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Friday, December 30, 2022 

A century to when Stan Lee was first born, and mainstream history articles about him still only approach the topic from a pretentious viewpoint

2022 is the 100th anniversary, or what would've been the birthday, of Stan Lee if he'd lived long enough. But that doesn't mean any MSM outlets discussing his history are being truly respectful of his memory. Here's what The Conversation is saying about Lee's legacy, and along the way, they talk about something that's honestly no surprise IMO, but what's annoying is the sources they link to:
Despite being of Jewish descent, Lee showed little interest in faith but saw “world religion as a way into the storytelling process”.

While the Fantastic Four’s Thing was eventually revealed to be Jewish, it took four decades for this to be worked into storylines.
Again, I take issue with "revealed" instead of established or canonized, since these are fictional characters we're talking about, but it's also decidedly insulting to the intellect they linked to an interview with Abraham Riesman, the same guy who put down Stan in a shoddy book that was more like a tabloid insult to Stan's memory. So much that even Roy Thomas took issue with it. I'm decidedly also dismayed they linked to an article where Colleen Doran was quoted too, because she's equally pretentious. These people have hardly any respect for his visions. The following says quite a bit too:
Interested in minority representation in the genre, Lee was also working on a TV adaptation of an LGBTQ+ superhero novel Hero in the 2000s, before that project was stymied by its gay writer’s passing in 2011.

One comic he co-created – X-Men – has resonated with LGBTQ+ readers. In an article for Syfy, author Sara Century wrote that with its 1980s run X-Men “implied queerness … and an analog to AIDS”.
The MTV article says POW Entertainment was involved, but doesn't clarify Lee was actually involved himself, since by that time, he'd mostly disassociated himself from a business that was more intent on exploiting his name for their profit. In fact, he and his estate later filed a lawsuit against the company on the grounds they'd stolen/made wrongful use of his name and likeness. That's one of the saddest things about what happened with Lee towards the end of his life - there were only so many shady characters taking advantage of him, mainly because of an unfortunate weakness he had in personality - as a product of his era, he wouldn't criticize the companies he worked for under any circumstances. That's why Joe Quesada found it so easy to deconstruct his past work, including, and not limited to, the Spider-marriage.

And it's galling how the writer exploits Lee's legacy for LGBT propaganda too, but it does point out how the X-Men fell victim to the hijack early on.
Pop culture expert Anna Peppard notes Marvel comics in the 1960s and beyond took in themes from “the Civil Rights movement, second-wave feminism … and liberal multiculturalism”.

One of the last characters Lee created for Marvel was She-Hulk, whose 2022 TV series challenged toxic masculinity in superhero fandom. Stan Lee died, aged 96, in 2018.

By accident or design, Lee’s comics and the characters he helped create have not only had a huge influence on pop culture but also reflect an increasingly liberal world.
Oh, just what we need. More propaganda from a university, where else? And it's mighty peculiar how an article supposedly dedicated to the memory of a comics creator attacks a fanbase that very much admired Stan, and whom he practically marketed and promoted his work to. Where do they get off telling us Stan's male fanbase was "toxic"? That contradicts the "spirit" of what this article allegedly sets out to focus on. And the liberalism he represented in his time wasn't like that of today, though you could argue lack of responsibility as the years went by resulted in a situation where they've fallen victim to extreme ideologies at the expense of his past visions. Also, unlike many of today's leftists, Stan was willing to work with conservative-leaning writer and artists (Steve Ditko may have been one himself, and Chuck Dixon and Mike Baron are). This article is not so much a tribute to Stan as it is an excuse to appropriate his products for the sake of far-left visions, subtle or otherwise.

In another related subject, Game Rant tells about Lee's interest in developing a shounen manga story:
In the mid-2000s Stan Lee came up with a story idea involving a young boy with superpowers. He was watching Asian cinema one night, and decided he wanted to create something within the anime genre. He wrote down some notes, wrote a rough draft, and then had his assistant start calling Japanese publishers to find a partner to work on the project. Eventually, this got him into contact with the editors of Weekly Shounen Jump, which started the process of Stan Lee working on his first (of two) manga series he created.

When meetings with the Weekly Shounen Jump editors began in earnest one of the big questions arose on who was going to illustrate the series. Lee was not an artist nor did he have time to commit to the workload of shouldering a major manga series by himself, so a collaborator would have to be found. They ultimately decided on Hiroyuki Takai, the creator of Shaman King. Despite the initial popularity of the franchise, the Shaman King manga was prematurly canceled, and Takai found himself out of work as a result. While the Weekly Shounen Jump editors were not impressed with the direction Shaman King had been taking, they still had nothing but respect for Takai's unique art style.

They decided that he would be a great collaborator on what was dubbed 'The Stan Lee Project,' and they arranged for the two men to discuss it. Both Lee and Takai communicated back and forth until the concept for Ultimo was born. The title premiered in Weekly Shounen Jump as a one-shot release. The one shot was a hit, and it was decided that the series would become a weekly one.

[...] During the run of the series Stan Lee would happily discuss the series with fans, express his respect for Hiroyuki Takai, and sign books at the various conventions he attended. Ultimo was successful enough to span five books before being concluded, but it never achieved the franchise potential both parties felt it had. There was no anime adaptation, movie adaptation, and merchandise was non-existent. The series is more notable as being one of only two manga series Stan Lee had a hand in creating. Still, Ultimo did manage to achieve a cult following for how different it was and has its fans to this day. If nothing else, Ultimo is considered an interesting experiment if nothing else.
Well this is certainly written in better taste than the Conversation's shoddy history item. Maybe because this is about a foreign-based project he contributed to, but then, that goes to show how back in the USA, it's become a sad story by contrast, where nobody respects the works of a legend anymore, no matter what they say.

