God bless Stan Lee and Jack Kirby!
They gave me the stuff that dreams are made of,
like jealousy, it feeds upon itself.
When spiders spin their tangled webs,
and hulking monsters destroy empires never dreamed of,
they stand with Roland at the pass.
He never existed either,
only his dust remains,
and our grand dreams.
Stan Lee died yesterday. He helped make the graphic novel an acceptable form of expression. When I bought Daredevil no. 35 in late 1967 I was 13 years old, and it was something different back then. Marvel was remaking itself over from the Atlas years, and I still have dark corners of my mind that lurk with early Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko vignettes of where man meets “monster”. That Daredevil comic launched me into the Marvel Universe and from there into the “real” world. Whatever the name of my chosen career is, I have been labeled with several, and it will take time to decide if any of those have stuck, but this poem comes from the trashing around trying to figure it out phase of the 70s. It is from a manuscript that has never see the light of day called “The Very, Very Early and Very, Very Bad Poetry of (insert name here)”
I have been really enjoying all the old covers and stories on the Facebook groups Marvel Comics Fans 1961-1986 & Greatest Comic Book Covers Ever that people have been sharing, and those people have said more about Stan Lee than I can. How we were imprinted growing is different for everybody, but there must be a common thread. I really enjoyed hunting for old issues in dusty bookstores, etc. to fill in the issues that I had missed thanks to those little side bars of “as seen in issue # 23 of FF” (that is a made-up reference so do not spend time looking for it). That alone helped me learn to catalog and reference series in my library cataloging career.
When I found out that Stan Lee had moved on to his next editorial gig, I had not pulled “Very Bad” off the shelf in forever, but his passing reminded me that this poem had been written. For months I have been trying to remember what poem I wrote that held this line:
“My heroes all came from comic books, the bad guys also.”
It was written in the 80s and comes from a poem called “An Iris”. It never saw print except in a self-published book called “Living with a Stranger: self-portrait”, but it is on my blog atotalsolidwaste.wordpress.com It is on there somewhere.
This piece will probably pop up on my blog sometime this weekend. I will be posting it to the comic book groups I have been following. It is just one story in the world that Stan Lee helped create; I am enjoying reading all the others.