Marvel Worldwide, Inc. et al v. Kirby et al - Stan Lee Speaks

I'm not sure about anyone else, but I've been following the Marvel vs Jack Kirby's estate court case with a great deal of interest.  In the shell of a nut, the Kirby estate is suing Marvel for ownership of a number of characters, including (but not limited to) the Fantastic Four, the Amazing Spider-Man, X-Men and Thor - in short, anything that Kirby worked on at Marvel in the 1960s, and, in the case of The Amazing Spider-Man, didn't work on, well, not that we saw.  As with any court case the bulk of the time has been spent in legal arguments, a dry process at best as each side seeks to have the case quickly resolved in their favour.

In amongst all of the arguments depositions have been called for, filed and finally released.  The most interesting of these are those by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Roy Thomas and John Romita.  I say 'most interesting' because unlike others such as Mark Evanier and John Morrow, those four were actually at Marvel at the time when Kirby, Lee and others were creating the characters in question.  Roy Thomas followed very shortly after.  Morrow has been called as a witness by virtue of his publishing the Jack Kirby Collector and a host of other Kirby publications, and Evanier is a professional witness who worked with Kirby in the late '60s/early '70s and maintained a friendship with the man after that time period.  Now that's not to dismiss the testimony of either man - Evanier spent a considerable amount of time with Kirby and asked a lot of questions and Morrow has dug up a lot of anecdotal evidence, but both men are somewhat clouded by their associations with both Kirby and his estate.  You can argue that a counter claim to that would be that Lee is faithful to Marvel and Lieber is faithful to his brother (Stan Lee), however that'd only leave Romita and Thomas as impartial witnesses at best.  As for who is telling the truth, well that'll be for the judge to decide, but I expect that no matter the result people will argue the point, both for and against, for a long time to come.

In the meantime, as it's all public domain at the moment, I'll present some of the more interesting testimony from the case.  First up is Stan Lee.  Stan Lee has been known for his poor memory, so his testimony was always going to be the most contentious of them all.  What comes through Stan's testimony is an admiration for Kirby, yet Stan stops just short of outright saying that Kirby created anything at Marvel on his own and brought it to the company.  Most interesting indeed.  There'll be people who'll say Stan was lying, but personally I think he's telling the truth, but the truth is how he remembers it.  You do have to remember that Stan, who is now over 80, is being asked questions about a time period over 40 years ago, nearly 50 years.  I defy most anyone to remember details of events that long back, let alone under pressure on the witness stand.

For the record, Mr Quinn is acting for Marvel and Mr Toberoff is acting for the Kirby's.  There are breaks in the testimony but this is how it's been presented to the courts at large, and although Mr Toberoff has condensed Lee's testimony down to a few pages at best, here's what was said...

Videotaped deposition of Stan Lee; Los Angeles, California; May 13, 2010

STAN LEE: ...DeWitt Clinton High School. And that's about the extent of it.
Q. And when did you graduate from DeWitt Clinton High School’
STAN LEE: You know honest to God I don t remember the year, but I did graduate.
Q. Fair enough. And did you serve in the military?
STAN LEE: Yes I was in the US Army Signal Corps in World War II.
Q. And how long were you in the military?
STAN LEE: Three years
Q. And could you briefly or as briefly as you can, tell us your employment history after you left DeWitt Clinton High School?
STAN LEE: Well, I had a lot of different jobs. I was --I wrote obituaries for a press service I was an office boy I was an usher I did some advertising for the National Jewish Hospital at Denver I never knew what was supposed to be advertising whether telling people get sick to go to the hospital. And finally I got a job at a place called Timely Comics which published comic books...
Q. And approximately when was that? The late 1930s, 1940s?
STAN LEE: I think it must have been 1939 or 1940, somewhere around there.
Q. And what was your first job responsibility at Timely?
STAN LEE: Well, I was hired by two people, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, who were producing the comics at that time for this company which was called Timely Comics.
Q. And --
STAN LEE: And my job was to really be an assistant. I went down, and I got them their lunch sandwiches for them, and I filled their -- in those days they dipped the brushes in ink and used pencil sharpeners. And I sharpened the pencils. I erased the pages after they were finished. And I did whatever an assistant or an office boy would do.
Q. And at that time who was running or owned Timely?
STAN LEE: The company was owned by a man named Martin Goodman.
Q. And he was the publisher?
Q. And did Timely -- is Timely a predecessor or did Timely eventually become what we now know as Marvel? (break in testimony)
Q. BY MR. QUINN: You mentioned just a few minutes ago before we took our short break that you had started as, I guess, an apprentice effectively at Timely Marvel around 1940. Did there come a time that you were -- you got a promotion?
Q. Tell us about how that occurred.
STAN LEE: Joe Simon and Jack Kirby were really the only two people there producing the comics, and for some reason they left, and I was the only guy left in the department. So Martin asked me if I could sort of function as the editor and art director and writer until he hired someone, a grown up. And I said, Sure. You know, when you're 18 years old, what do you know? I said, Sure, I can do it. And I think he forgot to hire a grownup, because I was there ever since.
Q. Right. 60 years later they still haven't hired a grownup?
STAN LEE: I'm still waiting.
Q. But you had grown up.  Now, did you have an understanding at the time or did you come to have an understanding as to why Simon and Kirby were let go?
STAN LEE: I didn't know at the time, but I have heard much later from a number of different people that it had something to do with -- they were supposed to have been working exclusively for Martin Goodman, and he found out they had, I think, been doing some work for some other company. Something like that.
Q. And he fired them, in effect?
STAN LEE: I guess. Yeah.
Q. Now, when you became the editor, what were your job responsibilities?
STAN LEE: Well, I was writing a lot of the stories, and I also would hire different artists to draw the stories, artists, letterers, inkers, so forth.
Q. And was it your responsibility to hire the writers and other artists and inkers and so forth and give them assignments --
Q. -- with regard to what they were going to actually be doing?
MR. TOBEROFF: Objection. Leading.
Q. And who oversaw -- tell us a little bit how that assignment process worked.
STAN LEE: Well, it was my job to dream up new characters or to continue with the characters we had and to pick the best artists and the best writers unless I wrote something my -- I had the privilege, which now that I think back, it was rare, but I could either write stories myself or I could hire writers. I couldn't write everything. And it was my job to hire the artists to draw the stories. And I did that for quite a number of years.
Q. And did you give instructions to the artists as to how you wanted the story to go?
STAN LEE: Oh, yes. That was my job as Art Director.
Q. So in addition to writing, you were also the Art Director?
Q. Now, who oversaw -- whose responsibility was the creative editorial aspects of the comic books that were created?
STAN LEE: Well, the responsibility was mine, because I had to answer to the publisher, Martin Goodman, and he had to be happy with what I was doing.
Q. Did you have the ability to not only make assignments but also to edit and change things that other writers or artists did in connection with the comics?
STAN LEE: Yeah. That was my job. If, for example, I saw some art work, and I felt there wasn't enough action on a page, or it was confusing, the reader might not know what it was, or in a script if I felt there was too much dialogue or too little dialogue, it was -- it was up to me to make the stories as good as I could make them.
Q. Now, you mentioned that you did perform services not only as an editor but also as a writer.
STAN LEE: Mm-hmm.
Q. Did you consider the services you performed as a writer part of your duties as the editor or something additional?
STAN LEE: Well, I never thought of it that way. I was the Editor. I was the Art Director. And I was also a staff writer.
Q. And how were you paid in connection with the work that you did?
STAN LEE: How was I paid?
Q. How were you paid in connection with the work as Editor and as a writer?
STAN LEE: I received a salary which paid me as Editor and Art Director, but I got paid on a freelance basis for the stories that I wrote.
Q. And when you say you were paid on a freelance basis, how were you paid? On what basis?
STAN LEE: The same as every other writer. I was paid per page, so much money per page of script.
Q. There was a fixed amount of money --
Q. -- for each page?
Q. And was there a policy or did you have a policy to pay writers and artists on that per page rate whether or not the page was actually used or published?
STAN LEE: Oh, yes. Even if we didn't publish -- if an artist drew a 10-page story, and the artist rate was $20 a page, I would put in a voucher for $200 for that artist. Now, if -- and this happened rarely --- but if we decided not to use that story, the artist would still keep the money because he had done the work. It wasn't his fault. So -- and that's the way it was. Everybody was paid per page.
Q. Now, you mentioned that you had the right to edit and make changes. Was there anyone else in addition to you who had the right to edit and make changes --
Q. -- in the work? Who was that?
STAN LEE: Oh, my boss, Martin Goodman, though he really didn't edit. He would just call me into his office and say: Jeez, Stan. I didn't think that story was good. Do a better one next time. This book didn't sell so well. I think you better see what's wrong. Maybe it needs a new artist or a new writer." Things like that. But I did the actual detail work.
Q. Were there times where Mr. Goodman would tell you that he didn't want something to be done a certain way
Q. -- and you changed?
STAN LEE: Yes, there were. Not that often, but yes.
Q. But that was your understanding of how the process worked?
STAN LEE: Oh, absolutely. He was the -- he was the ultimate boss.
Q. And did he have the final say on what was published back in the 1950s and 60s?
STAN LEE: Yes. As long as he was the publisher, he did.
Q. Did Mr. Goodman ever edit any of your work?
STAN LEE: Not too often except every so often he'd say: I think you're putting in too much dialogue. I don't think the readers want to read that much. And I always disagreed with him, so I would sneak in as much dialogue as I could.
Q. Now, was this pretty much the practice that existed at Marvel beginning when you started as Editor in the early 1940s and then up through the time that you became the publisher in the late 1960s?
MR. TOBEROFF: Vague and ambiguous.
Q. You can answer.
Q. And did this process of assignment and so forth come to be known as the Marvel method?
STAN LEE: Oh, no. No. The Marvel method referred to something else.
Q. Okay. Why don't you describe the Marvel method.
STAN LEE: There was a time when I was writing so many stories that I couldn't keep up with the artists. I couldn't feed them enough work. And, you see, the artists were freelancers. Now, for example, if Jack was working on a story, and Steve was waiting for me to give him a story because he had had finished what he had been doing --
Q. Jack being Jack Kirby?
STAN LEE: Jack Kirby.
Q. And Steve Ditko?
STAN LEE: Right. Or it could have been any of the artists. But just using them as an example, if one of them was waiting for a story while I was still finishing writing the story for the other one, I couldn't keep him waiting because he wasn't making money. He was a freelancer. He wasn't on salary.

So I would say: Look, Steve, I don't have time to write your script for you, but this is the idea for the story. I'd like this fill in, and I'd like this to happen, and in the end the hero ends by doing this. You go ahead and draw it any way you want to, as long as you keep to that main theme. And I will keep finishing Jack's story. And when you finish drawing this one, I will put in all the dialogue and the captions.

So in that way I could keep one artist working while I was finishing something for another artist. That worked out so well that I began doing that with just about all the artists. I would just give them an idea for a story, let them draw it any way they wanted to. Because no matter how they drew it, even if they didn't do it as well as I might have wanted, I was conceited enough to think I could fix it up by the way I put the dialogue and the captions in. And I'd make sense out of it even if they may have made -- have done something wrong.

And I was able to keep a lot of artists busy at the same time by using that system. And I have never given that long an explanation before.
Q. Did you end up using that system -- and when did this come into play? In the 1950s and 60s, approximately?
STAN LEE: Probably the 50s.
Q. During the time that you were the Editor?
STAN LEE: I was always the Editor.
Q. Until the late 1960s when you became publisher?
STAN LEE: Right.
Q. And in that process, did you always maintain the ability to edit and make changes or reject what the other writers or artists had created?
STAN LEE: Oh, sure.
Q. And did you do that on a regular basis?
STAN LEE: If something had to be rejected, sure.
Q. And that would include artwork that was done by, for example, Jack Kirby?
Q. And do you recall instances where that occurred?
STAN LEE: It's a strange thing. I didn't recall it --recall those instances too well. But I was talking to John Romita once. He was one of our artists. And we were talking about whether I had every rejected any pages. And I said sometimes I can't remember. And he said, "Stan, don't you remember? Sometimes if somebody wanted a job as an inker at our place," and an inker is somebody who goes over the pencil drawings with ink so that they can be reproduced better at the engraver, he said, "If we wanted to test an inker to see how good he'd be, we would take one of the pages of Jack's that you hadn't used and ask the inker to ink over them as samples."

