The ‘Secret Origin’ of a Timely Comic Tribute to Stan Lee

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The ‘Secret Origin’ of a Timely Comic Tribute to Stan Lee

The new version arrived in late October of last year.

Wrangling artists to each draw one page of the story would have been too difficult. I hoped to have Bendis illustrate it, but when he moved from Marvel to DC Comics that idea never gained traction.

Enter Bill Walko, a cartoonist with whom I connected years ago based on our mutual love of “The New Teen Titans.” I knew he was extremely fast and could capture the look I wanted. My goal was for us to complete the comic quickly but to have no need to publish it for many years.

I reached out to Bill in November and — four days later! — he supplied rough layouts. Comics are often a group effort — writer, penciler, inker, colorist, letterer, editor, publisher — and Bill showed me how wonderful that collaboration could be.

He improved upon my good suggestions and politely rejected the bad ones. He also added flourishes not in the script, like presenting the title, “My Moments With Stan,” in the font of the original Fantastic Four logo and curating the display of classic Marvel covers shown on the first page.

By February, Bill had drawn and lettered the comic. I recruited one of my colleagues, Susanna Timmons, to copy-edit it and was delighted to discover she was a fan of “Powers,” a comic book series by Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming about police work in a city teeming with superheroes and villains.

After recovering from a serious illness that landed him in the hospital in December, Bendis gave the thumbs up on our progress in May. “Please tell Bill thank you for his outstanding work,” he wrote to me. “I’m sorry I wasn’t more communicative with him. This was a very strange year. Great casting on your part.” (I wonder if I can get that included in my staff evaluation.)

Bill suggested we commission a colorist: “I think it will support the four-color subject matter all the better!” He noted that colors would add clarity, on Page 1, to the characters on the Marvel covers; on Page 4, to the montage of the film heroes; and on Page 5, to the transition from the memory of a Bendis and Lee meeting to the photograph of that moment.

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The 'Secret Origin' Of A Timely Comic Tribute To Stan Lee
The 'Secret Origin' Of A Timely Comic Tribute To Stan Lee
The 'Secret Origin' Of A Timely Comic Tribute To Stan Lee
The 'Secret Origin' Of A Timely Comic Tribute To Stan Lee
The 'Secret Origin' Of A Timely Comic Tribute To Stan Lee

The 'Secret Origin' Of A Timely Comic Tribute To Stan Lee

The 'Secret Origin' Of A Timely Comic Tribute To Stan Lee

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