In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, a column where we examine comic book myths, rumors and legends and confirm or debunk them, learn whether Stan Lee really rewrote every line of dialogue another writer wrote in an early issue of Daredevil
One of the most controversial aspects of the so-called “Marvel Age of Comics” in the 1960s is what is typically referred to as the “Marvel Method,” a method that predated Marvel, but became famous during the 1960s due to Marvel’s Editor- in-Chief, Stan Lee, speaking about it so openly and so frequently. The concept of the Marvel Method was that a plot would be derived for a comic book issue, then the artist would draw the comic book based on the plot, and then the scripter would come in and add dialogue to the finished pages. The issue here is that even if the writer is giving a very detailed plot, like how Roy Thomas would typically write an issue, the artist is still the one who is determining how the story is broken down into each page. Therefore, even when the main plotter is giving a DETAILED plot, the artist is essentially, at WORST, a co-plotter of the story, as the writer is still the one who has to put the story on to the page to make it make sense.
Now, what if the writer ISN’T giving a detailed plot? What if, in fact, the ARTIST is the one who is coming up with the plot through a consultation with the nominal writer of the issue? Heck, what if the artist is coming up with a plot withOUT a consultation with the writer? In those instances, the artist is pretty clearly the plotter of the comic book, not the person who then adds the dialogue later on, right? And yet, during the 1960s, it was typically only the writer who would get credit for ANY of the writing for the issue. Not only that, but only the writer would be PAID for doing the writing of the issue.
WHAT WAS WALLACE WOOD’S PROBLEM WITH STAN LEE REGARDING DAREDEVIL?
That, in a nutshell, was the problem that Wallace Wood had with Stan Lee when Wood took over art duties on Daredevil in 1965.
Lee was very excited about Wood joining the series. He was so excited that he HEAVILY promoted Wood on the cover of the book…
Wood, though, was unenthusiastic about the working conditions on the book. He talked to Mark Evanier about it years ago, where he explained:
I enjoyed working with Stan [Lee] on Daredevil but for one thing. I had to make up the whole story. He was being paid for writing, and I was being paid for drawing, but he didn’t have any ideas. I’d go in for a plotting session, and we’d just stare at each other until I came up with a storyline. I felt like I was writing the book but not being paid for writing.
Wood complained about this enough so that finally, Stan Lee allowed him to script Daredevil #10 and be paid for it.
It was Wood’s only issue as the credited writer.
DID STAN LEE REWRITE ALL OF WALLACE WOOD’S SCRIPT FOR DAREDEVIL #10?
First off, Lee made a big deal about Wood being “allowed” to officially write the issue, despite Wood plotting the book solo for the previous five issues or so, including the iconic Daredevil #7. He bragged about letting Wood write the issue on the opening page of Daredevil #10…
In that same interview with Evanier, Evanier pointed out how Wood had written one issue of Daredeviland Wood explained, “One yes [Daredevil #10]. I persuaded him to let me write one by myself since I was doing 99% of the writing already. I wrote it, handed it in, and he said it was hopeless. He said he’d have to rewrite it all and write the next issue himself. Well, I said I couldn’t contribute to the storyline unless I got paid something for writing, and Stan said he’d look into it, but after that he only had inking for me. Bob Powell was suddenly penciling Daredevil.[Later on in the interview] … I saw [Daredevil #10] when it came out, and Stan had changed five words—less than an editor usually changes. I think that was the last straw.”
Wood had started working for Tower Comics on their THUNDER Agents comic book series. Wood noted that the money wasn’t as good as Marvel, but they gave him freedom and credited him for everything (and paid him for his writing). So Wood did not write Daredevil #11, and Lee routinely insulted Wood’s issue in print, like here…
But most famously, including a point in the letter page of Daredevil #12 where he claimed that he rewrote the entire issue…
Wood inked Daredevil #11, and then was off of the book, but it is interesting to note that, while Lee was incorrect about how much he rewrote of Daredevil #10, Wood was ALSO incorrect that Lee did not change much, as Lee clearly DID make a number of changes to Daredevil #10, just not nearly to the point that he claimed.
You can see on this original art for Daredevil #10 that there clearly ARE changes to the dialogue…
and even more so on the next page…
Generally speaking, Wood’s story remains heavily present in the published pages, but it is fair to note that Lee did make a number of changes, just not nearly to the extent that he claimed. Meanwhile, of course, it was weird to see Lee pooh-pooh Daredevil #10 at first, and then claim that he re-wrote it all later on.
This is the eight hundred and seventy-ninth installment of Comic Book Legends Revealed!
Stan Lee rewrote every part of Wallace Wood’s script for Daredevil #10
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