And I had forgotten about that, but John Romita -- we were talking about that. It was a few years ago he told me that.
Q. And when you had that conversation with Mr. Romita, did that refresh your recollection that you had from time to time rejected pages from Jack Kirby?
STAN LEE: Yeah. Actually probably less from Kirby than anybody else, because he was so good. But I had -- there were times when things had to be rejected for a myriad reasons.
Q. Let me mark as Lee Exhibit 1 an affidavit, it's a document entitled "Affidavit of Stan Lee," and ask you to take a look at that.
MR. TOBEROFF: I would like to make a standing objection, if you will agree, otherwise I have to make it.
MR. QUINN: I totally disagree given the fact that you rejected over and over again our offer. But in any event, let's move on and save time.

Okay. Now, could you take a look at the last page of the document entitled Affidavit of Stan Lee. It's page 8 of the affidavit. And is that your signature?
Q. And have you had an opportunity in the last day or so to review this affidavit?
STAN LEE: I'd have to refresh my memory.
Q. Go ahead and refresh your recollection again.
STAN LEE: That's right.
Q. And having reviewed the affidavit, is there anything in the affidavit as far as you know today that's inaccurate or wrong?
STAN LEE: No, I don't think so.
Q. It's all truthful?
STAN LEE: Mm-hmm. Yes.
Q. I'm just going to ask you a couple of questions --
Q. -- about some of the things that's in the affidavit.
You just testified a little while ago about the process that you utilized in connection with making assignments, and so forth. And paragraphs, I guess, 3 and 4 of this affidavit also describe the same methodology.
In paragraph 4 of the affidavit it reads, and I will just read it and you can follow along, it says, "Timely," that would be Marvel, "however, always maintained the right to direct the storylines and the right to edit any aspect of the materials I submitted for publication, including the characteristics of any existing or new characters I utilized in the storylines."

Now, would that also be true with regard to other writers and other artists; --
Q. -- that Marvel maintained the right to direct the storylines --
STAN LEE: Oh, yes. The artists and -- it held for the artists and the writers and the letterers and the inkers and the colorists and everybody.
Q. And the next sentence says, "At that time it was typical in the industry for comic book publishers to own the rights to the materials that were created for them for publication."
Q. And that was your understanding --
Q. -- at that time?
Q. And that continued through the time that you stopped being the editor in the late 1960s?
Q. So that would include the period of the 1950s and 60s?
Q. And it further goes on that -- and that would apply not only to things that you created but also things that were created by other writers and other artists like Jack Kirby?
STAN LEE: Yes. That's right.
Q. And that was the understanding in the industry at the time?
STAN LEE: That was my understanding.
Q. And it goes on to say that "Timely," referring to Marvel, "would own whatever rights existed to all of the materials I created or co-created for publication." That was your understanding?
STAN LEE: Yes, it was.
Q. And that was your understanding not only with regard to materials you created but were created by the other writers and artists who were working under your direction?
Q. And do you ever recollect, going back during that period of time anyone, any of the other writers or artists disagreeing or telling you that they didn't --they didn't agree with that?
STAN LEE: During this period of time? No.
Q. Now, in paragraph 11, there is a reference to a Schedule A that's attached to this affidavit. And it says that, "A list of some of the characters I created or co-created for Timely, Marvel, appears on Schedule A."
And, to the best of your knowledge, is that a list of some of the characters that you either created or co-created?
Q. And looking at paragraph 13 of the affidavit, it states, I will read it into the record, "For years I," being you, "received checks from Timely and its successor that bore a legend acknowledging that the payment was for works for hire." Do you recall -- that's a true statement; right?
STAN LEE: Yes, it is.
Q. And do you recall that that was the practice at the time?
STAN LEE: Yes, it was.
Q. And was that the practice not only with respect to you but with all the writers and artists?
STAN LEE: Oh, yes.
Q. And that would include Mr. Kirby?
STAN LEE: Yes. Everybody.
Q. Do you remember a woman who worked for Marvel back at the time by the name of Millie Shuriff?
STAN LEE: There was a Millie. I think she was in the Bookkeeping Department. I never knew her last name or I don't remember it.
(Lee Exhibit 2 marked for identification.)
Q. I'm going to mark an affidavit as Lee 2. And I'm just going to ask you an a couple questions about the affidavit. I'm going to ask you -- I'm going to point you to the paragraph 7, which is on the second page of the affidavit.

And it says that, Miss Shuriff says that "all of the writing and drawing for the comic books was done on a work made for hire basis."

That was your understanding?
Q. Consistent? And then it says in paragraph 8, that "The work for hire language was affixed to each freelancer check by way of an ink stamp."

Is that consistent with your recollection?
STAN LEE: Yes. Yes.
Q. Okay. That's all I have on that.

Let me go back for a second to you mentioned the fact that the writers and artists during this period of time were paid on a per page rate.
STAN LEE: That's right.
Q. And were different artists and different writers paid different rates?
STAN LEE: Oh, yes, according to how valuable we thought they were.
Q. And did it matter -- let's take a particular artist, oh, say Jack Kirby. Did it matter whether he --was Mr. Kirby one who got a higher page rate?
STAN LEE: He got the highest because I considered him our best artist.
Q. And with regard to his page rate, he got that page rate whether or not the actual drawings were ultimately published?
STAN LEE: Oh, yes. Most of them. They were practically all published, and, yeah, he always -- I made sure he got the highest rate.
Q. Now, did it matter -- he always got -- he got the highest rate, but he got the same rate, whether it was for Fantastic Four or for The Hulk or for -- in other words, he wasn't paid a different rate based on the characters?
STAN LEE: As far as I can remember, he wasn't paid a different rate. I wouldn't swear to it, because there may -- I don't remember ever giving him a different rate. Let me put it that way.
Q. That's what I'm asking, your best recollection.
Q. That's your best recollection?
STAN LEE: Right.
Q. Now I'm going to ask you a few questions, general questions, about kind of creation of the comic book. And perhaps nobody knows it better than you do.

In general terms, and let's focus on the period 1950s and 60s, which is the relevant period in this case. What was -- I'd like you to tell us the role of the different contributors to a comic book, the writer, the artist, penciler, the inker, the colorist, the letterer. What did each guy do, or woman, if there were any?
STAN LEE: Well, somebody has to come up with the idea for the script itself. Then it has to be written. So the first thing that happens is you either get a script by the writer, or, in my case, you'd get an outline saying what the story is.

Then it would go to the penciler, who would draw the script in pencil.

Then it would go to the letterer, who would letter the dialogue balloons and the captions in ink over the pencil drawings.
Q. Mm-hmm.
STAN LEE: Then it would go to the inker, who would ink the pencil drawings. So now the page had the lettering and the artwork done in ink so that it could go to the engraver, and he could photograph it or whatever he did with it.

Then in those days we would get back from the engraver some sheets of paper, eight by ten usually, that were called silver prints. And there was a silver print for each page. And they would go to the colorist, who would use some kind of aniline dye paints, and they would color the pages, which were then sent back to the engraver or the printer, I was never sure, but to tell that person how we wanted it colored when it was printed.

The engraver and/or printer used those colored sheets as a guide to -- so they would know how to color the pages.
Q. Right, actually do the printing.
STAN LEE: And that's -- I think that's all. There was the writer, the penciler, the letterer, the inker, the colorist. Of course we had proofreaders and sometimes we would make changes. I, as the editor, would often look over a page and say, I don't like this drawing, let's fix it, or, let's make this a long shot, not a close up. Or, you know, whatever I would do.

I didn't do that too much because it cost us money, and it wasted time, so only when it had to be done.
Q. Now, were all these people working in the same room?
Q. How did that work?
STAN LEE: No. Usually the production people were -- the people who made the paste ups.
Q. Right.
STAN LEE: But very often the artists worked at home. We did a lot of shipping things around. We would -- I would talk on the phone or in person to the artist, giving -- or I would type out an outline, depending how we worked. And the artist usually went home and penciled it, bring it in to me, I would approve it or not approve it, or have what changes needed to be made.

Then I would send it to the inker. We very rarely had an inker who was really on staff. At a different address the inker would do it and ship it back to me. And if I liked it, usually it was okay, it would then go to a letterer.

Now, often the letterers were on staff, but we also had a number of letterers who worked at home. In fact, our main letterers, Sam Rosen and Artie Simick, they both worked at home, so we had to ship the artwork again. They would letter it, bring it back.

We had a colorist who worked on staff, but we also had colorists who worked at home.
So again, it either was done on staff or we shipped it. We were always moving and shipping things back and forth.
Q. There was no FedEx back then.
STAN LEE: No FedEx. No. It was very difficult. And we had a small staff really in the office, usually one letterer who would make corrections on things. And sometimes one of the people also did coloring. But mostly everything was done freelance and shipped around the city.
Q. Now, you mentioned all the different books involved, but you mentioned first somebody had to come up with the idea?
Q. Was that your role for the most part?
STAN LEE: Pretty much. Yeah.
Q. And after you would come up with the idea, how would you communicate that idea to the writer, or in some cases you were the writer, but a different writer or the artist?
STAN LEE: Well, we would meet, and I would talk about it, and I would usually have, well, often have something. I'd write out a brief outline of what the idea was.
Q. A synopsis?
STAN LEE: A synopsis. Or sometimes I would just talk it with the artist. It really depended on how well I knew the artist, how well we worked together, how familiar we were with each other's style.
Q. Now, typically who came up with the ideas for stories at Marvel during the 50s and 60s?
STAN LEE: Well, in the 50s, in the early 50s, we were doing a lot of odd books. And very often the writers of those odd books would come up with their own, although I did most of them.

In the 60s, the ideas for the new characters originated with me because that was my responsibility. And what would happen is the publisher, Martin Goodman, for example, with the Fantastic Four, he called me into his office one day. And he said, "I understand that National Comics," which later changed its name to DC, "but I understand that National Comics has a book called The Justice League. And it's selling very well. I want you to come up with a team of superheroes. Let's do something like that."

So it was my responsibility to come up with such a team. And I dreamed up the Fantastic Four, and I wrote a brief outline. And at that time, you know, I gave that to Jack Kirby, who did a wonderful job on it.
With The Hulk and the X-Men and Iron Man, I couldn't -- I wanted to use Jack for everything, but I couldn't because he was just one guy. So with Iron Man I gave that script to Don Heck after I came up with the idea.

With Daredevil, I gave that to Bill Everett. I think with Iron Man I still wanted Jack to do the cover, though, for it.

With Spider-Man, that was kind of an interesting thing. I thought Spider-Man would be a good strip, so I wanted Jack to do it. And I gave it to him. And I said, Jack, now you always draw these characters so heroically, but I don't want this guy to be too heroic-looking. He's kind of a nebbishy guy.
Q. Would we call him a nerd today?
STAN LEE: I would say so. Yeah.

Anyway, Jack, who glamorizes everything, even though he tried to nerd him up, the guy looked still a little bit too heroic for me. So I said: All right, forget it, Jack. I will give it to somebody else.

Jack didn't care. He had so much to do.
Q. Who did you give it to?
STAN LEE: I gave it to Steve Ditko. His style was really more really what Spider-Man should have been. So Steve did the Spider-Man thing. Although, again, I think I had Jack sketch out a cover for it because I always had a lot of confidence in Jack's covers.
Q. When the covers were done, were they done before or after the actual work was created?
STAN LEE: You know, I don't think there was a hard and fast rule for that. I really can't remember. I think you'd have had to have done some of the work first, so in doing the cover you knew what the characters looked like.
Q. And did you take particular interest in the cover?
STAN LEE: Oh, that was my specialty. The covers in those days, the covers were the most important thing. Because we didn't have fans the way we do now. Today, fans go to a book store, Did the latest Fantastic Four come in yet? In those days we sold according to how attractive a book looked on the newsstand. A kid would walk in the news stand, and whatever caught his eye he'd pick up.

So we made sure -- and this was something that my publisher Martin Goodman, he was an expert in. He taught me a lot about what to do to a cover to make it stand out, what kind of color schemes to use, and so forth.

So I paid a lot of attention to covers. They were very important.
Q. And you would make changes in covers?
STAN LEE: Oh, sure.
Q. And you mentioned that you thought that Kirby actually did the cover on Spider-Man. What was -- the cover that he did was based on his original drawing or was it based on what Ditko had done?
STAN LEE: Oh, it would have had to have been based, I think, on what Ditko did because it would have to look like the Spider-Man.
Q. The nerdy Spider-Man?
STAN LEE: I would think so. Well, as Spider-Man he didn't look nerdy. He looked nerdy as Peter Parker, yeah.
Q. Fair enough. Now, you mentioned that you would have meetings from time to time, I guess, plotting conferences. Do you recall -- and let me mark as -- we'll mark actually two documents, although they're related, an article that was written by a man by the name of Nat Freedland in the New York Herald Tribune dated January 9th, 1966.

