It was in the early 1990s when rereading some Marvel comics of the very late ’60s, and early ’70s — and more to the point, reading some tales from that period that were entirely new to me — that I came to the happy conclusion that the success of the comics line was no accident, or a gossamer from childhood that didn’t quite hold up in a later light. Stan Lee, with Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko and Don Heck–and many, many others! —
All for publisher Martin Goodman, the gentleman most overlooked in pop culture histories (and who had been active since the days of the pulp magazines, in the 1930s)
— Had indeed created an engaging and complex universe, with as much potential for enchantment and intelligence, as action and adventure.
Too often forgotten is that it was with Lee’s achievements as an editor overseeing the Marvel line, coordinating and inspiring the contributions of many other writers and artists (while still scripting many titles on his own) that all these terrific elements coalesced. (Writer/editor Roy Thomas, beginning in the second half of the 1960s, also made significant contributions, which became even stronger, when he became Marvel’s editor-in-chief in 1972, with Lee as the publisher.) This saga was all the more remarkable because you could see the new installments of Stan Lee’s oeuvre every month, gleaming at your local newsstand, beaming with often incredible cover art —
By just making a few blocks walk, or bike ride (or a short car-drive with a parent)!
Also phenomenal was that you could purchase these issues for just twelve, and then fifteen cents…
(Imagine the widest spectacle of adventure, with almost always wonderful illustrations, available today, for what would be the equivalent of a little less than a buck!)
Many of the stories, at least in their cumulative impact, remain among the best the medium has offered.
And while the Marvel movies have certainly offered at least a hint, too many fans of imaginative fiction remain unaware of just how wonderful that Marvel universe could be–
Priceless, at any time!