Jack Kirby’s son challenges Disney+ Stan Lee documentary

Stan Lee in The Amazing Spider-Man 2
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Key details of the creation of key Marvel characters are being publicly contested by the Jack Kirby’s family.

The Disney+ documentary Stan Lee has drawn fire from the son of Jack Kirby for trying to erase his father’s role in creating some of Marvel’s most iconic characters. Anybody who has more than a passing interest in the history behind Marvel Comics likely knows that a degree of discord existed between the legendary Stan Lee and his co-creators over credit for creating some of the world’s most famous superheroes.

Despite Lee, Kirby and Steve Ditko (the co-creator of Spider-Man) all having left us now, a new documentary released this month on Disney+ has thrown this disharmony back into sharp relief with Neal Kirby, the late co-creator’s son attacking the film for almost completely airbrushing out his father’s role in creating characters like The Fantastic Four and The Incredible Hulk.

Neal Kirby along with his daughter Jillian took to Twitter to post the following:

“Are we to assume Lee had a hand in creating every Marvel character? Are we to assume that it was never the other cocreator that walked into Lee’s office and said, ‘Stan I have a great idea for a character!’ According to Lee, it was always his idea. Lee spends a fair amount of time talking about how and why he created the Fantastic Four, with only one fleeting reference to my father.”

“It should be noted and is generally accepted that Stan Lee had a limited knowledge of history, mythology, or science. On the other hand, my father’s knowledge of these subjects, to which I and many others can personally attest, was extensive. Einstein summed it up better; More the knowledge, lesser the ego. Lesser the knowledge, more the ego.”

Now that none of the men concerned are with us anymore to reassert their respective points of view, it’s films like this one that will go some way towards shaping a definitive version of events. Therefore, to put forward such an airbrushed version of history without any acknowledgement to the fact that other perspectives even exist is both irresponsible and beyond subjective, especially since credit is an ongoing issue for many living comic book writers who have since seen their creations become billion dollar properties in the era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Lee’s status as a beloved icon of Marvel Comics is complicated somewhat by his tendency throughout his life to take credit from his co-creators. Like it or not, it’s a part of the man’s legacy and we’ll be watching the world of comics to see how other creators that have followed in the shadow of Lee, Kirby and Ditko respond to Kirby’s criticisms.


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