Comic Legends: Who Really Scripted Jim Steranko's Captain America?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the seven hundred and twenty-third installment where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the weekly three legends.

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Stan Lee scripted Jim Steranko's Captain America run.


I'm Going With False

Jim Steranko's run on Captain America is obviously one of the most iconic runs on a comic book series in comic book history (I just finished writing about it recently).

Over the years, though, the project has been credited as being plotted by Steranko but scripted by Stan Lee. The Grand Comics Database explains their logic for crediting it that way with a perfectly understandable explanation. They note, "Steranko plot per letter from the artist in Fantastic Fanzine # 12, 1970. Steranko explained: "My Captain America tales were..written by Stan Lee over my plots (the idea of reinstating Rick Jones as another Bucky was Stan's directive"

However, it appears as though Steranko might have spoken out of turn back then.

First off, note that Stan Lee is not credited as the writer in any of the issues....

He was the editor of every issue and Lee would often get credits as an editor.

Sternako has noted that he was paid a full writing credit for the issues. That Lee certainly did change some dialogue around on the issues, but that Steranko was the sole "official" writer of the issues.

That makes sense, of course, as Steranko was doing all of the writing on Nick Fury before his Cap run (admittedly, though, Steranko did not write his brief X-Men run).

A few years back, Steranko tweeted that Marvel was now officially recognizing him as the sole writer of the issues...

This was following Steranko being irritated upon realizing that since he was not believed to be the sole writer, he was not getting the full writing pay for the reprints of the stories and this story obviously has been reprinted many times over the years, so Sternako probably lost a decent chunk of change over the years.

Marvel.com lists Steranko as the writer of the issues (do note, though, that Marvel.com uses limited credits. Note they don't mention an inker, so that might not be the most important thing. Steranko's tweet is the more important source)...

I have seen some suggestions that Steranko's initial comments from 1970 were sort of a commentary on Lee changing his dialogue (Steranko later broke from Marvel over a dispute with Lee over changed dialogue on a horror story written by Steranko, so I could see that being a possibility).

I tend to believe Steranko here, so I'm going to go with a false on this.

Check out some other entertainment and sports legends from Legends Revealed:

1. Were the Rights to the Board Game Operation Sold for Just $500?

2. Was There Nearly a Love Triangle Between Spider-Man, Mary Jane and DOCTOR OCTOPUS in Spider-Man 2?

3. Did MGM Give Up Their Rights to Lassie Just to Avoid Paying Lassie’s Trainer Backpay They Owed Him?

4. How Did Jon Polito Getting Angry Get His Character Killed on Homicide: Life on the Street?

Check back later for part 2 of this week's legends!

And remember, if you have a legend that you're curious about, drop me a line at either brianc@cbr.com or cronb01@aol.com!

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