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Monday, December 28, 2015

Stan Lee's Inspiration

Type the names Stan Lee Arthur Conan Doyle into an internet search engine, and you'll find any number of interviews and articles stating that Stan Lee grew up reading stories by the creator of Sherlock Holmes. Of course, young boys grow up reading lots of stories, or at least they did, before the invention of TV, video games, and the internet. So is it possible to spot any hallmarks of Doyle's writing in Stan Lee's characters? 

In A Study in Scarlet, the first Sherlock Holmes novel, Dr. John Watson meets Sherlock Holmes in a university laboratory, where Holmes carries out rigorous experiments. When Holmes and Watson set up their home together on Baker Street, the first thing Holmes does is set up his new home laboratory, so he can continue his experiments. 

One of the first superhero teams Stan Lee created was the Fantastic Four. This group was led by Reed Richards, a scientist who is always carrying out experiments. Like Sherlock Holmes, Reed Richards conducts his experiments in his own laboratory in the Baxter Building. Both characters fuse science with investigation. This is because science proves the cornerstone of each man's life. 

One character Stan Lee introduced early on in The Amazing Spider-Man was Mary Jane Watson. She was the girl next-door, whom Peter Parker's aunt wished him to date. Stan Lee may never have intended Mary Jane Watson to become a steadfast, lifelong partner for Peter Parker, but successive writers, and fans, saw something in her than Lee evidently didn't. For not only would become his longtime girlfriend, but also his wife. That popularity has propelled her into Spider-Man TV and movie adaptations, and made Mary Jane Watson as inextricably linked with Peter Parker, as Dr John Watson is with Sherlock Holmes.

Today is Stan Lee's 93rd birthday. Despite his wealth of years, he still makes public appearances, works on behalf of Marvel Comics, and serves as Executive Producer on Marvel Studios movies. More importantly, he's still more fun than a roomful of Skrulls scrambling for the last remaining bottle of Chin-crease Remover. So what could be more logical, more in keeping with the facts you've just learned, than wishing him a Happy Birthday today?

Why, reading an early Stan Lee issue of the Fantastic Four, or the Amazing Spider-Man, of course. That's elementary, my dear John or Mary Jane Watson.

Dragon Dave

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