Lee misrepresents

Stuf’ Said p 23[22]: [Lee] “…I stumbled onto [the Marvel Method]. I’d be writing all the stories, and I’d be working on a Fantastic Four and the artist who’s doing Dr. Strange would come and say, ‘Stan, I’ve finished my script . I need another’. But I’ve got the typewriter going for F.F. and I couldn’t stop. And I couldn’t let him sit around doing nothing.”

Lee wasn’t keeping “artists” busy. His page count at this point was lower than it was before the implosion. He was not too busy to write eight publications per month (and indeed was not even responsible for writing all of them). There is no evidence that he wrote a script (see Sinnott, p 15 under Assumes facts not in evidence).

Here are the titles containing Lee-signed stories in the two-month period leading up to FF #1:

Rawhide Kid
Patsy Walker
Life with Millie
Gunsmoke Western
Kid Colt Outlaw
Love Romances
Linda Carter Student Nurse
Millie the Model

Lee’s first signed fantasy story is one of Ditko’s, the month before the cover date of FF #1. He signed three of Ditko’s that month; he didn’t sign any of Kirby’s, that month or any other. (See links under Assumes facts not in evidence, p 15.)

Patrick Ford, the Marvel Method group, 15 April 2019: “A fact which contradicts Lee’s claim that the Marvel Method came about because Lee was so busy he no longer had time to write full scripts is Lee wasn’t writing anything close to ‘the whole line.’ He was writing about half the line. And curiously even after the hero books began replacing the monster-fantasy titles Lee continued to have his brother and other writers assigned to hero titles while Lee seemed to prefer MILLIE, PATSY and Westerns to costumed heroes. Once the super hero titles were in, more or less, full swing Lee chose not to write: Thor, Iron Man, Ant-Man, the Human Torch.”

34[36]: [Lee] “…90% of the ‘Tales of Asgard’ stories were Jack’s plots, and they were great! He knew more about Norse mythology than I ever did (or at least he enjoyed making it up!). I was busy enough just putting in the copy after he drew it.”

I’m going to go with 100%.

[Lee] “I wrote it… this is my writing, to remind me [what] to say… to let me know that that’s what I wanted to put in. It’s funny; historians always write about Jack’s notes. They never write about the notes that I put in, because I always erased them, once the script was done.”

Not a turning point. Lee was simply making notes to himself during the kind of story conference Kirby maintained was the usual procedure: Kirby described the story he’d pencilled to Lee when he delivered the pages. See Kirby’s description in the Pitts interview, Stuf’ Said p 137[150].

117[129]: Lee discusses the departure of Kirby, and whether he could’ve done his New Gods books at Marvel: [Lee] “He could have. I don’t really know why he left. I think it was a personal thing. Jack never told me.”

This repeated lie calls for a translation: “I was stealing from him and he finally got tired of it. When the new owners decided who was to be appointed creator, I threw Jack under the bus… I did the same later with Chip and the position of Publisher.”

118: [Lee] “…with Ditko I have less of an understanding. Steve was a very mysterious character.”

More of the interview…

[Charles] Murray: Could you tell me what happened to Steve Ditko, and why he’s wasting his time with poor mystery titles for a small company?

Lee: It’s the same thing as with Kirby—only with Ditko I have less of an understanding. Steve was a very mysterious character… But, little by little, he became tougher and tougher to work with… it was like Chamberlain giving in to Hitler, the more I appeased him, the harder he got to work with. Finally, it reached the point where he didn’t even come up to the office with his artwork—he’d just mail it in. Then one day he said he was leaving. (see Stuf’ Said p 118[130]) 45

Chamberlain appeasing Hitler? Lee is concealing his decision to stop speaking to Ditko. Thomas, and by extension, Brodsky, corroborate Ditko’s version of events that he brought his artwork to the office in person up until the last day.

Translation: “Steve demanded plotting pay, and that cut into the page rate I was stealing from him. I couldn’t let him think I was going to tolerate that.” (My putting words in Lee’s mouth should give Morrow an idea why it’s problematic to add Kirby’s colour code to the things Lee says Kirby said.) Ditko’s writings should be presented to counter this nonsense, particularly his letter to Comic Book Marketplace (Stuf’ Said p 150[164]).

In your Comic Book Marketplace #61, July 1998, page 45, Stan Lee talks about “…a very famous scene…” of the trapped Spider-man lifting heavy machinery over his head.
The drama of that sequence was first commented on and popularized by Gil Kane.
Stan says “I just mentioned the idea…I hadn’t thought of devoting that many pages to it…”
I was publicly credited as plotter only starting with issue #26. The lifting sequence is in issue #33.
The fact is we had no story or idea discussion about some Spider-man books even before issue #26 up to when I left the book.
Stan never knew what was in my plotted stories until I took in the penciled story, the cover, my script and Sol Brodsky took the material from me and took it all into Stan’s office, so I had to leave without seeing or talking to Stan.
Steve Ditko, New York 46

It’s a lie that Lee didn’t know why Ditko left. Indeed, he was making contingency plans with Romita.

124[136]: [Lee] “This is how Jack Kirby and I created the Silver Surfer, one of our most popular characters…”

Will this statement be allowed to stand uncontested?

133[145]: Lee has specifically claimed credit for Thor’s buddies: [1998] [Lee] “I made [the Warriors Three] up. I specifically remember that I did them because I wanted a Falstaff-type guy, a guy like Errol Flynn, and then I wanted a guy like Charles Bronson who was dire and gloomy, riddled with angst. Those three were mine.”

The defensive language is interesting, but as with many “historical” statements from this “interview” (the timing of which is critical… see Lieber comes into his own), it’s a lie.


135[148]: At this late stage, it’s hard to know for sure what happened to all the Kirby art that wasn’t on Irene Vartanoff’s 1980 inventory count, but an interesting piece of history recently appeared online that adds to the discussion.


147[160]: Lee gives his account of what happened to the original art in the early days at Marvel Comics: [Lee] “Back then… we actually tore up and threw away all the pages of artwork… whatever didn’t get destroyed was simply given away to anybody who’d take it.”

“At this late stage” (Lee having handed the reins to his daughter), things are going to become more and more clear. Stories like the “loyalty test” (p 141[155]) need to be considered in light of how they would benefit or assuage the conscience of someone who had “rescued” that art.

Kevin Melrose regarding “Hollywood Treasure” (Comic Book Resources, November 2010): ‘Second, and by far the most interesting, is the suggestion that Lee’s garage could be the mother lode of Silver Age original art. Toward the end of the video, after Lee has gone, host Joe Maddalena tells his associates: “This is a great start to a great relationship. His guy was telling me — I said, ‘Does he have any artwork?’ He goes, ‘Boxes and boxes in the garage.’ I said, ‘What do you mean, garage?’ He goes, ‘Storage units full.’ I said, ‘Well, supposedly I’ve heard him say he doesn’t have anything.’ The guy said, ‘Storage units full of artwork.’ He goes, ‘He has no idea what he has. He’s never looked at it’.” Maddalena, owner of Profiles in History auction house, hopes (naturally) to gain access to the art for appraisal. Watch the video after the break. Hollywood Treasure airs Wednesdays on Syfy.’

144[150]: [Lee] “That was when I called the lawyer, and I said, ‘Should we sue him?’”

This was nothing more than posturing. Marvel would never have let Lee near a courtroom given the actual evidence for his claims.

NEXT: Thomas explains
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back 45 Stan Lee interviewed by Charles Murray, Fantasy Advertiser v3 n55, April 1975.

back 46 Steve Ditko, letter to the editor, Comic Book Marketplace #63, October 1998.

Lee misrepresents