Stan the Man turns 94* …
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.
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.
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.