Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Keywords

Stan Lee, comic books, Marvel, writing, literature, history, Spider Man

Major

Interpersonal Communications

Abstract

After World War II, comic books spiraled downward in need of a true hero. Their low literary value left them with a very limited audience because adults found them too simplistic. The hero that finally brought comics out of their slump was seventeen-year-old Stanley Martin Lieber, president of Marvel and creator of famous Marvel characters. Lee, inspired in part by his wife and his desire to be a novelist, created a new form of influential literature that dared to branch out from the elementary writing that was previously used for comics, bringing comics back into a positive light. In this revolution, he crafted what is now known as “The Marvel Method.” He gave the books higher literary value by adding to the vocabulary and using advanced story lines, and he incorporated cultural issues into his magazines. As a result, he had a global impact on the world of literature. Using archival material from the Stan Lee Papers at the University of Wyoming, including correspondence with colleagues, interviews, personal letters, the comics themselves, as well as books written by Lee, I explored the thought process of this creative genius and his associates. The 2007 article written by Robert Genter, “’With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility’: Cold War Culture and the Birth of Marvel Comics.” argues that Cold War culture shaped Stan Lee’s comics. While I agree with Genter, my work focuses on Lee’s impact on society not just how he was influenced by the culture. He both improved the quality of this form of literature and incorporated important social themes like equality and bullying. He also influenced others to follow his lead after seeing his success. Instead of presenting people with a piece of literature they were embarrassed to be seen reading, comics became much more valuable under Lee’s careful pen.

Faculty Mentor

Darlene Rivas

Funding Source or Research Program

Keck Scholars Program

Presentation Session

Session B

Location

Plaza Classroom 188

Start Date

3-4-2015 4:45 PM

End Date

3-4-2015 5:00 PM

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Apr 3rd, 4:45 PM Apr 3rd, 5:00 PM

Beyond Pow! Wam! Stan Lee's Hand in Revolutionizing Comic Books

Plaza Classroom 188

After World War II, comic books spiraled downward in need of a true hero. Their low literary value left them with a very limited audience because adults found them too simplistic. The hero that finally brought comics out of their slump was seventeen-year-old Stanley Martin Lieber, president of Marvel and creator of famous Marvel characters. Lee, inspired in part by his wife and his desire to be a novelist, created a new form of influential literature that dared to branch out from the elementary writing that was previously used for comics, bringing comics back into a positive light. In this revolution, he crafted what is now known as “The Marvel Method.” He gave the books higher literary value by adding to the vocabulary and using advanced story lines, and he incorporated cultural issues into his magazines. As a result, he had a global impact on the world of literature. Using archival material from the Stan Lee Papers at the University of Wyoming, including correspondence with colleagues, interviews, personal letters, the comics themselves, as well as books written by Lee, I explored the thought process of this creative genius and his associates. The 2007 article written by Robert Genter, “’With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility’: Cold War Culture and the Birth of Marvel Comics.” argues that Cold War culture shaped Stan Lee’s comics. While I agree with Genter, my work focuses on Lee’s impact on society not just how he was influenced by the culture. He both improved the quality of this form of literature and incorporated important social themes like equality and bullying. He also influenced others to follow his lead after seeing his success. Instead of presenting people with a piece of literature they were embarrassed to be seen reading, comics became much more valuable under Lee’s careful pen.