New Respect for Stan Lee
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surfer99   
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Stan's Soapbox...

 

If you've ever read some of the great Silver Age books that Stan wrote, especially Tales to Astonish, you no doubt have noticed that he was a bit of a male chauvinist...or at least he portrayed women in such a way that leads you to believe he was. He can be forgiven, it was a sign of the times, and as such was reflected in his writing. One thing you never did see though was bigotry. In fact, he spoke in depth on this topic in the Stan's Soapbox section of Fantastic Four 81 which I just read. In case you don't have this issue, or maybe just don't read this section on a regular basis, I typed it up below for your reading pleasure. After reading this, I have a new respect for Stan the man. The fact that this was printed in 1968, the year of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, tells me he was speaking out against that kind of hate in the best way he knew how.

 

STAN's SOAPBOX

Lets lay it right on the line. Bigotry and racism are among the deadliest social ills plaguing the world today. But, unlike a team of costumed super-villains, they cant be halted with a punch in the snoot, or a zap from a ray gun. The only way to destroy them is to expose them -- to reveal them for the insidious evils they really are. The bigot is an unreasoning hater -- one who hates blindly, fanatically, indiscriminately. If his hang-up is black men, he hates ALL black men. If a redhead once offended him, he hates ALL redheads. If some foreigner beat him to a job, he hates ALL foreigners. He hates people he's never seen -- people he's never known -- with equal intensity -- with equal venom. Now, we're not trying to say its unreasonable for one human being to bug another. But, although anyone has the right to dislike another individual, it's totally irrational, patently insane to condemn an entire race -- to despise an entire nation -- to vilify an entire religion. Sooner or later, we must learn to judge each other on our own merits. Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill our hearts with tolerance. For then, and only then, will we be truly worthy of the concept that man was created in the image of God -- a God who calls us ALL -- His children.

 

Pax et Justitia (Latin for peace and justice)

Stan.

 

Nuff said!

 

Til next time...

 

***

16606.jpg

 

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thecopperagekids   
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Stan's Soapbox...

 

If you've ever read some of the great Silver Age books that Stan wrote, especially Tales to Astonish, you no doubt have noticed that he was a bit of a male chauvinist...or at least he portrayed women in such a way that leads you to believe he was. He can be forgiven, it was a sign of the times, and as such was reflected in his writing. One thing you never did see though was bigotry. In fact, he spoke in depth on this topic in the Stan's Soapbox section of Fantastic Four 81 which I just read. In case you don't have this issue, or maybe just don't read this section on a regular basis, I typed it up below for your reading pleasure. After reading this, I have a new respect for Stan the man. The fact that this was printed in 1968, the year of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, tells me he was speaking out against that kind of hate in the best way he knew how.

 

STAN's SOAPBOX

Lets lay it right on the line. Bigotry and racism are among the deadliest social ills plaguing the world today. But, unlike a team of costumed super-villains, they cant be halted with a punch in the snoot, or a zap from a ray gun. The only way to destroy them is to expose them -- to reveal them for the insidious evils they really are. The bigot is an unreasoning hater -- one who hates blindly, fanatically, indiscriminately. If his hang-up is black men, he hates ALL black men. If a redhead once offended him, he hates ALL redheads. If some foreigner beat him to a job, he hates ALL foreigners. He hates people he's never seen -- people he's never known -- with equal intensity -- with equal venom. Now, we're not trying to say its unreasonable for one human being to bug another. But, although anyone has the right to dislike another individual, it's totally irrational, patently insane to condemn an entire race -- to despise an entire nation -- to vilify an entire religion. Sooner or later, we must learn to judge each other on our own merits. Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill our hearts with tolerance. For then, and only then, will we be truly worthy of the concept that man was created in the image of God -- a God who calls us ALL -- His children.

 

Pax et Justitia (Latin for peace and justice)

Stan.

 

Nuff said!

 

Til next time...

 

***

16606.jpg

 

See more journals by surfer99

Good post.Not directly related to comics but in the same vein of taking a stance against racism through an entertainment medium, that reached wide audiences,in a time where racism was much more prevalent than it is today and this sort of "liberal" social commentary was not looked upon with open arms ....., a lot of the late 60's Twilight Zone episodes were ahead of their time , as well.Issues that were not regularly discussed openly,like racism, were addressed head on through what were subversive story plot lines.These sorts of "baby steps" by Rod Serling (and Stan Lee, as well) certainly brought such topics to a much more wide stream American viewing audience and I agree it is commendable for white men in the 1960's to be willing to speak openly in a manner that succinctly addressed the underlying dark side of the American Dream land of the 1960's, which otherwise was completely oblivious to the civil rights movement.

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Tnerb   
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I am curious now, especially since you were with me when I purchased this comic book at ECCC. I wonder though, did any kid who read that when it was released follow the ideals of Stan Lee. Comic books were such an under appreciated medium of story telling. My mother hated me reading them. Why? I have no idea, maybe she thought they were childish, however for some reason I picture her being forced to burn a few comic books in 54'

 

As a teen I always skipped over Stan's Soapbox, it was just too much to read, now, it's not enough.

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The Mekon   
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Thanks for retyping that for us to read! :)

 

Even though it was written during the turbulence of the late 60's, that message still resonates today.

