Sunday, June 09, 2013

The Case For Lee

Saturday Leftover Day.

It is pretty well known among comic book histoians that Stan Lee always signed what he wrote and only wrote what he signed. Still, there are a couple of stories that he did in the fifties without his name on it. One can only assume the name dropped off, was forgotten or was hidden under a piece of text. Since I am a fan and student of Stan Lee's writing before the superheroe years, I have been making lists of Stan Lee verbal tics. So when I came across a George Tuska story that looked like it could have been written by Lee even though it was not signed, I started looking for clues. First of all, there is the fcat that it is a gag story, the use of a splash image that is a part of the story and not looking forward to a later point (a trick Lee never used in the fifties, althoudh he did so later in his short stories with Steve Ditko, who could have been doing that on his own). There is the use of Ho-hum! A (yawn) between brackets and What th--!, all Stan Lee ticks. Of course, there is my favorite, the use of 'thu' instead of 'through', which was a conatnt in all of Lee's work. And then there is the fact that the clou [spoiler alert] invlved werewolves. Stan loved to use the classic monsters (or the devil) in his horror stories.

Looking further, I had a look at the job numbers surrounding this story. Job numbers were attributed at the script level. Stan Lee used to write at home in bunches, throwing off a couple of stories before going out with Joannie, or something like that. So any unsigned Stan Lee story surrouned by other singed Stan Lee stories would also fit the pattern. Unfortunately, there are no signed stories surrounding this one. Even worse, the one before this uses the word 'through'. But the one after uses 'thru' and has another set of Stan Lee tricks: a self referential opening text, the use of 'Bah!' a an exclamation, 'ya' instead of 'you' as a colloqialism and 'Great Scott!' as an exclamation, which, lokking back on it, is in the Tuska story as well. It also has a gag ending involving the devil and it runs for 7 pages, which Stan Le the editor allowed no other writer but himself. And to top it all off, it is drawn by Jerry Robinson. And Stan Lee always kept the best artists for his own scripts.

And that, members of the jury, is my case...

Oh - and they'e quite pretty, too.

The next contribution is even weirder. It looks like another Lee/Robinson collabratio, but neither man signed. In most of Robinson's work in the fifties, one can assume (and often see) a contribution of his studio worker Bob Forgione. Maybe here Forgione did it all, but still with the more solid inking his boss would provide?


Ger Apeldoorn said...

Well, Doc Vassallo had it down as a questionmark, with some involvement by Robinson and Forgione, though he wasn't sure who did what and thinks there might have been a third party involved. I am leaning towards Robinson doing the inking only. Docs version would explain the lack of signature of two artists who usually sign their stuff.

Martin OHearn said...

Ger, I took a while to look over these stories. My detailed lists of writers' characteristics are unavailable at the moment, so I’m going by feel here, but certainly none of these jumps out as being by any other distinctive Atlas writer like Hank Chapman or Jack Oleck. “The Man Who Closed His Eyes” sounds most likely to be by Stan; the others seem a bit too wordy (surprising as that sounds!) for him.