Wednesday, April 30, 2008


ITEM! Just a quick note before I make a mad dash to see Iron Man for the first time with a real audience. Be absolutely certain to stay until the very end of the credits, pilgrims. You won't want to miss Samuel L. Jackson's sizzling set-up for a future Favreau flick... and I DON'T mean Iron Man 2! Apparently Jon found an "unlaced with colorful metaphors" version of Jackson's performance as Colonel Nick Fury on the cutting room floor that he could use after all! But what oh what could he be doing or saying at the very end of the credits that would be worth your hard-earned time and attention? Let's just say he may be "assembling" some heroes for a team... Wish I'da thought of that 40 years ago, but the only character I had on hand at the time was Loki! Ah well, as Danny Kaye sang, "Que Sara Sara..."



ITEM! Wow, wow and wow! I just wet my thesaurus. Fortunately, I keep my thesauri numbered for just such an occasion. Irving Forbush just called me on the soon-to-be-spending-the-next-5,000-years-in-a-landfill Spider-Phone to hip me to LG’s shiny new 18-karat gold-plated Iron Man Cell Phone! Apparently these babies are not being sold in stores, so I may have to call in a favor or two to get my mobile mits on one. Dammit, I bet Avi Arad already has one of these! I know... I’ll call Robert Downey Jr. and have him use his swingin’ star power to finesse his Uncle Stanley a pro-bono promo phone.

For those without Hollywood connections or Milbourne Drysdale as your banker, you can win one of these fabulous non-ferrous Iron Man phones right here at!



ITEM! Way back when, King Kirby and your Uncle Stan used to take turns seeing who could cram the most gadgets into Iron Man’s invincible armor. Jolly Jack usually won those contests, but I held my own. Rocket-powered roller skates? That one was mine. Well, mine and Wile E. Coyote’s. Interestingly, some of these gadget-inventing-contests took place over 3-martini-lunches at the Seawane Club in New York. Things got, shall we say, creative. There’s probably still some waitress there who thinks her name is Pepper Potts.

So last year while enjoying a liquid lunch with Iron Man Director Jon-Boy Favreau, I told him that story and we started the game up again. One pitcher of Long Island Teas later and we’d managed to come up with quite a luminary list. Mind you, at least two of these ingenious go-go-gadgets actually make an appearance in the Iron Man movie! A special Armor-Alled Adamantium-Plated No-Prize to the first Frantic One who correctly guesses which two! So without further ado... Lee-Favreau present:

The Top 10 Unknown Gadgets in Iron Man’s Armor

10. Lycra-Unstable Molecular weave for inner body sock, so that all the important parts can breathe and stretch.

9. Audio-In jack for iPod Nano.

8. On-Star security system with remote boot-jet ignition service.

7. Cellular phone jammer for those annoying people who won’t shut off their cell-phones in movie theaters.

6. Infra-Red Heat-Seeking Mini-Missiles for those same annoying people who bring their screaming one-year-olds to the movies.

5. Stark International’s complimentary wine and beer service.

4. The Playboy Channel, for those long, lonely intercontinental flights.

3. Two words: “oil can.”

2. Teeny-tiny fuzzy dice miniaturized with Pym Particles that swing in front of eye slits.

1. There’s no pretty way to say this — so we won’t — but when you gotta go, you gotta go! Yah, that’s built in too.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008


ITEM! For those Frantic Ones who can’t wait any longer for the Thursday, 8:00 pm first showing of Iron Man, here’s a sneaky-peek at the very best thing in the whole fershlugginer movie: Yours Truly!

Just like my last two cameos in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Spider-Man 3, the creative team on Iron Man decided that the best bang-for-the-box-office-buck would be to have the Smiln’ One play his own indomitable self in the movie! Why settle for anything else but the Real Thing, right Tiger? Why waste acting chops that put the rest of the invidious Screen Actors Guild to shame? Why pay for a real actor when I’ll work for scale? 

But wait — there’s a tantalizing twist to this cameo! Even though I play myself, I’m surrounded by a bevy of beautiful blondes (much as in real life) and because of this, Tony Stark mistakes me for Hugh Hefner! Kinda like the old “heroes mistake each other for villains and 22-pages of property damage ensue” schtick, only with less punching and more drinking. Not much of a resemblance if you ask me, by-the-way, but I guess arm-loads of hot young blondes + speckled turkey wattle = “The Hef.” Either way, it’s cinematic gold, pilgrims! See yah at the movies on Thursday!


Monday, April 28, 2008


ITEM! Welcome to Iron Man Week here at Everything’s Sunny in Soapbox-Land! As we all count down to Shellhead’s sizzling cinematic debut, your Uncle Stanley is gonna hit yah with more invincible insider insights that you can shake a transisitor-powered suit of steel mesh at! All that, and sentences that end in prepositions too! Who could ask for more?

For starters, the Smilin’ One isn’t ashamed to admit that it took nominal nudges from both Irving Forbush and Mark Evanier to remind me that seminal Shellhead artist extraordinaire Georgous George Tuska turned 92 yesterday! 92! That’s older than Yours Truly, pilgrims, and I remember when milk still came in glass bottles and drinking water came from a faucet. Georgey-Boy’s been around so long he was born the year BEFORE Jolly Jack Kirby!

