Last week, Stan Lee made the news once again when Fox announced they were making a movie based on Lee's life story.
The film will not be a traditional biopic, but will instead be an action movie based in the 1970s.
Many comics creators have lived as colorful a life as the comics they've created and Fox's movie announcement got us wondering which other creators' lives would make for a good movie. From poignant tragedies about the often too cruel industry of comics to larger than life exploits that seem too crazy to be real, here's six creators who we think would be great subjects for a movie treatment:
"Comics will break your heart." Jack Kirby's words of warning about the comics industry are a sad counterpoint to his ex-creative partner Stan Lee's often boundless enthusiasm about the superhero industry. Kirby's life was hard from the beginning, growing up in a poor neighborhood in New York City. Kirby and his brother regularly fought gang members, and he once described having fights that would span rooftops and up and down fire escapes.
Kirby "escaped" from his neighborhood by pursuing a career in comics, and he soon found fame creating Captain America with Joe Simon for Timely Comics. But Kirby was drafted and nearly lost his legs to frostbite while using his drawing skills as an advance scout for his batallion.
After the war, Kirby and Simon reunited and created romance comics, before Kirby and Lee began collaborating and created many of the Marvel characters we know and love today. Although Lee and Kirby's collaborations were widely celebrated and acclaimed, it was a troubled partnership. Kirby eventually quit Marvel because of issues over pay, creative control, credit, and a refusal to return his original artwork.
Kirby subsequently worked for both DC and Marvel in his later years and died in 1994. His family later sued Marvel for the rights to his superhero creations, but settled for a reported large settlement before the case went before the US Supreme Court.
Kirby's life story isn't a happy one, but it's an important story nonetheless and one filled with valuable lessons for both comics creators and anyone looking to work in a creative field.prevnext
DC Comics doesn't have a real "Stan Lee" equivalent, but it does have a Jenette Kahn. Kahn set the comics world on fire in 1976 when DC Comics announced the 28 year old magazine publisher would replace Carmine Infantino as its new publisher. Kahn wasn't a traditional comics executive: she was young, a woman, and had no experience withing the comics field. But her arrival proved to be the jolt DC needed to go from struggling superhero publisher to the largest English language comics company in the world.
Kahn's many innovations in the comics field included creating limited series to allow more flexibility with creative teams, signing creators to exclusive contracts, and the creation of the groundbreaking Vertigo and Milestone imprints. She also allowed her creators to explore important social issues and pursue controversial and dramatic storylines like "The Death of Superman".
Growing DC from 35 employees to over 300 employees might not seem like an interesting story, but Kahn played a critical and often unheralded world in transforming the world of superheroics for the better.prevnext
Jim Steranko is one of the few creators who might be even larger than life than Stan Lee. The prolific Silver Age creator had a wild youth filled with motorcycle gangs, magic and swordfencing.
Steranko trained himself to do magic as a teenager and was particularly adept at fire-eating and card tricks. But he wasn't content with slight-of-hand tricks. Steranko also took up fencing and boxing as a teen, before turning to crime. In 1956, Steranko and a friend were arrested for a string of 27 car thefts. According to Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, Steranko and his friend were found with a stockpile of guns. Luckily, Steranko was underage at the time, so he avoided any significant jail time.
Steranko's life didn't get any stranger as he grew older. He seems to have a million of fantastic stories, ranging from the time he forged money to afford a Christmas present for his girlfriend to the time he slapped Batman co-creator Bob Kane. His tales almost seem too good to be true, but they'd make for a fantastic movie.prevnext
Including indie legend Derf Backderf in this feature probably isn't fair, as his life story is currently being made into a movie. Director Marc Meyers is currently filming a live action adaptation of My Friend Dahmer, Backderf's graphic novel about his friendship with infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.
Backderf knew Dahmer not as a psychopathic serial killer, but as an oddball high school friend. Dahmer and Backderf hung out and laughed together, but Dahmer grew increasingly bizarre as high school progressed. My Friend Dahmer shows Backderf as a bystander as his friend descended further and further into the monster history knows him as. Backderf ends My Friend Dahmer right before Dahmer's first murder, which occurred right after the two graduated from high school.
Filming for the movie adaptation began earlier this year, with Disney star Ross Lynch playing the teen version of the infamous killer.prevnext
Rumiko Takahashi is the bestselling female comics creator in history, having sold over 170 million copies of her popular manga InuYasha and Ranma 1/2. However, Takahashi's early years creating manga was just like many young creators, filled with countless hours of hard work and living on the edge in poverty.0comments
After she sold her first work Urusei Yatsura, Takahashi lived in a 150 square foot apartment with her two assistants. Because the apartment was filled wall to wall with art supplies, Takahashi often retreated to the closet to sleep. She used her years of living in a tiny apartment for the basis of her second manga Maison Ikkoku, a wacky romantic comedy set in a crowded apartment building.
Maison Ikkoku helped launch Takahashi's career and she went on to create several more increasingly popular and famous manga. However, Takahashi rarely has time to enjoy her success and fortune. Takahashi says that manga consumes her life, leaving her with no time to spend money or marry.prev