Do you recall the article? I'm going to show you copies of it. Let's mark this as Lee 3. And Lee 4 --
(Lee Exhibit 3 marked for identification.)
(Lee Exhibit 4 marked for identification.)
STAN LEE: I hate that article.
Q. I'm only going to ask you about one part of it. In the reprint there's a reference, and I will just read it into the record, that says that, "The plotting conference at the end of this article was for FF No. 55," FF would be the Fantastic Four?
STAN LEE: Right.
Q. " -- No. 55 and issued just after the most prolific period of new character creation on the series." I want you to take a look at the end of this article. Either one. Yeah, that's the one. And specifically there is a paragraph that begins right here, Mr. Lee (pointing), that starts.

'Lee arrives at his plots in sort of ESP sessions with the artists. He inserts the dialogue after the picture layout comes in and then it goes on. Here he is in action at a weekly Friday morning summit meeting with Jack "King" Kirby a veteran comic book artist, a man who created many of the visions of your childhood and mine.' Then it goes on for the next several paragraphs just to describe the plotting conference. And you can just take a quick look at that.

I want to just ask you whether, in fact, this is consistent with your recollection of how typically plotting conferences would be -- would go back in this period in the 1960s.
STAN LEE: Well, pretty much, except this is written by somebody who I don't know why but he must have taken a very unfair dislike to Jack. And it is so derogatory. It's just terrible the way he pictured Jack in this article. I can't tell you how badly I felt.

At any rate, this is the way the conferences went. Very often Jack would say more than "mm-hmm." You know, he might contribute something or he might say, "Stan, let's also do this or do that." I mean, we had conversations.

But aside from that, yes, we would get together. I would tell Jack the main idea that I wanted, and then we would talk about it, and we'd come up with something.
Q. And that was fairly typical of how a plotting conference would go?
STAN LEE: Yeah, in that sense. Yeah.
Q. Now, during the period of time that you've been testifying about, did Marvel ever buy work that was created by one of the writers or freelancers on spec as opposed to having the material being part of an assignment that you would give him?
STAN LEE: Not that I remember. Excuse me. You know, they may have made deals I don't know about.
Q. I'm just asking --
STAN LEE: But nothing that I remember. Right.
Q. -- in your recollection --
STAN LEE: Right.
Q. -- having been there all that period of time.
STAN LEE: Right.
Q. Now, when you would give out an assignment, how did that work? Did you give them deadlines? How did --
STAN LEE: Yeah. Every strip had a deadline, because these books had to go out every month. And it was very important that the deadline be met. Because if a book was late, we had already paid the printer for that press time. And if the book wasn't delivered in time, we still had to pay the printer. So it was a total loss to us. So the deadlines were very important. And the artists always knew this has to be delivered by thus-and-such a date.
Q. Now, in connection with the way that artists and freelancers were paid, did they get paid whether or not a particular book or comic was successful?
STAN LEE: Oh, sure. They were paid before the book went on sale. We didn't know how successful it would be. They were paid when they delivered the artwork.
Q. Did you ever have any discussions with Mr. Goodman about what his investment and his risk was in the context of being the publisher?
STAN LEE: Yeah. Once in a while -- I remember there was one time some artists had wanted an increase in their page rate, and they felt they weren't getting paid enough. And Martin was in a pretty gloomy mood that day, and he said to me.

You know what they don't realize? They don't realize the risk that I'm taking. Because if the books don't sell, it costs -- I lose a lot of money. And I have no guarantee the books will sell. And we have periods for month after month after month where I'm losing money where the books don't sell. But I don't cut their rate. I don't fire them. I try to keep going as much as possible.

And he gave me this whole thing from the publisher's point of view.
Q. And did you understand that point of view?
STAN LEE: Well, yeah, I could understand it from his point of view. I could understand it. Yes. Just to add to that, he said he was the fella taking all the risk.

That's the thing that he stressed.
Q. Let me go back to the covers for a second.
Now, who typically designed the covers for the comic books? How did that process work?
STAN LEE: I usually, almost always, would say what I wanted the cover to be. Sometimes I'd make a little thumbnail sketch. I'm no great artist, but I would just indicate where I wanted the character.

Because, as I said, we considered the covers the most important part of the book. And I was very careful about the covers. And I would say what the illustration should be, where I wanted the caption, where I wanted a blurb, how I wanted -- whether I wanted a closeup or a long shot, whether I wanted it to be an action scene or just a dramatic scene. That I spent a lot of time on that.
Q. And after you'd give direction, were the covers done before or after the pencils were complete?
STAN LEE: It didn't -- it could have been either way.
Q. Either way. And did you ever reject a cover and ask him to go back and redo it?
STAN LEE: Oh, sure.
Q. Now, you mentioned also the practice was to pay writers, artists, and the others inkers, and so forth on a per page basis. And they had different rates and so forth.

During the period of time that you were there, were writers or artists ever -- did they ever get royalties from Marvel for the work they did or was it just a per page?
STAN LEE: While I was there I don't remember any royalties.
MR. QUINN: We were discussing a number of different items generally about the process that you oversaw as editor back in the 50s and 60s. And now I want to focus specifically on issues relating to Jack Kirby.
You're aware that this is a dispute with the Kirby heirs?
STAN LEE: (Nods head up and down.)
Q. You've got to say yes on the record.
Q. When did you first meet Jack Kirby?
STAN LEE: Well, the first day that I came to work at Timely Comics, which was either '39 or '40.
Q. And over the course of the years, what was your relationship with Mr. Kirby?
STAN LEE: Well, on my part it was very cordial. I was a big fan of his from the beginning.
Q. Now I'm going to focus on the period of time at issue in the 50s, and late 50s and early 60s. At what point in time did Mr. Kirby come back to Marvel or Timely?
STAN LEE: I don't remember the year, but there was a time that he left, and he did some work for DC Comics, and then he came back. Yes.
Q. And by the late 1950s he had returned?
STAN LEE: The late 1950s -- 60s.
Q. Let me rephrase the question. By 1960, he was back working at Marvel, in that general area?
STAN LEE: Maybe he left two times. Maybe he left in the 50s, and that's what you're referring to. He was back by '60.
Q. Right.
STAN LEE: That may be. Because I know there was a time later in the 60s that he left and he came back, I think.
Q. Now focusing on the period when he was at Marvel in the 60s, what was Jack Kirby's role at Marvel?
STAN LEE: The same as it had always -- wait a minute. Did you say in the 50s?
Q. No, focusing on the 60s.
STAN LEE: As far as I know, the same as it had always been. He was our top artist, and I gave him what I thought were our most important projects.
Q. And what was -- what were his job responsibilities as an artist?
STAN LEE: Well, to draw the strip as well and as excited -- excitingly and grippingly as possible, and draw it in such a way that the readers would want to see more, more, more.
Q. And who had the right to direct and supervise Mr. Kirby's work?
STAN LEE: That was me.
Q. And who had the ability to edit and control Kirby's work?
STAN LEE: That was my job.
Q. And who decided which comic books and characters Kirby would draw?
STAN LEE: I did.
Q. And who gave him those assignments?
STAN LEE: I did.
Q. As best you can recall, did Mr. Kirby ever submit work to you or to Marvel that he had done on spec?
STAN LEE: Not that I remember.
Q. And you mentioned the situation with taking him off the Spider-Man book. In addition to that, were there other instances where you did edit Kirby's work?
STAN LEE: Well, I edited everybody's work. I don't remember taking him off anything else.
Q. Do you remember Mr. Kirby ever refusing to make any of the edits or changes that you made?
STAN LEE: As a matter of fact, no. Jack was really great to work with.
Q. To your knowledge, during this period in the 60s, was Kirby working only for Marvel or was he doing work for other comic books?
STAN LEE: I thought he was working just for us.
Q. Now, typically, what was the work product after you had given Kirby an assignment? What was the work product that you would receive back from Kirby?
STAN LEE: I would receive back usually, if the book was 20 pages long, I'd receive back 20 beautifully drawn pages in pencil which told a story.
Q. And did Mr. Kirby ever suggest dialogue?
STAN LEE: Not orally, but what he would do, when I would give Jack a rough idea for what the story should be, and he went home and he drew it in his own way, laying it out the way he thought it would be best, he would put in the borders, the margins of the pages, he would put little notes letting -- so I would understand what he was getting at with each drawing, and he would sometimes put dialogue suggestions also.
(Lee Exhibit 5 marked for identification.)
Q. Let me show you what I'm going to mark as I believe it's Lee 5, a magazine entitled "Jack Kirby Collection 54." And I just want to point you to some portions of that.
MR. TOBEROFF: Can I have a copy, please?
MR. QUINN: I'm sorry.
MR. TOBEROFF: Thank you.
MR. QUINN: We tagged a particular section that has a little blue tag on it. You can open to that. See the little --
STAN LEE: Oh, yes.
Q. And it's page 59 of this exhibit. And on the top it talks about being fantastic penciling and the size. It says, "What would a Lee and Kirby issue be without the Fantastic Four being heavily represented?" And then it has a representation, I guess, of the penciling or the drawing done by Kirby in the first instance.
Do you recognize the notes around the pages?
STAN LEE: Well, that's Jack's handwriting. That's the way he wrote them. Yes.
Q. And could you tell us, for example, in this instance I see that there's a dialogue that's actually in the different blocks. Tell us who did that dialogue. How was the process done?
STAN LEE: Well, I wrote the dialogue and the captions, but Jack would give me notes. For example, in panel 4 of that page, the next to the last panel --
Q. Right.
STAN LEE: -- Jack wrote what he suggested the dialogue might be. "I will rule. My years underground will end." That was to let me know what he felt the fellow should be doing or saying.
So I wrote, "My conquest will be complete. I, the Mole Man, banished from my fellow men half a life time ago, will return at last as Master of the Earth."

Very often I would write dialogue to fill up spaces. In other words, I also indicated where the dialogue balloons and the captions should go on the artwork. And I might not have written so much if he had made the face bigger, but inasmuch as there was that space on the upper right-hand part of the page, I put in more dialogue to sort of dress up the -- balance the panel with picture and dialogue. That was something else I had mentioned but I concentrated very much on.

For example, in the panel above it, that panel was an interesting panel, and I didn't want to -- I only used three lines of caption. I didn't want to crowd that with copy.

And the same with the first panel. There's so much going on, that I only had a two-line caption that only went part way across, because I wanted the reader to enjoy looking at Jack's artwork with no interference.
Q. And who was it who decided where those --where the dialogue would go?
STAN LEE: I did. I always made the indications for the letter -- before giving my strips to a letterer, I always indicated in pencil after I typed out the dialogue where the dialogue should go in the panel. And the sound effects, also.
Q. And this was the typical way that you would work with Mr. Kirby?
STAN LEE: With all the artists. Yeah.
Q. And who had the final say with regard to what was going to be written in those panels?
STAN LEE: Well, I was the editor. I did.
Q. So just looking at some of the other panels, who -- let's go to the next page up on top in the second panel.
STAN LEE: Mm-hmm.
Q. Read me what Kirby had written in.
STAN LEE: Let me see if I can make it out. "As it leaves his hands, the staff's power blows and rocks" --something -- back." I can't make out the word.
Q. Right. And what did you substitute for this?
STAN LEE: Well, I thought it was so self-explanatory, and design wise I felt a big sound effect would be good. So I lettered in the word "batoom" (phonetic) for the letterer. I did it in pencil so the letterer would follow it, and I tried to make it part of the design of the panel.
Q. Was that something that you typically did? Let's look at another, the next page.
STAN LEE: The next page?
Q. I'm sorry, two pages over which would be 62. I see in the third panel --compare. Is that the same page that in Lee 6 in its final version that is in --
STAN LEE: Oh, it seems to be. Yes.
Q. With the same dialogue that you wrote in?
STAN LEE: Mm-hmm.
Q. So this would be -- this --
Q. Stan --
STAN LEE: This is the way it looked printed.
Q. This is the way it came out to the public.
STAN LEE: Right.
Q. That now includes the work of the inkers and the colorists and all the other folks.
STAN LEE: And the letterer.
Q. And the letterer. Now, as part of the way you worked with Mr. Kirby and the assignments you gave, did you ever ask Mr. Kirby to create new characters? Or did he ever create new characters in the context of the work and the assignment you gave him?
STAN LEE: Well, he, in the context of the work, I would give him the outline for the story. I might add, that as we went on, and we had been working together for years, the outlines I gave him were skimpier and skimpier. I might say something like: In this story let's have Dr. Doom kidnap Sue Storm, and the Fantastic Four has to go out and rescue them. And in the end, Dr. doom does this and that. And that might have been all I would tell him for a 20-page story.
Q. Dr. Doom --
STAN LEE: Dr. Doom being the villain.
Q. The villain.
STAN LEE: And Jack would just put in all the details and everything. And then it was -- I enjoyed that. It was like doing a crossword puzzle. I get the panels back, and I have to put in the dialogue and make it all tie together.