George was a Golden-Age vet from the earliest days of the comic book biz. Most of you probably remember the Tusk from his incredible 10-year run on The Invincible Iron Man (most of Iron Man's #5 through #108 - Compleatist Stan). But George started out assisting on the syndicated AP strip Scorchy Smith and later worked in that frantic finishing school for future famous fine artists, the Eisner & Iger shop. The House of Ideas managed to snag him back into the fold in 1964, at which point I was so thrilled to have someone to draw books besides Kirby, Ditko and Heck that I featured his return on the splash page of his first story (Tales of the Watcher, Tales of Suspense #58 - Even-More Compleatist Stan)! Heck, gettin’ Gorgeous George in the bullpen let me cut Jack back to under 100 pages-a-month!

Then George went on to work for the Distinguished Corporation and had a fabulous 15-year run drawing their daily Superman syndicated strip (...should I mention that everyone's favorite whipping-boy, Vince Colletta, inked most of this 1978-1993 run? - Ridiculously Compleat Stan), finally retiring from full-time comics work, though he continues to do commissioned work to this very day! I hope I’m still that active when I’m his age... mainly because that’s only seven years from now and I have contracts going out over the next 20 years! So Happy Birthday, George, and keep on truckin’! We youngsters will keep tryin' to follow your exemplary example!


Friday, April 25, 2008


ITEM! Sometimes the news eternal just can’t be denied. Despite the best efforts of all involved, I guess it was bound to get out. An “anonymous” donor has given the Library of Congress all of the original art for Amazing Fantasy #15 (Sturdy Steve Ditko’s unused cover art shown at right). If you don’t already know, and it’s time to turn in your MMMS membership card if you don’t, that comic is the first appearance of every one’s favorite wallcrawler — Spider-Man. See the story that broke the news here.

Everyone seems to be preoccupied and puzzled over why anyone in possession of such a priceless prize, which includes not only the 11-page Spidey story but the entirety of the other stories published in that same ish, would give it to the Library of Congress when they could sell it on ebay for thousands, if not millions of dollars. Well Frantic Ones, as much as it pains me to say this, there are some things more important than money. Especially if you already have slightly less than Scrooge McDuck. After a certain age, if you’ve been succeedingly successful in this life, you may find yourself in a position where you can’t live long enough to spend all of the money that you have. Then all you have left to motivate you each morning, as you get up and have your eight cups of coffee and enough St. John’s Wort to launch the space shuttle, is working on your legacy. How will you be remembered after you’re gone? As a show-stopping carnival barker and media whore who stole any credit that wasn’t nailed down? As the primary architect of a soulless entertainment empire so vast it has trouble seeing over it’s own ledger sheet? As the guy who who never met a run-on sentence that he didn’t like?

We should all probably just let this story rest and not try to find out who the anonymous donor was. What if he or she is an individual who’s trying to work off some kind of karma debt, like that My Name is Earl guy? Maybe the individual was promised a section of the Library of Congress named for him after he’s gone. Who knows? I'm just sayin'. Probably best to let sleeping dogs lie like dogs. Besides, Ditko said it was okay to do it!


Thursday, April 24, 2008


ITEM! With two Massive Marvel Movies coming out practically back-to-back, how come all we’re hearing about is the Iron Man Movie? Well for starters, I can tell you after seeing it that Iron Man is going to be a behemoth box office bonanza of Brobdingnagian proportions (see my opening weekend predictions). Everyone at Marvel Entertainment is busy right now pumping and pimping that puppy for all it’s worth. As the first in-house, self-financed release from The House of Ideas, they need Iron Man to be a monsterous money-maker for all kinds of reasons. Luckily, Jon “Fan Fave” Favreau and crew have taken very good care of them on that score.

But what about the June 13 release of The Incredible Hulk? The truth is that the Hulk movie is worrying everyone. It’s had an incredibly troubled production. Sensitive star and stellar screenplay writer Edward Norton and Fancy French Director Louis Leterrier have been getting into it with the studio over the editing of the movie. I also hear that Louie had some trouble keeping party-girl Liv “Walk This Way” Tyler on-set and on-time. Apparently William Hurt wasn’t too happy with the rug they gave him to wear as General Thunderbolt Ross. I know the feeling! When I filmed my cameo for the movie last month, they told me they would “fix” my hairpiece in “post,” whatever-the-hell that means. In other words, typically Hollywood hi-jinks.

But the thing that’s gotten everyone ultra-nervous has been the CGI work of Rhythm and Hues Studios. Leterrier was originally so underwhelmed by the CGI in the prior movie (that which cannot-be-named-out-loud, as we like to call it) that he planned on doing this one with mostly old-school prosthetics and animatronics. From what I’ve heard, he’s still wishing that he’d stuck to his ever lovin’ guns on that one. Your Uncle Stanley was as shocked as everyone else when the trailer came out with visible flaws and seams in the effects work. And don't even get me started on what happened to Gil Kane's fabulously finny freak-ears on the Abomination. Apparently as we speak everyone is scrambling around like mad doing green-screen reshoots with an actor in makeup and and some animatronic puppets. A worried studio exec sent the Smilin’ One a couple of these shots (see top-secret picture above and leaked footage below) along with a piteous plea for me to intercede and help get the movie back on track. I wish I could. The sad thing is that your Uncle Stan is only an executive producer, which as we all know is Hollywood’s way of paying you a lot of money to sit down and shut up.

Maybe the suits are overreacting, anyways. That’s practically what they’re paid to do. Judge for yourself, True Believers! Irving Forbush is embedding one of those linky things to the latest effects reshoot footage below. Enjoy!


