Amidst all the celebration of Marvel Comics’ 75th anniversary is the notion that famed writer Stan lee singlehandedly created the entire lineup of the Marvel Universe. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
His biggest collaborator in the early days was Marvel Comic’s co-creator Jack Kirby. Kirby was not only the dynamic, genius penciler with fantastic layouts and renditions, he was more than a co-plotter on stories “written” by Stan Lee.
Stan allowed his artists to plan out the full issue after just speaking with them for a few minutes or having a one sentence plot. It was up to Jack to find the action, the comedy, the tragedy, the pacing and the tone as he was also creating the art. So, by saying that Jack was a co-plotter is not giving Jack enough credit. Together Stan and Jack created the X-Men, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four and all the supporting characters and villains that appeared in those books during Marvel’s origin years- the early 1960s. Stan also had other collaborators too, such as Steve Ditko, co-creator of Spider-Man and Dr. Strange, and he had a similar working relationship with Ditko.
As the Marvel universe began to take shape during the ’60s, which was known as the Silver Age of comic books, other artistic collaborators followed– Gene Colan, John Buscema, Bill Everett, Wally Wood, Jim Steranko, all embellished upon the house of characters that Jack, Stan, and Steve built. So for accuracy’s sake remember as we celebrate Marvel Comics’ 75th anniversary, although he was a critical part in the formation of the Marvel Universe, Stan Lee did not create the Marvel Universe all by himself.
Steven L. Walterson