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Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Ahh, The Moore Question

Some months back I posted a remark on a You tube video in which Alan Moore talked completely inaccurate bollocks about that 'great thief" of creators ideas Stan Lee.

Everyone KNOWS Lee has an awful memory -its almost as legendary as his name. I have seen a couple interviews in which he says "My memory is awful: if you want to say I created the character go ahead -I don't know!"  There was an amusing Alter Ego interview with Lee in which Roy Thomas asked Lee questions but had to answer them himself because Lee just couldn't remember.

Lee has also put into writing that Ditko is co-creator of Spider-Man. That is correct.

Now, unless you read one of those badly researched or pure out to malign Lee articles then you would know the facts. In fact, even in critical articles/books Lee comes out as having always stuck by his guns and not being the villain (seriously, Lee was not the boss of Marvel).

Anyway, months after posting my comments some screeching little tit has come along to challenge me on poor or no research.  Oh my words did he pick on the wrong person to accuse of that!

Anyway, I re-iterated my comment. I also stated that I did not think You Tube comments was a place to discuss this topic (it just is not).  I invited this person to identify him/herself rather than use a silly pseudonym -that is plain cowardly if you are going to call names.

As it happens he/she has not identified themselves nor provided reference/proof of their assertion -other than Moore's diatribe.

Just No response. I win.

For the record: challenge me on a comment anywhere AT THE TIME and not months later.  However, only do so if you are willing to actually identify yourself. I will not waste my time debating with an anonymous weasel.  I'm open -you should be.


  1. Actually, Terry, what Stan did was send Ditko a letter, in which he said that if Steve wanted to consider himself the co-creator of Spider-Man, then that was fine by him. Ditko, understandably, wasn't too impressed, saying that wasn't quite the same thing as stating that he IS the co-creator. Stan obviously believes himself to be the SOLE creator of the concept, but Steve is undeniably co-creator of how that finished, fleshed-out, Ditko-visualised concept was presented to the public.

  2. Well, I agree with Stan that if someone comes up with an idea and says "I'll call him Spider-Man" then THAT is the creation of the character. If I handed the idea to, say, Ben Dilworth and said here's the story and character info and he goes off and designs the costume then that, technically is working on the idea given. To me, however, I list it as a joint creation (but I tend to create and design costumes for all my characters). What Stan did was say -and I think it was Kevin Smith quoted the letter during an interview (I know Stan addressed the issue a couple times in writing)- Steve is co-creator of Spider-Man. I've seen him say this a couple times without prompting and it was Stan that got Steve billing on the movies. The problem is that Stan (originally) was just an employee like others -Steve was a work-for-hire freelancer- so he probably had to0 check with "Legal" because of all the implications. But, though I think its fair to call Ditko the co-creator it is that spark from the person who thought of the idea that is the creation process -Stan has said himself that he's called "the creator of-----" and no problem BUT oft times his memory is awful. There are accounts of him and Kirby acting out scenes from the story -Stan on a table spouting his verbage and then Kirby doing similar (THAT I would pay good money to see!) and Stan has been candid by stating "I have no idea if that was Jack's idea or mine. It all just melted in together!"
    Now, if you listen to Moore, Ditko, who got his ass kicked at DC as well, was robbed. He's some sad old man living in seclusion. Ditko has an office he works from in an expensive area of Manhattan and is far from poor or needy. Now he creates and writes all his own comics. Another quote from Stan: "Steve took this idea of Dr Strange and, boy, did he make that work!"
    In t6hat book looking behind the scenes at Marvel I was waiting -expecting- the Stan Lee expose. In fact, Lee has been constant and stands up as a straight guy who had this idea for Marvel Comics and stood by it -including getting them into movies. Roy Thomas, who I always admired, however, comes out of it all badly.
    BUT, and this is the point: A has an idea for Captain Willy and tells the artist what it's about -THAT is the creation of the character. The artist builds on this and that is the co-creation. So, Ditko, as Lee states, is co-creator but not the creator of the character as he seems to want everyone to believe -and here is the kicker. That is a huge false assumption on our part. Ditko does not give interviews. He does not sit down and tell an interviewer: "You know, Stan Lee shafted me on this. He just calls me a "co-creator" and robbed me of all my work for hire rights!" It is people writing in comics who say all of this. Ditko, apparently, does not even bother with the comics media.
    But, again, Stan's idea and Steve took it to develop. Fair enough "If he wants to consider himself co-creator, fine" --that is not saying he is only co-creator in his own mind but if he wants to call himself that okay -and that is fair. You have the idea then you created the character. Black and white -ask Mr A!!!

