Fantastic Four: TWGCM >> View Post
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Ancient One
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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
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In Reply To
Ancient One
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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 5,700
Subj: Part 2.
Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 at 07:16:10 pm EST (Viewed 157 times)
Reply Subj: Re: 200 page analysis of Fantastic Four issue 1
Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 at 07:06:09 am EST (Viewed 192 times)

Previous Post

Wow. I hardly know where to begin with this.

Let me start by congratulating you on such an incredibly detailed analysis. Truly worthy of praise.

Also, worthy of criticism, and far more detailed criticism than I'll go into here. But I feel some of the issues have to be addressed. So here goes:

1) "In June 1957 the American News Company ceased trading, leaving Goodman with no way to get his 85 comics per month into 15 the shops".

Where did you come up with that number? Marvel/Atlas never put out more than around 40 titles per month at any time during the 40's and 50's. A trivial point, perhaps, but such a glaring error right off the bat did give me pause, and wonder if it was worth continuing reading.

2) Your point about the Invisible Girl's cover dialogue being misleading is another triviality. The copy indicates she's in danger, and that's a great 'hook', just what you need for the cover of a first issue. And in terms of the narrative, what difference if she can become invisible instantly, or if it takes her a week? Invisibility isn't going to solve the problem that she's in the grip of a giant monster. And a cave-dweller to boot, whose eyesight probably isn't that great.

3) Attacking Marvel comics for the quality of their adverts is a nonsense, and a red herring. If you were talking about comics in general, fair enough. But you use it in a piece attacking Stan Lee personally, the implication being that Lee was responsible, or at least complicit in deception. Also implied is that only Marvel would consider running such ads, but nothing could be further from the truth. Superman #148, published the same month as FF #1 carries a bodybuilding ad making similar claims, and EXACTLY THE SAME ad from the 'Wallace Brown Company' claiming large cash incomes.

4) "Whether or not Lee was doing this in 1961, he certainly did it in later years. When Lee finally left comics in 1972, “Stan Lee presents” was written at the top of thousands of comics that Lee never even read, let alone created. Today Lee’s name is on movies that he almost
certainly had no hand in creating".

Lee didn't leave comics in 1972. He stopped writing them that year when he was promoted to publisher. Between 1972 and 1979 Lee was indeed 'presenting' the stories in Marvel Comics. But no claim of authorship was ever made. Indeed, the writers' names were clearly given in the credit boxes.

As to the movies, Lee is credited as executive producer. This is a catch-all title given to many people with many different interests in the film. By the same token, Michael Uslan's name appears on every Batman film by virtue of a technicality, even though he has absolutely nothing to do with the creative process of any of them.

5) "Perhaps we could argue that “all comics had bad dialog back then.” But that isn’t true. Look at the comics where Kirby wrote the dialog, like Sky masters for example. Here’s a Kirby villain with Kirby dialogue".

Kirby didn't dialogue that Sky Masters strip. It was written by Dave Wood. Nor did he write the story from Young Romance you cite. The author is unknown, but it's clearly not Kirby.

6) Did Lee, or someone working for him, white out artists credits prior to publication? I can't say for certain that it NEVER happened, but it definitely didn't happen in the case you present, the splash page of 'A Martian Walks Among Us', from Strange Tales #78. Attached is the finished splash as published and as you can see, the credits are intact. Whoever whited out the credits on the original art did so AFTER publication.

There's a lot more I want to get to, but I don't have time right now.

I'll continue my critique later this evening when I get home from work.

1) "But the “equitorial” typo is not like that. A letterer just copies, he does not check grammar or spelling".

Seriously? Part of your case is that letterers are illiterate?

In an incident like the 'Bob Banner' one, yes, I'd be 90% certain that it was down to the writer. Letterers go from book to book and my not know what all the characters' names are. But in the case of simple mis-spellings (And in the Super-Man case), it could have been anyone. Writer, artist/plotter or letter. Definitively pinning the blame on Lee for typos comes across as a rather cynical attempt to apportion every single piece of blame for every single thing that can possibly go wrong in the production process on one man.

Page 15 is printed upside down? It's Lee's fault. If he'd only put arrows on the page!!! Staples off center? If only Lee had hired a better printer... and so on.

2) "The final two panels break a principle of good design (known as the “180 degree rule” in cinematography): a character who is on the left in one shot should not be on the right in the next shot as if the camera has flipped over".

Even if Lee HAD edited the scene that way, it doesn't make any difference to the narrative. And again, pinning the blame definitively on Lee is impossible. You even unwittingly provide an example of Kirby himself committing the same 'error' later in your paper (See attachment 2). And you can't blame Lee at all for that one. He had nothing to do with Captain Victory.

3)"Iron Man is clearly based on an earlier Kirby character, Metallo, in Action Comics 252".

Kirby didn't create Metallo. That was Robert Bernstein and Al Plastino. And they created him in 1959, a time when Kirby couldn't and wouldn't work for DC due to the Sky Masters conflict.

4) The creation of the X-Men.

Going by your assessments of the creation of Fantastic Four and Hulk, you seem to be seeing the creative process between Lee and Kirby as: Lee would say 'Give me a new book'. Kirby would then go off and create the story and pencils singlehanded, and Lee would merely dialogue and edit. And you seem to imply strongly they used the same method on X-Men. If so then your whole piece comes across as self contradictory, and nothing more than another hatchet job on Lee.

You claim Kirby had no need to swipe ideas from competitors, and I'd fully agree with that. You make the claim that Kirby took his ideas for a team of mutants from earlier stories he'd done. Okay, all well and good. But then you also claim that Lee probably swiped the ideas for X-Men from DC's Doom Patrol and fed those ideas to Kirby. Which makes no sense. How could Lee possibly do that if Kirby was presenting him with practically finished books?

So EITHER Lee created X-Men and Kirby worked out the details, OR Kirby created X-Men based on his own ideas, and Lee is not guilty of plagiarism. It has to be either one or the other but Again, you seem hell bent on attributing everything good to Kirby and everything bad to Lee, no matter how implausible or impossible the scenario. And as there's not one scrap of solid evidence for anything you assert in this chapter, the whole exercise appears to be nothing more than character assassination.

5) "When working for Lee, Kirby and Ayers (his frequent inker) tried to put their names very discretely on the cover and the splash page, but as noted before, Lee had their names painted over. Lee occasionally let a cover signature pass, until the month before Fantastic Four was released (covers dated October 1961). From that point Lee never allowed cover signatures again. Probably the last example of a cover signature before the ban is from Rawhide Kid 122".

This simply isn't true. Attached is the cover to Two-Gun Kid #67, from 1964, with Kirby and Ayers' signatures clearly in evidence. Artists like Al Hartley and Stan Goldberg signed practically every cover they did - or a good many of them at any rate. Don Heck's signature is on Tales to Astonish #49, and Ditko's is on Amazing Spider-Man #9, amongst others. We seem to be getting deeper into the realms of conspiracy theory as we go along.


Okay, so it's late, and I need to get some sleep.

More tomorrow.


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