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The team up you never expected to see! Together for the first time on one pulsating panel!
July 25, 2008 11:44 AM   Subscribe

"I think we should get paid for it, don't you, Stan?" "I'll do what I usually do: he'll do all the work and I'll take all the credit." Stan Lee, comics legend, and Grant Morrison, fan favourite writer, sparring with each other.
posted by Artw (52 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I really like a lot of Grant Morrison's books (especially Seaguy, The Invisibles, and the note-perfect All-Star Superman), but I just can't see enjoying a work that is only available on cell phones. I hope I can read/watch/whatever it in some other form.

Also, Stan Lee has developed his performance as the character known as Stan Lee into an art form. I wouldn't be surprised if he's been doing his schtick for so long that he's like that at the dinner table. Excelsior!
posted by joelhunt at 11:59 AM on July 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I expect this to get more interesting as the day goes on.
posted by Tehanu at 12:00 PM on July 25, 2008


Stan Lee 1973!
posted by Artw at 12:01 PM on July 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


The FPP made it sound like they were going at each other tooth and nail. The article makes it clear that they were having a good time joking with each other, and that Stan Lee has a good sense of humor.
posted by blahblahblah at 12:03 PM on July 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


The video is from Comic-Con NYC in May. Is there any video of the actual discussion?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:08 PM on July 25, 2008


It smells like Cheetos and Sprite in here.
posted by not_on_display at 12:10 PM on July 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


The video is from Comic-Con NYC in May.

Oops. Thought that was a bit quick. [redface]
posted by Artw at 12:10 PM on July 25, 2008


That's less of an article as it is a play-by-play.
posted by yhbc at 12:12 PM on July 25, 2008


Can we drop that last link and fix the "with"? Pretty please!
posted by Artw at 12:14 PM on July 25, 2008


It smells like Cheetos and Sprite in here.

Lured you in, didn't it?
posted by Tehanu at 12:15 PM on July 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Morrison isn't a bad writer by any stretch of the imagination, but I'd still rank him fourth behind Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Warren Ellis. I'm sorry; I can't think of "The Coyote Gospel," from Morrison's run on Animal Man, as anything but a second-rate rip-off of Moore's story "Pog" from Swamp Thing.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:36 PM on July 25, 2008


Morrison isn't a bad writer by any stretch of the imagination, but I'd still rank him fourth behind Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Warren Ellis.

You probably need to read more of...everything, by each of those writers. Morrison's come a long way since Animal Man. And Gaiman and Ellis, since the work they're best known for...um...haven't come a long way at all.

Moore, obviously, is Moore, and cannot be fucked with.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:42 PM on July 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


Ellis, while a decent writer, tends to just string together a few bits of shocking with a sprinkle or two of cutting edge technology and then calls it a day. Essentially he's the Cory Doctorow of comics.

Morrison, to me is mining something a lot deeper and weirder with his writing. When The Invisibles was kicking on all cylinders, it had so much going on in it (enough so that there's even an annotation for it).

Even when he's off his game, Morrison is still putting out something that at least isn't boring.
posted by drezdn at 1:07 PM on July 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ah, Warren Ellis. I’ll agree his early career is really kind of great – a really fresh new voice, very sharp, not afraid to be nasty or to turn things on their heads… and then somewhere along the way, and I suspect the internet had a lot to do with this, he squandered it all. These days when he bothers putting out a comic it’s almost always some alarming mish-mash of stock characters, bits cribbed from New Scientist and Web 2.0 trends. He’s rather easy to poke fun at now, what with the ego and all, but really I’d love to see the old spark return.
posted by Artw at 1:07 PM on July 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


..and Alan Moore knows the score, obviously. Riffs, yeah!
posted by Artw at 1:09 PM on July 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Well put, Artw.
posted by drezdn at 1:10 PM on July 25, 2008


Can u dig it?
posted by drezdn at 1:10 PM on July 25, 2008


Can we drop that last link and fix the "with"? Pretty please!

Done. The misidentified May video, for posterity: Comic-Con NYC.
posted by cortex at 1:12 PM on July 25, 2008


Cheers!
posted by Artw at 1:15 PM on July 25, 2008


Also, it could be worse for Ellis, he could be Mark Millar (same deal but substitute "for-laughts-bu-is-t? right wing politics" and "anal sex" for "New Scientist" and "Web 2.0 trends".)
posted by Artw at 1:17 PM on July 25, 2008


I like to think that's just how Stan Lee really is. I think he behaves that way in public cuz that's how he wants us to think, and I'm cool with going along with that. He's the best Editor In Chief ever, and the greatest Concept Man when it comes to the superhero genre. I've enjoyed many of his stories.

