Stan Lee’s Least Favorite Part Of A Movie Is The Only Place Jack Kirby’s Name Can Actually Be Seen
Ravage 2099 and Stripperella co-creator Stan Lee has been channeling Andy Rooney in a series of videos on World of Heroes called “Stan’s Rants.” Like those missives of the late American broadcaster, these clips are mostly benign “cranky old man” bits. His newest one is about how he hates being on hold, for example.
But the video above, which is from last week, is a knife in the guts of less famous comics creators — which is to say, nearly all of them. In the video, Lee complains about having to sit through long credits at the end of movies, including superhero movies.
“Nobody knows who [these people] are, nobody can read them and nobody cares,” he says, astonishingly.
But here’s the problem: Those credits are usually where the names of comics creators who wrote and drew the characters the movies are based on actually get seen.
That’s not true for Stan Lee, of course. He’s often credited as a producer of films based on Marvel comics, so his name is nice and big in the opening/main credits. Hell, he usually gets to appear in the actual movies. Including movies based on characters he did not create! But his colleagues back during Marvel’s early days — like Jack Kirby and Joe Simon among others — get unjustly relegated to the end credits, stuffed between all manner of filmmaking personnel whose contributions, while certainly valuable, don’t really rise to the importance of “Inventor Of This Whole Damn Thing.”
That goes for contemporary creators, too. The Marvel Studios films owe a whole lot to Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting, Warren Ellis, Mark Millar, Bryan Hitch and Adi Granov, just to name a few. Their names are all hidden in the end credits, too.
This is such a bad look because Lee has a complex history with credits in comics, which Chris Sims went into with some detail in this Ask Chris column. He’s been regarded as a credit hog for decades, overshadowing the contributions of Kirby and Steve Ditko and others in the public perception of comics. Indeed, as recently as last year he participated in a particularly shameful reality show designed explicitly to make him look more important than any human being who’s ever drawn breath.
That said, Lee is also largely responsible for credits appearing in comic books at all, at least regularly. Creative team credits were sporadic at best before they started appearing in every Marvel book in the 1960s. Of course, Lee’s name was often in those credits, and often came first, and on books he had nothing to do with — a practice that continued for decades.
It seems unlikely Lee thought he was wading into any of these quite genuinely important topics in the video. He’s talking about assistants to the stars and assistants to those assistants and all that stuff you see in big-budget movie credits, and trying to be funny. And there’s an extremely high chance some poor fool wrote this “rant” for him, as Lee’s clearly reading it off the paper in front of him.
Nevertheless, what he’s saying — what Stan Lee is saying — intentionally or not, is that the one place where comics creators get credited in films based on their work is non-essential, should be truncated substantially or removed entirely.
Don’t do that, Stan.