So we worked well together that way for years, but, I'm sorry, I forgot what your question was.
Q. No, no, no. Whether during that period of time was it part of his job to create new characters from time to time?
STAN LEE: Oh, that's why I mentioned.
MR. TOBEROFF: Assumes facts. Go ahead.
Q. Go ahead.
STAN LEE: That's why I mentioned that, because I might give him a very skimpy outline like let Dr. Doom kidnap Sue. Now, when he drew the strip, he might introduce a lot of characters that he came up with in the story. He might have decide to have Dr. Doom send some giant robot to get Sue Storm, and he would make up the robot. Or there might be some other people. Sure, Jack would often introduce a lot of new characters in the stories.
Q. And that was part of what his assignment was?
Q. And did other artists do the same thing?
Q. To your recollection, were there any characters that Kirby had created before he was working with you or anyone at Marvel that he brought to Marvel and then were then published by Marvel?
STAN LEE: No, I don't believe so. I don't recall any. Oh, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Captain America, for God's sake. He and Joe Simon had created Captain America.
Q. Right.
STAN LEE: Now, by the time in the 60s, Jack came to work for us, we weren't -- there was no more Captain America We weren't publishing it because Martin Goodman thought it was just a World War II character and people wouldn't be interested in it anymore.

I always loved the character, so I decided to bring it back. And I tried to write a story where he had been frozen in a glacier for years, and they found him and he came back to life, and so forth. And I tried to give him some personality where he always felt -- he was an anachronism. He was living in our day, but yet he had the values of 20 or 30 years ago. And I tried to make him a little bit interesting.

And Jack would draw him. And Jack just drew him so beautifully, and the stories worked out so well that he became part of the Marvel superhero characters, the one that I did not create. Yeah. And he's a great character, and they'll be making movies of him soon.
Q. Other than Captain America, you can't remember any --
STAN LEE: No, I don't remember any others.
Q. To your knowledge, did Mr. Kirby ever shop a character around to other publishers before bringing it to Marvel?
STAN LEE: Not that I know of.
Q. Did you ever have any discussions with Mr. Kirby as to who owned the rights to particular characters?
STAN LEE: No. Again, not that I can recall.
Q. Was it your understanding that Mr. Kirby was aware of Marvel's policy that everything was work for hire?
STAN LEE: I took it for granted. We had never discussed it.
MR. TOBEROFF: Did you hear my objection?
THE REPORTER: No, I didn't. Sorry.
MR. TOBEROFF: Leading.
THE REPORTER: Thank you.
Q. To your knowledge, did Mr. Kirby ever try to use a storyline or a character that he and you created together for Marvel when he left Marvel and went to DC or someplace else?
STAN LEE: Did he take any stories we had done and use --not that I know of.
Q. Now, we talked generally about how the freelancers were paid. How was Mr. Kirby paid?
STAN LEE: When he brought in -- like everybody else. When he'd bring in his artwork, he'd hand in a voucher. We had pre -- you know, pre-prepared voucher forms. And I would, of course, okay the voucher, and it would go to the Bookkeeping Department.
Q. Based on the number of pages?
STAN LEE: Yeah, so much per page.
Q. To your knowledge, did Mr. Kirby ever receive any royalties from Marvel?
STAN LEE: Did he receive royalties?
Q. Royalties from Marvel.
STAN LEE: I don't know.
Q. Now, you indicated that Kirby had left and come back to Marvel at several different periods of time. To your knowledge, when Mr. Kirby was working for other comic book publishers, did he do some of his own writing?
STAN LEE: I think so. I didn't really follow it, but I think when he worked for DC that he may have written some of the characters he created. But I don't know for sure.
Q. Do you know whether after he left Marvel he had -- his characters had the same kind of success that the characters that came about during the period of time he was at Marvel?
STAN LEE: Well, I don't think they became as successful as the Marvel heroes, no.
Q. I want to focus specifically on the creation of a number of the specific characters that -- we talked about several, but I want to go into them in a little bit more detail.

And let's start with the Fantastic Four. You actually referenced them earlier. Tell me to the best you can recall, how did the idea for the Fantastic Four come about, and who they were, and what was the back story with regard to the Fantastic Four.
STAN LEE: Well, as I mentioned, Martin Goodman asked me to create a group of heroes because he found out that National Comics had a group that was selling well. So I went home, and I thought about it, and I -- I wanted to make these different than the average comic book heroes. I didn't want them to have a double -- a secret identity.

And I wanted to make it as realistic as possible. Instead of them living in Gotham City or Metropolis, I felt I will have them live in New York City. And instead of the obligatory teenager Johnny Storm driving a whiz bang V8, he would drive a Chevy Corvette.

I wanted everything real, and I wanted their relationship to be real. Instead of a girl who didn't know that the hero was really a superhero, not only did she know who he was, but they were engaged to be married, and she also had a superpower.

So, you know, things like that. And I thought I would try that. So I wrote up a very brief synopsis about that, and naturally I called Jack, because he was our best artist, and I asked him if he would do it. He seemed to like the idea. He took the synopsis, and he drew the story and put in his own touches, which were brilliant.
And it worked out beautifully. Books sold, and that was the start of the Marvel success, you might say.
Q. And tell me or tell us all your thinking in the creating the four different characters, Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Human Torch, and The Thing.
MR. TOBEROFF: Assumes facts.
STAN LEE: I'm sorry?
Q. You can answer.
STAN LEE: Tell you what?
Q. Tell us what was your thinking with regard to or the idea behind these specific four characters.
STAN LEE: Well, I wanted them to be a team, but I wanted them to act like real people. So they didn't always get along well. I wanted one of them to be -- we called him The Thing, to be kind of a very powerful ugly guy who would be pathetic because -- they all got their superpowers by being in a spaceship that was hit by cosmic rays. And Mr. Fantastic got the ability to stretch his limbs. The girl Sue Storm had the ability to become invisible and surround herself with the force field. And the boy Johnny Storm, her brother, was able to burst into flame and fly.

I took that from an old Marvel book, one of Timely Comics' first books called The Human Torch. I always loved that character who had been an android, a robot or something. But I felt I'm going to give Johnny Storm that power. He can fly and burst into flame.

So we had a guy who can stretch, a girl who could be invisible, a man who was an ugly monster. And again, to go against type, I thought I'd make the ugly monster kind of a funny guy. He's pathetic, but he's also the comedy relief. And he was always arguing and fighting with The Human Torch, who was always trying to give him a hot foot. And he was always trying to grab him and throttle him.

They all loved each other, but they never got along well. The more they fought amongst themselves, the more the readers loved it. And that was the way I envisioned them.
(Lee Exhibit 7 marked for identification.)
Q. Now I'm going to mark as Lee I believe it's 7, the next exhibit.
STAN LEE: There's no little blue thing.
Q. I'll get you there. It's a document that's actually a magazine entitled "Alter Ego, the Comic Book Artist Collection."
And are you familiar with the Alter Ego?
STAN LEE: Oh, yes. It's a well known fanzine.
Q. And is a man by the name of Roy Thomas --
STAN LEE: Right.
Q. And then it says, Story No. 1, Introduction, "Meet the Fantastic Four." Is that the synopsis that you wrote back in 1961?
STAN LEE: This is the original synopsis that I wrote, and I gave it to Jack. And of course, after that we discussed it, and we embellished it, and we made little changes. But this was the beginning of it. Yeah.
Q. You mentioned in your note to Mr. Thomas that you hadn't saved others because you didn't think anyone would ever -- did you create other synopses from time to time?
STAN LEE: Oh, yeah.
Q. In the article on the first page, and I will just read it to you, it says, Mr. Thomas writes, "Actually, this wasn't the first early 60s synopsis of Stan's I'd seen."

And it says, "See later part of the article. And when I had gone to work for him in July 1965, I had learned that he was increasingly dispensing with written synopses with Marvel artists, often working merely from brief conversations in person or over the phone."
STAN LEE: That's right.
MR. TOBEROFF: If I could just look at Stan's.
MR. QUINN: I will tell you. It's Volume 2 No. 2, the Summer of 1998.
Q. BY MR. QUINN: Now looking at let's turn the page over to page 34. And I'm going to read a portion of the article that's quoting you. Mr. Thomas writes, "In answer to my earlier query, Stan sent a few comments along with the synopsis."

And then he quotes you, "Incidentally, I didn't discuss it with Jack first," referring to the synopsis. "I wrote it first after telling Jack it was for him because I knew he was the best guy to draw it." And you go on, "PS, as you are probably aware, the biggest change that was made after the synopsis was written was I decided to make the thing more sympathetic than originally intended."
STAN LEE: Right.
Q. After giving -- "After seeing the way Jack drew him, I felt it was too obvious for such a ugly monstrous looking guy to act in a typically monstrous, menacing way."
Do you recall sending that note to Mr. Thomas?
Q. And what were you referring to?
STAN LEE: Well, I was referring to what I mentioned before. I would very often give a writer a synopsis or an oral synopsis what I wanted, and then later when the story was penciled, I would look at it and say, well, maybe we should change this or maybe make this character a little more that way. And as I mentioned with The Thing, when I saw the way he looked, I thought it would be dull. We got a guy who looks like a monster. If he just acts like a monster, a dumb monster, it would be more interesting to give him a real personality. And actually the guy -- some of you were too young to know him, but I thought of Jimmy Durante, an old comedian.
Q. Sadly, I'm not too young to know him.
STAN LEE: I tried to have the thing talk a little like Jimmy Durante, have that kind of an explosive personality. So...
Q. The article on the next page, there's several numbered paragraphs. And No. 5 talks about, and I will just read it into the record: Re the idea of Sue remaining permanently invisible and having to wear a humanoid face mask to be seen, well, Stan's note at the end of that paragraph indicates that he was already I don't know, must have thought at some point that she'd always be invisible, and she'd have to wear a mask or something so people would see her. He was rethinking that bit. He asked Jack to talk with him about it because "maybe we'll change this gimmick somewhat." Since the writer, editor, and artist probably discussed this point before Jack started drawing any number of other changes, including the notion of starting with a multi-page action sequence may have been suggested, then, as well by either man. In any event, Sue gained control of her invisibility almost at once.
STAN LEE: That's right.
Q. What were you referring to there?
STAN LEE: Well, I think either Jack or I or both of us,
Q. Right.
STAN LEE: And whether it was my idea or not, as I thought about it, I thought, that's a lousy ideSTAN LEE: So we decided to change it where she could look like a normal person and make herself invisible at will or make herself normal at will.
Q. And who in this process had the ultimate decision to decide how that was going to come about?
STAN LEE: Well, I did. I was the editor.
Q. And turning over to the next page of the article, up on the actually the crossover page 37, there's another document that's recreated that says, Synopsis for Fantastic -- Synopsis for Fantastic Four No. 8 "Prisoners of Puppetmaster."

Do you recognize that as another of the synopses you created in connection with Fantastic Four?
STAN LEE: I hadn't read that for so many years, but, yeah, that seems to be mine. I didn't even know this was in here. Wow. Yeah. See, instead of telling him page by page, I would say, Devote five pages to this, five pages to that, and three pages to that. Yeah.
Q. That was typical of how you were working utilizing the Marvel method?
STAN LEE: Yeah. Sometimes I wouldn't even be this specific. And I wouldn't have cared if Jack devoted, let's say, six pages to this and he changed that to three pages. Just so he got the idea what I had this mind. But he was good at making his own changes, and very often he'd improve them. But, yeah, this is mine.
Q. Let's go to another character, The Silver Surfer.
STAN LEE: Oh, yeah.
Q. Could you tell us how the Silver Surfer came about?
STAN LEE: Right. I wanted to have a villain called Galactus. We had so many villains who were so powerful.
I was looking for somebody who would be more powerful than any. So I figured somebody who is a demigod who rides around in space and destroys planets.

