Friday, September 9, 2016

Face-Off: Stan Lee or Walt Disney?

Martinex1:  On this site, we often draw comparisons between various titans, and today we compare and contrast two giants of entertainment and creativity: Stan Lee and Walt Disney!

I have to give these two men credit.  For people that exist outside of my family and personal life and who I have never had the pleasure of meeting, they have added greatly to my life's happiness.   

But today it is Face-Off time!   So who is more impactful and influential (define that as you see fit)?   What are their similarities and differences?  They are both showmen, imagineers, business men, and visionaries who created icons for the generations.   But what do you say?


Edo Bosnar said...

More impactful and influential to me personally? Stan Lee. No contest, in fact.

More impactful and influential in general (i.e., to the world at large)? Disney, definitely. There's hardly anywhere in the world you can go where Mickey, Donald and other iconic Disney characters aren't recognized. Additionally, and similarly, the various feature-length animated films were watched by successive generations of people worldwide. There's also the fact the Disney empire swallowed up the Marvel Universe...

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Stan has a soapbox.

But Walt disnae.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Redartz said...

Agreeing once again with Edo here, Stan is most influential for me personally, but Walt has the advantage on a global basis. Stan, and by extension Marvel comics, pretty much set my interests entertainment-wise for life. And his creations (co-creations of course, with Kirby and Ditko) seem to gain more attention every year.

Yet Disney also had a stable of characters who gained global fame. Walt helped pioneer the field of animation in film, pushed the limits with "Fantasia", expanded into television and theme park development. In the process his name itself became iconic.

Colin- like you, I do prefer the Warner Bros. output to Disney's. Bugs and Daffy, perhaps the entertainment worlds' greatest comedy team...

Doug said...

Something that strikes me about these two men is that one of their stable of creations has evolved on an almost-monthly basis, while the other's creations remain somewhat static. I am not at all an aficionado of Disney comics, but to the best of my knowledge there really isn't any issue with continuity in regard to the company's characters. Stan's stable, on the other hand, has seen ebb and flow for a little less than 60 years.

As Redartz mentions, the Marvel characters gain more traction with the general public every day. Yet it cannot be ignored that the Disney characters made a huge splash from the day they landed and have been going strong for around 80 years.

But then, Walt Disney landed the motion picture deal to get his characters to the public decades before Marvel did. Perhaps Stan's greatest failure, that time lag between creation and mass market appeal?


Doug said...

Going off dangermash's comment, seeing old episodes of the Mickey Mouse Club and the various iterations of The Wonderful World of Disney, Walt's appearances at the beginning of Wonderful World was sort of that grandfatherly presence, similar maybe to Stan's presence on the Bullpen Bulletins page long after he'd left Marvel's day-to-day operations. At least for Marvel, the illusion of the Bullpen and that Stan had "done everything" continued.


Anonymous said...

The correct answer to this face off is, of course, Jack Kirby.


William said...

For me it's definitely Stan "The Man" baby!!!

Outside of my parents, no other single person has probably had a greater impact on my life and development as a person.

I did have the great pleasure of meeting "The Man" himself at a comic convention in the mid-90's. My awesome wife actually stood in line for me for over an hour so that I could walk around the convention. When I did meet Stan, he signed some books for me and I got to speak to him for a couple of minutes. He was very nice, and when I told him I had a complete collection of pretty much every Spider-Man book ever published he reacted with a "Wow!" and a genuinely surprised expression. That was definitely a "bucket list" moment.

(Sorry for the 2 deleted comments. I wish there was an "edit" option."

Anonymous said...

I’d be surprised if any of the BABsters have more love for Walt than Stan, but that’s just our tribe.

Something that struck me about Stan a while back is that if you show me a pic of him from any point in the last 55 years (and maybe earlier) I recognise him immediately, which is true of very few people other than actors. But I realise looking at today’s post it’s also true of Disney.

Whilst we hate Disney for swallowing up the likes of Marvel and Lucasfilm, the House of Mouse has undeniably been a hive of talent…also technical innovation, not just animation, but sound, cameras, techniques, colour and many other advancements in film.

There are a lot of stories about him being virtually a Nazi, but everyone who actually met him seemed to find him charming. When they filmed Mary Poppins, Karen Dotrice & Matthew Garber practically lived with him for a year and loved him (although two English kids well versed in etiquette and manners are not exactly an advert for multi-ethnicity).

People accuse Disney of being lowbrow, but I think if there had been public demand, you would have seen a lot more films like Fantasia. That was a huge gamble and only the third animated film.

For me, the joy of Stan Lee was really ‘getting’ him. I have no idea how much his public persona was/is his real persona, but in the soapbox and his interviews and articles, I really feel the same presence as the author of so many beloved stories. Whilst I prefer Roy & Claremont and others as writers, they were definitely standing on Stan’s shoulders.

I also love his unique combination of arrogance and honesty. He will happily accept plaudits and credit and love for EVERYTHING, whilst at the same time admitting that he had no idea what he was doing and no plan beyond the next print deadline. He will take the credit for ‘creating’ everything, but at the same time openly admit that Ditko created virtually all of Spider Man’s powers and look, and that the first time he saw the Surfer was when Jack turned in his pages.


Anonymous said...

Stan definitely. I'm not sure if all those rumours about Disney being a racist were true, but Stan has always been just the opposite...and wasn't shy about preaching from the old Soapbox about it.

Mike Wilson

JJ said...

Stan, primarily because he was such a forward-looking artist. This was often evident in his writing. Granted, his views on women were outdated but he made remarkable strides at the time by featuring black characters, disabled characters and more. Lee was inclusive and expansive, reaching out to all walks of life and attempting intelligent, progressive social messages within his stories. Admirable.

Anonymous said...

This is an ironic topic considering Disney owns Marvel now. Of course, being the comics geek that I am I have to say Stan Lee, but if you were to ask many young kids nowadays, they'd probably say ol' Walt is the Man. Both men are indeed titans of the entertainment world in their own right, and knew the value of showmanship and promoting their brand.

- Mike 'never was a mousketeer' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Disneymarvel said...

Both of these men are heroes to me, but there is no question that Walt has had the biggest impact on the world and to me. I've even met Stan a couple of times at conventions of the last 10 years, but Uncle Walt was a constant Sunday night presence for me during the first 5 years of my life.

Comparisons of storytelling ability would probably have to be the closest. Both men had an ability of giving the audience what they wanted and knowing how to do it.

Beyond this, though, Walt was able to conquer so many aspects of entertainment and beyond. He went from animation to live action mixed with animation to full-on live action adventure, then continued to translate all of these to the new medium of TV. From there, he took it to a true 3D representation of his creations by creating the theme park industry as we know it today.

Walt also was curious about everything and used technology to advance all of his interests, creating many advancements in film and imagineering.

As to the antisemitic and/or racist charges against Walt, those have been completely dismantled through interviews with those who knew and worked with him, including Floyd Norman - the black animator and storyboard artist of the '50s through to today - black performers from Song of the South, along with scores of Jewish creatives from all walks of life who tell numerous stories of how wonderful Walt was to be around. For more on much of this, read through the "Walt's People" series of books for some truly glorious stories of Walt and the men who worked with him.

Marvel and Disney as companies have affected my life pretty equally, but Walt the man edges out Stan the Man as a personal hero by a lot. And that's saying a lot, as Stan is up there in the top 5 of my heroes, as well. (Others include Captain Kangaroo, Charles Shulz and Paul Winchell for those who helped form my childhood sensibilities).

Great topic!

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