Legacy

Krampusnacht storyline is underway.  Basically just a fun holiday piece.  Will run about ten pages, plus a cover, so it will go until around Christmas.  I think my current estimate for pacing puts the last page as being about… Christmas Eve?  It ended up being a longer story than I intended, but still within the holiday season.

More of a serious thought today: Crediting.  With George H.W. Bush’s death, I find myself divided over the questions of legacy.  Like any President, the good and positive he did is often overshadowed by the negative consequences of his decisions.  While I would never want to distract from the good he did–for example, I cannot commend him more for resigning his membership in the NRA–it is important to acknowledge he was far from perfect and made plenty of mistakes.

That being said, the same questions come about in the wake of Stan Lee’s passing as well.  One of the biggest questions raised about Stan Lee’s legacy centers around two people: Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko.  Kirby of course co-created much of the Marvel Comics universe with Stan Lee and even a few bits of it before Stan Lee ever started in comics.  Ditko was the man who helped make Spider-Man and Doctor Strange what they were.  Both of these individuals had somewhat bitter departures from Marvel in their primes, feeling they did not necessarily get the credit and recognition they deserved.

The real question is always with the Marvel Method.  Essentially Stan Lee would provide his artists with a general plot or character concept and they would be responsible for the layouts and/or design of the story, with Lee adding dialog later.  There were two main issues with this.  One, Kirby and Ditko would often put suggestions for dialog on the page that Lee would tweak a bit to make it read better.  And two, they would often add to the plot of the story to help flesh it out and make more sense.  A classic example of this is Jack Kirby adding the Silver Surfer to the Fantastic Four story where he and Galactus are introduced.  The Silver Surfer was not a part of the original story, but Kirby felt there had to be a herald for Galactus.  The character was intended to be a throwaway, but stuck around because Kirby designed and created a character that Stan could sell.

So the point I’m rambling to is that I don’t necessarily recognize Stan Lee as the writer and/or creator of many of these characters.  The Marvel Method kind of cuts his input down to more of an editorial showman’s role than anything.  His contributions to comics and popular culture were significant, but those were more as a presenter and showman than an actual creator.  Not to deny his impact on our culture.  His presentation and editorial decisions for these characters was important and huge part of their success.  I recognize Stan Lee as one of the greatest showmen of modern times–in some ways, the last great showman.  However, calling him a writer and/or creator of many of these characters?  I do think there’s some shaky ground there.

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