Wednesday, April 23, 2008


ITEM! It’s Face Front Time, heroes! I’ve decided to create both a nifty new award and an incontestable contest all at the same titanic time. I’m calling it The Excelsior Award for Comic Book Shop Excellence... or the “Exy” for short. Periodically, your Uncle Stanley is going to spotlight exciting and extraordinary comic books shops and do what I do best: give back to all the little people out of there who are Making Theirs Marvel each and every day. That’s just the big-hearted and big-headed kind of guy I am.

First up: Congratz to Lee’s Comics in Mountain View and San Mateo, Cali-forn-i-ay, for winning the first-ever Exy! You are now the proud owners of a certain sense of peerless pride that let's the whole world know you're standing a little straighter and walking a little taller... in other words there's no actual prize or award. It's a virtual thing, Interwebites! I should point out that Lee’s Comics is not affiliated with the Smilin’ One in any way, shape or form... unless owner Lee Hester happens to be one of the my many suspected illegitimate children (along with comic book artist/writer Jim “Love Child” Lee). Hey, what can I say? The 60s and 70s were a wild, wild time. You had to be there, Tiger.

Although Yours Truly has never been to Lee’s, I sent Irving Forbush there once to make a book run while I was speaking in Sunny San Francisco. I needed a few key Silver and Golden Age books for a photo shoot and would yah believe they had ‘em? Earnest Irv couldn’t say enough about the selection, layout and staff, though he warned me to watch out for some guy named Ryan. He said that guy was a trouble-maker of Doc Ock proportions!

I did have the privilege of meeting owner Lee “Livin’ Large” Hester at a dinner awhile back. Didn’t think your Uncle Stan’s memory worked that well, did yah? Hey I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but when a guy’s name is “Lee” — THAT I can remember! The Hest was great and laughed very politely at my old-man jokes.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t point out that Lee’s Comics has hosted some of the industry greats, including the aforementioned Jim Lee along with Alex Ross (who designed the Lee's Comics logo), Paul Dini, Brian Michael Bendis and others too numerous to mention. By-the-by — Bendis still owes me money from stiffing me on a dinner check. He ran out of the restaurant screaming something about our waitress being a Skrull. Next time he’s there tell him I said he better pay up before I sick Forbush-Man on him! Or a couple dozen lawyers.

How can your cultural center of all things comic bookish qualify for the next Excelsior Award? Submit your nominations straight to the ol’ Sock It To Stan emailage-box. If you’re located somewhere on the West Coast, I’ll send Irving to go check yah out. If you’re on the East Coast, same thing it just may take longer. If you’re in the Midwest, what the heck are you thinking? Just kidding, pilgrims. The contest is open to any and all. If I have to, I’ll recruit some old MMMS members to go scout out your locale. Some of them are still mobile and driving cars.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008


ITEM! Wouldja believe that the ol‘ Sock It To Stan emailbox has been brimming over with hundreds of delirious demands for more info on everyone’s favorite Silver-Haired Silver-Age inker Vince Colletta? Would you believe dozens? Okay, how ‘bout three? One? Anyway, in response to requests too numerous to enumerate...

This time ‘round your Uncle Stanley’s not going to talk about Vinnie’s Sicilian sensibilities, silk suits, or systematic style of simplifying shortcuts with a single sable stroke. The Smilin’ One is going to put his old art director shoes back on and talk about the artist by talking about the art. As Marc Anthony said, “I come to critique Vinnie, not to bury him.”

First and foremost, the Vin-Man was an accomplished artist par excellence in his own right. Sometimes that point gets glossed over. Vinnie penciled and inked about a zillion mystery and romance mags for Merry Marvel way back when we were only Almost-Above-Average Atlas. In fact, Vin’s best inks were on his own pencils, which may make sense but is not universally true of all comic book artists. His penciling and inking both featured delicate feathering and atmospheric cross-hatching that really set the mood in some of those mystery yarns. In the romance books, he lightened his touch into something closer to his later Marvel work... and his women! Vinnie could always draw a pretty face.

I think that the main source of any dissatisfaction with Vinnie’s inks on Kirby and later super-hero artists has to do with conflicting styles. In a time and an age when the sum total of my art direction to most folks was to “draw it like Kirby,” everyone was focused on giving me bold lines, lots of weighted blacks, complex machinery, and the ever lovable Kirby Krackle. None of this played particularly well to Vinnie’s strengths. In many ways, Vinnie’s style and artistic sensibilities were practically the opposite of Jolly Jack’s. Where Jack would lay down a bold squiggle to indicate not just a reflective surface but also for sinew and musculature, Vin would interpret that same shape as a feathered surface texture. And that right there is the magic, pilgrims! Because sometimes in art as well as in comics, diametrically opposing styles can become quite complimentary and actually enhance the effect of each separate sensibility into a synergistic whole. Like Lennon and McCartney, Fred and Ginger, the Skipper and Gillgan... not to mention (plotting-wise) Lee and Kirby! I think that’s exactly what happened in the very best of the Kirby-Colletta Thor run that made so many fans love that work. Sometimes the synaptic synergy was there and sometimes it wasn’t. For example, what worked wonderfully well on Thor didn’t work out as well on the Fantastic Four.

That all said, Vince the Prince’s inking style also suffered from being rendered in a way that made mechanical reproduction (especially in those days) difficult at best. The original art was beautiful, but the cameras and presses at the time (and some since) just couldn’t deal with all of the decidedly delicate lines. And even some of that was caused by Vinnie’s stubborn refusal to do it any other way besides Sinatra-Style —“His Way”. For examples of having your cross-hatched cake and reproducing it too, see Steven Bissette and John Totleben’s rollicking run on Brand Echh’s Saga of the Swamp Thing book. Or anything by Bodacious Berni Wrightson.

