Sunday, May 23, 2010

Did Stan Lee borrow from Jack Cole... twice?

The previous post featured a character call the Comet, a particularly grim superhero whose eyes emitted deadly beams when not covered with a retractable visor, a power more than slightly reminiscent of the Marvel Comics' Cyclops, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Pretty much all of the great Silver and Golden Age creators borrowed stories and concepts, but Stan Lee's borrowing seemed to have struck a nerve (Stan Brag, Stan Me). Some of this was possibly driven by envy but the volume and his dismissive attitude toward his peers didn't help.

The Comet was an early creation of Jack Cole who would go on to create one of the greatest of Golden Age heroes, Plastic Man. Plas (as he was affectionately known) bore more than a passing resemblance to Kirby and Lee's Mr. Fantastic so it seems reasonable to ask if Cole contributed to a couple of Marvel heroes.

Probably not. When we talk about Lee borrowing from Plastic Man, Ghost Rider, Captain Marvel, Daredevil, Little Lulu, or EC's horror line, we can safely assume he was familiar with these titles. These were hugely successful comics that exceeded anything Timely/Atlas/Marvel would do until the early Sixties. Anyone who had leafed through a spinner rack had seen them and Lee had been producing comics since 1941.

But the Comet never even had a cover of his own and was dead (perhaps the first superhero murdered in the line of duty [excluding, of course, those who were murdered then became superheroes]) by the end of 1941. Kirby and Lee might have seen and remembered him but the odds are against it.

No comments:

Post a Comment