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Why I have beef with Stan Lee

Updated on August 31, 2017

Marvel Comics. When I say that name who pops into your head? Hulk? Thor? Spider-Man? Captain America? Stan Lee?

Most people think of Stan as a legendary figure in the world of comicbooks. Some super fans even view him almost as a god. However, despite what a lot of people might think about him, I view him as a lazy, low talent, fame hog.

Whilst I don't doubt he's a lovely man, in this article I want to explore why needs to be knocked down from his high horse.

The Marvel Method

My Issue #1 with Mr. Lee is the sheer laziness of the Marvel method.

To make a comicbook, the first step is for the writer to write a script in which he describes to the artist what he wants to appear. The includes all visual descriptions, the plot, and the words said by the characters and narrator. A comicbook script is a piece of literature, no different from a novel or poem.

The Marvel Method throws a middle finger to literary integrity, just telling the artist the plot line, and filling in the letters when she's finished.

What sort of comicbook writer doesn't even write the script?

He only 50% created the characters that he did.

The second problem that I have with Stan is that out of all the characters he created, he cannot honestly claim complete credit for any of them.

Let's take the example of Spider-Man. Whilst it was Lee who came up with the original idea, it was his co-writer Steve Ditko who helped the character to take off and become the iconic hero that he is today.

Due to the Marvel Method which I've mentioned above, Stan's number one artist Jack Kirby should be given at least some credit for pretty much every superhero that Stan Lee 'created'.


Creation aside. Every writer knows that it is not enough to merely create a character. The life events of the character play a vital part in shaping who they are. Stan Lee didn't kill Gwen Stacy, Conway did. Stan Lee didn't put Captain America against Iron Man, Millar did. Stan Lee didn't make Wolverine loose his healing factor, he didn't even create the guy!

He doesn't acknowledge other people.

The next problem is that he rarely talks about his artists, co-writers, or any of the people who have taken over from him.

I'm not denying that he has spoken about a few people (normally when asked about them) such as Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and a few others. But 99% of the time he's talking about how HE created the Marvel superheroes. How the ideas got into his head. What his thought process was. The historical and cultural context of his characters.

He never seems to mention how the army of artists and co-writers who were working at Marvel at the time enabled his ideas to become masterpieces.

What's more, he's stuck in the past. He never mentions the fantastic job that the many writers and artists have done since he's hung up his cape.

Everyone is expected to like him

I suppose this next one is more of an issue with his fans than it is with but almost every Marvel fan seems to be infatuated by him. Not only that, they expect every other Marvel fan to feel the same way!

Why doesn't Jack Kirby or anyone from DC Comics get the same treatment?

If you don't believe me or you think that I'm exaggerating, I challenge you to walk into comic-con (any comic-con) and say clearly 'Stan Lee is overrated'. Go on, I dare you!

Why is it that when you're a geek (particularly a superhero geek) you're expected to get horny every-time you see a 94 year old man?

Sorry Stan's fans but your hero is simply not all he's cracked up to be.

His writing is mediocre

The fifth and final reason that I have beef with Stan Lee is that his writing is mediocre most of the time. Give it a read if you think I'm lying!

As mentioned before, comicbooks are a form of literature and should be treated with the same level of scrutiny and criticism that we give to novels and poems.

I have to confess, at times, his writing is brilliant, the man is by no means a 'bad writer'. However, there are other writers who are just as good (many who are even better) yet who's names most almost certainly haven't heard o

Just so we're clear, I have absolutely nothing against Stan Lee as a person. I've watched many interviews with him and he comes across as a perfectly likeable man.

However, we need to stop viewing him as a god figure and pay more attention to the hundreds of other writers who have made comicbooks into what they are today.

© 2017 FrederickColbey

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