Tuesday, April 15, 2014
The Problems With Reportage: Marvel Comics, January 1966
I have no doubt that Lee would mention his artists, and other writers, in the same way that I have no doubt that such mentions were merely edited out of the finished product for space reasons. Plus who, back then, really cared about the artists? Only those in fandom...or did they?
With that in mind you'd expect that if a fan, as opposed to a reporter whose knowledge of comic books was limited to the likes of Superman and Batman, was given access to Marvel then they'd write about all aspects of it? If so then prepare to be proven wrong.
This two part article was written by Don Thompson. Don was at the forefront of comic book fandom back in the 1960s (and beyond), along with the likes of Bill Schelly, Jerry Bails, Roy Thomas and the rest. Don's name stood high above the pack, both as a writer (he was the primary editor/writer on the seminal All In Color For A Dime) and as an organiser. People flocked to Don, and his wife Maggie, and saw them as being the founders of organised comic book fandom. Don knew his stuff, he more than knew who Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Don Heck, Dick Ayers and the rest were, but this two parter mentions Stan Lee and Charles Goodman. Even Roy Thomas gets a look in. Not a mention of the artists.
This isn't a criticism of Don Thompson, just an illustration of what the reality of newspaper reportage is. Even if Don wanted to mention the artists he probably wouldn't have had the space. We don't know what Stan told Don, perhaps he mentioned his collaborators, perhaps not. But Don would have know who they were all the same.
So, next time you hear someone taking a shot at Stan Lee, or Jack Kirby for that matter, over an interview, either current or vintage (in Jacks case, they're all vintage), keep in mind that it doesn't matter what the interviewee says, what is printed is totally up to the interviewer and the editors. And if they think that something is irrevelant, or dull, then it's not going to see the light of day. Cry all you want, but if Don couldn't get them in (and we don't know if he tried) then who could?