 

 

 

 

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Dreadnaughty   
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Great stuff,

 

Thanks for the journey down memory lane.

 

I was already an avid reader of novels when I got into comics in 1978 as an 11 year old and read every aspect of the comic except for a lot of the adds that were not Hostess Twinkies.

 

The letter pages and Stan's Soapbox were both great reads even then and with the passing of time along with a lot of Marvels stories of the 60s and 70s, has taken on greater relevance.

 

Like several aspects of Stan he was then ahead of the time and as they say had his finger on the pulse of readers. A lot of the things he did back then eventually and in a round about way has been incorporated into marketing in general.

 

As a long time True Believer,

 

Make Mine Marvel!

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SW3D   
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FF 81 was one of the first 12 cents, Silver Age comics I ever bought. I read that comic many years ago, but like I always do, I never read the editorials and letters page. Now that you quoted Stan's Soapbox from this issue revealing such a profound message, the book now has more personal value than ever before, not to mention garnering greater respect for Mr. Lee!

 

Thanks for sharing.

 

SW3D

Edited by SW3D

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Rockblazer   
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Speaking of Stan Lee and women. He's getting close to be married to the same woman for 70 years! (2017). That usually gets attention on the national level even if your not famous. Plus he's been in the comic field since he was 17.

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phampton1737   
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Hey there: Your mention of Stan Lee's long-time wife jogged a memory that's kind of fun. A couple of years ago I was selling a copy of Amazing Fantasy #13 on eBay, and just kind of giving it a careful look-over for the listing.

 

Meanwhile, I'd just been reading one or the other of the "Real Marvel Story" /"Behind the Scenes at..." kind of books (mainly wanting to better understand exactly how Kirby & Lee created together), and along the way had read that his wife Joan's maiden name had been "Boocock." Seriously. : )

 

So I got a kick out of spotting on the "letters page" of that issue a letter from a "Joan Boocock," of England. Which I thought was kind of cool, because it made me realize that although in time the offices were flooded with fan mail, it hadn't always been so.

 

Thanks for the smile.

 

 

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Professor Pecora   
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I appreciate you sharing Stan's Soapbox documented in Fantastic Four #81. I have always had a great deal of respect for Stan "The Man" Lee. He is a survivor and warrior; I remember reading some journal article years ago that described all of the hardships he had to overcome to create and make Marvel Comics to what is has become today.

 

Just think, he was born on December 28, 1922, which means he was born approximately 4 years after the first World War ended on November 11, 1918. Furthermore, he lived through both World War 2 and the African-American Civil Rights Movement from 1954-1968.

 

What Stan shared in his soapbox in Fantastic Four #81 published in December of 1968, was a result of the changing times and his admiration and support for the late Martin Luther King, Jr., who was assasinated on April 4, 1968, only 8 months prior to Stan's introspective view on bigotry and racism.

 

Stan used his influence in the comics world to attempt to shed light on a touchy subject that probably would have otherwise been ignored or repressed for that matter. Granted, maybe the large majority of readers just skipped Stan's Soapbox for being too lengthy (as Tnerb noted) or just not interested for whatever reasons. However, it was Stan's honest opinion on the matter and his willingness and effort to publish his internal thoughts on a sensitive topic regardless of what others would think of him, which made him truly THE MAN!

 

Thanks again for sharing this info with us surfer99!

 

-Professor Pecora

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surfer99   
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I love all the responses to this post and I'm glad Stan's Soapbox resonated with you guys like it did with me. I was reading Strange Tales 145 tonight published in June 1966 and noticed Dr. Strange was being attended to by a black doctor after he'd been shot. A month later, Stan would introduce us to the Black Panther, the first African-American superhero, in FF 52 published in July 1966. Stan made his point in both subtle and not so subtle ways during a crazy time. Thank you Stan for not remaining silent on such an important topic.

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Ken Aldred   
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I am curious now, especially since you were with me when I purchased this comic book at ECCC. I wonder though, did any kid who read that when it was released follow the ideals of Stan Lee. Comic books were such an under appreciated medium of story telling. My mother hated me reading them. Why? I have no idea, maybe she thought they were childish...

 

... however for some reason I picture her being forced to burn a few comic books in 54'

 

As a teen I always skipped over Stan's Soapbox, it was just too much to read, now, it's not enough.

 

There was also Shock Suspenstories by EC, which had some hard-hitting anti-racism stories.

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Peter G   
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Thanks for retyping that for us to read! :)

 

Even though it was written during the turbulence of the late 60's, that message still resonates today.

 

 

 

 

I think when Stan wrote these ideas it was genuinely felt. Nowadays, the "race baiters" purposely use this liberal ideology to divide us. :(

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rodan57   
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What Stan shared in his soapbox in Fantastic Four #81 published in December of 1968, was a result of the changing times and his admiration and support for the late Martin Luther King, Jr., who was assasinated on April 4, 1968, only 8 months prior to Stan's introspective view on bigotry and racism.

 

-Professor Pecora

 

Good thoughts.

 

Just to fine tune and support your zeitgeist argument ...

 

FF #81 hit the newsstands in September of 1968 and was probably written sometime in July -- a mere three months after MLK's assassination. (thumbs u

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surfer99   
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Guess I need to reply to my old journals or else I can't easily find them on my profile page.

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