Please note that as big of an ego that he has, or pretends to have, he has made it VERY clear repeatedly that he is a CO-creator, and has gone out of his way to toot the horns of people like Kirby and Ditko whenever possible. Maybe this is cuz he fears their lawyers, but I like to think it's cuz he honestly sincerely wants to share the limelight with the men who took his ideas and breathed life into them on the printed page.

Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, Daredevil, Dr. Strange, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men. Has any comic book writer or director before or since been that consistently prolific, lucky, ingenious, and entertaining all at the same time? Granted, many of his creations achieved iconic status long after Lee passed their batons to other runners. Still, he was damn good at planting the seeds.

Morrison's "All-Star Superman" made me wanna gag.

Gaiman. Moore. Ellis. *nods* They're okay.

Marv Wolfman's still my favorite comic writer ever. I Vampire. New Teen Titans. Vigilante. His contributions to Crisis on Infinite Earths (accept no substitutes). Back in the 80s, the man was infallible.

I understand I'm dating myself. I understand I'm in the minority. I like it here. Wolfman rules! All others, past, present, or future, droolz.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:35 PM on July 25, 2008


Web 2.0 trends

X-Men on Twitter? Is that a real site, or some parody?

Somewhat off-topic, but the best Web 2.0-ish comic ever is a Donald Duck episode from 2003/2004, written by Byron Erickson, which pitched an Internet-powered Donald against Huey, Dewey, and Louie equipped with the Woodchucks Guidebook. Quoting Donald,
"I've entered the information age. I read twenty newspapers on the Internet and subscribe to dozens of RSS-channels. /.../ To be on the safe side, I've gotten myself a PDA with a wireless satellite connection. If anyone brings up a topic I'm not up to date with, I can go online in an instant to find out what I'm supposed to think!"
Kind of summarizes it all.
posted by effbot at 1:41 PM on July 25, 2008


He's the best Editor In Chief ever, and the greatest Concept Man when it comes to the superhero genre.

Yes, and that concept was, "Get the artists to come up with some characters."

Please note that as big of an ego that he has, or pretends to have, he has made it VERY clear repeatedly that he is a CO-creator, and has gone out of his way to toot the horns of people like Kirby and Ditko whenever possible.

This is untrue.

Marv Wolfman's still my favorite comic writer ever. I Vampire.

Marv Wolfman did not write "I, Vampire."

/ comics nerd
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:42 PM on July 25, 2008


X-Men on Twitter? Is that a real site, or some parody?

Oh how I wish it were parody.
posted by Artw at 1:53 PM on July 25, 2008


"This is untrue."

Multiple times in interviews I've witnessed Stan Lee mention how he collaborated with others and didn't invent these characters out of whole cloth. He acknowledges he had help. The argument some have is just how much Stan Lee had to do with the details.

This is like the silliness behind Al Gore allegedly claiming he invented the Internet. He didn't, but he was a young voice in congress at the time when .mil was losing interest and .edu was gaining interest. Gore was one of the congresspeople who helped the Internet along in its early stages. Just how much 'help' has been open to debate for so long it's tiresome and boring, but he was there in the early days.

Stan Lee doesn't claim to be THE creator. He has said multiple times he's a co-creator. So what I said IS very true.

"Marv Wolfman did not write 'I, Vampire'."

Awww crap. I meant Tomb of Dracula. I'm old and I read that a long time ago.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:01 PM on July 25, 2008


Morrison is obviously great because he's a) magic and b) bonkers... (the same, of course, applies to Alan Moore)

Ellis is a sad shadow of his former self - 'the Cory Doctorow of comics' totally nails it
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:03 PM on July 25, 2008


Please note that as big of an ego that he has, or pretends to have, [Stan Lee] has made it VERY clear repeatedly that he is a CO-creator, and has gone out of his way to toot the horns of people like Kirby and Ditko whenever possible

Bullshit. There was a BBC Four special last year called "In Search of Steve Ditko" in which Stan Lee said that while he is happy to share co-creator credit with Steve Ditko publicly, he very clearly doesn't think Ditko actually did anything to help in the creation of Spider-Man.

