stan lee

Harry Osborn’s Comic Appearances: Amazing Spider-Man #44 – 46 (1967)

[You can read this post here or on!]

Now at the end of the last one of these I said, since Vietnam is coming into the story now let’s find out what Stan Lee actually thought about the Vietnam War. And that’s the thing, that information is kinda hard to find. There’s an extent to which Lee has sort of I guess been a bit lionized over the years and plenty people think he was labelled more of a progressive than he really was. But I think he was progressive for his era, it’s just that that doesn’t always mean, “was good.” It means… well, it means they were progressive in the original sense of the word and that’s that. So that Washington Post article linked to there, here’s the cached version which isn’t behind a paywall, it says,

In the midst of the antiestablishment riots of 1968, he convened a panel for a failed talk-show pilot in which he repeatedly denounced radicalism; asserted that Black people needed to respect the law; and said the Vietnam War may have been immoral, but had to continue for the greater good.

But we don’t have any direct quotes from this so it’s still hard to pin down his exact opinion. Now on this Marvel site I found this quote from Lee:

Now it’s important that you bear in mind that this yarn [Iron Man] was written in 1963, at a time when most of us genuinely felt that the conflict in that tortured land really was a simple matter of good versus evil and that the American military action against the Viet Cong was tantamount to St. George’s battle against the dragons. Since that time, of course, we’ve all grown up a bit, we’ve realized that life isn’t quite so simple, and we’ve been trying to extricate ourselves from the tragic entanglement in Indochina.

And these comics we’re talking about here were written in 1967. Enough time for Lee to have grown up, I guess. And in the Stan’s Soapbox columns he apparently expressed hopes the troops would come home. Do any of the characters in these issues serve as his mouthpiece re Vietnam then? Does Harry? Well, let’s find out.

Here’s issue #44, where Harry and MJ meet for the first time. This one little scene and everything within it is going to have massive ripples throughout the Spidermanverse, many of which continue to this day, for better or worse. (Usually worse, let’s be honest.)

Harry is friendly here and Flash is…Flash, as has been the case for the past 4 or so issues. But the spectre of Vietnam is hanging over all this.

On to #45. Awww, all the boys have colour-coordinated their outfits, that’s nice.

Here we begin a long, nice tradition of Harry being super generous dude frequently prone to giving out jobs and, as we’ll see in a minute, apartments. Yes this lasted into the ’00s comics which I was always glad about, it’s a very intrinsic part of his character.

Now Harry appears to be dating MJ, or at least getting close to her. The first days of the Harry/MJ romance are actually something I don’t think ever got delved into that much in later comics, despite all the potential for great character moments there. The 1963 audience didn’t know it at this point and possibly neither did Stan Lee, but both are abused and damaged children frantically putting on masks.

This one little panel here sows the seeds for so much stuff that happens later. But more on that (and more on how even to this day MJ and her percieved shallowness is blamed for Harry’s downward spiral) in the future.

Now we’re in #46 and Harry has now secured Peter a job offer and a free apartment. Nice. Their friendship is cemented by this point, as you can tell, and it took under 15 issues! God I miss the much, much faster pace of Old Comics.

The gang exchange some wonderful 60s slang and plan a going-away party for Flash. “He’s the first one of the crowd to be drafted,” Harry says. But that makes me wonder, and bearing in mind that this is an era I know very little about except what I got via cultural osmosis… Did Harry and Peter expect to get draft notices too?

So, time to cram my brain with information about the draft system. The draft lottery didn’t start til 1969, so going back from that… If you were in full-time education, as Harry and Flash and Peter all are here, you didn’t neccessarily have to serve… if you were a good enough student.

These thousands weren’t selected at random. Instead, the Selective Service System (SSS) instituted a system of academic evaluation under which local draft boards would defer students based on intellectual ability. This ability was determined by two factors: class rank, and score on a national aptitude test known as the Selective Service Qualification Test. Undergraduates with a high class rank, or a test score above a certain cutoff, were draft-exempt. Everyone else could be sent to the front.

From here

So I suppose the implication in these Spider-Man comics is that Flash wasn’t a good enough student to avoid military service. Peter as a science genius I guess probably would have been. (Remember this panel from a couple issues back?)

But Harry… was Harry a fortunate son?

“It ain’t me, I ain’t me, I ain’t no millionaires’ son…”

But Harry probably was. Norman’s exact wealth wasn’t actually stated in the early days I think, but it’s safe to assume he’s pretty dang rich. And, says the New York Times (surprisingly one of the sources of Vietnam War draft info not outright blocked or paywalled in the UK, christ I hate the modern-day Internet)-

It was no coincidence that those men who already fit the middle-class mold of domestic masculinity — those men who were college students or teachers or scientists — received deferments.

It was a very classist, racist system. I feel like writing anything more along the lines of “So how did Spider-Man and his best friend avoid the draft?” trivalizes that in a way, so we’ll be back to business in a minute.

