Thursday, February 3, 2005

Interesting to see "comic book grandfather" Stan Lee's recent victorious lawsuit against Marvel Comics covered tonight on 60 Minutes 2, even if it was the third segment on the program (the hunt for the new monkey species in the Amazon segment was nifty, though). Lee recently won a judgment against Marvel for failing to pay him adequately for creating Spider-Man, which of course has gone on to make a kajillion dollars in the movies lately. Like most mainstream coverage of the comics medium, though, the show was more interesting in what it omits and forgets to include rather than what it includes in pithy 15-minute segments.

F'r instance, you'd never know that Lee wasn't the SOLE creator of Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, X-Men et cetera from the program. Not once was it mentioned that there were, y'know, artists involved as well, who at the very least merit co-creator credit. Spider-Man's artistic father and a heavy producer of many of the webbed dude's signature looks, styles and characters, Steve Ditko, wasn't mentioned even once. I kind of wonder if Ditko in his customary silence is fuming at all about Lee's cash windfall here. In fairness to Lee, he might well have brought Ditko up and had his name cut out in the interviewing process -- geez, the guy interviewing Lee was a bit of a tool, wasn't he? But the piece clearly felt tailored to fit the program's view of "little guy takes on the corporation," and apparently they couldn't bend that enough to admit that while Lee is unmistakably a HUGE part of comics history and without him we wouldn't have a Spider-Man, Lee didn't exactly do it all by himself.

Thursday update: You'll find far more coherent and thoughtful bloggery on Lee's appearance by Tom, Mark and Heidi. (Tom is a little more antagonistic of Lee than I might be; on the other hand, having just read Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters and the Birth of the Comic Book by Gerard Jones, at this point I'm inclined to view the comic book industry as one big screw-job to creators by publishers since time immemorial. So it goes....)

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