Tuesday, September 04, 2012


Marvel Comics and Stan Lee have always done a good job of perpetuating the myth that Lee created the original Marvel Universe. Those of us who have studied the situation in those early days of the company know better. But most of the rest of world does not. I'll never forget how it hit home to me when I bought my first pages of Jack Kirby artwork that were done in the first year that he was so busy creating new superhero characters and new titles for Martin Goodman's company.

You could plainly see in those pages that he was leaving notes for the editor on exactly what was going on and roughly what needed to be placed in captions and word balloons. This was not the actions of just a pencil artist, but an artist/writer. In fact, in the case of Jack Kirby, a creator/artist/writer. He didn't need any help writing or creating. He was just putting up with the reality of having an editor.

One thing that Lee did so early on (that kept him from backtracking) was admit to others that he had nothing at all to do with the creation of Steve Ditko's major character for Marvel, Dr. Strange. So, having once admitted that the creature was Ditko's own, he couldn't realistically claim otherwise. Of course that has not stopped Marvel over the years listing Lee as "co-creator" of Dr. Strange. Even though that isn't true.

One of the curious things about this resulted, I think, in the fact that Dr. Strange never once appeared on the cover of the anthology title in which his adventures were featured. STRANGE TALES, like all of Marvel's other early titles, had been a comic that contained monster and science-fiction stories, most of them done by Kirby, Heck, and Ditko. When Ditko premiered a new superhero in Strange Tales, he named that character "Dr. Strange". It would seem only natural that Dr. Strange should be cover-featured on the comic that bore his name, right?


Not once during the run of the comic under the pencil and brush of its creator, Steve Ditko, did Dr. Strange get the lion's share of the cover! I've always suspected that it was because Lee had coughed up the fact that he hadn't had a hand in creating Dr. Strange. Added to this was that I think relatively soon after this Ditko and Lee began to butt heads. I think it was probably just spite that kept Ditko's creation off the cover of Strange Tales in a major way. Instead, Nick Fury (Kirby's creation) got the limelight while Strange was relegated to inset panels or lower border panel appearances on the covers. It was only after Ditko left Marvel that Dr. Strange was featured in a full cover display on STRANGE TALES.

Ditko's creation was always relegated to second-class status on the cover.


dogboy443 said...

Stan Lee was and is a douche bag.

I think I need to make a t-shirt that says this.

Stan Is A Douche!

HemlockMan said...

What gets me is the never-ending propaganda of "co-creator" for everything that Kirby and Ditko did. It's such an ingrained lie at this point that standing against it is a losing cause likely to get you into a pile of trouble.

It's sad. Meanwhile, Ditko gets no monetary reward and almost no credit for his efforts. And the Kirby Family is victimized.

Kirk G said...

Stan Lee Media has sued Disney Corporation for ownership of the Marvel characters. Can you beat that?!

HemlockMan said...

Yeah, I heard about it. Stan Lee apparently is not involved in the suit. But still interesting.

Kirk G said...

How can he NOT be invovled? HE's THE MAN! The company's NAMED after him. ??????