Fellini’s favorite superheroes

Fellini's favorite superheroes

In late 1965, whereas the Improbable 4 have been hovering over Manhattan as they battled the evil Physician Doom and the Silver Surfer (“a unadorned, genital male determine on a silver surfboard”), Federico Fellini visited Marvel Comics headquarters in New York. and a superhero fan himself. A while in the past, between “a name for a pacifist demonstration and a name for a Balkan dance course,” the Village Voice, a liberal weekly New York newspaper, printed a “lengthy article entitled Tremendous-Anti-Hero in Forest Hills.” Forest Hills was “the Queens suburb the place Peter Parker lives”, the key identification of Spider-Man, a fancy and adolescent superhero.

“Faculty college students touch upon Marvel comics,” wrote younger journalist Sally Kempton. “A Cornell professor of physics used them for his lectures. They’re learn by the Beatniks. Schoolgirls and housewives dream of Marvel heroes. I too was deeply in love with a Marvel villain for 2 weeks. […] How can a wonderfully sane character like Superman, a residing image of the up to date dilemma, extra neurotic than the neurotic, compete with Spider-Man, the super-anti-hero of our time?»

Peter Parker was the younger Holden in a carnival costume. He fought tremendous villains like Holden Caufield in JD Salinger’s novel, oblivious to perverts and “cons”. Like himself and like all adolescents of the time, he didn’t significantly belief adults. Holden and the Marvel heroes have been alike, to the purpose that JD Salinger’s son, however much less well-known actor Matt Salinger would play Captain America within the 1990 (and ugly, never-released) film of the identical identify.

In 1954, eleven years earlier than Fellini’s journey, Hopkins College psychiatrist Fredric Wertham had printed The Seduction of the Harmless, which graphically defined the rise of juvenile delinquency, abortions, elevated drug use, and “each potential assault on morality.” In some states of the American “Biblical Belt” with a fundamentalist custom and majority, the banning of comics from newsstands is nearly outlawed, like marijuana (and, oddly sufficient, oral intercourse). Many publishers (particularly people who publish horror comics) had closed their doorways. Out of the blue, his cheery band of counterculture and psychedelic superheroes got here to Marvel’s assist with the Village Voice, a newspaper that would boast of Ezra Pound, James Baldwin, director of La Dolce Vita and then-columnists and collaborators. , Susan Sontang, Henry Miller, Norman Mailer, Allen Ginsberg. “Popular culture snobs” (Abraham Riesman writes within the biography of Marvel Comics’ controversial and charismatic boss, Stan Lee) “have embraced the reason for superheroes.”

Initially, Stan Lee was Stanley Martin Lieber, a younger Jew from Brooklyn. Each of her dad and mom had fled Romania after the pogroms of the early twentieth century. Like all immigrant youngsters of his technology, he did not care a lot about Judaism, and nothing unusual has occurred thus far. The unusual factor is that one other nice director, fan, and pal informed Alain Resnais, creator of Marienbad and Hiroshima mon amour final yr, in “a video saved on the College of Wyoming” (recovering the archives of Stan Lee, who handed away in 2018 on the age of 96). internet hosting). “When Resnais says it is ‘insufferable’ to take care of individuals who solely learn comics, Stan shines in agreeing with him,” writes Riesman. “I can not inform who’s studying comics!” she shouts. “If I had the time and did not work within the trade, I would not be learning. I’ve many different pursuits!”»»

Possibly he hated comics, possibly he did not. Stan Lee was not all the time somebody to be trusted. Certainly, it nearly by no means did, at the least in accordance with his biographer, and in addition to the cartoonists who labored with him for many years and accused him of declaring him the screenwriter and inventor of his tales for many years, with out him. This was an accusation that might be confirmed over time: Lee signed the works and declared himself the lead creator of “all Marvel Comics,” a publishing group owned by a cousin. He stated he was employed with out his cousin understanding: “Hey, Stan, what are you doing right here?” and she or he: “I work right here.”

Lee was a liar but in addition an distinctive character, terribly artistic: the comics weren’t his, however the crackling dialogues and playful captions that interpreted tales and reshaped them in their very own means. It was not excessive literature. It was the “gonzo” jargon of American journalism of the sixties, carefree and somewhat little bit of a pimp. Even the dialogues and captions have made Marvel a destined pop phenomenon, till the worldwide success of Marvel Studios movies which have thus far supported the film trade towards the risk (however who is aware of if it is everlasting). from the circulation majors.

With out leaping into skyscrapers, by no means glowing like a Human Torch, by no means bare on a flying surfboard, and presumably possessing all of the qualities (in contrast to the Silver Surfer), Lee had a superpower: to congratulate himself in any respect prices, with large letters and exclamation factors. like factors. It was the flag of the sixties, its nice and unrepeatable season. And likewise the fantastic, unrepeatable season of Fellini and Resnais, Radical stylish, Forest Hill’s younger Holden, Ringo Starr, the Village Voice, and all of us who rely on staying without end younger like Bob’s. track dylan.

Abraham Riesman, Stan Lee. The Marvel story within the lifetime of a beloved and controversial creator and businessman, Rizzoli-Lizard 2022, p. 496, 25.00 Euro, eB

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