And here’s the very last thing that your Uncle Stanley has to say on the subject. While I’m presciently positive that this debate will rage on for billions of blogs to come, here’s one thing to consider when it comes to creative critiques — if you’re an artist, can you do the job any better? Irving Forbush put me onto this site where’s that’s the challenge! Think you can ink a Jolly Jack Thor page better than Vince Colletta? Then prove it. The riotous results speak for themselves... most of us can't. Your Uncle Stan certainly can’t! I’m doing good just to get up first thing in the morning and find my thesaurus.


Monday, April 21, 2008


ITEM! Mucho Graciousness to the L.A. Times for breaking the biggest story of New York Comic Con before we could announce it at the Stan Lee Panel (and the one thing I even held back from this boisterous blog): Yours Truly has made a deal with everyone’s favorite ever lovin’ English entrepreneur, Sir Richard Branson, to oversee his Virgin Comics line!

I hear yah, True Believers. You’re asking, “how does he do it?’ How does your Uncle Stanley plan on overseeing a plethora of comic titles for Virgin while simultaneously following through on all my other recently announced deals: Ultimo with Hiroyuki Takei, the Legend of 5 animated movie for Rainmaker Entertainment, a three-movie-deal with Disney, a sequel to Election Daze and who knows what else... I’ll tell yah how we do it: volume, volume, volume. But I kid, I kid. I plan on tackling all of these peerless projects exactly the same way we did it in the good ol’ days: hire talented folks to write, draw, and pitch ideas while I take the credit for everything!

Geoff "Fermerz Le" Boucher of the L.A. Times even asked Rich “Brassy Ones” Branson if he didn’t think that maybe Yours Truly was a little out-of-touch with today’s comic readers. I’ll show ‘em how in touch your Uncle Stan is with “The Times.” Here comes a lawsuit! I’ve learned a thing or two in my 67 years in the biz. These days, I take the aforementioned formula of writers, artists, and assorted creative folk and add the magic ingredient: lawyers! Scads and scads of lawyers. Lawyers by the ton. Lawyers by the gross, shrink-wrapped on pallets. I’m not kidding. Back at POW! Entertainment headquarters, we got ‘em comin’ in the back by the forklift-load, straight from law school. That’s how you get things dutifully done with delightful delegation in this demented industry! How do you think all these deals happened in the first place? Lawyers. Who set up the meetings? Lawyers. Who brokered the deals? Lawyers. Who are the real super-heroes? Well obviously not the lawyers, but even a super-hero sometimes needs legal representation! Or his creator...

Anyhoo, now that I’ve survived another Comic Con, it’s time to start creating again. I'm thinking that maybe what Virgin Comics really needs is a symbol for frantic fans to flock around... maybe a fabulous fan club? How does the VVVS sound? Hmmm... maybe not. Virginmania? That doesn’t sound right either. Maybe Friends Of Old Virgins? Okay, okay... maybe it’s time to go back to hiring attorneys.


Friday, April 18, 2008


ITEM! Well what can I say Frantic Ones? Last night was a howlin’ hoot! For those of you living under a rock, in a cave, outside outer Mongolia, or otherwise without Interweb access, Yours Truly was honored with the first-ever New York Comics Legends Award last night right in Times Square (at the Virgin Megastore, natch.) It was humbling, it was humorous, and most of all it was well-deserved! But in all the rollicking rush of Keeping the Flame burning the last few days, I forgot to prepare a proper thank you speech.

First and foremost, I want to thank all of you Merry Marvelites without whom none of this would have been possible. Without your delirious and demented devotion to all things Marvel, I wouldn’t be where I am today, which let’s face it, is pretty sweet. Somebody asked me last night how you become a comics legend, and I told ‘em, “You don’t die and you sign your name to everything!”

For some reason last night I had an incredible sense of deja vu. Peter David got me started with his way-back-whens. In the middle of things I flashed back to the manic Marvel Comic Book Convention of 1975. There I was up on stage enthralling the masses with the astonishing announcement that Jack “King” Kirby was returning to the fold, when in walked the man himself. Good ol’ Jolly Jack... he totally upstaged me to rapturous rounds of rapid applause. I half expected him to waltz in last night and give me one of his patented, cigar-smoke-laden, “Get off your desk and take it like a man, Lee.” lines. I really miss that guy somedays.

In his place all I got was Joe “The Kid” Queseda trying his best to be funny at the old man’s expense. One more crack about playing with my jewels and I’m gonna show that young man a side of Sgt. Stanley Lieber, WWII vet, that I guarantee he won’t much like. Or I might just sue Marvel again. You never can tell just what we amorous AARPers are gonna do next. That’s our advantage! Just ask Joltin’ Joe Simon.

But seriously, where would I be today without the readers, writers, pencilers, inkers and most importantly, all of the little people (in other words, the lawyers)? Probably still saving my birth name for when I really get famous. The best is yet to come, pilgrims!


Thursday, April 17, 2008


ITEM! A quick New York Comic Con update for all of you attending the big show, and the New York Comics Legend Award ceremony at the Virgin Megastore in Times Square tonight... I’m here! You out-of-towners don’t be shy about comin’ on up and saying “Howdy.” You'll know me. I'll be the most dashing and debonair octogenarian in the room. 

It's okay to be rude and forward in New York. I grew up here. Believe me, I'm used to it. Native New Yorkers are not a shy and retiring lot, so they’ll have no problem coming up and saying... well I can’t really type what they’re liable to say in a PG-13 blog. New York’s state motto might be “Excelsior”, but New York City’s is something else altogether. Let’s just say they’ll show their enthusiasm in their own native tongue, and at some point it will probably involve my mother or my patriarchical lineage!

