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Has anyone read these? Some interesting points:
edited 11th Aug '12 8:16:23 PM by Distortion00
I read them. They were good stories.
One thing I've heard about some Lee/Ditko (and Lee/Kirby) collaborations, though I'm not sure Spider-Man was one of them, is that Lee sketched out the plot (sometimes only around a page) to give to Ditko, who drew the issue's artwork to fit Lee's plot, and then Lee filled in the dialogue to fit Ditko's art. People sometimes use this information to argue that Ditko should essentially be "billed above" Lee when it comes to assigning credit for their creations.
edited 11th Aug '12 9:31:04 PM by HamburgerTime
They definitely seem like collaborations. You can see a bunch of Ditko's concepts working their way in that just wouldn't be there in Lee/Kirby works. JJ being a "socialist"(scare quotes) and Spider-man thinking super-heroes should be payed wages. I think even the anti-hero-ness of Spidey owes a lot to Ditko. There's a major difference between the ways in which Hulk is an anti-hero and Spidey is an anti-hero.
That said, Lee's dialog is very good. I do think it adds a lot to the story.
edited 11th Aug '12 9:51:00 PM by Distortion00
It was called "the Marvel Method." The story goes that the plot Lee gave Kirby for FF #48 was, "The FF fight God."
The main reason is that Stan was the writer on basically all the titles Marvel had at that time. He simply didn't have time to write out full scripts to give to the artists, so he basically had the writers come up with the plots, while he provided dialogue.
And, frankly, Stan made the right call in doing the dialogue himself. I've been reading Kirby's work from when he returned to Marvel - Captain America, Black Panther, and Eternals - and he was awful. I hate his art, and his writing was just atrocious.
I like all the boxes and zigzaggy lines and things Kirby puts on armor and things, as well as his signature design for energy attacks, but... I don't like his mouths. I don't know why, but they just look like... monkeys' mouths to me.
Oh, so that was the reason; that makes sense. The way you hear some people tell it, you'd think the reason was "Stan was really lazy."
edited 11th Aug '12 10:08:50 PM by HamburgerTime
Kirby sure did put a lot of detail into his panels. Sometimes, I found it got to be too much. And the more sci-fi the setting got, the less I liked it.
Also, eyes. Holy shit, Kirby drew some awful eyes. And he liked to do close-ups on them, which only made them look worse.
While it's comic book heresy to bad-mouth Kirby, the guy was done by the '70s. His work in the '40s and '50s was top-notch for the time. When other great artists started appearing in the '60s, Kirby started to look dated - Ditko, for example, was way better than Kirby. And when the '70s rolled around, Kirby actually seemed to get worse. Marvel gave him three titles, and every one of them was awful. There was not a single enjoyable issue of any of them. Especially since he didn't seem to care that much about characterization. Everyone always talked in the same, stilted, overly-formal fashion, that made Stan Lee's dialogue look natural. A-And they had a-a tendency t-to s-stutter c-constantly.
I hate Kirby's '70s work. They're among the worst comics I've ever read, and I've read a whole lot. I've been going through pretty much all of Marvel's superhero comics starting with Fantastic Four #1. So I've read some awful comics. And Kirby's '70s work is worse than any of them.
The main thing I look for in an artist is the ability to draw weird things. Kirby does that really well. Most of the monsters he designed in FF were really odd looking. Even skrulls back then weren't rubber forehead aliens, not really. It's hard to compare Kirby action scenes to other artists, because no one else is drawing a man made of living rubber fighting mole men creatures.
There's a cover of Amazing Fantasy 15 done by Ditko and then the released one done by Kirby. I think it's really good comparison of their styles.
Re: Doc Ock — most of Spidey's classic villains echo him in this way, the "all the power, none of the responsibility" bit. Also, you get a LOT of them ranting about how their power, whatever their power is, makes them unstoppable. My favorite is the Vulture's "No one can stop a man who can fly!" (ever heard of a sniper rifle? Or anti-aircraft weaponry? Or a lucky hit with a sling-shot?)
Re: J. Jonah Jameson: There was a line in a recent Superman comic that I loved. Superman was helping to repair an apartment building that got trashed during one of his fights. One of the construction workers, settling into a corner, says "Look at him! How can I compete with that?" To which another construction worker, pushing a wheelbarrow, answers "It's not a competition. Get off your ass." Puts Jonah's assholery in perspective...
Morrison seems to have a love for Golden Age Supes, which is really cool. Although, his recent "Superman quits being Clark Kent" storyline is a bit dark-agey.
I'm of the group that believes that Lee and Ditko's Spidey is one of the greatest comics of all-time.
edited 13th Aug '12 9:37:31 PM by DrFurball
Yeah, a lot of those early Spidey stories have the ol' Ditko High Anxiety going on. Poor Pete's just always being misunderstood, usually because he has a lot of problems and is so wrapped up in himself that the kids around him think he's a snob, a flake, or a weasel. I always liked how they fleshed out Pete's "circle", Harry, Flash, Gwen, etc. Anywhere else, people giving the hero a had time would generally just be bullies, but in Spidey's case, they were basically good folks who were just ignorant of what was going on with him.
