. This line of argument seems to be that it was Jack, ALL JACK. I have even heard people say that Stan was "a glorified scripter".

Well, even if you are in the "all Jack" camp, someone wrote the actual words, and no one seems to think that wasn't Stan. Whoever wrote the actual words is, imo, the best comic writer of all time.

As an aside, I'd also put Roy Thomas, Chris Claremont, David Micheline, Roger Stern, Gerry Conway, Grant Morrisson and Mark Millar on the list of best comics writers ever.

I have studied Stan Lee, as a writer, and as a marketer. I think his marketing genius is profound, and he frankly tends to get more props as a marketing genius. But he is also an amazing writer and I think without Stan, our culture would be much poorer.

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