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18 August 2008 @ 10:01 pm
Stan's (Raw) Soapbox  
According to Heidi MacDonald over at The Beat, you'll soon be able to buy a complete collection of Stan Lee's "Stan's Soapbox" columns, which were originally published as part of the Marvel Comics' Bullpen Bulletins pages from 1967 through 1980.

When I was a kid, it was that interstitial writing, as much as the comics themselves, which made me into a True Believer. Stan somehow made me feel as if I had a pal.

The book, which will be available in November, is being published as a fundraiser for the Hero Initiative, a federally chartered not-for-profit corporation which provides a safety net for comic-book creators in need of emergency medical aid or other financial support.

In additional to the columns themselves, the collection will also place Stan's columns in their correct historical context via essays by current Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada, Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige, former Marvel editor-in-chief Roy Thomas, and others.

But one thing I'll bet the book won't contain is scans of the original typed copy for those Soapboxes, direct from Stan's hands. Why, to read something like that, you'd probably have to have been working at Marvel Comics in the mid-'70s so you could go through the trash next to the typesetter's desk.

Well ... either that ... or else, lacking a time machine, you could just click on the image below.

One of my duties as an Assistant Editor at Marvel Comics in the mid-'70s was to write all of the text for each Bullpen Bulletins page except for Stan's Soapbox. (Thanks for the opportunity to channel my childhood idol, Len!)

Which meant that Stan would hand me a yellow sheet of paper each month on which he had typed out his musings, complete with edits in the form of crossed-out clauses and handwritten additions. I'd hand both his text and mine (for the rest of the page) to a different Stan, Stanley Aaron, the typesetter who would make it all look pretty so it could then be pasted up for print.

No one really cared about these scraps of paper at the time, and so I kept all memos and notes which passed through my hands, and that included at least half a dozen of these yellow sheets, saved from the recycling bins. (Actually, there were no recycling bins in those days, so I guess that if I hadn't snatched these up they would just have ended up in a landfill somewhere.)

In any case, enjoy this look back, which includes info on Stan's razor-blade commercial, plus a note at the bottom from John Verpoorten to Archie Goodwin about deadlines.
(Anonymous) on August 20th, 2008 09:03 pm (UTC)
Original Stan's Soapbox manuscript
This is fascinating material! I'm interested in behind-the-scenes technical stuff like this - I'm probably one of a handful who would consider buying a page of original Bullpen Bulletin "art" if the price was right.

It's probably too late by now, so I guess my question is more of a formality, but here goes - have you contacted Hero Initiative about possibly including scans of the original manuscripts in the book, or would you have if you knew about it earlier? (I'm inferring that you found out about the book just now, like the rest of us.)

Gary Dunaier
scottedelman: Marvel Comicsscottedelman on August 20th, 2008 09:24 pm (UTC)
Re: Original Stan's Soapbox manuscript
No, I never contacted the Hero Initiative, because, just as you wrote, I only found out about the book yesterday. If they haven't already gone to press, I'd be happy to provide them with scans to include. I suspect that it's too late ... but I imagine I should try to reach out to them anyway, just in case.
(Anonymous) on October 16th, 2008 02:40 am (UTC)
Re: Original Stan's Soapbox manuscript
They're now taking orders for the book, so what's done is done, but for the record, did you try to reach out to them?

Gary Dunaier

P.S.: I ordered one of the signed hardcovers. Yay!
scottedelman: Marvel Comicsscottedelman on October 16th, 2008 02:46 am (UTC)
Re: Original Stan's Soapbox manuscript
Yes, I did! I scanned the manuscripts in my possession, and they will all supposedly be in the book, along with a short essay explaining how they came to be in my possession.
(Anonymous) on August 22nd, 2008 08:03 am (UTC)
Soap box
You state that (many) the yellow sheets that Stan typed them on 'probably went to a landfill'. This is in fact false, hundreds of them are in Stan's Archives at the University of Wyoming. I came across them when I was researching my Stan Lee: Conversations book and I read quite of few of them - the topics ranging from, as you know, office gossip to his views on current events.

cheers, jeff mclaughlin
scottedelman: Marvel Comicsscottedelman on August 22nd, 2008 07:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Soap box
Glad to hear that! History shouldn't be allowed to fade away.