Posts Tagged ‘comic books’

Stan LeeBy the time I started reading comic books in the early 1970s, Stan Lee had just recently stopped scripting the bulk of the Marvel titles. He had ceded the title of editor-in-chief in 1972 to Roy Thomas, and other writers were joining the fold.

But Lee, born Stanley Martin Lieber, was listed as publisher and his name was still prominent in every issue: “Stan Lee Presents” and his chatty Stan’s Soapbox. Then I started reading the back issues of the Amazing Spider-Man, via the reprint title Marvel Tales, drawn by Steve Ditko. This inevitably brought me to reading other 1960s works, mostly Lee/Jack Kirby material.

The Hollywood Reporter noted: “Beginning in the 1960s, the irrepressible and feisty Lee punched up his Marvel superheroes with personality, not just power. Until then, comic book headliners like those of DC Comics were square and well-adjusted, but his heroes had human foibles and hang-ups… The evildoers were a mess of psychological complexity.”

As I was learning about the Marvel Universe, I picked up The Origins of Marvel Comics, a book by Stan Lee which Alan David Doane lovingly wrote about. And I got Son of Origins and several other books.

Larry Wilson, who owned a comic book store rival of FantaCo in Albany, noted that “he taught me history, irony, bravery, how to be heroic, fairness, and humility. He gave hope to the downtrodden and told us that good defeats evil, racism is vile, and we all have a role to play in the cause of justice.”

Christopher Allen wrote: “I can’t begin to calculate his impact on me as not just a lover of comics but of reading, of words, and how he affected how I saw the world and the people in it, how even heroes have problems, how everyone deserves respect, and how we are responsible for using our abilities to try to make the world a little better for others.”

Chuck Rozanski, President of Mile High Comics wrote about being “a scared 10 year-old kid hiding in his room from an abusive father in 1965 who found hope and strength through Stan’s awesome early Spider-Man stories…. I took great solace from [Peter Parker’s] struggles to find his place in a hostile world, while still maintaining his decency and never losing his moral compass.

“In many regards, Stan Lee became my surrogate father through the power of his remarkable prose, which still resonates with children (and adults) today. He instilled positive values in me that continue to guide my life, and for that I will be eternally grateful to him.”

Back when my friend Fred Hembeck used to have a daily blog, he always wrote about Stan on December 28, Lee’s birthday. In 2009, wrote: “The man is Fantastic, Amazing, and Incredible, with the Uncanny ability to keep us in Suspense, all the while Astonishing us–even if he is a bit Strange at times!” For an earlier birthday note, see HERE.

John Trumbull collated recollections by people Lee worked with, including Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway and many others. Even in his nineties, Stan was the face of Marvel, as his IMDB page makes clear, with dozens of movie appearances, game voiceovers and the like.

Comic book writer Mark Evanier has an interesting perspective. “The trouble with having mixed feelings about someone is that there are those who just want to dwell on the negative ones.”

Also: “Those of you who feel like I do that our friend Jack Kirby was wronged by credits in the past, please remember that Marvel now credits Jack where for decades they did not.” Stan, for his part, was almost always generous in describing Kirby and Ditko’s role in the Marvel method.

I was sadly aware that his last year or so was difficult. “Lee’s wife and partner in nearly everything, Joan Lee, died on July 6, 2017, leaving a void that made her husband… vulnerable to hangers-on who began to surround him.”

The Vanity Fair article, and title, are correct: Stan Lee’s True Legacy Is a Complicated Cosmic Mystery. Ditto the subtitle: “Marvel’s greatest showman was always misunderstood—by those who inflated his importance, and those who dismissed him as a boastful egomaniac.”

Finally, this public service message from Stan. RIP, true believer.
***
Now I Know: When a Court Ruled Whether the X-Men Are Human

Marie-SeverinNeil Simon was a writer whose work I appreciated in several media: He penned the screenplays of movies such as The Sunshine Boys, The Goodbye Girl, and California Suite I saw in the 1970s. His plays such as Brighton Beach Memoirs and Biloxi Blues in the 1980s I watched on local stages.

But it was the TV adaptation of the play Odd Couple (1970-1975), starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman, that was my introduction to Simon. I only caught the 1968 movie considerably later. I even watched the short-lived 1982 TV remake with Ron Glass as Felix Unger and Demond Wilson as Oscar Madison.

Of course, the career of Neil Simon goes back to the early days of television. Simon’s hits on stage and screen made him the most commercially successfully playwright of the 20th century — and perhaps of all time.
***
Marie Severin was a name I first knew as the main colorist at Marvel Comics in the 1960s while also doing the occasional penciling job. But she started as a colorist back in the late 1940s “when her older brother, comic book artist John Severin (1922-2012), asked her to color one of his stories for EC Comics.”

