Lee was not a plotter

Stuf’ Said p 19[18]: Larry Lieber: “Stan made up the plot, and then he’d give it to me, and I’d write the script … I would follow from Stan’s plots.”

Like Thomas, Lieber was only repeating what he’d been told by Lee. There’s no evidence that Lee “made up” plots even if he was dispensing plots.

34[36]: Barry Pearl recounts what Ayers has to say in 2009 about plotting with Stan: “Dick told us how Stan called him one day [in early 1965] and said, ‘I can’t think of a story for Sgt. Fury #23. We won’t have an issue unless you think of something!’ …”


34[36]: Another Marvel regular [Goldberg] recounted his own plotting experiences with Lee… “One time I was in Stan’s office and told him, ‘I haven’t got another plot.’ Stan got out of his chair, walked over to me, looked me in the face, and said very seriously, ‘I don’t ever want to hear you say you can’t think of another plot.’ Then he walked back and sat in his chair. He didn’t think he needed to tell me anything more. After that, I could think of a plot in two seconds.”

The question that needs to be asked is if Lee was leaning on Ayers and Goldberg for plots, how in the world could anyone believe he was providing plots to Kirby?

54[60]: [WALLACE WOOD]: “I enjoyed working with Stan on Daredevil but for one thing. I had to make up the whole story. He was being paid for writing and I was being paid for drawing but he didn’t have any ideas. I’d go in for a plotting session and we’d just stare at each other until I came up with a storyline. I felt that I was writing the book but not being paid for writing.

“But remember that issue of Daredevil I wrote? Stan said it was hopeless and that he’d have to rewrite the whole thing. Then I saw it when it came out and he’d changed five words, less than an editor usually changes. I think that was the last straw.”

As Morrow has noted here, Wood wasn’t given writing credit, even begrudgingly, without ridicule in the letters and text pages.




48[52]: Lee gives readers his rationale for assigning Kirby to layout so many strips:
[Lee] “Jack needs another pair of hands for all the strips we’d like him to do, but instead of giving him a break by taking a strip away completely, we try to have him make rough layouts for the next penciler, so that the strip will still have that ol’ Kirby magic no matter who does it!”

Lee meant to say “no matter who adds the dialogue, me or some guy in the office.” “Kirby magic” means a story written by Kirby (see Further information, p 45).

86[92]: This month, Kirby’s drawing Thor #155, but as Glen Gold discovered on the original art from the issue, Stan is making very direct comments in the margins to someone, that the dialogue isn’t working, and he suggests fixes. This leads to the supposition that someone in the office may well’ve been ghost-writing on this, or Lee is at least having someone else in the office fix things that, in hindsight, he doesn’t feel worked well on his own dialogue.

And yet Kirby suggesting this in 1989 remains “egregious” as this book goes to print.

88[94]: [Lee] “[Ego, the Living Planet] was Jack’s idea, too. I remember I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding.’ He said, ‘No, let’s get a living planet, a bioverse.’ Well, I didn’t want him to think I was chicken. I said, ‘All right, you draw it, I’ll write it.’”

Lee inadvertently reveals his m.o. for working with Kirby, the one that’s been in place from the start: Kirby idea, Kirby-drawn story, Lee overwriting. To get an idea of the calibre of Lee “plotting” without Kirby, Chris Tolworthy suggests looking at specific titles when Kirby was absent, like FF after 102, or the six Thor stories in Journey Into Mystery during Kirby’s hiatus.

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Lee was not a plotter