Next, here's a history piece on Collider, about Stan's standing up to the Comics Code Authority, and it begins with a goof:
In celebration of what would have been Stan Lee's 100th birthday, stories about his legendary contributions to comic book history are popping up everywhere, as they should. His writing brought a realism to comic book heroes, humanizing them and making them relatable. The stories and vocabulary he used in them aimed higher than a basic, elementary level. Lee created characters like Black Panther, the first mainstream Black superhero, and Daredevil, the first blind superhero. But one of the most important things that Lee did for the industry was to challenge, and bring about change, to the Draconian Comics Code Authority, or CCA.
Guess what? Hornhead wasn't the first blind hero in comicdom. That honor would go to DC's Dr. Mid-Nite/Charles McNider, which ran in All-American Comics during 1941-49, and preceded Matt Murdock's creation by over 2 decades. I love Daredevil, certainly the material published during 1964-98, but I recognize that there was a predecessor to the role of a blind protagonist, which these buffoons couldn't bother to take notice of. Now here's something about the CCA, which must bear a certain amount of irony in an age like this:
In the days before the creation of the CMAA and its regulatory Comics Code Authority branch, comic books had already stirred up the masses about their bad influence on America's vulnerable children. Teachers decried how they impacted student's reading habits, parents didn't appreciate their children selecting their own leisure reading, and the church protested the immoral content found in the comics, like scantily clad women and the idolization of villains. Mental health experts soon entered the collective, insisting that children became desensitized to violence thanks to the actions of comic book characters. One psychiatrist turned out to be the key driving force behind legislating comics: Dr. Fredric Wertham. Wertham was a snake oil salesman with a degree. There was some merit to his findings, but he largely eschewed his results in favor of sensationalized anecdotes that he would present at gatherings, legislative hearings, and in publications. His efforts still didn't instigate legislation, so he wrote a book to raise awareness of the danger of comics, Seduction of the Innocent, in spring 1954. This finally kicked the U.S.Senate into action, launching an investigation on the effects of comic books on juvenile delinquency, with hearings in April and June 1954.
What makes this ironic in the supreme is how today, hostility to scantily clad women is accepted in far-left circles, and worse, villainy is idolized, and certainly glamorized, what with all that's seen on television and films today. Do they realize we've boomeranged back to a situation like that post-2000? To a point where, much like Wertham's writings, sensationalism's become a norm.
Stan Lee was around for all of it, and he was savvy enough to lead Marvel through the Code's landmines and succeed where many others had failed. He pushed the boundaries, but didn't cross them, instead finding new and creative ways of telling stories that resonated in a new way with the public. Lee used his forum to explore social commentary, how those in power could use it for the greater good, expanding the reach of comics from juveniles to teenagers and young adults. Lee was so successful, in fact, that in 1971 the Department of Health, Education and Welfare approached Lee about creating a story around the dangerous effects of drug addiction, recognizing just how impactful Marvel Comics, and in particular Spider-Man, were on kids. Ironically, this setup a situation where one government agency was pushing for a story that went against the established codes of another.

The story that Stan Lee crafted intentionally skirted preaching to his readers, weaving the anti-drug message into the story as a sub-plot. Through the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man issues 96 through 98, Spider-Man was battling the Green Goblin in the main plot. Behind it, the story began with Spidey saving a drugged-out man, dancing on a rooftop, from falling to his death, and ended with Peter Parker showing the Goblin/Harry Osborne, Sr. how his son had turned to popping pills. The story was presented to the CCA and was rejected on the basis of mentioning drugs. Lee argued, pointing out that the message was clearly anti-drugs, difficult to do without mentioning drugs at all. It didn't matter. The CCA wouldn't budge, despite the fact the CCA didn't specifically prohibit the word drugs or drug use, but on the basis that it violated a general section that blanketed anything that "ran contrary to the spirit of the code". Caught between a rock and a hard place, Lee simply said "screw it" and released the comics anyway, without applying the Seal of Approval on the issues. And the world didn't fall apart. The lack of approval didn't hinder sales at all, and the story itself was lauded by parents, teachers, and churches. It had the societal impact that the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and Lee himself, had hoped for. Suddenly, the CCA looked outright foolish.
But when you look at how drugs are being normalized and legalized in various parts of the USA now, that's why the sad news is that in the long run, Stan's anti-drug messages tragically failed. And Collider's writers won't even clearly admit that.

The Digital Fix, which followed up on the above, said at the end:
So, on Stan Lee’s 100 birthday, we have much to be thankful for – including him pushing back against the restrictive authoritarian codes of the day and leading the content of comics to become darker and more interesting. If you’re keen to know more about the future of the MCU, check out our guide to Marvel’s Phase 5.
But we don't have the press to thank for their failure to follow his example, and protest the tragic return of censorship as seen today in entertainment. How fascinating they allude to darkness, because with the way things are going today, comics and entertainment in general have become less interesting. Something tells me these propagandists exploited this occasion for promoting darkness as a norm to boot, and that's what makes this all additionally tasteless. It's sad that over 4 years since Stan's passing, only so many MSM writers continue to discuss his works in an empty manner that doesn't do justice to his visions, let alone entertainment as a whole. It certainly has to be saying something when only the article about a manga project seems like an honest one.

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