As a penciler, she also worked on Marvel’s parody comic book series, Not Brand Echh. And she co-created Spider-Woman in 1976, designing her iconic costume. Plus, everyone agreed that Marie Severin was one of the most delightful, funny and talented people who ever worked in comics.
***
Russ Heath was one of the great comic book illustrators of the field. “Because he veered away from super-heroes and more ‘commercial’ genres, he often did not get the respect he deserved.”

Most people – my wife, for instance – know who Roy Lichtenstein was. Most folks who aren’t comic book fans don’t know Russ Heath. This This piece explains part of my loathing for Lichtenstein:

“One day in 1962, Lichtenstein walked down to the corner newsstand near his studio and bought a copy of DC Comics’ All-American Men at War #89, took it back to the studio, threw it on the overhead projector, and cranked out about a half-dozen paintings based on (swiped from) panels in that comic book, which he then sold for millions of dollars each.” Heath got nada.
***
Gary Friedrich, best known as the co-creator of the motorcycle-riding Ghost Rider character for Marvel, died at the age of 75. He had been suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. He had a legal tussle with Marvel that was only partially satisfactory.
***
Kofi Annan is dead at 80. He came to embody the United Nations’ deepest aspirations and most ingrained flaws.

For some reason, keeping track of UN Secretaries-General – there aren’t that many – has long fascinated me. And I wanted the first one from sub-Saharan Africa (Ghana) to do well, a subject of much debate, despite his Nobel Peace Prize.
***
Every time I see that an older person of note dies, I read comments such as “Was he still alive?” They always seem astonished. For me, it’s totally the opposite. If I discover that a noteworthy person, in the realm of my interests, passed away in 2010, and I somehow missed it, THAT would surprise me.

My old friend Catbird asked:

Hi Roger—

When I heard rump’s “maybe they shouldn’t be in this country” comment about football players staying in locker rooms the other day, I wondered if they’d “pass” the Comic Book Code of America. I remember you explaining this to me decades ago. I suppose it depends on whether anybody acts on it.

What do you think?

Might it be worth a blog item?

I hope all is well with you and your “bearers of two X chromosomes.”

It had not occurred to me, but I suppose both the Comic Code Authority (1954-2011) and the NFL owners’ new policy requiring on-field player and personnel to stand for the national anthem were both self-regulating actions designed to make the federal government leave them alone.

In the case of comic books, the industry was worrying, rightly, that the government might want to regulate it, to “protect the children.”It agreed submit the comics to a board for a stamp of approval. No excessive violence, no drug use shown, et al.

The owners of the NFL just wanted the bad press to go away – n.b., didn’t happen. They are worried about the bottom line, with ratings down substantially, although that may not be just a function of the anthem imbroglio.

There’s a more significant question you ask here: when DO we say in America, “My way or the highway?” Certainly, I’ve heard, “America, love it or leave it” a few times, usually when I was protesting some war, mostly Vietnam, but also Iraq. Yet, as I was wont to say, “I stay, and protest, BECAUSE I love America.”

When HAS the United States actually thrown people out of the country? In the past, not very often, in the vast scheme. It wasn’t until 2002 when the United States actually had an agency whose primary function appears to do just that.

As Full Frontal with Samantha Bee put it on May 23: “For Republicans looking to cut government fat, we found one bloated, cruel, and useless agency that is begging to be abolished. And no, ‘President’ is not considered an agency.”

It is, of course, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. I appreciate it when the ICE agents remove some MS-13 gang member. But, much more often, they are seen as a source of terror in the immigrant community, even for those who are here legally.

As someone approaching Social Security, I find this problematic, not just from a moral and ethical position, but from an economic one. Driving out productive young people from the country is a recipe for federal fiscal disaster.

So, there’s a lot of bluster about people needing to leave the country. But it won’t be football players going. Unless they were born elsewhere.

It occurred to me that I haven’t seen The Last Jedi, the 8th (VIIIth?) Star Wars film or Rogue One, which, I gather, fits between III and IV? But it wasn’t a specific disdain for VII, The Force Awakens, but rather a meh attitude.

Whereas I pretty much hated the first prequel, The Phantom Menace, for reasons besides Jar Jar. So I never saw II or III, possibly to my eternal detriment, I am told. Whatever.

As someone who used to collect comic books for about a quarter of a century, I know a little about the completist mentality. When I bought Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1 (1972) and forward, I had to pick up the Amazing Spider-Man #123, which featured the character.

The I discovered AS-M #122 was still on the newsstand – the death of Gwen Stacy! – and I eventually started getting all the Spider-Man books: Spectacular Spider-Man, Marvel Team-Up, even Marvel Tales, which reprinted early AS-M issues.

