Tagged: Steve Ditko

Mike Gold: The Magic Of Comics

At MoCCA this past weekend – that’s one of my favorite shows, by the way – a surprising number of people asked me about how I felt about DC Comics Entertainment Periodical Publications moving to the Left Coast.

It amuses me to note that only one of these people actually worked at DC, and he was being sarcastic.

In its 80 years DC Comics has moved more frequently than a family of vaudevillians. I worked at only three of their locations; I know many who worked at five or six. Every time DC moves, they relaunch Aquaman. They are now a fully integrated part of Warner Bros., so moving to LALALand is a no-brainer.

And I hope my friends at Marvel are paying attention.

Once Marvel joins Disney out in Hollywood, only one comic book leaflet publisher will be left in New York City proper, that being Valiant. (If I’m missing anybody, forgive me – you really can’t tell the players without a scorecard, and, besides, I haven’t seen Jim Shooter in about a year). If you consider the entire New York metropolitan area, that number grows to… what, two? Archie Comics is in Westchester County. If ComicMix returns to leaflet publishing, and, yeah, we’re considering it but then we collapse in a fit of giggles – then that’ll make three. The combined output of the New York comic book leaflet publishers wouldn’t amount to a fart.

For the record: I think it is absolutely great that we have comics publishers all over the nation. There’s no magic to publishing comic books in Manhattan, despite what lazy publishers told poor cartoonists between the middle of the Depression until the election of Ronald Reagan.  Actually, I think it is great that we have so many comics publishers that they can be all over the nation.

I admit: the first time I dropped my butt into my chair at 75 Rockefeller Plaza – that’s four locations and 40 years ago – I was in fanboy heaven. It was a great feeling. Jenette Kahn offered me the job at a moment when, as they say in the business, I was “between radio stations.” In 1976, stations were changing their pretty much after every third song and I saw the handwriting on the wall. It said “Work for Superman.”

The fact is, most of my best and most enduring friendships have been formed while in the comics racket. I’ve lunched with Steve Ditko, I’ve worked with Will Eisner and Peter O’Donnell, I intervened in a, ah, friendly discussion between Stan Lee and Joe Orlando. Great stuff. ComicMixers Glenn Hauman, Martha Thomases, Denny O’Neil, Mindy Newell, Bob Ingersoll, and Robert Greenberger? These folks have been my friends forever, and I met them all through comics. Yes, they have amazing intestinal fortitude.

John Ostrander is different. (I can’t tell you how much I wanted to end this paragraph right here.) I’ve known John even longer, through our common interest in both theater and comics. I brought him into this business – at his own request, so he can’t complain.

I have absolutely no doubt that there are a ton of people just out of school out on the Left Coast who will put in their time at DC Comics and come out of it exhausted but with plenty of great friendships.

And for me, that is the magic of the comic book racket.


Glenn Hauman: Peyton Reed Is Directing The Wrong Marvel Movie

Ant-ManYou’ve probably heard that over the weekend, Peyton Reed has taken over directing chores for Marvel’s Ant-Man after Edgar Wright left the project over “creative differences.”

While I’m glad to see that Marvel is stampeding forward to avoid blowing any release dates (because Disney runs on a very tight schedule) I admit that when I think of the Marvel movie Peyton Reed should be making, Ant-Man isn’t what comes to mind.

I think the Marvel movie he should be making is the movie of the making of Marvel.


Dick Ayers: 1924-2014

Dick Ayers

Avengers comics sales history -- five decades, assembled!“Daring” Dick Ayers, an Eisner Award Hall-Of-Famer best known as an inker for Jack Kirby during the 50’s and 60’s during Marvel’s rebirth in the Silver Age, has passed away. He had just turned 90 last week.