I told Jack about it and told him how I wanted the story to go generally. And Jack went home, and he drew it. And he drew a wonderful version. But when I looked at the artwork, I saw there was some nutty looking naked guy on a flying surfboard.

And I said, "Who is this?"

And he said -- well, I don't remember whether he called him the surfer or not. He may have called him the surfer. But he said, "I thought that anybody as powerful as Galactus who could destroy planets should have somebody who goes ahead of him, a herald who finds the planets for him. And I thought it would be good to have that guy on a flying surfboard."

I said, "That's wonderful." I loved it. And I decided to call him The Silver Surfer, which I thought sounded dramatic.

But that was all. He was supposed to be a herald to find Galactus his planets. But the way Jack drew him, he looked so noble and so interesting that I said, "Jack, you know, we ought to really use this guy. I like him."
And I tried to write his copy so that he was very philosophical, and he was always commenting about the state of the world and: Don't you human beings realize you live in a paradise. Why don't you appreciate it? Why do you fight each other and hate each other? And I had him talking like that all the time. And the college kids started to love him. And whenever I would lecture at a college, and there was a question-and-answers period, it was inevitably the Silver Surfer that they would talk about the most. So I was very happy with him.
But that's how it happened accidentally. I mean, I had nothing -- I didn't think of him. Jack -- it was one of the characters Jack tossed into the strip. And he drew him so beautifully that I felt we have to make him an important character.
Q. And this is -- you talked about it before that artists were expected as part of their job to populate the story with characters?
MR. TOBEROFF: Misstates testimony.
Q. You can answer.
STAN LEE: Pardon me?
Q. You can answer.
STAN LEE: Oh. You see, if there's a story where the hero goes, let's say, to a nightclub, so I would say or whoever the writer is would say the hero goes to a nightclub, and he talks to this person, and then there's a gun fight. Well, when the artist draws it, the artist has to draw other people in the nightclub. So the artist is always creating new characters. I mean, the artist might decide to have the character standing at the bar and draw a sexy-looking bartender, a female or an interesting looking bartender.

The artist in every strip always creates new characters to flesh out the strip and to make the characters living in the real world. Sure.
Q. Who is it up to? Who had the last word as to whether or not a particular character would make it into the final publication?
STAN LEE: Well, I guess I did, and my publisher Martin, who might also look at a character and say, I like him, let's see more of him, although he didn't do it that often.
Q. Did he ever say I didn't like --
Q. -- a particular character?
STAN LEE: Yeah, mostly in Westerns. He was big on our Western books. And sometimes he wouldn't like the way a character was drawn.
Q. Let's talk a little bit about the Spider-Man. How did the idea for Spider-Man come about?
STAN LEE: Again, I was looking for -- Martin said, "We're doing pretty good. Let's get some more characters." So I was trying to think of something different. And I have always hated teenage sidekicks, so I felt it would be fun to do a teenager who isn't a sidekick but who is the real hero. So that part was easy.
But then you had to -- the toughest thing is dreaming up a superpower. So I thought, What superpower can I give him? And it finally occurred to me, a guy who could stick to walls like an insect, crawl on a wall and stick to a ceiling. I didn't recall ever having seen any character like that before. So I thought that's what I'll do. I'm going to get a teenager who can crawl on walls.

But then the second most important thing is a title. Titles are very -- the names of the characters are very important. So I went down the list. Could I call him Mosquito Man? Insect Man? Fly Man? And I got to Spider-Man. It sounded dramatic. And I remember I had read a pulp magazine when I was a kid called Spider-Man. The guy didn't have a superpower. He was just a guy who went around fighting bad guys. But I thought Spider-Man sounds great.
And again, I went to Jack. I think I told you this before, but --
Q. It's okay.
STAN LEE: I went to Jack and asked him to draw it, and he did, but he didn't make the teenager look as wimpy or as nerdy as I thought he should. And I realize that really isn't Jack's style. Jack mostly draws glamorous heroic Captain America type. Not that he couldn't have but he would have had to force himself. So I figured I will get somebody that it comes easy to.

And nobody, Jack nor I nor anybody, thought that Spider-Man was going to be a big strip, so it didn't matter. So I said, "Forget it, Jack. I will give it to someone else." He said okay and he went back to Fantastic Four or Thor or whatever he was drawing, and I gave it to Steve Ditko. And Steve had that kind of awkward feeling. It was just right for Spider-Man, so I gave it to Steve. And that's what happened.
Q. Now, did you discuss the idea that you had for Spider-Man with Mr. Goodman?
STAN LEE: Spiders. Secondly, you can't make him a teenager. Teenagers can just be sidekicks. And finally, problems? Don't you know what a superhero is? They don't have problems. They're superheroes.

So I had a feeling I hadn't hit pay dirt with that one as far as Martin was concerned, but I always liked the idea So sometime later we had a magazine we were going to drop. It was called Amazing Fantasy. Strangely enough, Steve Ditko had drawn all the stories in that one, now that I remember. Anyway, it wasn't selling well, and we were going to drop it.

Now, when you drop a magazine, nobody cares what you put in the last issue because you're dropping it anyway. So just to get it out of my system, that's when I asked Jack to draw it. Then I asked Steve to draw it. And we did a little, I don't know, 10- or 12-page story. And we threw it in Amazing Fantasy in the last issue. And just for fun, I put him on the cover.

And the book sold fantastically. So a couple months later when the sales figures were in, Martin came to me and he said, "Hey Stan, you remember that Spider-Man idea of yours that we both liked so much? Why don't we make a series of it."
MR. QUINN: In any event, let me go back to something you testified about a little while ago when we were talking about the process of where artists sometimes create characters as part of the story. And you mentioned, for example, the possibility of an artist creating a lady bartender.

Whose job or whose responsibility, if it was decided that this was really an interesting character, who would be the one who would make the decision to take that character and make him or her a separate character for a new comic?
STAN LEE: Well, either whoever is the Editor or the Publisher.
Q. So at this period of time it would be you or Mr. Goodman?
STAN LEE: At that period it would have been me or Martin.
Q. So, for example, with regard to the Silver Surfer, who decided to essentially take the Silver Surfer and make him a separate character?
Q. And why?
Q. Why did you decide to do that?
STAN LEE: Because I just thought he was such an interesting looking and such a unique character. We had never seen a guy on a flying surfboard who could travel from planet to planet.
Q. And it was you who gave him the name Silver Surfer?
Q. Okay. Let's go now to the Incredible Hulk. And could you tell us how The Incredible Hulk came about? What was your idea for him?
STAN LEE: Well, same thing. I was trying to -- it was my job to come up with new characters and to expand the line as much as I could. So I was trying to think again what can I do that's different. I liked the thing very much, and I thought, what if I get somebody who is a real monster? And I remembered I had always in the old movie Frankenstein with Boris Karloff I had always thought that that monster was the good guy because he didn't want to hurt anybody, but those idiots with torches who were always chasing him up and down the hills.
Q. He was a misunderstood monster.
STAN LEE: A mis -- you said it better than I could have. So I thought it would be fun to get a monster who is really good but nobody knows it, and they fight him. But then the more I thought about it, I figured it could be dull after awhile just having people chasing a monster. And I remember Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I thought, why not treat him like Jekyll and Hyde? He's really a normal man who can't help turning into a monster, and it would make a very interesting story if when he needs his monstrous strength the most, the poor guy turns back into a normal man. I could get a lot of story complications. So I thought that would be good.

I needed a name. Years ago I remember there was a comic book called The Heap, H-E-A-P. I don't remember even what he was, but I always thought that was some real crazy name. And somehow or other I thought I will call him The Hulk. It's a little like The Heap, and it has that same feeling. But I love adjectives like the Fantastic Four, the Uncanny so-and-so. So I decided I'll call him The Incredible Hulk. And that's what happened.
Q. And how come The Hulk is green?
STAN LEE: That's a long story. When I did the Fantastic Four, we started getting a lot of fan mail. And the fan -- remember, I told you I didn't want them to have costumes. And the fan mail said, We love the book. It's great. Oh, it's the best new thing we've seen. But if you don't give them costumes, we'll never buy another issue. And I realize there's something unique about the comic book reader. They love -- the superhero fan. They love costumes.

Well, I couldn't figure out a way to give a monster a costume. I couldn't see a monster, The Hulk, walking into a costume store or making one for himself. So I figured I'll do the next best thing. I'll give him a different skin color. That will always look like a costume.

You may not know this, but originally I made him gray. I thought that a gray skin would look spooky and scary and dramatic. But when the book was published, the printer apparently had a problem with the color gray. On one page he was light gray. On one page dark gray. On one page black. On one page almost white. I said, This will never do. So I decided on another color. See, you can do that when you're a comic book editor. You can do anything.

So I will change the color of his skin. So I looked around for a color that wasn't being used. I couldn't think of any green hero. I said, I will make him green. And it turned out to be a good choice, because I was able to come up with little sayings like, The Jolly Green Giant, or the Green Goliath, and so forth. And that's how it happened. I could have thought of pink or blue or any other color.
Q. Now, after you came up with the character, who did you ask to draw the character?
STAN LEE: My best guy, Jack Kirby.
Q. And do you remember giving Kirby directions as to what you wanted with regard to what he was to draw?
STAN LEE: I remember the first thing I said to him. I said, Jack, you're going to think I'm crazy, but I want you to draw a sympathetic monster. And he came up with The Hulk.
Q. And did you, as part of that direction, give him a back story and a story line?
STAN LEE: Oh, yeah. We had to figure out how The Hulk would be -- how he came to be The Hulk. So I decided he's a scientist named Bruce Banner. And I'm not very scientific. All I know are the names of things. I don't really know how they work or anything. But I had used cosmic rays for the Fantastic Four to get them their powers. So I heard the expression "gamma ray" somewhere. So I said let's let Bruce Banner be subjected to a gamma ray, and that turns him into The Hulk. But it had to be in a heroic way. So I said let's get a teenage -- they'redoing a test for a new kind of gamma ray bomb somewhere. The military is doing that. And some idiot teenager is riding his bike past the no trespassing sign onto the test area. And Bruce Banner in his cubicle sees the kid, and he runs out to save the kid, say, "Get out of here. There's going to be a gamma ray explosion."

But Bruce Banner had a rival scientist who was jealous of him, and when the scientist sees Bruce Banner run out, he says, "Quick. Start the explosion." And the gamma ray explodes, and Bruce throws himself on top of the kid to save the kid, and he gets subjected to the gamma ray. That's how he becomes the Hulk, and that's how we know he's really a hero at heart.
Q. And in creating and then coming up with theback story, did you -
MR. TOBEROFF: Assumes facts not in evidence.
Q. -- as The Hulk progressed, did you follow the same process that you previously testified to in terms of how you directed and edited The Hulk stories?
STAN LEE: Yeah. Well, I told Jack essentially what I told you. And he just drew it any way, you know, the best way he could. And it turned out great.
Q. Let's talk a little -- let's talk about Iron Man. Tell us about how Iron Man came about, how he was created, the back story with regard to Iron Man.
STAN LEE: I will try to make it shorter. It was the same type of thing. I was looking for somebody new. And I thought -- I don't know why I thought it, somebody in a suit of armor. And what if it was iron armor. He would be so powerful. So for some reason I have always been fascinated by Howard Hughes. I thought I would get a hero like Howard Hughes.

He's an inventor. He's a multimillionaire. He's good looking. He likes the women. And but I got to make something tragic about him. And then it occurred to me if he -- somehow when he got his iron armor -- it's a long story -- but he gets into a fight, and he gets injured in his chest. And his heart is injured, and he has to wear this little thing that runs the iron armor. He has to wear that on his chest because it also keeps his heart beating. And that would make him a tragic figure as well as the most powerful guy. So I thought the readers would like him even more with that little bit added to it.