Gotta go get into my tux, which takes longer than it used to... blog you True Believers later!



ITEM! I wish I had a $100 for every time someone has come up to me and asked what in the name of Odin’s beard trimmer were we thinking when we introduced the wonderously weird and wacky Marvel Value Stamps promotion in 1974. Actually, I probably do have $100 for each time I’ve been asked. I’d just like an additional $100. Hmmm, maybe it’s time to start looking into starting that 4th lawsuit against Marvel. But I digress...

Every Marvel Comic circa 1974-75 contained a numbered Marvel Value Stamp that came with instructions for readers to “Clip ‘Em and Collect ‘Em!” That’s right. We told a bunch of 12 year-olds to cut up their Bronze Age classics. Those same 12 year-olds are now 46 year-olds who would have a $1,450 copy of The Incredible Hulk #181 (first full appearance of everyone’s favorite competitive Canadian cut-up, “The” Wolverine)... if it weren’t for that missing Shanna the She-Devil Marvel Value Stamp (#54, natch) . 

You think you feel bad Mister 46-year-old-man-who-still-collects-comics? How about your Uncle Stanley? I assigned Mirthful Marie Severin the thankless job of assembling the artwork for all 100 furshlugginer stamps, which involved ransacking the flat files for beauty shots that mostly came from Silver Age classics. We cut up the original cover art to Fantastic Four #49 to make the Galactus stamp for cryin' out loud! And Jack wondered later where all that art of his went when Marvel only returned a few hundred pages to him in the 90s. Marie’s x-acting x-acto blade is where it went.

And what did you get if you collected all 100 stamps? For those who’s memories are a little froggy, here’s what we promised readers in a Bullpen Bonus Page at the time:

“Well, part of the future value of the whole collection is obvious. For instance, in the next month or three, we’ll be offering you an MVS Stamp Album virtually at cost, so you can paste in all of them and have a complete set — which is bound to become a real collector’s item in the years to come. (After all, didja know that FANTASTIC FOUR #1 is now selling for $50 in many back-issue comic-book stores across the nation, and that SPIDEY #1 isn’t far behind?)”

Of course nowadays FF #1 trades for somewhere in the neighborhood of $41,000 in mint condition. But how about them stamps? Well, let’s do the math. If a copy of The Incredible Hulk #181 is worth $1,450 with the MVS, and it’s worth around $50 without it, then ergo the missing Marvel Value Stamp must be worth $1,400! I put Irving Forbush and his handy Overstreet guide on this project and he estimates that if you use that formula for all 100 stamps (depending on which ishes you clipped ‘em from), the total value for a complete set is therefor something like $11,380 today! Huzzah! So those sets that occasionally pop up on ebay for $20-30 bucks? The bargain of the ever lovin’ century Fearless One! Go get ‘em Tiger! Who says this isn’t the Marvel Age of Creative Accounting Practices?


Wednesday, April 16, 2008


ITEM! For those of you old enough to remember (and please take a much-deserved bow and another lovin' spoonful of Geritol if you are), once upon a tireless time there was a small group of dedicated fans who belonged to a little organization called the Merry Marvel Marching Society. Ah, those were the days. They don’t make frenzied fandom like that anymore, pilgrims. We didn’t have the World Wide Webs way back then, so fans could only express their heartfelt love for all things Marvel by wearing buttons on their bellbottoms and putting stickers on their Volkswagen Buses.

Your Uncle Stan kinda misses those halcyon days of yore, and I’ve decided to do something about it. Announcing all-new versions of the all-time favorite way for Marvelites to stop traffic and generate minor accident reports: MMMS Bumper Stickers, the Next Generation (Marvel Studios Edition). They’re only in the perilous prototype stage right now, pilgrims, but I’ve got my adopted great-grandson, Irving Forbush III, slaving away over his hot l’il laptop producing ready-to-print-out versions even as we blog. Apparently Photoshop will let you Photoshoppingly Photoshop Photoshopish Photoshop files anytime, anywhere. That wasn’t a plug, by the way... Forbushman just bet me I couldn’t use the word Photoshop as a noun, verb, adverb, adjective, subject and object, all in the same sentence. You owe me a virgin slo-gin fizz at the airport bar, Irv! See the exemplary examples above for a precious and precocious preview of these must-have auto adornments! As always, your insightful and inspired input is always welcome...

Speaking of Honest Irv, he of the cape and pan-like-helmet and Yours Truly will be flying out for New York later today. He swears that I will be able to use his McBook Pro to keep posting to this blog while we travel, even though I'm all used to the Dell on my desk at home. There’ll be lots to report, so I hope he’s right True Believers! See ya at the show!


Tuesday, April 15, 2008


ITEM! As Yours Truly and a whole rapturous raft of entertainment lawyers get ready to head east to the New York Comic Con, I thought I’d let you Keepers of the Faith in on one of my top-secret projects. Sure, sure, your Uncle Stanley will be there to accept the first-ever New York Comics Legend Award, to do a press event for my new Manga collaboration Ultimo, to sell as many copies of Election Daze as pulse-poundingly possible, and to engage in more shameless self-promotion than George Foreman's publicist (heck, I would’a named up-to-five sons of mine Stan Lee, but alas I only had a daughter!). But that’s not all your Fearless Leader is going to be up to while in the New York area.

