Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Because I Said So

Tuesday Newspaper Strip Day.

In 1976 Stan Lee tried to get out of comics. Marvel was run more and more by Martin Goodman's son, Chip. A man, who by many accounts just wasn't that capable. Lee had had some succes with his books for Simon and Shuster, where he pretended for the first and most public time to be the sole creator of everything in the Marvel Universe. He also mixed the stories up with stories about their creation, which to many buyers at that time (including me) was very exciting. We now are used to the whole idea of geting a peek behind the scenes of our favorite entertainment, but there was a time not too long ago when all that was not commonplace and very special indeed. Late in 1976 Lee sold an idea for a newspaperr strip. Using a gimmick that he had used in the late fifties as well als twice in the sixties, he sold a political daily photo gag strip along the lines of the succesful Who's In Crage Here line of books by Gerald Gardner. This ran very shortly between September and december. Before it waas canceeled another strip written by Stan Lee appeared in the newspapers. A Soap Opera parody along the lines of the succesful television series Mary Hartman Mary Hartman with louise Lasser. The virtue of Vera Valiant was drawn by Frank Springer, who had had some succes with 'The Adventures of Phoebe Zeit-Geist', a satirical strip written by Michael O'Donoghue and published in Evergreen Review in 1965-66. Around the same time he also was a regular contributor to The National Lampoon, often with strips written by the same Michael O'Donoghue, who also wrote for the earliest years of Saturday Night Life. Unfortunately Vera Valiant had none of the zip and dare of the Lampoon parodies and disappeared after a year... but by that time Stan Lee had finally decided to cash in on his succes as the creatot of the Marvel universe and sold The Spider-Man strip, drawn at first by John Romita. In a seperate story, Romita says that he ans Lee already started the Spider-Man strip much ealrier, but were held back because Chip Goodman kept the samples in his desk for a couple of months.

More of Says Who?:

And here are the first two weeks of Vera Valiant. These were also used in the first of the two reprint pockets that followed the series.

1 comment:

Booksteve said...

I have a few examples of this I clipped at the time. It isn't really any good at all but with Stan's name attached, I'm still amazed it has been so COMPLETELY forgotten!