And that was it. Then again -- oh, but wait a minute. This one wasn't Jack. I called Don Heck, and I asked Don Heck because I think Jack was busy with something else. That must have been what it was.
Q. Don Heck is another artist?
STAN LEE: He's another artist that we had who was pretty good. And he drew the first Iron Man. I think I might have given the cover to Jack to do. I don't remember who did the cover. I think it might have been Jack.
Q. And in coming up with the back story, did you include a love interest?
STAN LEE: Oh, yeah. I forgot. I made up a name called -- a girl who worked for the millionaire. I figured he has -- I wanted him to be a playboy, so he has this gorgeous assistant secretary named Pepper Pots. And he's in love with her, and she's in love with him, but he won't admit he's in love with her because he figures he could die any minute with his bad heart. And he loves her too much to make her a widow, and so he never admits to her how he feels about her, which again is a little touch of pathos for the series.

He also has a friend named Happy hogan, and it goes on and on.
Q. Now, in addition to Don Heck, did your brother Larry Lieber have a role in Iron Man?
STAN LEE: Oh, yeah. I came up with the idea, but when the script was -- when the strip was drawn, I didn't have time to put in the copy. So I asked my brother Larry to write it.
Q. And this happened on other occasions where --
STAN LEE: Yeah. There were times when I would ask Larry to write something. Mm-hmm.
Q. Now let's talk --
STAN LEE: Excuse me one second. I may have asked Larry to write it in script form and then give it to Don to draw. I'm not sure. I may have done that.
Q. Let's talk next about Thor.
STAN LEE: Mm-hmm.
Q. And how Thor was created and what was your idea behind Thor.
STAN LEE: Same thing. I was looking for something different and bigger than anything else. And I figured what could be bigger than a god? Well, people were pretty much into the Roman and the Greek gods by then, and I thought the Norse gods might be good. And I liked the sound of the name Thor and Asgaard and the Twilight of the Gods' Ragnarok and all of that.

And Jack was very much into that, more so than me. So when I told Jack about that, he was really thrilled. And we got together, and we did Thor the same way.
Q. And what was the idea behind Thor? What was his deal?
STAN LEE: I wanted him to be --
MR. TOBEROFF: Excuse me. Objection. Vague and ambiguous.
Q. You can answer.
STAN LEE: I wanted him to be the son of Odin, who is the King of the Gods, like Jupiter. And I wanted him to have an evil brother, Loki. And just like the Fantastic Four were always fighting Dr. Doom, and Spider-Man was usually fighting the Green Goblin, I figured Loki would be the big villain. He's Thor's half brother. He's jealous of Thor. He has enchantment powers. So in a way he's a good foe. Thor has strength, but Loki is like a magician and can do all kind of things. So that seemed good to me.

And then Thor had a girlfriend from legend called Sif, S-I-F. And I would have her involved in the stories and have jealousy.

And then I wanted some comedy relief, so it wasn't -- I don't think it was until the strip had been going for a while, but I decided there were three guys. I called them The Warriors 3 that I wanted to include, a very fat guy named Volstag, The Voluminous Volstag, I called him, who acts like a real hero. "Come on, let's go get them." But when the fights start, he's cowardly and always holds back.

Another guy like Errol Flynn called Fandral the Dashing. And a guy like Charles Bronson in Death Wish. I think I called him Hogan the Grim. And the three of them, Fandral the Dashing, Hogan the Grim, and Volstag the Voluminous I thought they could be Thor's friends, and they would provide comedy relief. And I'm happy to see they're using them in the movie, I think.

And it was something that we both enjoyed doing very much. And Jack was wonderful with the costumes that he gave them. I mean, nobody could have drawn costumes like he gave them.
Q. The character Thor, how did -- what idea did you have to come up to give him his powers?
STAN LEE: Well, he had --
Q. What was the back story?
MR. TOBEROFF: Assumes facts.
STAN LEE: Oh, yeah. He had mainly a hammer, an enchanted hammer. The back story was I decided to make him a guy here on Earth, Dr. -- I forgot his name. But whatever his name was, he was lame and he walked with a cane. And for some reason he went to Norway, and there he -- I think -- the Stone-Men from Saturn or somewhere. Some aliens who were stone men had landed in Norway and they wanted to kill our doctor.

And he rushes into a cave somewhere to hide from them. And they're coming toward him, but he sees a hammer in the ground, and some kind of a sign that said --I don't remember the exact wording, but, Whoever is worthy would be able to lift this hammer, sort of like the King Arthur legend. And he grabs the hammer, and he's able to lift it up.  And it seems that destiny had prepared that for him over the centuries. The minute it lifts it up, he turns into The Thunder God Thor, and wielding the hammer he takes care of the Stone-Men. And then he can always become Dr. Don Blake. That was his name. I believe Don Blake. If he hits the hammer on the ground, it turns back into the cane that he always had because he was lame. He walked with a cane as Don Blake, Dr. Don Blake.

So he's a surgeon, who walks with a cane, but when he hits the cane on the ground, he turns into the mighty Thor, God of Thunder. And that was the idea.
Q. You have a lot of doctors. Do you have any lawyers in this whole process?
STAN LEE: Maybe next time. Next go round. We do have a lawyer Daredevil.
Q. Daredevil. Tell me about Daredevil.
STAN LEE: Yeah. Same thing. Oh, by the way. I think Thor also was written by my brother. After I came up with the outline, I think Larry wrote the first script.
Now, let me see. Daredevil.
Q. Daredevil. I want to hear about the lawyer.
STAN LEE: Again I'm trying to think of what can I do that hasn't been done. And it occurred to me --
Q. Well, certainly making a lawyer a hero would fall into that category. But, in any event, go ahead. Tell me about Daredevil.
STAN LEE: After this is over, I want him to write for us.
I figure I will get a blind man and make him a hero. And how you do that. So I said, what if all his other senses are very acute? What if he can hear so well that he can tell if you're lying to him because he hears your pulse rate speed up, your heart beat. And he can smell so well he can tell if a girl has been in a room. He could smell her cologne even if it was two days ago. You know, you get your balance through your ears.
So he's like an acrobat, like a circus tightrope walker. He can do anything any trained athlete can do. And on and on. And I figured that's kind of good. Oh, and he has a radar sense and a sonar sense. So when he's Daredevil, nobody knows he's blind. He is like the greatest circus acrobat.

However, he has a law office. His name was Murdock, Matt Murdock. And he had a friend named Foggy Nelson. For some reason I called him Foggy. And they have a law firm called Nelson and Murdock. And I have him fighting villains who weren't too super. He didn't fight monsters or anything. I tried to keep the strip a little more realistic. But I loved the character.

And Jack was busy, and Steve Ditko was busy. Everybody was busy, but there's an artist named Don Heck -- not Don Heck, I'm sorry -- named Bill Everett who had done one of the first strips that Martin Goodman ever had when he started Timely Comics. And that was the Sub-Mariner. And Bill was still around, and I called Bill, and I said, "How would you like to draw Daredevil? And he said, "Oh, great." So I gave him what I told you essentially, little more because I forget who the villain was in the first story. But whatever it was, that's what I told him.

And he drew it, and I put in the copy. And it's a shame Bill was ill or something. I don't know. He couldn't do too many strips. He did one or two and then that was the end of it.
Q. Keeping with our discussion, could you tell us about the creation of X-Men? How did that come about?
STAN LEE: Again, Martin asked me for another team because the Fantastic Four had been doing well. And again I wanted to try something different. And I thought what -- I could think of superpowers for them, but how do they get their powers? I have already had cosmic rays and gamma rays and bitten by a radioactive spider. What was left?

So I took the cowardly way out. I said I'm going to just say they were born that way. They're mutants. Now I don't have to figure out gamma rays or anything. So I decided to have a group of young mutants. And I really, the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. I said, they'll go to a school. They have to keep their mutant powers secret, so it will just say a School for Gifted Youngsters. Nobody will know it means mutants.
And we'll get a professor who gets them together. And this guy should also have mutant powers, but I will make him have mental powers. He's got a brain. He can send thought waves all around, and he can send his thought waves around to detect where there's a kid with mutant powers, and then he'll ask that kid to enroll in his school. And again, so that he isn't too powerful, I thought I would make him in a wheelchair. He's the professor.
Q. And what was his name?
STAN LEE: Professor Xavier. And then I thought of the characters. There would be a girl who can do -- called Marvel Girl, who could do crazy things, and a fella called The Beast, who looks a little bit apelike. So to go against type, I made him the smartest and the most articulate of all of them. And a guy named The Angel with wings, and so forth.

And when I went to tell the idea to Martin Goodman, I said -- he loved it, but I said, "I want to call it The Mutants."

He said, "That's a terrible name. Nobody knows what the word "mutants" means." So I went back, and I thought about it. And I thought Professor X, Xavier. And the mutants have extra powers. For some reason I thought I could call them the X-Men. So I went back to Martin. He said, "Oh, that's a good name." And as I walked out, I thought, if nobody knows what a mutant is, how were they going to know what an X-Man is? But I had my name, so I wasn't about to make waves.
Q. And you gave the -- this --
STAN LEE: Oh, yeah, luckily --
Q. -- idea to Kirby?
STAN LEE: Luckily, Jack was free at the time. And again, he did a wonderful job.
Q. Did you, again, with X-Men follow the same pattern you testified before, using the Marvel method?
STAN LEE: Yeah. I spoke to him. I don't even think I wrote anything. I think we talked about it. And he was on absolutely the same wave length. He saw it the way I did. So I said, "Go on and draw it." And he did, and it came out great. And I wrote the copy, and it became one of our best-selling strips.
Q. Next Nick Fury. Tell us about Nick Fury.
STAN LEE: Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. There was a television series called The Man from U.N.C.L.E. that I used to watch and I liked it. And I thought it would be fun to get something like that as a comic book.

So I remembered we had done a war series called Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos, Stories of World War II. And it was quite popular. I don't really like war stories, so after a few years of doing it I asked Martin if we could drop the book so we could concentrate on superheroes. And he said okay. But we got a lot of fan mail. The kids loved the characters. And we kept reprinting those books, and they sold as well as the originals.

So when I wanted to do the thing like The Man from U.N.C.L.E., I thought why don't I take that popular Sgt. fury that was years ago in World War II, why don't I say he's older now and he's a colonel, and he's in charge of this new outfit that I made up, S.H.I.E.L.D, which stood for the Supreme Headquarters International Law Enforcement Division. So I took Sgt. Fury, who now has a patch over one eye, and made him in charge of this group.

And again, there was Jack Kirby. I said, "How would you like to draw Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. And it was right up Jack's alley. He loves that kind of stuff. And he came up with all kind of weapons and things.
Q. And again, you had the same process of overseeing and editing it?
STAN LEE: Yeah. It was always the same process.
Q. Let's focus on The Avengers. How did The Avengers come about? First, tell us who The Avengers are.
STAN LEE: Well, they're anybody that we wanted to put in the group of our own heroes. I don't even remember who they were in the first issue. It might have been Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Daredevil. I don't even remember because we kept changing the roster each month, whoever we felt like.
But the idea was that they were organized by -- I don't remember which of our heroes organized. Oh, they got together and decided to become a fighting team. Again we wanted something like The Justice League that DC had.
Q. Had you discussed the idea for The Avengers with Martin Goodman?
STAN LEE: Oh, sure. Oh, sure. I couldn't do any book unless Martin approved of it. And I remember Iron Man who was the rich one. I had them use Iron Man's mansion on Fifth Avenue as The Avengers' headquarters, and Captain America was definitely an Avenger. Iron Man. And Spider-Man never joined them; he was a loaner.

But then I would have them -- the toughest thing about The Avengers, they were also powerful that we had to find very powerful villains for them to fight. And again, you know, Jack drew it, and it turned out to be popular. They're going to make a movie of that, too.
Q. You needed to have very powerful villains to make it a fair fight.
STAN LEE: Oh, sure. In fact, it's always best if the villain -- if it isn't a fair fight; if the villains seem even more powerful, because then you wonder how will the hero ever get out of this one.
Q. And who came up with the back story for The Avengers?
STAN LEE: There really wasn't much back story. I did, but just the idea that they all get together and form a group. Because I didn't have to create new characters. We had them. I just needed an excuse for them to get together. And honestly I forget what the excuse was now.
Q. Let's talk a little bit about one of my favorites, Ant-Man. Tell us a little bit about why you came up with and how you came up with Ant-Man.
MR. TOBEROFF: Assumes facts.
Q. Who created Ant-Man?
STAN LEE: What could I do that was different? I didn't know of any hero that was that big (indicating). So I thought, I'll go for it. Martin okayed it. And I don't remember if Jack did the first one or not. Maybe he did or you wouldn't be mentioning it.

