13 COVERS: A STAN LEE Birthday Salute

Stan the Man turns 94* …

stan-lee-centerfold

A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece about my ambivalent feelings toward Stan Lee and his legacy. It upset some people, to say the least. To so many, he’s a god. To so many others, he’s a false god.

Me? I lean toward godhood in the comic-book firmament. Unlike Bob Kane, Stan Lee isn’t a charlatan — despite his well-documented predilection for overstating his role in creating the Marvel Universe. But his role was enormous nonetheless.

First and foremost, Stan Lee was a huckster — and remains so today. I say that with a Baxter Building-full of respect. I’m a huckster too. I write or edit stories for this website, sure, but I spend a lot of time shilling it on the Internet, so that people know to come read it.

And that was Stan Lee’s greatest gift. While I’m not a fan of people who take credit for others’ work, I’m also not a big sympathizer of the art martyr, the grown person who makes bad deals.

 

Bottom line: Without Stan Lee’s superpowers of salesmanship, there’s no parentage of the Marvel Universe to debate.

Marvel-Age-41-Stan-Lee-Cover-580x893

But then, how do I do 13 COVERS for a man who was not an artist and whose role as creator is often in dispute? How do you delineate scripting from writing from plotting when so much is still argued over today?

Here’s my contrived solution: Every cover below is a #2 issue (or close facsimile) featuring virtually every major character or group that Stan Lee helped to create or — just as important — sell to the public to produce the Marvel Age.

The list, to coin a phrase, is Amazing. Fantastic, even.

So why not make it all #1s?

Hell, I’m not going to give him all the credit.

Jack Kirby and George Klein art

Jack Kirby and George Klein art

Ditko art

Ditko art

Jack Kirby art, with either Sol Brodsky or Frank Giacoia

Jack Kirby art, with either Sol Brodsky or Frank Giacoia

Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko art

Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko art

Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott art

Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott art

Jack Kirby and Don Heck art

Jack Kirby and Don Heck art

Jack Kirby, Syd Shores and John Romita

Jack Kirby, Syd Shores and John Romita art

Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta art

Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta art

Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers

Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers art

Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers art

Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers art

Jack Kirby and Paul Reinman art

Jack Kirby and Paul Reinman art

John Buscema and Joe Sinnott art

John Buscema and Joe Sinnott art

Gene Colan and Vince Colletta art

Gene Colan and Vince Colletta art

Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and Mike Esposito art.

Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and Mike Esposito art

Eagle-eyed readers will notice there are actually 14 covers here. What’re you gonna do? Anyway, cover images and credits from the fantastic and amazing Grand Comics Database.

* This is a slightly updated version of a piece that ran in 2015. Still holds up, so I decided to let fly again.

Author: Dan Greenfield

Share This Post On

2 Comments

  1. Stan Lee was the PT Barnum of comics. Regardless of who did what as folks point out today, he was the ever present voice and vision of the company. He made me feel like I was part of a special club. Which is another of many things that Marvel did for me that DC didn’t. That’s a special panache right there.

    Post a Reply
  2. Despite not being exactly the greatest writer, his energy and enthusiasm was such that, despite a hugely reduced roll, it’s still the force that drives the idea. And what can you say about his business savvy? He created the easel, the palate, the paint and the showroom. His importance to Marvel, comic books and world culture cannot be overstated.

    Post a Reply

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: