Karen: I won't argue that Kirby and Ditko deserve more credit than they've gotten, and probably deserved better compensation too. But to completely deny Lee's role in the success of Marvel Comics is absurd. One only has to look at Kirby or Ditko's solo work to see what Lee brought to the table. And he worked with a lot more artists than just those two. Sure, his over-wrought dialog may seem goofy now, but for the time it was significantly ahead of the competition. He gave the characters full emotional lives, even if they were straight out of a soap opera. It made them distinctive and relatable.
Karen: Some of this rabid dislike is probably also due to Lee's blatant self-promotion. There's no denying that sometimes, this has been overdone. And there have been times -like in the text sections of the Origins of Marvel Comics, for example -when Lee has given himself all the credit for coming up with the flagship characters. But on the other hand, it was Lee's efforts that gave Marvel its own special flavor, and without this, would it have been able to compete with DC? I've always felt that Lee's attempts to make Marvel standout as the lovable underdog with people you actually felt like you knew was just as integral to the company's success as the quality of the stories themselves. It was Lee that decided to start crediting writers, artists, heck even the inkers and letterers, on the splash pages. The Marvel bulletins pages were chatty and breezy and cultivated a feeling of inclusiveness for the readers -even if the whole idea of the 'Merry Marvel Bullpen' was mostly a fantasy. Lee became the face of Marvel and even today is probably the only comic book creator that the average person could name. Yes, he has benefited from this. But overall, I think it has done Marvel (and the comic book industry as a whole) more good than harm.
Karen: Ultimately I just don't understand the need to vilify Lee, or pick sides. I'm very grateful for the
Karen: Stan Lee is 91 years old. He's lived a rich and complicated life and I'm sure he has his regrets. I admit I struggle at times to figure out just how I think of him: comics godfather or shameless huckster? But then I remember that without him, I would've been deprived of countless hours of reading pleasure, hours of imagining and dreaming and talking with friends about heroes and stories that made my life a little bit better. Then it's pretty much a no-brainer. I wish the Stan-bashers would think about this before they launch into their attacks. The man has his faults, God knows we all do -but he's not Hitler. Let it go.