Stan Lee’s $2.00 Critique: a Promise Kept 25 Years Later
Stan Lee is many things: writer of comics, purveyor of false modesty, wearer of moustaches. But what Stan Lee is not is a liar. At least, he didn't lie to Russell Maheras, an aspiring artist who took the Marvel Comics founder up on a 25-year-old offer to critique his work. Lee came through with some genuinely thoughtful feedback with respect to the young Maheras' command of human anatomy, layouts and story.
In a 1947 book called Secrets Behind the Comics, a 24-year-old Stan Lee promised readers that he would critique their comic book artwork for $1. In 1972, Lee received a letter from Russell Maheras asking for a review of his Superman parody called "Souperman." Courteously, Maheras included an extra dollar to help offset the effects of 25 years worth of inflation.
Now a public affairs specialist and cartooning aficionado in his native Chicago, Maheras posted Stan Lee's letter on the old Comics Journal forums. It was subsequently spotlighted by Letters Of Note, a blog dedicated to curious correspondence of this nature.