Secrets Behind The Comics 4

Continuing on in our review of this 1947 behind-the-scenes pamphlet published by Timely editor Stan Lee

Here, Stan brings back Mario Acquaviva to talk about the skills involved in lettering comics, and he shows off some pages from a recent Sub-Mariner story. I have no idea where this story actually ran, so I can’t pull up the finished page for you here.

Mike Sekowsky, introduced here as Michael, was one of the fastest and longest-tenured artists in the field, well-remembered today for his work on the initial JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA stories and his transformation of Wonder Woman into her late-1960s Mod incarnation based on Diana Rigg, among other things.

And now we come to the portion of this publication that’s justly received the most attention over the years, a completely fanciful and self-serving account as to how Captain America was created–one that never mentions the names Joe Simon or Jack Kirby and which makes them almost incidental to the process. Even in a tome like this one, aimed at a relatively young reader, especially after introducing all of these other Bullpen creators, this feels like a glaring lack of judgment. I understand that Simon and Kirby hadn’t worked at Timely in years at this point, but this is an egregious instance of credit-misappropriation.

The whole section reads as a paean to Stan’s boss and the holder of the Timely purse strings, publisher Martin Goodman. One wonders if this was done in this manner in an attempt to help convince Goodman to allow Lee to go ahead with publishing the book. (It wasn’t a Timely publication at all, but rather sold directly by Lee out of his apartment.)

Given how sour the relationship between Lee and Goodman eventually turned, it’s a bit ironic to see Lee paint him as a creative dynamo and a dynamic personality.

We’ll continue with Secrets Behind The Comics in the weeks ahead.

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