Ayers may be best known for inking some of the earliest issues of Fantastic Four, and he was the signature penciler of Marvel’s World War II comic Sgt. Fury And His Howling Commandos. Ayers started as a artist in the 40’s (where he co-created the original Ghost Rider), later teaming up with Kirby in 1959 over at Marvel. Ayers went on to ink scores of Kirby Western and monster stories, including such much-reprinted tales as “I Created The Colossus!” from Tales of Suspense #14, “Goom! The Thing From Planet X!” from Tales of Suspense #15, and the immortal “Fin Fang Foom!” from Strange Tales #89.

As Marvel Comics introduced superheroes in the early 1960s, Ayers inked Kirby on the first appearances of Ant-Man (Tales to Astonish #27 and 35, Jan. and Sept. 1962), Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos (#1-3, May-Sept. 1963), and the revamped Rawhide Kid (beginning with The Rawhide Kid #17, Aug. 1960). He inked Kirby on the second and several subsequent early appearances of Thor (Journey into Mystery #84-89), plus others; on Fantastic Four #6-20  and the spin-off Human Torch solo series in Strange Tales (starting with its debut in issue #101); and Avengers #1. He also inked Steve Ditko on Iron Man, The Amazing Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk, among many many others.

Ayers took over from Kirby as Sgt. Fury penciler with issue #8 (July 1964), beginning a 10-year run that — except for #13 (which he inked over Kirby’s pencils), and five issues by other pencilers – continued virtually unbroken through #120 (with the series running Ayers reprints every-other-issue through most but not all from #79 on).

He was a frequent convention guest in recent years, and was one of the last living creators of the Marvel era. Our condolences to his family, friends, and fans.

John Ostrander: First Times

ostrander-art-131229-150x157-1351643The trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is out and you’ve no doubt seen it here on ComicMix and elsewhere. It looks pretty spiffy, I think, and I’m ready to shell out my shekels to see it.

I came into the living room the other day as My Mary was watching the end the previous Amazing Spider-Man on the tube. She mentioned how her friend Sherry preferred Toby McGuire’s Spider-Man to Andrew Garfield’s and made an interesting observation: McGuire’s Spider-Man was more Todd MacFarland while Garfield’s was more Steve Ditko. I found that pretty astute.

McGuire was also Sherry’s first Spider-Man and I think that also plays into it. Who your favorite artist (or even writer) on a given character or property may depend on who was on the book when you first read it. For me, my Spider-Man artist was John Romita – and that’s Senior, not Junior (who is a fine artist in his own right). I would only encounter Ditko later, in reprints (this was long before the Internet or even comic book stores with longboxes). I’ll be honest; I was not keen on Ditko at first. My guy was Romita Sr. My Spider-Man was the one he drew.

I don’t know who was drawing Batman when I first read the book; the first one I remember was Neal Adams (and scripted by our own Denny O’Neil). I think my first Doctor Strange artist was Marie Severin, inked by her brother John, a mighty duo.

The idea (I wouldn’t call it a rule) also extends to Doctor Who. The definitive Doctor for an individual is often the one you first saw in the role. For me, it was Jon Pertwee, with the capes and the bouffant hair. The episodes were aired sporadically in my area and one day I came across one with a horse faced actor in a big multi-colored scarf swanning around and being called the Doctor. I was resistant to Tom Baker for a good while; my Doctor was Pertwee. I came around and Baker became one of my faves along with most of the rest of Who fandom.

I found it interesting in a special mini-episode where David Tennant’s Doctor comes in contact with Peter Davidson’s Doctor and said, “You were my Doctor!” I think that was true for Tennant; he would have been the right age.

The concept doesn’t always hold. My definitive Avengers artist would have been John Buscema, definitely not the first artist I saw on the book. OTOH, my definitive Conan artist would have been Barry Windsor Smith and not John Buscema. BWS was the first. Gene Colan was the first artist I saw on both Daredevil and Iron Man and remained the definitive artist for me, over both Wally Wood and Frank Miller on Daredevil and Bob Layton on Iron Man.

These are all artists whose work I have enjoyed on the various books but they don’t hold the special place in my heart that the first artists did. They marked the first time I encountered the characters and fell in love with them and there isn’t anything quite like your first love, is there?




Gorgo – Steve Ditko’s Truly Fantastic Giant

Ditko Monsters

Ditko Monsters – Gorgo!, stories drawn by Steve Ditko, written by Joe Gill, designed and edited by Craig Yoe. YoeBooks!/IDW Publishing. 224 pages, $34.99 retail hardcover.

I realize I’m jeopardizing my Geekcred here, but when I was a kid I never was much of a monster movie fan. After I got past James Whale and Ishirô Honda, it was pretty much “if you’ve seen one slimy green tail, you’ve seen them all.” Of course, this was prior to the proliferation of porno.

My pathetically mature attitude kept me away from Marvel’s monster comics prior to Fantastic Four #1 (the first one). That changed with Fin Fang Foom and Strange Tales Annual #1, and it changed with Steve Ditko’s Amazing Adult Fantasy. (Memo to self: define “adult.”) It became impossible to pass up any Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko effort, be it superhero or monster. Hell, I even bought Ditko’s Hogan’s Heroes adaptations.

So, like many Baby Boomer Doctor Strange fans, I first encountered Gorgo in the 1966 Charlton reprint Fantastic Giants. The giant lizard shared the cover with a big ol’ ape named Konga, a bizarre caricature of the artist, and the legend “A Steve Ditko Special! 64 pages!”

I’ve waited almost fifty years for Fantastic Giants #2, and thanks to my pal Craig Yoe, it finally arrived in the form of a 224 hardcover, Ditko Monsters – Gorgo! He reprints a ton of Ditko Gorgo stories shot from the source material but painstakingly restored and fronted by a wonderful and highly informative introduction by the editor.

These stories are fantastic fun, which is exactly what they should be. Mystery Science Theater 3000 could riff the Gorgo movies, and they did, but these comics stories co-star such notables as John F. Kennedy, Fidel Castro and Nikita Khrushchev. Communism be damned; evidently, Castro and Khrushchev had licensing agents.

If I have one complaint, and it’s a minor one, the book could have used a table of contents and an index. Bitch, bitch, bitch.

So, you might ask, what happened to Konga? Where’s Ditko Monsters – Konga!? That would be next month. One good turn deserves another.


Martha Thomases: Breaking The Four-Color Wall — Comics About Cartoonists

Thomases Art 130118-aComics About Cartoonists • Edited by Craig Yoe • 192 pages • $39.99 retail in hardcover • IDW Publishing, on sale January 22nd

The creative life has its own circle of hell. The blank page, the blank canvas, the empty stage, all exist to remind us of our failure. When one is a professional with a deadline, the taunting is even more painful.

For those of us in the audience, it can also be excruciating. I don’t like songs about how difficult it is to be a rock star. I don’t like novels about how misunderstood teaching assistants can’t get laid.

But then it can also be fun. The Stunt Man is a wonderful movie about making movies. My Favorite Year is a laff riot about writing television shows, and it’s one of my favorites. All That Jazz? It’s show time!

Thomases Art 130118-bAnd now, Craig Yoe has put together an anthology of comics about creating comics, Comics About Cartoonists. It collects sketches and finished stories, newspaper strips and comic book covers from some of the most celebrated creators of the last century.

The book has comedy, horror, and romance. It has work by Jack Kirby, Winsor McKay, Steve Ditko, Ernie Bushmiller, Jack Cole, Al Capp, Milton Caniff, Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Will Eisner, Harvey Kurtzman, Charles Schulz and lots, lots more. It has deep personal insight into the real lives of working stiffs, and also what happens to cartoonists when aliens attack.

To meet this deadline, I read the whole thing in one sitting, and that’s not something I would recommend to you, Constant Reader. There are only a few plots. Cartoonist has no idea, so he fells asleep and his characters have an adventure. Cartoonist isn’t appreciated by his editor. Cartoonist stumbles on plans for an alien invasion. Beautiful girl doesn’t realize that the dumpy guy who looks like the cartoonist is beautiful on the inside. I’m sure I would have enjoyed these stories more if I read them one at a time, instead of in a lump.

And then, it has Basil Wolverton, with a story that not only exhibits his energetic wit and exuberance, but dialogue that is so much fun it should be read out loud. I would pay for Childish Gambino to record it.

My favorite comic stories about comics were the ones Cary Bates and Elliott S. Maggin wrote themselves into with the Justice League. Yoe also doesn’t include Grant Morrison’s appearances in Animal Man. The rights were most likely not available, and all of these are too self-consciously meta for the book’s shaggy-dog aesthetic.

On the other hand, the book’s endpapers are old ads promising to teach you — yes, you! — how to make big money and attract beautiful women as a cartoonist. “Cartoon Your Way to Popularity and Profit” says one ad that goes on to promise you a “Laugh Finder.” That ad alone is darker and more meta than anything on the market today.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman


Steve Ditko – Creativity Just Beyond Reality

The Creativity of Steve Ditko  • Craig Yoe • With essays by Mykal Banta, Mike Gold, Jack C. Harris, Paul Levitz, and Amber Stanton • IDW/Yoe Books • $39.99 retail

It’s only fitting that I start a review of a book about Steve Ditko by raising an ethical question. Is it proper for a critic to review a book in which he has an essay, no matter how brilliant, poignant and vital that essay might be?

I don’t care. The latest tome from YoeBooks, The Creativity of Steve Ditko is so magnificent such petty concerns such as objectivity do not matter. Anything I can do to help direct the masses towards this effort is in service to a greater cause and, besides, I don’t get royalties.

There have been a number of books about Ditko, one of America’s most important comics creators who is as reclusive as he is gifted. In fact, this one is a sequel to Yoe’s The Art of Ditko, which I haven’t read – not because I’m not in it, but because I’m a cheap bastard. Creativity runs over 200 over-sized pages and weighs over three and one-half pounds, supporting my argument for electronic publishing as I suspect the majority of its audience consists of aging baby boomers who can only keep the book on our laps for a short period before reaching for Depends. I’m hard-pressed to suggest what Yoe could have cut.

There’s tons of artwork, including lots of large reprints of Ditko’s work including many full-length reprints of sundry horror and mystery stories. Steve always said he wants his work to speak for itself; here, it doesn’t speak – it screams. Loudly. The photographs are particularly interesting, as Steve hasn’t been seen in public since roughly the time we crawled out of the sea.

As one would expect from the man who ran one of America’s foremost design studios after his stint as creative director, vice president and general manager of Jim Henson’s Muppets with enough awards, honors, yadda yadda yadda, to sink the Titanic, The Creativity of Steve Ditko is as exquisitely designed as a fifth dimensional cathedral. I particularly admire Craig’s patience: it must have taken him forever to find so many top-shelf Ditko stories from Charlton that were actually printed on-register.

I don’t know if Steve would like this book. My feeling is, probably not. He simply doesn’t like the attention, although I’m unlikely to debate the right to privacy issue with him. But whether he likes it or not, Ditko deserves that attention – and he deserves all of the effort that Craig Yoe has lavished upon him.

And those essays are great.


Dennis O’Neil: Superman, Spider-Man, and the God Particle

First, the good news. Scientists are prepared to say that, definitely, god exists.

