When you think about Stan Lee and his legacy, when it boils down to it, much of that legacy revolves around the fact that he helped bring us some amazing comic book stories. Working with fellow comic book legends like Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, John Romita, Moebius, Joe Maneely, Gene Colan, Don Heck, Dick Ayers, John Buscema, Gil Kane, Stan Goldberg, Dan DeCarlo and many, many more, Stan Lee delivered some of the greatest comic books ever made.
Reader Richard D. thought it would be nice if we did a fan-voted countdown of the 100 Greatest Stan Lee stories.
I liked the idea, but I am actually right in the middle of collecting votes for our annual Top 100 reader-voted poll (It is the Top 100 Comic Book Writers and Artists countdown this year. Click here to vote!), but I thought that, okay, if I do this as a quick turnaround thing and begin the Stan Lee countdown before I even finish collecting votes on the other countdown, I might be able to make this work. It really would be a great tribute to a comic book icon. So while this is creating way too much extra work for me (especially since the annual CSBG Advent Calendar is also coming up soon), I think it is worth it for Stan.
Here's how it will work. I will collect votes until Thanksgiving night (let's say 11:59 PM Eastern) and I will then begin the countdown sometime the next day. It's a tight calculating period, but I think I can make it.
1. Vote by e-mailing me your ballot at email@example.com. Put in your subject heading something along the lines of "Greatest Stan Lee stories." It doesn't have to be that precise phrasing, but something along those lines. Just so that I know that your e-mail is your ballot for sorting purposes, especially since I am doing a whole other voting thing at this same time. Talk about the possibility of confusion! With that in mind, please make this a separate e-mail from your vote for the greatest writers and artists, since I will be counting these votes well before I count the other ones. And, come on, is it really that difficult to send two separate e-mails?
2. You're going to be voting for ten comic book stories that Stan Lee either co-wrote or wrote by himself.
3. Rank your ten favorite Stan Lee comic book stories from #1 (your most favorite) to #10 (your 10th most favorite). I'd prefer it if you actually numbered your entry, #1-10. It's easier for me to count.
Here's a template you can use as a guide. You can just copy and paste it into your e-mail:
TOP TEN STAN LEE STORIES
4. Your top choice will be given 10 points, your second choice 9, etc.
5. You can vote for single stories and you can vote for story arcs. Do not vote for full runs. Like "Stan and Jack's Fantastic Four run." Don't do that. Just pick stories. Use your best judgment as to whether a story is a single issue or if it is a multi-issue story. For instance, the comic book where Spider-Man lifts up the heavy machinery under water is actually part of a three-part storyline, so vote accordingly.
6. I'll make various other decisions in the interest of fairness and, when needed, I'll post the clarifications here. But this is all pretty straightforward, I believe. It's just naming your favorite comic book stories that Stan Lee wrote. He wrote a whole pile of classic stories, so it should not be difficult for people to come up with ten each.
CLARIFICATION A: "This Man, This Monster" counts as a single story, independent from Fantastic Four #48-50. They definitely blurred the lines back then (with Fantastic Four #48, for instance, really being both the end of the Inhumans Saga AND the beginning of the Galactus Saga), so I certainly see the argument, but we're counting them as distinct stories.