And he came to this position only after Ditko hounded him for years to acknowledge his role in creating Spider-Man's costume, Spidey sense, web shooters, etc.
posted by turaho at 2:19 PM on July 25, 2008


TurAho: "blah blah blah blah blah"

STAN LEE IS A SAINT!
posted by ZachsMind at 2:29 PM on July 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh and I think Stan Lee is a bit of a bastard... a very talented and charismatic bastard, but a bastard all the same.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:29 PM on July 25, 2008


Well, as editors who rose to prominence pre-Code go he wasn’t all that bad: he wasn’t *actually* a gangster or pornographer, as far as I know. His job at Marvel was basically to Make Stuff Happen, and he did an excellent job of that.
posted by Artw at 2:35 PM on July 25, 2008


I really like Morrison. As for Ellis:
HE SAYS THAT IF MY NAME'S "ARMOR" THEN HIS NAME IS "CLAWS" AND MS FROST'S NAME IS "BRAIN" AND MS ROGUE'S NAME IS "SUCK."
... makes me laugh. Yeah, it's his stock tone, but it's funny.
posted by Pronoiac at 2:42 PM on July 25, 2008


Like Morrison said, what Lee did that was smart and lasting was make superhero comics over into soap operas (i.e., "the character stuff and the shared universe"). Whether the shared universe was really Stan -- because how much of the plotting he really did is a matter of question (I'm guessing, for instance, that Steve Ditko was more or less plotting Spider-Man before he ever got a credit for doing so) -- I don't know, but if that was him, then he deserves credit for something pretty fundamental to the enduring popularity of these stories. (As well as, indirectly, the daunting mountains of continuity that make such stories increasingly impenetrable to new readers.)

And I'd say he definitely does deserve credit for the "character stuff" -- all you have to do is look at Ditko's solo work to see what Stan brought to the table there. (I tend to prefer Kirby written by Kirby, actually, though there's no question for me that Fantastic Four is the highlight of the Marvel heyday, and that it would have been a very different book without Stan's scripting.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:52 PM on July 25, 2008


"This isn't an argument this is contradiction!" - Michael Palin

(although I think that particular skit had actually been written by Graham Chapman & John Cleese, although Cleese would deny Chapman had any involvement, and Chapman's dead so he's not going to argue the point, but we all know Cleese couldn't find a punchline without Chapman's help. Just look at Fawlty Towers! What a travesty that was! Goodness!)
posted by ZachsMind at 3:01 PM on July 25, 2008


..and Alan Moore knows the score, obviously.

When he's not worshipping snake gods, I suppose.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:22 PM on July 25, 2008


Morrison isn't a bad writer by any stretch of the imagination, but I'd still rank him fourth behind Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Warren Ellis. I'm sorry; I can't think of "The Coyote Gospel," from Morrison's run on Animal Man, as anything but a second-rate rip-off of Moore's story "Pog" from Swamp Thing.

Cat amongst the pigeons, but, y'know, Miller? OK, as a 'lapsed' comics fan I'm told he has sucked the biggest for a good ten years but hey - Batman Year One, Born Again, Elektra Assassin (my personal fave) and,er, to be obvious, The Dark Knight Returns?

Maybe I'm still reeling from my second viewing of the DK movie. This is possible.

But yeah, NO-ONE fucks with Moore. That is gospel.
posted by Mintyblonde at 5:15 PM on July 25, 2008


There was a BBC Four special last year called "In Search of Steve Ditko"

*Cough*
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:28 PM on July 25, 2008


I used to think Grant Morrison must be pretty cool...

Then I found out that he actualy believes in all the wierd-ass shit he writes about. I don't mean he "believes in his work" in that he's very dedicated and won't compromise... I mean he actually believes in magic and gods and the ability to change reality.

Dude is seriously cuckoo.
posted by vertigo25 at 9:30 AM on July 26, 2008


TurAho: "...while he is happy to share co-creator credit with Steve Ditko publicly, he very clearly doesn't think Ditko actually did anything..."

*Cough*
posted by ZachsMind at 9:40 AM on July 26, 2008


*Cough*
posted by ZachsMind at 9:42 AM on July 26, 2008


TurAho: "Bullshit..."

FearfulSymmetry: "Oh and I think Stan Lee is a bit of a bastard... a very talented and charismatic bastard, but a bastard all the same."

Maybe you have heard him say something in the distant past that made you unhappy, but he has since repeatedly given credit where credit is due. More importantly, Stan Lee is a nice guy, and does not deserve anyone's scorn. Maybe he's not AS nice and he pretends to be when he knows the camera is on him. Maybe when he's certain no one's looking he kicks puppies and drowns kittens.

If you still think he's a bastard or you hold some kind of grudge against him cuz he misspoke many years ago, the only person who is experiencing that bile and negativity is you. You ain't affecting him with any of it, cuz he's moved on, and is still exercising that brain of his and working on new ideas.