You may have read about the recent court decision awarding the Jerry Siegel estate shared copyright to the Man of Steel, Superman. Believe it or not, there’s already a mass of malingering mega-media companies forming a line to license those rights form the Siegel heirs. Me? Well Yours Truly and enough avaricious attorneys to sink the Titanic are gonna go talk turkey with the Siegels and see what we can work out. If we can reach an agreement, watch out Marvelites!

Let me be Frank (or even Irving for that matter). I think we can all agree that the Just Imagine Stan Lee Created... Superman book was a colossal catastrophe of cretaceous proportions. Part of the problem was trying to create a fresh take on Supes that hadn’t already been Elseworld’ed to Hell and half of Kandor. And your Uncle Stan isn’t exactly a spring duckling anymore! But a sizzling Stan the Man version of the Big Blue Boy Scout that actually uses the core concepts of the character — just imagine! Of course I may make a few changes. Maybe Kal-El was originally a normal man who gave up his humanity to save his home planet Krypton from some world-devouring menace — maybe a Techno-Kirby version of Brainiac? Then he gets marooned on Earth where he splits his time between saving Lois Lane and Shakespearean soliloquizing about the human condition from mountain tops and near Earth orbit. That should be enough plot for at least 18 or so issues right there. The mind boggles at the portentous possibilities, pilgrims. Stay tuned for more information Frantic Ones, same Stan Time, same Stan Channel! 


Monday, April 14, 2008


ITEM! Earnest Irving Forbush informs me that over two titanic timely minutes of the impending Iron Man Movie are now up on something called the You-Toobs. After watching the clip, the only thing that could make me more excited would’ve been if they’da used my calamitous cameo footage instead. It’s all about building boffo box-office, right pilgrims? What better way to tempt and tantalize the wide-eyed and hard-died movie-going public than to feature the ever-sensational Smilin’ One? Still, I guess Rowdy Robert Downey Jr. is a sterling second choice. Heck at this point they’ve previewed about half of the movie anyway. Jon “Mister Fablous” Favreau probably wants to save my Academy Award-winning performance for the actual premiere. I realize that there's no Academy Award for cameos, but there should be, Tiger! Your Uncle Stanley would be a shoe-in for it this year! Until then, enjoy this capricious clip!


Friday, April 11, 2008


ITEM! Giantic Godzilla-sized announcement time, True Believers! Lustful Literary Liturgists beware! In a titanic team-up that could only be arranged by an army of acquisitive attorneys, Stan the Man and Heroic Hiroyuki Takei are combining forces to bring you the next Magnificent Multi-cultural Manga — Ultimo!

No not that one, Marvelites. The original Ultimo was an ancient robot of mysterious origin that fought Iron Man over the Asian landscape (Tales of Suspense #76-78, 1966). THIS Ultimo is a robotic boy of mysterious origin that fights another robot-boy named Vice over an Asian landscape. It’s completely different, natch. And instead of Gentleman Gene Colan, my collaborative co-creator on this project is famed Shaman King artist Hiroyuki Takei! For those wide-eyed Westerners among you who have trouble pronouncing Japanese names, allow me to quote Star Trek actor George Takei’s admonition to his memory-impaired co-star Bill Shatner: “It’s pronounced “Tah-kay,” as in “Too-pay!” That’s how I remember it, for obvious reasons.

We'll be conducting an ultimate Ultimo panel discussion at Comic Con NY on April 18 with my second favorite group of folks besides attorneys — the press! I threw enough of a cranky old man fit over that to get them to block out a small section of seats for a few fortunate Fearless Front-Facers. If you want to attend this event, better get them Intrawebs moving pilgrim, and email Ever-Ready Evelyn Dubocq at Viz Comics for a chance to win your serendipitous seat at this auspicious event. ‘Nuff Said!


Wednesday, April 9, 2008


ITEM! Time to answer some Sock It To Stan emailage from the ol’ Intrawebs. Danny McFanny writes:

"I think Vince Colletta was probably the single greatest inker ever to grace Jack Kirby’s pencils, especially on classic issues of Journey Into Mystery/Thor. But everyone else seems to think he’s the next thing to Al Capone with an ink brush, and spend all of their waking hours bashing on a man no longer here to defend himself. What do you think, Stan?"

That’s quite a complicated question, Danster, but I won’t let that stop me from takin’ an ever lovin’ swing at it. It’s hard to talk about Vince “Crow Quill” Colletta without stirring up some kind of fuss, flak or fracas. Comic collectors, co-workers and even cannoli-consumers have always been clearly cleft on what to make of the Sicilian Scribbler. They either loved him or they hated him.

Yours Truly? I was always a little scared of him, to tell you the truth. Vinnie and I were both in the family-oriented comics biz, but he had relations in another family business, if you catch my drift. But I have to say that back before the Marvel Age of Comics, when the only rates that Uncle Marty would let me pay inkers was somewhere north of Charlton and south of movie matinee admissions, Vinnie was one of our ever-reliable go-to inkers, alongside Darling Dick Ayers, George (Bell) Roussos, and Frank (Ray) Giacoia. He was cheap, dependable and fast. Before Mighty Marvel became Might Marvel, that was an uncontestable combination. Heck, I couldn’t not hire him.

