A documentary about Marvel’s Stan Lee that debuted on Disney+ last week has, no surprise, proven controversial. The family of Jack Kirby, co-creator with Stan Lee of the Fantastic Four, Thor, the Hulk, the X-Men and more, has issued a statement in response to the film.
The heart of the controversy is one that has raged since Stan Lee and Jack Kirby first started working together to create the Marvel universe — while both Kirby and Lee played significant roles in Marvel’s success, their contributions and the extent of their involvement in the creation of these characters has always been a subject of debate. While the conflict between the two is brought up in the documentary, it’s not explored in any great detail.
“… most of the narrative is in his voice, literally and figuratively,” Neal Kirby said in his statement. “It’s not any big secret that there has always been controversy over the parts that were played in the creation and success of Marvel’s characters. Stan Lee had the fortunate circumstance to have access to the corporate megaphone and media, and he used these to create his own mythos as to the creation of the Marvel character pantheon. He made himself the voice of Marvel. So, for several decades he was the ‘only’ man standing, and blessed with a long life, the last man standing.”
According to Marvel, the documentary, which was directed by David Gelb, “weaves together personal recorded footage from Lee, along with recorded recollections of his career never before seen by the public. These are accompanied by archived interview clips, newsreels, and models that immerse viewers in Lee’s world, in addition to hearing from some of his closest friends and collaborators.”
Rolling Stone’s David Fear, in his review, called it a “lame infomercial” and that the documentary feels “like it’s just shy of being nothing but a shill.” Variety was a bit kinder in their assessment.
Jillian Kirby, Jack Kirby’s granddaughter, shared the statement from her father on Twitter:Continue reading “Jack Kirby’s family issues a statement about the Disney+ Stan Lee documentary”