  3. Jeez. I never even wanted to get into this conversation...but the topic WAS created by can call yourself co-creator....if you like.

  4. I hear what you're saying, Terry, and agree with it to some point - but it's more complicated than that. Stan came up with an idea for a character called Spider-Man - but that's all it was - an idea. So Stan created the idea, but as Steve Ditko says, an idea is only an idea until it's 'realised' - given form and life. Spider-Man, as the public initially encountered him, was a result of co-operation between Stan and Steve. Ditko created the costume and the web-shooters (and probably more than that), and it's that particular 'look' which was instrumental in the character's success. Had Jack Kirby drawn the character as was the original plan, it might have been a total turkey. As you imply, Stan now has to be cautious about what he says because of the potential legal ramifications, but he'd actually benefit in another way if he were to say outright that Steve was co-creator and not just collaborator. Here's how: Kirby tossed a surf-boarder into an issue of FF who became the Silver Surfer. The comics-buying public's perception of SS is that he's Norrin Radd from the planet Zenn-La, who sacrificed himself to save his home world from Galactus. However, that whole back story was Stan's idea, not Jack's. In that way, the 'finished product' as the public perceive it can be just as much attributed to Stan as to Jack, making them both co-creators of the Surfer. (I believe it was Stan who came up with the name 'Silver Surfer' - Jack had only referred to him as 'the surfer' to identify which character on the page he was referring to.)

    Incidentally, it was on the Jonathan Ross In Search of Steve Ditko programme that Stan talks about his letter to Steve, which is the only time (that I remember) I've heard him mention it, although there are no doubt other instances. That was the occasion I was referring to 'though.

    Unlike Ditko's adopted philosophy, not everything is black and white - sometimes there are shades of grey. (Maybe even as many as fifty.)

  5. Ahh, this could go on forever but you are right re. the look of Spider-Man though there are those who still argue Ditko worked from Kirby roughs (not seen evidence of that). In the UK the situation is very clouded because of the companies and creators not wanting to lose work and money -Mike Western and John Cooper both said it was work for hire. End of story. BUT Gil Page who was THERE says he saw Jerry Siegels credited script for The Spider -yet several others have claimed credit for the characters creation in recent years -Gadgetman and Gimmick Kid was another of his. And as I pointed out before Alan Moore has ripped off many characters and ideas for his League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. My whole arguement is with Moore and his 'facts' such as Stan Lee claiming to have created Captain America "though he was only 11 years old at the time". Pure bollocks. They'll all sort it out in Heaven. snicker

  6. Yeah, I addressed the Alan Moore claims in a post of my own a while back, no disagreement there. The Spider's a difficult one. There's doubt that Siegel created the character, but he did write stories for him. Steve Ditko once drew from memory something approximating Kirby's version - it was similar to JK's costume for Night Fighter. Ditko has addressed the issue of Spidey in letters and essays, some of which appeared (if I recall correctly) in Comic Book Marketplace.

  7. I just checked my notes from the Gil Page interview. He was with the company (AP/IPC/Fleetway) longer than anybody and he recalls: "Everyone was talking about this new character created by the man who created Superman. His name was there on the scripts -I saw them(scripts)". In fact, Siegel was at that time trying to create and sell whatever he could -Thomson turned down two projects but IPC/Fleetway were supposed to have accepted three -trying to cash in on the super hero market! I stick with UK comics and the rarer publishers!

  8. According to the introduction in a book called King of Crooks, featuring Spider reprints, Jerry chose to write the strip after seeing it in copies of Lion which he had been sent. According to Steven Thompson (possibly quoting from the same intro), Jerry took over the 'already successful British strip' and wrote it for about two and a half years. This seems to match something that Alan McKenzie once wrote (or told me) as well as other things I've read on the subject. I'd suggest that Gil was mistaken in thinking that Jerry created the character because he'd seen his name on a few scripts. The general consensus of opinion nowadays is that Jerry wasn't The Spider's creator, but Ted Cowan was. It was Jerry, 'though (who took over the strip from the third serial), who reinvented him as a crimefighter.