Now comics-wise Spider-Man: Life Story tackled Vietnam quite a bit, but due to the Marvel sliding timeline Vietnam just doesn’t factor into the Spider-Man story anymore. Flash didn’t fight, Iron Man wasn’t there. And I sort of think that’s a shame, and one of the reasons I have very conflicting feelings about ongoing comics as a medium. If you’re going to tackle very real, very bad things that happened in real life you should commit to them, you know?

So back to Harry. For whatever reason you want to have in your head – his status as a student, his father’s wealth, something else (it actually feels pretty in character, at least eventually, for him to be an objector?) – he’s not going to Vietnam and neither is Peter.

But of course, even that one specific part of the story is far from done.

This is such a freaky thing to happen that I have to note it down here purely to state my disbelief… Last night I woke up with this crystal clear thought in my head: “Huh, what if Stan Lee dies TODAY?” And I thought nothing more of it, but now… reports are coming in that he’s dead. Coincidence, sure, but HOW?

(RIP Stan. :( )












Me: *sees Stan Lee trending #1*

@lastsonlost you called it. All about money.

So it was all about the Benjamin’s. Welp. Of course I am not shocked in the least. There will never be a shortage of bottom feeders eager to take advantage of good people dire situations.

Also like I said in a previous post, I hope his lawyers get a fistful full of her edges and drag the fuck out of that ass through all kinds of hell. I want the ruined remains hanging from a post as a warning. Somebody went and fucked with the wrong nice old man and I want them to pay.

People should be jailed for these false accusations. Stan Lee has the standing to fight back, but what about the people who don’t?

I wouldn’t exactly call him a “nice old man” for entirely different reasons than the topic that is posted here (i.e.- Jack Kirby/Steve Ditko controversy [not sure what the current status on that is])

The current status on that is that Jack Kirby is dead, Steve Ditko is in a cave somewhere, and Stan Lee is going to die with the most money.

Stan Lee may be a nice old man now. I dunno. But before he was a nice old man, he was an opportunistic middle-aged man who plastered his name on everything he touched, boxing creative partners and hired hands alike out of rightly-deserved notoriaty and money so that he could rake it in turning himself into a brand name and corporate mascot. And the nice old man he may be today hasn’t really done anything to fix that.

This is a man who has built his career on putting his needs above everyone who ever worked with or for him. These claims being true would not shock me.

And we’re doubting them why, exactly? Because the nursing company took their claims to a shit publication? Because the company didn’t feel the need to put their employees through an excruciating legal battle that would likely see the victims have all kinds of harrassment hurled at them? Because the folks Lee’s currently employing are taking the side of the very wealthy man footing their bills (and who they’re likely not going to need to deal with much longer)?

Maybe they’re not true. But arguing they’re definite falsehoods because Stan Lee is just such a great guy is, well. Maybe think about how you’d feel seeing that argument made against literally any other celebrity

Always default to believing the victim.

Now that is the default, meaning that if there’s a compelling reason not to, you shouldn’t.

But there really isn’t any compelling reason here to not believe the victim(s).

(Note that this is not the same thing as “guilty until proven innocent.” It’s simply treating the victim’s testimony as being as reliable as any other eyewitness–in other words, the experience of the victim is proof.)

I’m confused, has vital nursing inc made harassment claims or have they not? Are there two different nursing groups Stan is associated with?

Vital Nursing Inc. is currently working with him. The company accusing him, which he is no longer associated with, is choosing to remain anonymous. 

There’s another thing…

He’s 95 years old. If he’s walking around naked, that strikes me as dementia, not deliberate harassment. He might well be committing sexual misconduct without actually realizing he’s doing so.

(When I worked in a care home, groping was a problem. But it was a problem there was honestly little solution to, because no-one doing it really understood… why.)




Stan Lee’s meeting with his wife Joan as retold in ‘Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir’

Bonus :

This gets better when you realize Peter Parker was both Stan’s favourite personal creation and that he saw him as a stand in for himself.

Reposting in memory of Joan Lee




Chris Evans and Stan Lee on the set of The Avengers

#this makes me really sad #because if you ignore the wiring and all the cameras and such #it looks like steve was just at that cafe #and he just happened to encounter one of his old friends from before #and at first he doesn’t recognize him because the man is short and wrinkled and old #but then he looks into his eyes #and they’re a little more worn and a little more sad #but he knows those eyes #and he remembers the laughter that used to play in those eyes #and when the man recognizes him #at first it’s awkward and uncomfortable #because how do you tell what would be an old friend that you’re just like you were when he last saw you #seventy years ago #but then he just gives you this small grin #and he’s got that same laughter in his eyes #and he says ‘long time no see huh rogers’ #and then for just a couple of minutes they’re laughing and talking as if nothing ever happened #as if seventy years hadn’t happened #and in the back of his head steve knows that it’s not the same and that it should be weird #but just for a few minutes#he lets himself forget #lets himself pretend #and just for a few minutes #the future isn’t so bad

make me cry why don’t you