One of the holy grails of the blogosphere (at least this blogosphere) has been a picture of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby together to run whenever one of those “Stan did this” or “They made another movie based on Jack Kirby’s characters” comes up. Up until now, this semi-obscured photo from a San Diego Inkpots banquet was the only thing we had:
Although Stan looks like the Stan of today, you can hardly see him behind Jim Steranko’s hair—admittedly a common hazard.
Thanks to Marvel: The Untold Story author Sean Howe, however, many more photos of the Stan and Jack duo have been put online—and at the height of their powers. Here’s one: Stan Lee, age 42, and Jack Kirby, age 48.
That would be 1964 just when things were taking off—the duo had just co-created Spider-Man, the Avengers, the FF, the X-Men, The Hulk, and Iron Man. Wow. This Stan is hardly recognizable, however: a receding hairline, meaty chin, and lack of aviator sunglasses as effective as disguise as Batman’s cowl. The Stan we know and love is a product of the second half of his life—which began when he was nearing 50. So rebranding can be done later in life, if you have the verve and longevity of a Stan.
As for Kirby…well, looking at photos from his entire life, it’s pretty clear, he was always Jack Kirby. And always will be.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.