Jack Kirby’s Son Condemns Disney+ Stan Lee Documentary

in Disney, Marvel

Jack Kirby in a black and white portrait, Stan Lee at Phoenix Comic Con

Credit: Susan Skaar, GageSkidmore Wikimedia Commons

The new Disney+ documentary STAN LEE (2023) examines the career and life of the legendary Marvel Comics editor. However, according to Jack Kirby’s son, Lee is not the sole genius behind Marvel’s most famous characters.

Stan Lee raising his arms at Phoenix Comic Con
Credit: Gage Skidmore Wikimedia Commons

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Stan Lee isn’t just a comic book legend; he is THE comic book legend. An editor and writer at Marvel Comics, Lee is credited with creating some of the most iconic fictional characters of all time, including Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, and many more.

However, Lee wasn’t the only person at Marvel. While he was a writer and had plenty of great ideas, multiple artists physically created these characters’ appearances, cementing them in fans’ minds forever. This includes artists like Steve Ditko, the co-created Spider-Man, and Jack Kirby.

That being said, Stan Lee still gets a majority of the attention and the credit. And frankly, some people are sick of it. One of those people is Jack Kirby’s son, Neal Kirby, who released a statement calling out the inaccuracies of the new Stan Lee documentary on Disney+.

Neal Kirby Claims Stan Lee Takes Too Much Credit

Jack Kirby animating classic characters in a Marvel comic
Credit: Marvel Comics

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A day after the Stan Lee documentary premiered on Disney+, comic legend Jack Kirby’s son, Neal Kirby, spoke out against the documentary, claiming that Lee had taken the credit and spotlight away from everyone else who created the Marvel pantheon of characters.

In a written statement released on his daughter’s Twitter page, Neal Kirby spoke to the advantages of having a “corporate megaphone” and being “the only man standing” after multiple artists died, including his father in 1994.

“Are we to assume that it was never the other co-creator that walked into Lee’s office and said, “Stan, I have a great idea for a character!” According to Lee it was always his idea.”

There was always a conflict between Stan Lee and Jack Kirby regarding credit, and Neal Kirby has definitely taken a side. He added to this debate by comparing the artist’s role to Michelangelo’s David. “In 1501, the Opera del Duomo commissioned a 26-year-old Michelangelo to sculpt a statue of David for the Cathedral of Florence – their idea, their money. The statue is called Michelangelo’s David – his genius, his vision, his creativity.”

It may be easy to pass off Neal Kirby’s statements about Lee because he is Jack Kirby’s son. However, he isn’t the only prominent figure in comics to speak out against Stan Lee’s ego. Alan Moore, the creator of Watchmen (1986-1987)V for Vendetta (1982-1989), and many more classic graphic novels, stated that he doesn’t believe that Stan Lee created all those characters. “It’s in one of those ‘origins of Marvel Comics’ books, where he reminisces about him and John and Jack created Captain America… Stan Lee was about twelve.”

To say that Stan Lee didn’t co-create any of those characters is obviously not true. It’s much harder to believe that, for some time, he was the only person coming up with ideas for new characters. However, when someone is constantly presented as the public face of a company, whether in interviews, historical books, or movie cameos, they will get a majority of the credit. And when it comes to the likes of Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, that’s just not fair.

Do you think Stan Lee receives too much credit? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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