I love these stories. They make Peter feel like a real person, with flaws and issues like the rest of us, but they don't go over the top with making his life suck like some of the recent comics have. Peter's life in these stories is crappy for the same reasons a normal person's life can be crappy: not because the entire universe has it out for him, but because he's a human being and he has to deal with people like we all do.
I totally agree about Spider-Man being more of an anti-hero in these storeis. There's this one story (Issue 8: The Tribute to Teenagers), where Spider-Man decides to pick on the Human Torch for pretty much no reason at all (other than the fact that Johnny was throwing a cooler house party than he could). I mean, completely unprovoked. At first, it felt so random, and somewhat out of character, and I was thinking "Wow, what a jerk", but after thinking about it, that's kind of the point. He's just being a showoff like anyone his age who had amazing powers would (he gets his comeuppance, though) because he's immature like any teenager. That issue also had the one where he defeats the Sand Man by sucking him up into a vacuum cleaner (gotta love that Silver Age). It really is one of the best runs in comics.
edited 14th Aug '12 4:57:26 PM by cfive
The various portrayals of Spider-Man actually does interest me. Usually, we think of Spider-Man as the noble loser who everyone gives a hard time. His Anti-Hero tendencies are usually thought of as simple doubtfulness. However, it seems like newer portrayals are showing that he can be a bit of a jerk(or at least, quite thoughtless at times).
Which kind of origin story do you think is better? It seems that the most recent 2012 Spider-Man movie, Peter himself essentially causes Uncle Ben's death. I know that in the comics, he's also very arrogant as a tv star, and lets mugger go. Yet other portrayals (Spec Spidey, Sam Raimi's) show Pete as having at least a partly legitimate gripe for letting the mugger go(getting ripped off).
I think even with a legitimate gripe, the lesson is supposed to be that selfishness can really screw you over.
I've read them, I have many of them, and Doc Oc wasn't necessarily going to take over the world. He was going to set off an nuclear explosion that would "destroy this part of the planet" so people would know not to mess with him...that was actually kind of terrifying.
The thing about the power going to their heads was kind of Silver age silliness though. The Lizard is the example I usually point to. "I'm the most dangerous being on the planet!" he loudly declares to no one but himself. But then, Captain Marvel was not a cosmic force, the Thing and Doctor Doom were weaker than Spider-man, Sue Storm didn't make force fields, there was no Phoenix Force, Magneto cold only control metal and Johnny Storm could not set the atmosphere on fire, so guys like Vulture bragging about how powerful they were wouldn't have been quite so laughable at the time.
Hulk, Namor and Doctor Strange were around so it was still laughable, just not quite as much.
How well known was Dr. Strange by the Marvel populace at that time?
Not at all. He kept his existence a secret for a long time.
Even so, Vulture's boasting about how no one could stop him was always stupid. Hey, you know what can stop a guy who can fly? A decent duck hunter.
Also, when Vulture debuted, the Fantastic Four and Avengers both existed. Does he really think that Thor couldn't stop him? The only thing protecting him from Thor was the fact that Thor wouldn't give enough of a shit to go after him.
Regardless, flight makes for a lame power when it's all you can do. Angel proved that for years.
Well, at least the case with the FF was sort of justified. The Four weren't actual crime hunters or vigilantes; they weren't the kind of superpeople who would patrol on the look for common criminals or even the kind slightly above them, so I can see a supercriminal back then being unconcerned about them as long as they didn't go out of their way to tackle them.
Sure. But still. He flew. That was his entire gimmick. Again, a good duck hunter could take him down. Hell, a cop with fast reflexes and good aim could take him down, if any of those existed in comic books.
Flight's a great power, as long as you don't rely on it too much. If it's all you do, if you have nothing else to fall back on . . . then it's actually a shockingly weak power.
virtually every Spider-Man villain of the Lee/Ditko/Romita era at some point or another uttered the line "No one can stop a man who can (insert whatever power the villain has)!" or words to that effect. I mean, for pete's sake, the Kangaroo actually thought people would take him seriously...
I actually sorta wish, just once, the Vulture had gotten shot by a guy with a hunting rifle. Not a hitman or a marksman or anything like that. Just a guy who happened to be pretty decent at shooting birds.
I'd imagine the suit has some sort of Kevlar, but then again, he leaves his head unprotected.
At least Doc Ock has the excuse his tentacles, IIRC, are fast enough to block bullets.
Do you have any idea how hard it is to hit a head-sized moving target?
Yes, villains that vastly overestimated their threat level was a common staple of early Marvel.
My favorite example was The Voice, an Ant-Man (Hank Pym) villain with Compelling Voice and absolutely no other powers, including physical fitness. He actually states at one point that if he can defeat Ant-Man, no one else will be able to stand in his way. Of course, Ant-Man defeated The Voice by giving him laryngitis.
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