Stan Lee Teaches Me How to...Draw?
Let's start with a fact: Stan Lee is probably the most famous name in comics that isn't a fictional character. Sure, everyone in the world may know who Superman is, but do they know who created him (Hint: it was two guys who later got screwed-over by DC)? Ask your average guy/gal on the street to name a famous comic-maker and they will almost assuredly say, "Stan Lee," regardless of if they know what characters he created, or even what publisher he made them for--"That company with, 'The Avengers,' right?" Stan Lee wasn't just a writer, he was and continues to be a master showman, expertly using the press to garner recognition for himself and the art form of comics. All that as it is though, Stan Lee was never an artist. How in the Hell would Stan Lee know anything about telling me how to draw comics? He could tell me a bit about writing, especially using "The Marvel Method", but illustrating?
A Complicated Relationship
|Kirby (Left) and Lee (Right) back in the old days.|
Stan Lee may have churned out scripts with great effort or sat around doing little besides providing ideas--as I've stated, it depends on whom you ask--but I think everyone who knows the slightest bit about comics can agree Lee never actually put pencil to paper in an effort to illustrate the creations of his collaborators and himself. Should you look closely at the bottom of that book you'll see it describes how they are examples from big names such as the aforementioned Kirby, so it is good he and other artists are getting their due, but that due is coming in the form of very small print, at the bottom of the book--the book which loudly exclaims in its title how Stan Lee of all people is going to tell you the way to draw comics. That just bugs me, immensely.
He Who Lives The Longest Gets the Last Word
|Stan Lee today.|
Stan Lee was always the more press-savvy one, talkative one, and otherwise charismatic-half of any writer-artist duo he was a part of. The man is just quite possibly one of the best wranglers of press ever, capable of garnering attention and T.V. cameras still today in his 90's. Perhaps because of his ability to promote comics, as well as himself, and through simply living the longest, Stan Lee has won. He gets the last word, and he has been around long enough and done enough work (even if you think it was relatively little) to have every right to put out a book telling folk how to make comics the way he did, and maybe, just maybe, succeed at it. Still, even if Lee has earned the right to put out that book, he frankly lacks the skill to tell us how to draw these potential comics.
Lee was never an artist, he was a writer, ideas-guy, and showman. He contributed so much to this industry, and I feel he did do a fair amount of hard work making all those comics and their characters that now garner billions of dollars a year thanks to movies and merchandising. Lee had an impact on this industry that cannot even begin to be measured, and I'm truly thankful for all that he has done and continues to do...BUT, he was never an artist. For that reason a simple book and its title really irritated me when I saw it at that craft store, and I just wanted to share with everyone why, even if in the process I come across as a bit nit-picky or whiny. I don't mind if I do though, because for all he did Lee was never an artist. Without those artists all the ideas and showmanship in the world would have meant nothing, so please don't tell me your book is going to have Stan Lee instructing me in the ways of drawing comics. It insults both the reader and all those folk Lee has worked with.