You know, it was just -- it was not all that successful. And I later realized why it wasn't that successful. The interesting thing about a character who is that big (indicating), would be to show him against a lot of big things. But somehow no matter which artist drew him, they always made him look life size. They put him in the foreground. So you didn't enjoy the contrast of this little guy next to big -- you know, if they had him near a cigarette in an ashtray, but they always had him somehow where he didn't look like Ant-Man.

Anyway, I hate to give up. So at some point I changed him to Giant-Man. He had the ability to become a giant.
Q. The ant could become a giant?
STAN LEE: Yeah. And that didn't become too popular either, although he's still running somewhere in the books.
Q. Who came up with the idea of making -- having Ant Man become Giant-Man?
STAN LEE: I'm embarrassed to say it was me.
MR. QUINN: Let's go off the record for a second.
Q. Just to clarify, because we may have been talking over each other. Who was it who came up with the idea for Ant-Man?
STAN LEE: I did.
Q. Okay. One more we can talk about right now is the raw hide kid tell us about The Rawhide Kid.
STAN LEE: I don't really know what to tell you. Martin, the publisher, he loved Westerns. And we had a lot of Western books, and he loved the name The Kid. We had Kid called Outlaw, The Rawhide Kid, The Texas Kid. We had a few others I can't remember. He loved that word. And the Rawhide Kid was just one of the many Westerns we had.

And I, as far as I know, my brother had been doing most of them. He was writing and drawing them. I don't remember who started it. Maybe it was Jack that I did it with first. I probably wrote the first one.
But it was just -- I don't even remember. Maybe he was somebody wanted by the law, but he was really a good guy, and nobody knew it and he just rode around The West having adventures.

We didn't put a lot of thought into our Westerns, really. They were all pretty much alike, just a guy who is the fastest gun in the west, and he fights bad guys.
Q. And with The Rawhide Kid, you followed the same practice of making the assignment and then overseeing it and editing it?
Q. Switching to another subject. Do you recall that sometime back in 2002 and 2003 you had a dispute with Marvel?
STAN LEE: Oh, yes.
Q. And what was that dispute about?
STAN LEE: Well, according to my contract, I was supposed to get 10% of the profits of -- Marvel's profits from the movies and television and things like that. And I felt I hadn't been getting it.
Q. Did during the course of that dispute did you ever say that you owned the characters and not Marvel?
STAN LEE: No, that wasn't part of the dispute.
Q. And from your perspective, who did you believe owned the characters?
STAN LEE: Say that again.
Q. Who did you believe owned the characters?
STAN LEE: I always felt the company did.
Q. Now, do you recall during the course of that dispute that my nice friend, Mr. Fleischer over there, took your deposition?
STAN LEE: I don't recall it, but I take your word for it. Somebody took it. I don't remember who.
Q. I'm going to show you a portion of that deposition --
STAN LEE: All right.
Q. And when Mr. Kirby said in that interview we just heard that "The editor always has the last word on that," is that -- you agree with that?
STAN LEE: Was he referring to the question, Would success spoiled Spider-Man?
Q. No, he was referring to whether Captain America was going to be sent to Viet Nam.
STAN LEE: I didn't hear that. Well, yes. I -- if Captain America had been in this country, and one of the writers decided, hey, I think I'd like to send him to Viet Nam and let him be part of the Vietnamese war or whatever, then I would have had to say okay. Or I might have said to the writer, no, I'd rather keep him here.
Q. So you agree with Mr. Kirby that the editor always has the last word on that?
MR. TOBEROFF: Counsel, are you going to be providing me at this deposition with a copy of these excerpts?
MR. QUINN: You have a copy of the excerpts in your hand.
MR. TOBEROFF: They're all --
MR. QUINN: We're going to listen to them all together.
S. LEE: "...placed and where the captions go. And then the script goes to the inker. It's lettered, of course. And I have it proofread and that's it. I proofread it myself really if it's my own story."
MR. QUINN: Is that consistent -- that's your voice, isn't it?
STAN LEE: What I could hear sounded right, the dialogue and the captions. And it goes to the -- yeah, that was me.
Q. And that was the method you used?
Q. Let's go to the next excerpt, this one from the archives is marked as NYU-TV and dated March 16th, 1972. (Audio recording playing. Reported as follows:)
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: "Good morning. I wonder if you could tell us who you are and what you do, for people that don't know."
STAN LEE: "My name is Stan Lee, and I produce comic books. There are 50 million reasons why we change artists. Sometimes we do it because the book isn't selling well to hype up sales. Sometimes we do it because an artist is simply tired of the job. He says, if you don't take me off this thing, I will go out of my skull, and I want to do something else.

"Sometimes we do it it's like falling dominos. An artist is late or is sick, and his book is late, so we have to take an artist off this strip to do that book quickly to make the printing date. So we have to take another artist off this book to do this book which this artist came off. Now we have to take an artist off this book to do this book, and it goes right down the line."
MR. QUINN: Again, is that your voice we just heard?
STAN LEE: Yeah, that was definitely me.
Q. And is that consistent with your recollection as to how you dealt with artists during that period of time?
STAN LEE: Well, I caught the falling dominos part. I really couldn't understand what came ahead of it, but the falling dominos was correct.
Q. And what do you recollect about the falling dominos?
STAN LEE: Well, it was like if an artist couldn't do one book, you had to take another artist and give him that book, but then that artist had to be replaced on his book by another artist. And you had to keep shuffling them around.
Q. And who was in charge of shuffling them around?
STAN LEE: Well, I was.
Q. Now we have a video. This one is dated --
STAN LEE: That might be easier to hear.
Q. We can hope. This one is dated from January 12th, 2000. And according to the archives in Wyoming, University of Wyoming, it is an interview video that was done and distributed by the, I guess, Disney Feature Animation. Why don't we play this one. (Video recording playing. Reported as follows:)
STAN LEE: "Years later, Jack came back."
Q. You testified at some length over the last few hours about the manner in which characters were created at Marvel.
Q. Those three you have no clear recollection of --
STAN LEE: That's right.
Q. -- one way or the other?
STAN LEE: That's right.
Q. The question I have for you really is very
STAN LEE: Mm-hmm.
Q. And was that same method used in connection with the creation of the characters that are set forth on Schedule A?
STAN LEE: I'm sorry, would you say the last part of that?
Q. Was the same method used in the creation of the characters that are set forth on Schedule A?
STAN LEE: Oh, yeah. Sure.
Q. It was the same kind of method?
STAN LEE: Right.
MR. TOBEROFF: Are you referring to the Marvel method?
MR. QUINN: The methodology that he's testified to over the last several hours is what I'm
(break in testimony)
STAN LEE: "So I tried to write these -- knowing Jack would read them, I tried to write them to make it look as if he and I were just doing everything together, to make him feel good. And we were doing it together.
But with something like Galactus, it was me who said, "I want to do a demigod. I want to call him Galactus."
Jack said it was a great idea, and he drew a wonderful one and he did a great job on it. But in writing the book, I wanted to make it look as if we did it together. So I said we were both thinking about it, and we came up with Galactus.

"I didn't know it would be a subject of a court case later and that everything had to be precise. But I've written a lot of things, that you do it for the image. Everything I did was for image. I didn't lie, but I tried to make the artists look good. I tried to make the inkers look good.

"Whenever I wrote about them, I wrote that they were the great -- one great example is the bullpen. We didn't have a bullpen. We had one lousy big room with a production person and two letterers in my office next to it.
But in my columns, I said, "You should see the Marvel bullpen. There's Jack and there's John Romita." 
STAN LEE: Oh, no. That sounds like me.
Q. And when did Jack leave Marvel?
STAN LEE: I don't know. I don't know the year. I'm sure it's easy to find out. I just don't know.
Q. And why did Jack leave Marvel?
STAN LEE: I think he was dissatisfied with something or thought he'd make more money somewhere else or felt he wasn't getting enough credit. I don't know.
Q. You don't know what he was dissatisfied with?
STAN LEE: Not really. He never told me. He may have just been tired of having his name always linked with mine. Because when he went to DC, he did things on his own. He wrote and he illustrated his own books. So that may have been what he wanted to do.
MR. QUINN: Again, don't speculate. If you don't know, you don't know.
THE WITNESS: Oh, okay.
MR. TOBEROFF: I'd like to mark as Exhibit 44 excerpts from David Anthony Kraft's Comics Interview, Magazine Number 85, which is published in 1990. (Whereupon, Defendants' Exhibit Number LEE 44 was marked for identification.)
MR. TOBEROFF: Q. Please turn to Page 83, and go to the first column on Page 83, about halfway down the page – a little more than halfway down the page.

You're quoted as saying, "You know, very often, in fact, most of the time after we got started, the artist did most of the plotting. I would just give him a one-liner, like, 'Let's feature Dr. Doom and he goes back in time' or something. And whoever the artist was, he'd practically do the whole story. But when I would get the artwork back, and I had to put the copy in, very often there were things that I thought didn't work or were foolish or didn't make sense or something.

"Instead of having the artist redraw and go through a lot of trouble, the thing that was the most fun for me was to find out how I could take that discordant element in the story and make it seem as if we purposefully did that to embellish the story. You know what I mean? And turn it into a good story point. It was like doing a crossword puzzle."

Do you have any reason to believe you didn't say that?
STAN LEE: No. I'm proud of that. That was pretty clever.
Q. And does that accurately describe a successful Marvel method?
STAN LEE: Yes. With some artists. Some artists I had
MR. QUINN:  You recall that Mr. Toberoff asked you some questions in connection with Spider-Man, and there was some testimony that you gave regarding the fact that you -- the original pages that Kirby had drawn -Mr. Kirby had drawn with regard to Spider-Man, that you had rejected them?
STAN LEE: Right.
Q. And you decided to use Ditko, Steve Ditko, instead?
STAN LEE: Right.
Q. Did Mr. Kirby get paid for those rejected pages?
Q. And did you have a practice at that time with regard to paying artists even when the pages were rejected by you or required large changes?
STAN LEE: Any artists that drew anything that I had asked him or her to draw at my behest, I paid them for it. If it wasn't good, we wouldn't use it. But I asked them to draw it, so I did pay them.
Q. I'm going to jump around a little bit.
STAN LEE: You have some filing system.
Q. I do.
STAN LEE: You embellished on that already, so I don't need that. You can save that one.

You were asked some questions about an interview you gave, which is recorded in Lee Exhibit 37. And specifically you had stated in that interview with regard to Kirby that "he was incredibly imaginative and he did his most important writing with his drawing. When I say that, I mean that if -- that if I gave Jack a very brief idea of what I wanted for a story, he would run with it"?
STAN LEE: That's right.
Q. And was there ever a circumstance where Jack, on his own, came up with a character, or was it always a circumstance that, however brief your discussion with him was, it came before he actually drew anything?
STAN LEE: Oh, no. In the process of drawing the strip, issue after issue after issue, he would occasionally come up with a new character. Sure. All the artists did.
Q. With regard to the creation of the characters in question here which you testified about, did the ideas come from Mr. Kirby, or were you the one who came up with the ideas for these characters?
STAN LEE: You mean –
MR. TOBEROFF: Objection. Leading.
BY MR. QUINN: Q. You can answer.
STAN LEE: Positions are reversed. Yes, I was referring -- when -- I forgot the question. I'm sorry.
MR. QUINN: Okay. Read the question back.
Q. Listen to it carefully.
STAN LEE: Okay. (Record read as follows: "Q With regard to the creation of the characters in question here which you testified about, did the ideas come from Mr. Kirby, or were you the one who came up with the ideas for these characters?")
MR. TOBEROFF: Well. Objection as to form.
STAN LEE: I came up with the original concept of the character, and then I would discuss it with Kirby or Ditko or whoever it was.
BY MR. QUINN: Q. So that would be true of The Mighty Thor?
Q. And Spider-Man?
Q. So if Mr. Kirby were to say, or somebody on his behalf were to say, that he created the idea of Spider-Man and came to you with it, would that be right or wrong?
STAN LEE: No. That's wrong.
Q. Now, Mr. Toberoff showed you an interview from WBIA radio in March of 1967 in which he showed you an excerpt from what some of the -- one thing you said, but he didn't show you what followed directly after that. And let me read to you what followed directly after that in Stan Lee Number 36.
This is the questioner, and this time it is JK, that would be Jack Kirby, talking. And this is in the context of Thor.

He says, "Well, not homework in the sense I went home one night and I really concentrated on it. All through the years, certainly, I've had a kind of affection for any mythological type of character and my conception of what they should look like."

