Stan Lee is known as the co-creator of a number of cartoon characters: Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, X-Men, Avengers, Fantastic…
Stan Lee is known as the co-creator of a number of cartoon characters: Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, X-Men, Avengers, Fantastic Four, Black Panther, the list goes on and on – there are few characters in Marvel’s back Catalog such as not has their fingerprints on them in any form or other. But perhaps his greatest legacy is not the superheroes army that populates Marvel Universe, but how he broke down the barriers between fans and creators on the side of the Marvel Revolution in the 1960s.
Lee, who died on Monday, 95, was responsible for the addition of creator credentials in Marvel’s comic book, a break from industry standards at that time ̵
1; earlier at Marvel as-var, and certainly with other publishers, fans would be required to study art styles or hunting for signatures to identify whoever drank every edition of their favorite characters, while writers dirt into even deeper obscurity. (What creator’s name was linked to stories was often a reflection of who originally invented the characters, contrary to who had worked with each story.)
It is not clear why ]] Lee broke away from the norm with his change – driven by his own frustrations as a relatively anonymous creator earlier in his career or simply a move to differentiate his company’s results from the more successful opposition in an effort to do anything to make the company stand out? – but it was the first phase of what quickly became an assignment to humanize Marvel, transform the staff and freelances behind the scenes to faces and names as recognizable as the colorful characters on the cover.
It took less than a year from the creation of Fantastic Four – regarded by most Marvel starting points as it is recognized today – for Marvel creators to appear on the sides of the series themselves; Stan and Jack Kirby are terrorized in Fantastic Four No. 10 when Doctor Doom appears in his office and demands that they call Mr. Fantastic and helps create a trap for the heroes.
Within two years, the real thing followed, with the front of the 1964s Marvel Tales Annual No. 1 Promising “An Actually Unprocessed Photo By Almost All Members In Our Merry Marvel Bullpen ! ” as a merchant point. The feature was the only brand new material in a matter that was otherwise printed, but it delivered what was promised: images of almost all Marvel employees – some, especially Spider-Man and Doctor Strange co-creator Steve Ditko, were absent, their absence explained a note that read: “Some of our girlfriends were out in town when these pixels were taken – so we try to print their pans later.” (A little way to coax you to read all our future issues!) “
If it seemed as an unusual point of sale, it was obviously a successful one; next year Marvel saw her “Merry Marvel Marching Society” fan club – for one dollar, fans would get a membership card, stickers and more … including a flexidisc that featured Marvel staff performing skits and allowing fans to hear their voices for the first
The same year, the launch of Bullpen Bulletins also saw a recurring one-sided feature that would mix publishing and advertisements with gossip-y updates on going to Marvel’s office. “Did you know that our bullpen ramrod, Smilin & STAN LEE, also author MONSTERS UNLIMITED like YOU DO NOT SAY!” An item in December 1965’s debut function started. “Both are smart paper photo gag newspapers, and Stan the Man seems to have the magical touch. The feelings of both humor seem to sell out as fast as our own Marvel masterpiece – and that’s something!” (Although anonymous, it is believed that Lee was behind the first parts, which brags like these more shameless.) The function would continue intermittently over the next four decades.
As a PR device, it worked; The marvel office would receive letters, phone calls and personal visits from fans who considered the friends of the creators, creating a bond between companies and customers that other publishers could only abuse – and, most of the time, less successfully – emulate. (It is no coincidence that the creator credits were adapted by other comic publishers this year by Marvel’s unfortunate success.)
In addition, there was something oddly supposed in the way Lee introduced artists and audience in fax communications that predicted the social media era. It is almost certainly a strange coincidence over Lee’s prognosis – really, who could have seen Twitter or Facebook coming half a century ago? – but in erasing the wall between consumers and creators, Lee not only changed the comic book industry; He offered a preview of how all forms of media would work in the future.