Then Todd McFarlane started doing Spider-Man (1990), a comic fanboy’s dream. I hated it. I bought three or four issues, decided that whoever was under the mask was NOT the Peter Parker I cared about, and dropped it.

When I picked up Sub-Mariner #50 (also 1972), not only did I get the new issues, including The Defenders, I got all the back issues, including, as it turns out Tales to Astonish #70-101, and Iron Man and Sun-Mariner #1, and only.

(Hey, it’s Free Comic Book Day tomorrow! Yes, I’ll go.)

I tend to be lyal that way about TV shows. I watched a show called The Closer (2005-2012), and when it evolved into Major Crimes (2012-2018), I stayed with until the end.

Grey’s Anatomy is now the darling of the binge-watchers. I’ve just viewed it every week since 2005. It has jumped the shark twice (thrice?) but has managed to right the ship, with recent interesting story lines involving immigration and #MeToo without being (too) preachy.

But it’s difficult for me to start watching a new series. There’s a LOT of TV out there, and, I am told, a great deal of it is excellent. I’m like Ado Annie from the musical Oklahoma; it’s All Er Nuthin’.

As I get older, recognizing a finite amount of time, nuthin’ seems to be winning.

Seven Deadly Sins Gone Tech

Black mothers and babies die at more than double the rate of white mothers and babies

Journal of Social and Personal Relationships: How many hours does it take to make a friend?

The amount of control that Facebook, and other social platforms, have over us, has been at crisis levels for some time

Two Trade Wars: 1807 and 2018

“Make a Deal”: My Contribution to the Trump/Mueller Musical

Already Acting Like Nixon in His Last Days

His Racism: The Definitive List

Comey’s Book

John Oliver Bought An Ad On ‘Hannity’ To Teach Him Basic Math

Can I Stop Writing About Paul Ryan Now?

Arthur wrote About Barbara Bush, so I don’t have to

Nicolas Notovitch published La vie inconnue de Jésus Christ which purported to reveal that Jesus has spent many years as both teacher and scholar at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery.

How Muslims, Often Misunderstood, Are Thriving in America

100 Ways White People Can Make Life Less Frustrating For People of Color

The first (and only) Jewish Miss America’s victory tour was cut short

Fifty Years an African-American: Is It Time for a Change?

The Pulitzer-laden researcher embedded in the Post newsroom

Infinitesimal Odds: A Scientist Finds Her Child’s Rare Illness Stems From the Gene She Studies

A suspicious fire at Cornell in 1967 killed 9 people; the case was never solved

Marriage diversity in the USA

This Video is About Marijuana

Daniel Nester: How Watching ‘Caddyshack’ Helps Me Stave Off Depression

Baby Boomers Reach the End of Their To-Do List

The 100 Pages That Shaped Comic Books

Icelandic boy’s Titanic Lego replica makes it safely across to US museum

You Probably Didn’t Watch SCTV, But It Shaped the Comedy You Love Today

How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You)

Harry Anderson, RIP from Ken Levine, Dustbury, the NY Times, and USA Today

NPR Newscaster Carl Kasell Dies At 84, After A Lifelong Career On-Air

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Wedding Cost

How to Get the Best Sleep Every Night!

Online Safety for Seniors: How to Spot Fake News, Medicare Fraud, and Phishing Scams

How cruise ships work

Bats actually don’t fly like birds

The 15 most dangerous human foods for dogs

20 Quirks & Strange Habits. The Weird Side of Famous Writers

Satire: Sinclair TV Anchor Suddenly Begins Reading News in Russian

Reality: Court Refuses to Toss Lawsuit Between Monkey and Photographer

Now I Know: Why You Should Whistle While You Work and The Gross, Metallic Secret Behind America’s Westward Expansion and The Man of Many Thank Yous and The Fort That Would Have Never Worked

Sliced Ketchup Is Coming Whether We Like It or Not and How to make ketchup (but WHY?)

MUSIC

Nothing Compares 2 U Prince (1984 rehearsal tape)

Sweet Thames, Flow Softly – Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger

From the Middle Ages -Alexander Glazunov

Coverville 1213: Springtime in Coverville

Mozart Symphony No. 41- Jupiter

Barbershop bologna

Lift Every Voice And Sing – Beyoncé, and story

Contact me
  • E-mail Contact E-mail; Blog content c 2005-2018, Roger Green, unless otherwise stated. Quotes used per fair use. Some content, including many graphics, in the public domain.
  • Privacy policy Privacy policy of this blog
I Actually Know These Folks
I contribute to these blogs
Other people's blogs
Politics
Popular culture
Useful stuff
January 2019
S M T W T F S
« Dec    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  
Archives
Counter
wordpress analytics
Please follow & like us :)
Facebook
Google+
https://www.rogerogreen.com/tag/comic-books
Twitter
^
Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial