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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 5,073
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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Subj: Re: Lee-Kirby and 1986
Posted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 at 02:40:18 pm EDT (Viewed 443 times)
Reply Subj: Re: Lee-Kirby and 1986
Posted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 at 01:00:14 pm EDT (Viewed 395 times)


      I have to say that where the X-Men are concerned, Chris Claremont & John Byrne have at least the same stature as Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Higher stature, actually, I think. It was the 1975 version that conquered comicdom. The 1963 version had struggled to stay in the spinner racks.

    Financial success shouldn't be equated with aesthetic success. While I agree that the Claremont-Byrne run was the artistic peak of all X-books, you should re-read the 1963-1964 X-Men #1-8. I'd argue those are Stan Lee's best written opening stories of any of Lee's creations, better than the first eight issues of Fantastic Four, Avengers, Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, even Spider-Man.

Financial success should not be equated with aesthetic success, but it is less subjective than the latter. Personally, I think that while the Claremont/Byrne tends to be overrated by many fans, the Claremont/Cockrum runs that preceded and followed it tend to be underrated in comparison. Speaking for myself, I consider the Claremont/Paul Smith X-Men and the Claremont/Sienkiewicz New Mutants the artistic peak of all X-books, but I have to resign myself that not everyone shares my tastes (both outsold the Claremont/Byrne X-Men, BTW).

This may be the first time I've seen anyone holding up X-Men #1-8 as a pinnacle of Stan Lee's artistic achievements. To me the title seemed to be a stepchild in Marvel's Silver Age stable and that Stan Lee wasn't making as much of an effort there. In the dynamics of the team he was already beginning to repeat himself, with Professor X and Cyclops sharing Mr. Fantastic's part, Jean as an even more docile ersatz Sue, Bobby as a stand-in for Johnny with inverted powers, and the Beast starting out as a poor man's Ben Grimm (after that start his characterization for a time went all over the place). And as a rule the Fantastic Four had the more fiery personalities - by FF #8 we had already seen Ben and Johnny challenging Reed's authority on more than one occasion, while by X-Men #8 the O5 had established themselves as the most un-rebellious teens of the Marvel Universe. Xavier's nemesis Magneto had cool powers and a great costume, but paled in comparison to Dr. Doom (who also wore a cape and a helmet that hid his face) when it came to personality etc. - Doom also already had an intriguing origin that explained his rivalry to Mr. Fantastic, Magneto at that time had a flat, generic supervillain personality. And then there was the stuff that Stan Lee soon wanted to forget, such as Magneto's apparent telepathic powers (#4), the Beast's loutish behaviour in #1 (forcing himself on Jean) or Professor X's secret infatuation with Jean (eventually revived for Onslaught, but until then totally forgotten). In contrast, there really wasn't anything much in the first eight issues of the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, the Avengers etc. that Stan Lee had to take back or ignore later.

Oh, and Stan Lee never claimed to have created Captain America.

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