DC and Marvel Comics are inexorably locked in an eternal competition, their competing stables of superheroes forever vying to be the most popular. But despite that, the two companies have generally displayed a healthy respect for each other over the years, as proven by DC Comics’ touching and classy tribute to Stan Lee, creator of the vast majority of Marvel’s most iconic characters.
In a full-page ad in their current monthlies, they pay respect from “the distinguished competition,” which is how Lee referred to DC Comics in his “Bullpen Bulletins,” in which he needled rival comic book publishers without ever specifically referring to them by name (when he wasn’t feeling so polite, he’d also call DC “Brand Echh”). But while Lee was and always will be associated with Marvel, he’s also done a bit of work for the competition as well.
MORE FROM THE WEB
Most notable is the 2001-2002 miniseries Just Imagine…, in which Stan Lee reinvented DC’s pantheon of heroes in his own style. Here, Batman became Wayne Williams, a young African-American man framed for a crime he didn’t commit, Superman, meanwhile, was a member of the Kryptonian Police Force trying to capture a dangerous criminal, only to be accidentally teleported on a one way trip to Earth. And Stan’s take on the Flash involved a college girl being injected with hummingbird DNA in an attempt to cure a wasting disease. If you’re curious about Lee’s vision of the rest of DC’s heroes, check out this Wikipedia page. I can’t pretend these stories were fantastic, but they were at least weird, interesting and boasted some top artistic talent.
Of course, Stan Lee also managed to make a cameo appearance in Teen Titans GO! To The Movies, where he exclaims in surprise, “I don’t care if this is a DC movie! I love cameos!” Clearly, the man had an impact on many different companies, not just Marvel, and kudos to DC for this non-partisan show of gratitude for the legend who transformed American comics.