Traditionally-speaking, Spider-Man is the most famous and beloved superhero in the Marvel universe and Peter Parker’s success is a major reason for Stan Lee’s fame as a comic book creator in the first place. But while Lee is deservedly a pop culture legend, like all comics characters, Spidey was a collaborative effort. In this case, both Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby were instrumental in making the webhead the icon he is today.
So that’s why fans are up in arms over a new special edition of Entertainment Weekly which credits Lee as the character’s sole creator on its cover. EW’s Ultimate Guide to Spider-Man collector’s issue features a byline on the cover promising a feature on “How Stan Lee Created Peter Parker”. And the omission of either of the artists who brought him to life, especially Ditko, is inciting a lot of anger on social media.
One fan called the cover “disrespectful”.
Even nearly 60 years since Spidey’s creation, Ditko is still wrongly being snubbed.
ComicBook.com’s Russ Burlingame gave a sarcastic response, bringing Abraham Riesman, author of new biography True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee, into the conversation.
Sure enough, Riesman agreed that something fishy was going on here…
Even if you’re a devoted fan of Lee, as most Marvel lovers are, you can’t deny this cover credit stinks.
Artists being overlooked in their major contributions to a comic or character in favor of the writer is a long-held problem in the industry which has sadly never gone away, as this cover makes clear. These days there are additional wrinkles to the controversy, too. Take Hawkeye, for example, as heavily inspired by the Matt Fraction/David Aja comics. While Fraction is a consultant on the TV series, Aja’s only compensation has been a “thank you” on-screen credit.
See Spidey, as created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, in Spider-Man: No Way Home, out Dec. 17.