The Marvel Character: Wilson Fisk (aka the Kingpin) has been on my mind a lot recently, having seen the character reappear in the Hawkeye TV series on Disney plus earlier this year.
I decided to introduce my wife to the Netflix Daredevil series, where the actor first made his appearance in the role. My wife and I still can’t work out why she disliked the Netflix show back when it first aired… but alas that is now resolved. She loves it and is a fan for life!The Amazing Spider-Man #50.” Boy, does this story hit differently now that I’m older and know a lot more about the creators behind the scene.Add to this, Daredevil’s reappearance in Spider-Man: No Way Home and She-Hulk, along with the announcement of Daredevil: Reborn at this year’s D23 event and you have quite the saturation. Anyway, it got me thinking about Fisk‘s first appearance in comics: “
The Amazing Spider-Man #50 is and has always been, a monumental key issue in the series.
However, as a child, it never once occurred to me that the late great Stan Lee might have been using this issue to write about himself.
In this particular issue, Peter’s sacrifices (The things he gave up to be a hero and protect the city) mount up and begin to eat away at him.• Everyone seems to love the other heroes in town, but Fear Spider-Man… • Aunt May is Hospitalised (Again)… • He fails an important school exam… • He declines an invitation to Gwen‘s party… • He declines a job offer from Norman Osborn… • And Jameson is on news once again, preaching hate for Spider-man. This all leads Peter to finally snap, declaring that enough is enough and that he’ll be “Spider-Man no more”.
The internal conflict set out within this issue, remarkably matches how Stan Lee must have felt writing Comics back before the days of Marvel.
Thanks to “Professionals” at the time, such as Dr. Frederick Wertham, comics were seen by most in the media to be a huge problem and a national threat to society. They were no longer the beloved kids’ entertainment they once were. Even in this issue (ASM 50) we see Psychiatrists discussing the dangers of Spider-Man, much like they were talking in real life about comics in general at the time. The comic industry was struggling and being a comic creator was looked down upon by many. And here, in this issue. You can really feel Stan‘s struggles being projected through the voice of Peter Parker. This was an experience and subject Stan knew all too well. He could relate to it because he lived it!
Peter was a teenager when he first got his powers and so too was Stan when he got his first writing job.
Stan was just 17yrs old when he started working at timely comics, which would later become Marvel.
He took the name Stan Lee, an alias to his birth name: Stanley Martin Lieber, as a way to save his real name for real work outside of “Goofy Comic Books.” The taking of a new name is another similarity to the character of Spider-Man.Things were getting hard at Timely (The company where Stan worked) and soon Stan would be forced to let go of his staff. He returned home late that evening to his wife Joan and announced, in his frustration, his resignation from the industry, even stating he was done with it all. That’s when Joan stepped in. She stopped him and convinced him to write one last story; “Go back and write what you want to write. Do it your way and if you are still unhappy we will make it work.”
And Stan did just that.
He went back to work the next day, along with fellow Comic Book Legend Jack Kirby, sat down and created one of the most important books in comics history: “The Fantastic Four” and the world of Marvel was Born!
-What would the world look like without Stan Lee?
– Would Stan have been happy if he’d quit?
– How different would his life have been?
The story continues with Peter quitting his role as Spider-Man and, almost instantly, the city begins to unravel. Crime begins to skyrocket, but Peter’s social life has never been better! Things seem great, until one day Peter sees an old man set upon by thugs… (A man who looks a lot like Uncle Ben.)Peter’s instincts immediately kick in and he leaps into action, saving the old man from danger. It is then that Peter remembers why he does what he does and declares that he will never again be steered away from heroism… and the story ends.
This is a simple story, but a real one.
And so it is with these insights into the past, thanks to the likes of Stan Lee and the others around him, that we, the readers, can see all too clearly where these stories came from. These stories came from the memories of the people who created them.These artists used their own real-life experiences within their lives, to tell us all tales that would be loved, cherished, and, most importantly, related to for many generations to come.
And for that, we thank them.