That said... there were always issues with Vin. He was an issue creator by nature (no pun intended). Even as early as 1965 we got fan mail complaining about his inking in a time and an age when no-one complained about inkers. The fans were too busy busting me and Jack for giving the Hulk only three toes or forgetting Bruce Banner’s first name (clue: it’s NOT “Bob”). While most readers seemed to like Vinnie’s inks on Thor, they hated ‘em on the FF. And then one day Marvelous Marie Severin showed me some Thor pages and pointed out where Vinnie was erasing whole figures and backgrounds from Jack’s pencils to simplify the inking. I’d actually art directed Vinnie to soften up Jack’s faces, especially on the winsome women-folk (Joe Sinnott got the same directions), but never to erase whole figures or simplify Jack’s iconic cityscapes into architech-school-dropout-drawings. Did an inker doing those sorts of things constitute a crime? Of course not. In the rush to get the books out the door, most of us didn’t even notice. Jack himself never noticed while he was doing Thor and the FF. Was it poor decision-making on Vinnie’s part? Of course it was.

What Jolly Jack did finally notice was when Vinnie paraded his DC Fourth World pencils around the Marvel Offices. There was a lot of bad blood still going on back then, and apparently for Jack that was the last strenuous straw. Then he finally recognized the shortcuts and liberties that Vinnie was taking with the pencils he toiled over morning noon and night, and the rest you know. Both your Uncle Stan and his successors continued to use Vinnie as an inker until the end of the Jim Shooter era, when Vin’s judgement was once again a little, shall we say, on the lacking side. See this to get a taste of what I mean.

The real crime was that Vince Colletta was an excellent artist when he decided to be, including penciling, inking and even painting (no lie!). He just didn’t decide to be most of the time, and often used his meager pay as a rationale for his lesser efforts. In that sense, he was the Anti-Kirby, because Jack threw his whole heart and soul into almost every pencil line he drew, regardless of recompense or recognition. Vincent Colletta, not so much. Gentlemen, fire up your comments!


Monday, April 7, 2008


ITEM! This weekend I had the privilege of watching a DVD screener of the frankly fabulous, forever ferrous and nearly finished Iron Man Movie! Take Tony Stark for a tiny test flight yourself right here. This is without a dubious doubt the single greatest Merry Marvel Movie to date. I know, I know... your Uncle Stanley has been saying that about every Marvel Movie since The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (ahhh... my very first conspicuous cameo appearance). But this time I mean it. This is the first self-financed flick that Marvel put into production, and it shows in the fantastic final product. We did this one our way, pilgrims.

What’s more, Ol’ Smiley is willing to put his monetary merit where his mandible is. Here’s my peerless prediction: Iron Man is going to have the number one smash box office opening weekend of all time. It’s going to break all the first weekend records set by Spider-Man and most recently by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. That means an opening weekend north of $135.6 million! You read it here first, Tiger.

Why is the Smiling One so sensationally certain that this movie is going to be the breakout hit of Summer 2008? 'Cause Robert Downey Jr. took me to lunch at The Grill in Beverly Hills, that's why. But I kid, I kid. The real reason is that though updated for modern audiences, director Jon “Fan Fave” Favreau had the good storytelling sense to stick pretty close to the Golden Avenger’s original story beats. That’s always a good sign in a comic book movie. Ask Sammy Raimi. And when you're cribbing from The Man, so much the better. Wait and see, nebulous Internet naysayers. Mighty Marvel Studios is on the march! This one is for all the studios that turned our characters down over the years, and for all the Frantic Ones that couldn’t understand why the suits always changed our cosmic characters all around for the movies! You’re gonna love this one, I promise. Cross my heart and hope to have my cameo cut!


Sunday, April 6, 2008


ITEM! Some days it’s good news, some days, sad. Today’s a sad. Charlton Heston, the actor’s actor, has finally made the journey to the Promised Land. I only met Hest a couple of times, and he was more than gracious to a guy who wrote comics that he’d mostly never read.

The first time I met him at a Hollywood premiere about 20 years ago, I asked him if he remembered the Planet of the Apes comic books that Marvel put out in the 70s. Always a gentleman, he said that he’d enjoyed them even though the artist (Gorgeous George Tuska) had done a terrible job with his likeness. I didn’t bother telling him that 20th Century Fox had denied us the rights to the actor’s likenesses... probably because of the very contracts that his own agent had written. He finally lit up when he thought I was the guy who created Captain America, and I was too polite to correct him. 

I met him for the second time in the 90s when he was visiting a Hollywood bookstore to do a book signing for his autobiography, Arena: An Autobiogrpahy. Not one to be overly star struck, I was prepared to meet an actor that I knew to be an arch Republican and NRA advocate, but I read his book before going to the book signing. What I discovered was the story of a man who marched for civil rights as an already-famous actor in the 1950s. You heard right, pilgrim — the 1950s! Hest was marching for civil rights about one whole decade before it became fashionable for Hollywood A-listers to do so, and long before Jolly Jack and I were putting African American super heroes into comics. That put a different spin on things.

We were both virtually the same age, Depression-era kids that grew up in New York and Illinois, and that gave us a surprising amount in common to talk about. He was class incarnate, and he played a better Hebrew prophet, Roman gladiator and last-man-on-Earth than anyone I can think of. We’ll miss you, Chuck.


Friday, April 4, 2008


ITEM! It’s Face Front time, pilgrims. One of the reasons that I started this off-the-record blog was to set a few things straight for-the-record. Today, let’s start with the accusation that I hear most often: that the Smilin’ One is nothing but a corporate shill for Merry Marvel that will pimp any project that comes along from the House of Ideas. I’m gonna just grab the tiger by the horns on this one. Not so, True Believers! And let me prove it to you, by hipping the uninitiated among you (and you know who you are) to one of the most massively monolithic masterpieces of modern mythology: Jack Kirby’s Fourth World, published (you’ll note) by the Distinguished Competition.