Now the bad. (He) (she) (it)…oh dang, there are really no appropriate pronouns for a concept that transcends the very idea of gender. Let’s settle for “they” and start again: They – the god thingies – are called “Higgs bosuns,” nicknamed “god particles,” and they permeate the universe. And without them, nothing could exist, could ever have existed. (Unless, that is, there’s a kind of reality we can’t comprehend, and we’re not exactly willing to rule that out, but we’ll never know and anyhow, who cares?) Although physicists have been seeking the Higgs for a half-century because the accepted model of the universe indicated that the things had to be there, it wasn’t until July 4 that they were prepared to say, yep found it. I understand that there was some celebrating in the Land of Labs.

Me, I got my science fix when I went to see The Amazing Spider-Man at the local monsterplex and, later, caught a few minutes of Superman on the tube: the first big-budget Superman, released in 1978 and hyped with the line, “You’ll believe a man can fly.” (For the record, I didn’t.) That flick has flaws, but it’s pretty good, especially for something made when Hollywood was just beginning to learn how to make these kinds of entertainments. The only part I really dislike is the ending: the graphics, though they tell the story, are pretty crude compared to what’s preceded them. And the science…oh woe – the science. (If you want to consider this a spoiler alert, suit yourself.) Lois Lane dies in an earthquake and Superman flies counterclockwise around the Earth and thus – ready for this? – reverses time and goes back to before Lois died and happy endings all around.

Reverses time, does he? By flying counterclockwise. Uh huh.

Nothing in the Spidey flick is quite so nettlesome, but in this reinvention, the film folk chose to explain Spidey’s ability to shoot webs huge distances and make them, apparently, as strong as the occasion warrants the same way Stan Lee and Steve Ditko explained it in the first Spider-Man comic book story, way back in 1962: A teenage Spidey, who gets really good grades in science class, having acquiring amazing powers after being bitten by a radioactive spider, goes home and, you know, tinkers around and comes up with a gadget that a) does the web shooting stuff and b) is compact enough to be worn like an oversize wrist watch.

So: if he commanded such technology, why didn’t he use it for much greater good than he could achieve as a costumed vigilante and, incidentally, plunk his saintly Aunt May down in some swell digs?

For the same reason that Superman didn’t use his godlike time reversal stunt to undo every single bad thing on the whole planet? (I mean saving Lois was nice and all, but…war! Famine! Disease!)

Of course, this kind of story is basically fantasy and, I guess, we all have a private setting for our willing suspension of disbelief. I complain about plot devices that violate the story’s own “reality” and haul us out of the fiction while we try figure out how we’re supposed to accept what we’ve just seen.

Since, in superhero writing, there is a long tradition of writers using whatever’s in the zeitgeist at the moment, I expect we’ll be seeing some costumed dogooder involved with Higgs bosuns pretty soon. I hope I don’t have to mangle my willing suspension of disbelief to enjoy the story, god particle or no god particle.

FRIDAY: Martha Thomases


Blame it on Stan Lee

The subject of Creators’ Rights in Comics has been catapulted into the limelight in recent years with the sudden surge of blockbuster, comic related films taking in billions of dollars for the corporations that own the copyrights and trademarks while the creators or the estates of creators that conceived and created these gold mines,  struggle to get screen credit, let alone, some type of monetary compensation.

The current success of Marvel’s characters in all popular media has made Jack Kirby the posthumous poster child for numerous creators who are now victims of the comic industry’s tradition of work-for-hire agreements.

Stan Lee, Marvel’s long-time, imperial ambassador and co-creator on many of these characters, stands accused of benefitting enormous financial gain while failing to defend the rights of his various creative partners, most notably, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko who many contend deserve more than just art credit for their contribution to the actual creation of the characters that they are associated with.

Stan has and always will be, first and foremost, a company man having been brought into the business as a gopher at the ripe old age of 17 by his cousin-in-law, Martin Goodman, the publisher and former owner of Timely Comics. Timely evolved into Marvel under the stewardship of Stan who took over as editor, replacing Joe Simon who left Timely with Jack Kirby  in 1941. Nepotism goes a long way in comics and Stan Lee, since, has always been “taken care of” for his role as a stalwart, corporate soldier.

