Originally published on January 9, 2018.
Before he went on to become one of the co-founders of Image Comics with fellow comic book artists Marc Silvestri, Jim Lee, Jim Valentino, Rob Liefeld, Whilce Portacio, and Erik Larsen, Spawn creator Todd McFarlane honed his skills at DC and Marvel, where he worked alongside Stan 'The Man' Lee.
SYFY WIRE's Mike Avila sat down with McFarlane (who worked on The Amazing Spider-Man, Incredible Hulk, and Spider-Man during the late 1980s and early '90s) to chat about Marvel's legendary creator, editor-in-chief and publisher about his legacy and the amount of criticism he's been receiving from fans who hold what Marvel Comics did to Jack Kirby against Lee.
Here's McFarlane’s thoughtful answer on the subject:
"Stan is just one of the cogs that was in the system back then and I don’t think it's right for us to be looking at the creative people against each other as the bad guys," McFarlane told us. "Whether Stan stood up for Jack, I don't know what his position was when the fight was going down for the original artwork. But Stan doesn’t own any of those characters any more that Jack Kirby did or I did or anybody else so it's not like he's the CEO of the corporation. And at some point he's become an ambassador. I think one of the things that's hurting Stan, which may be an odd comment that I'm about to make, is that he's lived so long. And so, all those people he's worked with… that vast majority has passed away. So what they see is Stan now gets a lot of the limelight of it."
McFarlane, who has a new Spawn movie in the works, had more to say about how some people are unfairly treating Lee.
"There's people that are going 'well, why is he getting the limelight and the other guy didn't,' well, they're just physically not here to share the limelight and I think that Stan understands it," he added. "Maybe he didn't at some point — I don't know — but he does now that it's a light to be shared with others. And people go 'ah the creator of Spider-Man' and he's the first to correct that. 'No, no, I co-created, right, with some very good artists and stuff.' But they're not around for him to share. He's this ambassador that has just outlived everybody else."
Well said, sir.
Additional material by Nathalie Caron.