Volume Four of the Jack Kirby Fourth World Ominbus just came out, completing what was Jack’s version of Schubert’s unfinished symphony. I highly recommend all four volumes. Besides the peerless presentation of the King’s Magnus Opus that spanned four ongoing titles (all in colorful chronological publication order), you get samples of penciled pages and cover art, Madcap Mark Evanier’s excellent historically-invaluable afterwords, and so much more.

I often lament that we didn’t figure out a way to keep Jack at Marvel. It makes my dialoguing finger itch just thinking about it. Imagine Darkseid facing off against the Silver Surfer (actually I think Johnny Byrne did), Mister Miracle joining the Avengers, or HERBIE the robot equipped with his own Motherbox! I guess the only consolation prize for your Uncle Stanley is that Jolly Jack made him a character in the New Gods milieu. That’s right — Funky Flashman was based on Yours Truly. While perhaps not the most flattering fictionalized depiction ever, still... quick show of hands. How many of you have a Fourth World character based on your likeness? Sit down, Steranko, you don’t count! That’s what I thought. ‘Nuff Said!


Thursday, April 3, 2008


ITEM! Well Secret Invasion #1 is out, and I have to say that despite my gregarious grousing about Brian “The Brain” Bendis taking my basic plot from FF #2 and stretching it out into one laborious year-long retcon of the Marvel Universe... not too shabby. And I’m not just saying that because Joe Quesada paid me to. My checks come from Isaac Perlmutter.

As readers can see from the impromptu interview in the back of that book, when pressed by Continuity-Bending Bendis on which Merry Marvel character Yours Truly would make a Skrull, I responded by quipping “Aunt May.” Though said in jovial jest, I’ve since decided to campaign for this calamitous concept because, well, honestly... I’m gettin’ a little cranky in my old age and if these damn kids are gonna keep playing in my old sandbox, the least they could do is let the old man pitch an ingenious idea, or two, or twenty.

There’s a certain synchronous simpatico to the idea, too. After all, Aunt May is only alive because Petey tried to cut a deal with the devil, and we all know how well that usually works out. It would be just like Mephisto to welsh on the deal by bringing Aunt May back to life, only to make her a prisoner on some interstellar Skrull slave ship... cookin' up wheatcakes for Torgo and the boys. I can see it all now. Man alive, a cup of steamin’ Joe and a couple of St. Johns Wort first thing in the morning and the creative ideas just start a flyin’! I may have to save some of this for the Spidey daily strip! Your welcome, Bendis.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008


ITEM! As some eagle-eyed readers may have deduced with Reed Richards-like cognitive clarity, yesterday’s announcement of a Disney/Stan Lee movie called Spider-Mouse was all just an aptly-timed and appropriately-mimed April Fool. And a very sad thing that — just imagine! What a dream team that would have been. If only we could lure Titanically Talented Bruce Timm away from the Distinguished Conglomerate. Well maybe someday he’ll wake up and join the winning animation team!

The real announcement of course, is here in Variety and many other legitimate news sources. By that rationale, I guess that makes this an illegitimate news source. Maybe if this blog had a better personality, it would cease to be an illegitimate news source? Let’s see if we can come up with a Hallowed Rank of Marveldom for that, pilgrims... maybe S.O.B. (Scooper Of Bulletins... Source Of B.S.)? Anyhoo, the real first projects developed as part of my first-look dev deal with the House of Mouse are Nick Ratchet, Blaze and Tigress. I pitched them Millie the Model, but alas, there was no cinematic love for poor Millie. Now her best friend Patsy Walker... that may be another matter entirely, if you know what I mean *wink*wink* *nudge*nudge* say no more. I’d tell you more, but every time I post one of these backdoor blogs, the attorneys start lighting up the ol’ Spider-Phone like there’s no tomorrow. The whole point of this thing was to spread the faith uncensored by corporate concerns, contractual commitments or cognitive conflicts. But I think they’re on to me now. Handlers! Yeesh! Some days they won’t even let me pick out my own sweaters...


Tuesday, April 1, 2008


ITEM! It’s not a dream! Not a hoax! Not an imaginary tale! The very first film to result from the development deal between my own precocious POW! Entertainment and Disney Studios will be called The Amazing Spider-Mouse! You heard it here first, Frantic Ones!

Don’t expect the official announcement for a few days yet. This project involved more judicial juggling than you can shake your jurisprudence at. But Yours Truly and a raft of attorneys have almost got the deal signed and done. This historic creative collaboration will be brought to you as a joint production by Disney•Pixar and Marvel Entertainment, with Bodacious Brad Bird on board to direct, and the lead designer on loan from Warner Bros.’ animation division is one the one-and-only Titanic Bruce Timm... the most dramatic dream-team ever assembled, all for a sensational summer 2009 release!

I know that seems like forever-and-a-day to wait pilgrim, but these things take time to pull off, even for the gregarious CGI geniuses in Emeryville. I think they’ve been working on this project under one of those uber-undercover code names. “1960” or something like that. But even as we speak, the Pixar crew have been shooting live action plates of San Francisco to use for their computer models of New York. Designers are designing and sculptors are sculpting. Peter Pocket, Aunt Mable and Mary Jane Dormouse are all taking shape in a script co-written by your Uncle Stanley and Brad “The Brain” Bird.

To tide you over, I’ve had Honest Irv post a couple of peerless pre-production pics straight from the Pixar studios to you! I know that 2009 seems like a long time to wait, Tigers and Tigettes, but until then I’ll have to quote Grace Slick, “Remember what the dormouse said, keep your head!”