And then he says, "And here, Stan gave me the opportunity to draw one." Stan would be you?
STAN LEE: Right.
Q. And then he says, "And I wasn't going to draw back from letting myself go." Is that consistent with your recollection that it was you who gave Mr. Kirby the opportunity to draw
Q. So that's not a reference to the creation of the characters?
MR. TOBEROFF: Leading.
MR. QUINN: And looking at Lee Number 34, "Son of Origins," that you wrote, Mr. Toberoff asked you some questions about something you wrote on Page 14, but he left out this part, where you wrote, speaking of, I believe, the X-Men, "No sooner did I discuss the basic premise with Jack, than we were off and running."

Is that consistent with your recollection that before Jack did any drawing, you gave him the basic premise?
MR. TOBEROFF: Leading.
MR. QUINN: Q. Did Mr. Kirby ever begin work on a book published by Marvel before you had assigned him that work?
MR. TOBEROFF: Leading.
STAN LEE: At least mine are one-word answers now.
MR. QUINN: By the way, I think you -- there was some questioning about a man by the name of Sal Brodsky. Do you remember Mr. Brodsky?
STAN LEE: Yes. (Reporter clarification.)
MR. QUINN: Brodsky, B-R-O-D-S-K-Y. Sal.  Did Sal Brodsky decide either whether or how much people were going to get paid -- people being artists were going to get paid?
Q. Whose job was it to decide whether they would be paid and how much?
STAN LEE: Mine. And, of course, Martin Goodman's, whenever he bothered.
Q. Did Mr. Kirby bring you sketches of The Fantastic Four before you and he had talked about doing The Fantastic Four?
Q. And was part of your job at Marvel, when you were editor in chief, to set deadlines for the artists?
STAN LEE: Always.
Q. How did that work?
STAN LEE: Oh, I received a schedule from somebody in the company whose job that was, who worked with the printer, when the printer would need each book.

Then it was up to me to figure out who should write it, who should draw it and give them enough time so that I would get the completed book in time to send it to the printer.

So, for example, if I had a book that was due quickly, I would give it to Jack, who was very fast. I wouldn't give it to another artist who was slower. And it was always a matter of production and deadlines.
Q. I'm not going to go over testimony you've given in the prior deposition, but I do have one question.
To your knowledge, was anything in The Fantastic Four based on a previous work by Kirby called "Challenges of the Unknown"?
STAN LEE: No. I had never -- to this day I've never read "Challenges of the Unknown," and I really know nothing about it, except that there is or was a book of that title.
Q. And to your knowledge, was the idea for Spider-Man something that Kirby brought to you based on his previous work on something called "The Fly"?
Q. Now, when you -- when you were serving as an editor at Marvel, in the period 1958 to 1963, you were paid a salary as an editor?
Q. And how were you paid for your work as a writer on the comics?
STAN LEE: I was paid on a freelance basis, like any freelance writer.
Q. And does that mean you were paid by the page?
Q. And was it your belief that because Marvel had bought that work from you, that they owned all right, title and interest in the work?
STAN LEE: Yes, I did believe that.
MR. TOBEROFF: I'm done.
MR. QUINN: Okay. I have nothing further.
MR. LIEBERMAN: You may leave, Mr. Lee.


Anonymous said…
Interesting thing here is we see Lee giving Kirby even less credit than he ever has before.
Note that in part Lee is questioned about prior statements in interviews, as well as the Origins books, and Lee says he only said he and Kirby had worked on the characters together because he knew Kirby would read the books, and he, "wanted to make Jack feel good."
If you read carefully you'll see Lee is now crediting the artists only with creating nameless characters like villagers in a crowd scene, or the patrons in a bar.
This will become even more apparent when we get to see the cross examination by Toberoff, which is almost absent from the testimony Disney included in their motion.
Daniel Best said…
I hate to tell you this, but this transcript includes the cross examination by Toberoff. What I've done is taken all of the documents and merged them into one - so all of the deposition, plus cross-examination, is there, well, all that's been released at the moment...
Anonymous said…
Dan, Look at the page numbers at the top of the documents; there are huge jumps in all the depositions that Disney posted. There is only a tiny fragment of Toberoff's cross in the deposition. Most of what you see from him are objections during Quinn's direct.
On top of that Toberoff must have taken a deposition from Stan on another occasion. There is a filing at Justia where the court rules that Toberoff will be allowed to depose Lee later in the discovery process.
Disney had tried to argue that Stan was old and infirm, and Toberoff's deposition should be taken at Lee's convenience, the Judge ruled that based of Lee's hectic schedual, "concerns about Mr. Lee's health appear to be overstated."
So we've seen almost nothing from Toberoff yet.
But you're right, it's all that's been released at the moment.
Anonymous said…
Dan, BTW it isn't my intent to dispute you on the blog here, so there's no need to post or respond to my comments.
I'm more interested in figuring out if you've found stuff I haven't seen.
It's interesting that Toberoff used almost nothing in his motion.
I just can't beleive Toberoff had almost no questions for any of these guys, so that would explain the huge gaps between page numbers.
My guess is Toberoff's cross ran around 250 pages.
Daniel Best said…
No, it's fine, although I wouldn't mind knowing who I'm talking to...heh

Certainly during the Evanier testimony, sections of which have been subject to a motion to exclude, there's some lively cross-examination. There's also some cross-examination for Roy Thomas, as you'll see, but it seems that Stan's cross examination didn't make the cut - although I'll dig little deeper tonight and see if there's anything I might have missed.

I expect that a deal might well be done for a certain publication to run the depositions in their entirety (although that was denied during a deposition, but such deals are often done after the fact), but we'll have to wait for that.
mr ed said…
Dan here's what I came up with.
Take a look at this cut and paste from your post of the deposition.

MR. TOBEROFF: Are you referring to the Marvel method?
MR. QUINN: The methodology that he's testified to over the last several hours is what I'm
(break in testimony)
STAN LEE: "So I tried to write these -- knowing Jack would read them, I tried to write them to make it look as if he and I were just doing everything together, to make him feel good. And we were doing it together.
But with something like Galactus, it was me who said, "I want to do a demigod. I want to call him Galactus."
Jack said it was a great idea, and he drew a wonderful one and he did a great job on it. But in writing the book, I wanted to make it look as if we did it together. So I said we were both thinking about it, and we came up with Galactus.

Okay, now if you see where it says,

"MR. QUINN: The methodology that he's testified to over the last several hours is what I'm
(break in testimony)"

That part of the quote is at the bottom of page 145 from the deposition at Justia.
Then if you look at the next part of the quote you posted:

"So I tried to write these -- knowing Jack would read them, I tried to write them to make it look as if he and I were just doing everything together, to make him feel good. And we were doing it together"

That is the top of page 331 of the deposition.
So There is apparently a chunk of 186 missing pages.
Disney included only 101 of the 396 pages in their filing.
Here's my list.
One more thing I have learned is to date Ditko has not given a statement.
Anonymous said…
Whoever the first Anonymous is....

Are you KIDDING ME!? Stan pretty much gives COMPLETE credit for the creation of the Silver Surfer to Kirby. And goes through EVERY character explaining he came up with the basic outline and the artists brought them to life on the page on their own. Seems like the perfect sharing of credit between writer and artist to me. He gushes that Kirby was the BEST Marvel had.

As far as the villagers in crowd scenes goes...He was demonstrating that the artists had the opportunity to create other characters besides the ones he gave them. Sometimes they'd turn into something big, like the Silver Surfer. Sometimes they'd just be background. He was explaining how it worked, not taking a shot at the artists. You're looking for something that isn't there pal.

Why don't you stop talking s**t about people and events you weren't involved with and know NOTHING about.
Michael Hill said…
Hi Dan, is this the right place? Still looks like hundreds of pages are missing (the ones in Mr Ed's list).
Henry R. Kujawa said…
"Q. Now, did you have an understanding at the time or did you come to have an understanding as to why Simon and Kirby were let go?
STAN LEE: I didn't know at the time, but I have heard much later from a number of different people that it had something to do with -- they were supposed to have been working exclusively for Martin Goodman, and he found out they had, I think, been doing some work for some other company. Something like that."


Joe Simon secured a deal with DC when he found out (from Goodman's accountant!) that Goodman was "cooking the books" to HIDE contractually-agreed-upon royalties on CAPTAIN AMERICA. They didn't just start working elsewhere, were found out, and got fired-- they QUIT because Gooman was a LYING SLEAZEBAG CROOK.

And how did Goodman find out? LEE TOLD HIM. So LEE got Simon & Kirby "fired", AND, got a HUGE promotion out of it.

WHAT A SCUM. And right from the start, too.

See, THIS is why publishers should NOT be allowed to own characters. Only CREATORS should be allowed to own characters. If S&K had a falling-out with their DIRTBAG publisher, they should have had the option to take CAPTAIN AMERICA over to DC with them-- or anywhere else they decided to go.
Michael Hill said…
Dan, your blog has been portrayed as unbiased regarding court cases because it presents just the court documents with no editorial comment. Your perspective is that you let the documents speak for themselves. Above, however, you've made a number of misleading statements and have come across as perhaps a little biased.

"the Kirby estate is suing Marvel..."

Marvel sued the Kirby family. Please note the designation Plaintiff and Defendant on any of the court documents you've pasted, or here:

"The most interesting of these are those by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Roy Thomas and John Romita. I say 'most interesting' because unlike others such as Mark Evanier and John Morrow, those four were actually at Marvel at the time when Kirby, Lee and others were creating the characters in question."

This is a falsehood. The time in question was 1958-1963:

Thomas and Romita were not there for the creation of any of the characters in question. Take a look at these objections of Marc Toberoff's in the Romita deposition, as posted on your blog:

"Objection to 1960s as -- do you mean after 1965 when he worked there?"
"I am just going to make a running objection so I don't have to interrupt the flow of this. When you say 'in the '60s,' my objection is we are really talking about after 1965, so I am going to have a running objection. Whenever you say 'in the '60s,' my objection is it's vague as to time."
...and also every time he objects with "Vague as to time."

From the Roy Thomas deposition (your blog):

MR. TOBEROFF:: Objection to 1960s again. We have a standing objection. 1960s means --
MS. KLEINICK: It's a standing objection.
MR. TOBEROFF:: -- after July 1965; is that correct?
ROY THOMAS:: I always meant it to be.
MS. KLEINICK: You made the standing objection.
MR. TOBEROFF:: I understand, but I don't want the record to look like he's talking about the early 1960s when he wasn't there.
MS. KLEINICK: You made your objection.
ROY THOMAS:: I understand it as being from '64 on, because I wouldn't know anything about an earlier period. I wouldn't have been paying as much attention.

So your statement would better be worded, "Interesting despite the fact that, like Evanier and Morrow, Thomas and Romita were not there at the time of the creation of the characters in question."

From above:
"...anything that Kirby worked on at Marvel in the 1960s, and, in the case of The Amazing Spider-Man, didn't work on, well, not that we saw."

Dan, the other eyewitnesses both maintain that Kirby had first crack at this character; Ditko in writing, even. Your statement amounts to a dismissal of the eyewitness accounts already in the public record.
Michael Hill said…
Above and in your March 20, 2012 post, you maintain that you're presenting the entirety of Lee's depositions as they've "been presented to the courts at large." To excuse gaps, you write: "Suffice to say the frustration of not knowing what was said, or reading a deposition and seeing it cut off just when you find it leading towards something very interesting is maddening. Still, such is life and you quickly learn to deal with it by not speculating or trying to fill in any gaps."

This is misrepresentative. The content of your later post was recorded on 13 May 2010 (part of which is represented above), and the rest on 8 December 2010 (again, only part of which is reproduced above, and none in your later, "complete" post). You can see the two dates listed in the first two pages of this exhibit:

The missing pages from the 8 December deposition have been kept "confidential pursuant to protective order" by Disney.

As to your balanced and impartial blog, statements like these (from your March 2012 post) seem to stray from that goal:
"If there's one person... the Kirby camp, and Kirby supporters, globally, resent - nay - outright hate - it's Stan Lee... that fact still enrages Kirby supporters... Certainly Stan is just another name for Satan in the view of the Kirby family and supporters who feel that Lee created nothing, wrote nothing and took both money and credit away from Jack Kirby..."

I agree with Tom Stewart in his comment on that post. You're creating an imaginary opposition to your "impartial" position for the purpose of demonizing your critics. As a Kirby supporter, I know of no one who believes Lee did nothing.

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