'Nuff said.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:57 AM on July 26, 2008


Stan Lee and Grant Morriosn on youtube - for reals this time!
posted by Artw at 11:06 AM on July 26, 2008


Zach, I really think you need to know a little bit more about what you're talking about before you go and, y'know, talk. The enmity between Lee and his collaborators is well-known, going back decades and extending to right now; you could find a million sites that expound on it through a Google search. Stan is a very likable personality, and there's no question he actually did contribute to the early Marvels, but the situation is not as simple as you would like it to be, it doesn't boil down to whether he ever "misspoke," and basically, you don't seem to get it or want to get it. Which is fine, but you may as well give up on convincing people who actually know the history of these things that you're talking sense, because you aren't, and they know better. This, um, generally applies to non-comics subjects, too, as an FYI.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:57 PM on July 26, 2008


the only person who is experiencing that bile and negativity is you

No, Steve Ditko is pretty pissed too. Find a copy of the comic book/collection of rants that he published earlier this year. He goes over the many different ways that Stan has tried to erase his role in co-creating Spider-Man until the late '90s. Steve is an angry man and I think he has every reason to be.

I'm not going to diminish the affect that Stan Lee had on comics. He surrounded himself with great collaborators and built Marvel into the House of Ideas in the '60s. But his greatest gift is that he knows how to blow just the right amount of smoke up his True Believers' collective asses to get them to ignore his faults and praise him.

Beyond that, the next time you're going to quote me, ("...while he is happy to share co-creator credit with Steve Ditko publicly, he very clearly doesn't think Ditko actually did anything...") at least quote my entire sentence so you don't twist the meaning of what I originally said ("he very clearly doesn't think Ditko actually did anything to help in the creation of Spider-Man.")
posted by turaho at 7:15 AM on July 28, 2008


If you still think he's a bastard or you hold some kind of grudge against him cuz he misspoke many years ago, the only person who is experiencing that bile and negativity is you.

I dunno, Funky Flashman, a vulgar, slick-talking, and exploitive charlatan who "doesn't know the meaning of the words 'Fair Play' or, if he does, he's never bothered to practice it," strikes me as being the product of someone who was pretty darned steamed at Smilin' Stan*.
And his little Roy Thomas, too!

Over the years Stan has become much more open regarding his collaborators' creative contributions, but that wasn't always the case. He's blamed interviewers and reporters for assuming that he and only he was responsible for Spider-Man, Hulk, the Fantastic Four, et al. since he was the spokesman for the House of Ideas and Ditko, Kirby, and the rest of the gang were happy to let him glad hand the press solo. But that doesn't explain why it took him so long to admit that his partners were more than just extremely talented pencil pushers.

Frankly, he can afford to be magnanimous now that he doesn't have a corporate stake in Marvel.

*Though to be fair, it's worth mentioning that Kirby was no saint himself and once wrongheadedly claimed Spider-Man as his own creation.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:36 AM on July 28, 2008


Slightly reated: Tom Spurgeon interviews Blake Bell, author of Strange and Stranger: the World of Steve Ditko.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:39 AM on July 28, 2008


Once you understand that "Spartacus" is actually a latin word that means "I created spiderman", the real allegorical thrust of the film becomes clear.
posted by cortex at 8:46 AM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


kittens for breakfast: And I'd say he definitely does deserve credit for the "character stuff" -- all you have to do is look at Ditko's solo work to see what Stan brought to the table there.

I'm responding three days later, but have you seen Stan Lee's work in the past two decades? It's embarrassing. As for Ditko, I know someone who likes Mr. A spouting objectivist philosophy.
posted by Pronoiac at 9:51 AM on July 28, 2008


You know, if anyone’s got a right to sit back and coast on their reputation, it's Stan Lee. Plus his most important work right now is just turning up in things and being Stan Lee, which he does excellently.

(er, I'll probably be giving his mobile phone comic thing a miss)
posted by Artw at 10:22 AM on July 28, 2008


Grant Morrison interview

Mark Waid, Grant Morrison and Brad Meltzer on how to save the Superman movie franchise
posted by Artw at 10:35 AM on August 12, 2008


Note: The Grant Morrison interview (which I'll watch later) is a video with auto-play turned on.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:50 AM on August 12, 2008


Oops, probably should have mentioned that.
posted by Artw at 10:51 AM on August 12, 2008


Also, he claims that Superman is "totally stupid" and implies that he has had intimate knowledge of Ma Kent.
posted by cortex at 10:55 AM on August 12, 2008


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