Friday, August 16, 2013

A Stan Lee Lie on Iron Man

Stan Lee was a pretty awesome comic book creator 50 years ago. Some of the characters he created lasted so long that I read them decades later as a kid. Not really, because I didn't like Marvel. I did like McFarlane era Spiderman and the Jim Lee X-men, but I didn't really get into the others much. The X-men would occasionally get their asses kicked while the Avengers always somehow pulled out the win. Iron Man is the rage now with the successful films, but I did not read that at all. Stan was pretty productive and this was all before cocaine. It's always sad to see old people try to suck up to the young crowd. Mr. Lee is a lying douchebag and for the weakest of reasons with regards to Iron Man, sucking up to liberals.

He was building shit castles when he made the following remark:


I think I gave myself a dare. It was the height of the Cold War. The readers, the young readers, if there was one thing they hated, it was war, it was the military....So I got a hero who represented that to the hundredth degree. He was a weapons manufacturer, he was providing weapons for the Army, he was rich, he was an industrialist....I thought it would be fun to take the kind of character that nobody would like, none of our readers would like, and shove him down their throats and make them like him....And he became very popular.


No, no you are being a revisionist right there Stan. That is your spin on Tony Stark and Iron Man after the end of Vietnam and 40 years of post-Vietnam anti-military leftism. Iron Man debuted in 1963. Stan, you may not know this, but some people know the '60s not just from what the TV and movies tells us they were (really '68-'75 was those '60s). Even Mad Men has helped the masses in this regard. In 1963, America's involvement in 'Nam was still mostly special forces trainers and military advisers with our total troop level at 16,000 in Vietnam. Diem was still alive! The Gulf of Tonkin incident was still a year away, and at that time, Americans supported the war. Even funnier Stan, I just spent a day going through May 1965 issues of the NY Times on microfilm, and Vietnam wasn't even the primary foreign policy troop story in the op-ed section or on page one. It was the Dominican Republic's civil war and US intervention in the DR. Three years after you debuted Iron Man, what was a no. 1 music hit, Ballad of the Green Berets. It was a ballad, a ballad, about elite soldiers.

Sorry, you're right Stan. You are the creator after all, not like you'd want to spin a story and recreate a motive. It's not like you were coming up with a tall, dark playboy millionaire >Batman< who would use his money, brains and training to construct cool gadgets + equipment and fight evil >Batman< after losing his parents >Batman< and inheriting the family company and fortune >Batman<. Stan was just pranking everyone into loving the pro-military, anti-communist industrialist. Stan's lying because there was (and still is) a huge reservoir of young men who want to be all the things Bruce Wayne is and does. Adding in a supersuit and making the alter ego a genius engineer/inventor who still gets the ladies only adds to the comic book guy nerd attraction. How many men went into engineering because of our space program? In the early to mid '60s, Lee wanted to have a techie Batman that fought commies. Of course fans loved it! Reworking his history, Stan Lee just wants to appeal to the cool kids of today and the tastemakers who would love the subversion. Iron Man worked because even after Vietnam ended, government corruption was uncovered, the best and brightest were shown to be slow and flawed, there were still millions who wished we hadn't fought those damn Viet Cong with one hand tied behind our back.

2 comments:

LS said...

I thought he was based on Howard Hughes.

Son of Brock Landers said...

I believe someone at Marvel stated that years ago (Iron Man = Hughes), which makes Lee's revisionism even more annoying.