ITEM! Hi there, Heroes! One of the reasons I started this off-the-record, off-the-wall and off-the-hook li’l eye-opener of a blog was to set the record straight and make some amenable amends to some of my co-creators past and present. And how better to tell their sensible side of the story than to let them do it for themselves? Once upon a time in a Silver Age far, far away, their were two extra features included in our 72-page annuals that were actually plotted, drawn and mostly written by Jolly Jack Kirby and Sturdy Steve Ditko, each representing their own facetious feelings about their respective collaborations with Yours Truly!
First up in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 (Nov. 1964, natch) was Ditko’s imaginatively titled “How Stan Lee and Steve Ditko Create Spider-Man” (see selected panels below). Even then, Stevey-Boy was complaining about my practice of signing my name on anything and everything that wasn’t nailed down!
Then the King gives us his version of the Lee-Kirby collaborative process in the perhaps sarcastically entitled “This Is A Plot?” from The Fantastic Four Annual #5 (Nov. 1967, and if yah don’t already own this one and the Spidey Annual above, what the heck are yah waiting for? Irving Forbush’s Birthday? Marvel only reprints these things in about a gazillion different trade paperbacks and books! Get thee to a local comic shop now, pilgrim!). Jack actually did a pretty good job of capturing the simultaneous creative joy our plotting sessions, as well as the near-total lack of us actually listening to what the other was saying (see panels below).
What can I say? As in all writing and art, no matter how fictitious or fanciful the story, our true experiences and personas usually shine right on through. If I’da been Carl Jung instead of the liltin’ literary lengend that I was, I might have picked up on some of these clues to the future falling-outs your Uncle Stanley was destined to have with Kirby and Ditko. Ah well, you know what they say... blindsight is 20/20.