To be fair Stan Lee is  much more than the average, Marvel Monkey Boy. He is, unequivocally the Voice of Marvel Comics. The head cheerleader. The band leader of the Mighty Marvel Marching Society. Stan Lee, in many ways, has made himself into a Marvel character as epochal as any Spider-man, Avenger or X-Men. He has done so with a silver tongue, a witty pen, relentless salesmanship, unbridled enthusiasm, and a revisionist memory that defies the continuity strangled editorial policy of Marvel itself.

Stan Lee and his relationship to Marvel is his own greatest creation and he gets paid handsomely for it. Stan’s net worth is reportedly $200 million! This staggering figure infuriates co-creators and their heirs as well as comic fans focused on creators’ rights who all argue the unfairness that Stan Lee continues to acquire great wealth while his former collaborators are rewarded zilch. Most of them can’t even get a free ticket to see a movie featuring the character they created.

Is there, however, any evidence that Stan Lee is gaining that wealth from any type of royalty paid to him for his act of co-creating those characters either? If Stan got even a fraction of a cut from all the Marvel films and associated merchandise featuring a character that he is credited as a co-creator of , that $200 million would be a drop in the bucket.

Stan gets paid for being Stan the Man. Stan gets paid for being Executive Producer. Stan gets paid for his gratuitous cameos. Stan Lee has made himself famous. He is the Kardashians of the comics world and he is making himself rich, still, at 89 years old with the same vigor he had in 1961 when the Fantastic Four first hit the stands.

So why does Stan Lee catch so much heat when the subject of creator’s rights comes up if he is probably a victim of the same corporate greed, himself?

Well, it’s his own damn fault.

While Stan was creating a marketing atmosphere that sold Marvel to it’s readers as one big happy, zany Bullpen, he took it upon himself to make stars out of his creators by giving them credits with merry monikers that were intended to stick in the minds of the legion of fans that was growing faster than even he could have imagined.

As Marvel Mania grew, Stan boasted and told all. He was very open about who he collaborated with and happily shared the details of the now famous Marvel Method of creating comics. Not only did he talk; he wrote it down in his own words so that even if his memory would one day be awry, there would be a very clear paper trail.

In 1974 Stan Lee authored Origins of Marvel Comics followed the next year by Son of Origins of Marvel Comics. The success of these two books led to The Superhero Women and Bring on the Bad Guys. These books all detailed his perspective of his creative relationships with the artists in the Bullpen especially his dependancy on his numero uno illustrator, “Jolly” Jack Kirby.

Stan seemed to do all this with an intention of elevating the appreciation of comic creators with both the public and the industry. He assesses that the writing in comics prior to the inception of the Marvel style “…left just a little bit to be desired.”

To make his point he writes:

“Who were these people who actually created and produced America’s comic books? To answer that burning question we must be aware that comics have always been a high-volume low-profit-per-unit business. Which is a polite way of saying that they never paid very much to the writers or artists. If memory serves me (and why shouldn’t it?), I think I received about fifty cents per page for the first script I wrote in those early days. Comics have always been primarily a piecework business. You got paid by the page for what you wrote. the more pages you could grind out, the more money you made. The comic book writer had to be a comic-book freak, he had to be dedicated to comics; he certainly couldn’t be in it for the money. And unlike most other forms of writing, there were no royalty payments at the end of the road… no residuals…no copyright ownership. You wrote your pages, got your check, and that was that.”

We all know that Stan Lee values credits highly and was sure to plaster his own name on every Marvel comic. Stan Lee Presents and Stan’s Soap Box were as much of the part of the Marvel experience as anything else. His famed sign-off,“Excelsior!”, still brings a giddy rush to a generation of comic book fans. In an effort to instill some added pride to the work of the comic creators in the Bullpen, Stan began putting credits of all the creators in the comics Marvel produced.

“…I’ve frequently mentioned Jolly Jack Kirby as our most ubiquitous artist-in-residence. He wasn’t christened Jolly Jack –– sometimes he wasn’t even that jolly –– but I got a kick out of giving alternative nicknames to our genial little galaxy of superstars, mostly for the purpose of enabling our readers to remember who they were. You see, prior to the emergence of Marvel Comics, the artist and writers who produced the strips, as well as the editors, art directors, and letterers, were mostly unknown to the reader, who rarely if ever saw their names in print. In order to change that image and attempt to give a bit more glamour to our hitherto unpublicized creative caliphs, I resorted to every deviceI could think of –– and the nutty nicknames seemed to work.”

Joe Rosen

And it did work! Joe Rosen, a letterer in those days said in COMICS INTERVIEW #7, “That’s why I admire Marvel. By instituting credits, they made you feel prouder of your work. And by being so successful they revamped the industry and launched so many titles that they made it possible to have a professional career.”

Stan knew that to be successful you have to make those around you successful. He did this by giving credit and creating work. Most of which went to Jack Kirby.

Throughout the Origins series and, actually, most of his career, Stan always spoke very highly of Jack Kirby and his creative contributions. Some of those very telling remarks have been posted on the Kirby Museum website in Robert Steibel’s Kirby Dynamics but I have to refer to a quote in Son of Origins where Stan Lee completely asserts Jack Kirby’s role:

“Jack was (and still is)* to superheroes what Kellog’s is to corn flakes. When such fabulous features as The Fantastic four, the Mighty Thor, and The Incredible Hulk were just a-borning, it was good ol’ Jackson with whom I huddled, harangued, and hassled until the characters were designed, the plots were delineated, and the layouts were delivered so that I could add the little dialogue balloons and captions with which I’ve spent a lifetime cluttering up the illustrations of countless long-suffering artists.”

(*This was written during a period when Jack Kirby had left Marvel and gone to DC, unhappy because he was not being paid for what he considered “writing” at Marvel according to Carmine Infantino in his autobiography The Amazing World of Carmine Infantino. Kirby no longer wanted to be “second fiddle” and even declined an opportunity to collaborate with Joe Simon for the same reason though the pair did do a single issue of Sandman together.)

Stan recognized that his greatest resource was his talent pool and, short of finding ways to give them ownership in their creations, he looked for other ways to keep them happy. Stan was even the first president of The Academy of Comic Book Arts that he started with Neal Adams. The ACBA was to be the start of a comic creator’s union of sorts but did not last long.

Stan Lee has been in the comic book business for seventy-three years, probably longer than anyone else alive. He has done more for crediting comic creators than any editor who had gone before him, revealing his greatest sin. With his eye focused on glamour and recognition he failed to affect righteous residual compensation for the efforts of Marvel’s comic creators. His compliance with the business tradition that he himself recognized as insufficient destined generations of creators to teeter on poverty while their creations reaped gold for Marvel.

The victims of this industry-wide practice blanket the entire comics landscape, some tragically. Most recently Robert L. Washington III co-author of Static which is currently owned by DC Comics died of a heart attack in abject poverty at the age of 47. His contribution to the Heroes Initiative is a heart wrenching window into the reality of too many comic creators.

Stan, we love you man, but we need you now, more than ever, to stand up for comic creators or you will be always be cursed with the blame for Marvel cheating the same creators that you personally paraded as stars. You can still make a difference. It’s time to put an end to an archaic, unjust work-for-hire practice that keeps talented people impoverished while a soulless corporation bloats over the spoils of their creative efforts.

You have stood at the helm of a company that has created heroes your entire life. Be a hero to those that depended on you the most, the ones that helped you build that fabled “House of Ideas.”

Celebrating Thirty Years of Comics History!

Gerry Giovinco

As an added Bonus here’s a link to Neal Kirby’s FATHER’S DAY tribute to his dad that ran on this site last year.