Stan Lee Documentary Disney Plus: Roy Thomas Offers Insight
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Former Marvel Director Roy Thomas Talks About Disney Plus Documentary On Stan Lee

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BY June 27, 2023

Following the death of Marvel editor Stan Lee, Disney Plus released a documentary on the life of such an important figure in the world of comics. This production showed several interventions about Stan Lee’s creations and opinions, among other things. On the one hand, the documentary was well received; on the other hand, it has been the subject of much criticism. Fans allege that Disney does not give much credit to collaborators like Jack Kirby.

On these criticisms, former Marvel director Roy Thomas stated on the matter. Thomas expressed his opinion of the documentary and the existing criticism. In addition, he commented on the life and character of Stan Lee, his work philosophy, his successes, and several of the statements shown in the documentary.

Stan Lee | Disney+ Image via Disney+

Roy Thomas Discusses The Disney Plus Documentary

Roy Thomas commented on the Stan Lee documentary on Disney Plus and the criticism he received about how little credit other important artists of the time had. For example, Jack Kirby, who was little named in the production and generated the anger of the artist’s son.

Thomas commented that Lee was one of the main contributors to the creation of a character. He indicated that, for the artist, the owner of a character was the person who had the idea. He then added that it was usually Lee who had the vision for the character.

Stan Lee at the Phoenix Comicon in Phoenix, Arizona Image via Gage Skidmore

Roy also commented that it is true that artists like Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko did a great job in drawing characters like the Fantastic Four or Spider-Man. However, these elements would never be in comics or a sketch without Lee’s original idea.

Thomas thanked the director of the Disney Plus documentary, David Gelb, for showing the best of Stan Lee. He appreciated how Lee was shown to the audience his impressions, feelings and level of thought. Roy also added that little credit could be seen to other artists because it was a production to honor Lee. He said that in the case of doing one for Kirby, one would have to focus on the artist’s accomplishments.

Thomas Talks About Stan Lee

The former Marvel director spoke about the figure of Stan Lee or known by his real name Stanley Martin Liebe. Thomas said the artist’s true creation was himself, under the pseudonym he had developed when he was 18. At this age, he also invented the Captain America character.

Thomas indicated that Stan began using his alias in the 1940s when Captain America Comics No. 3 emerged. This was the first comic book story that Lee developed and signed under his Stan Lee imprint.

Stan Lee's Cameos in Comics Image via Marvel

He also commented that in the mid-1960s, he could see Stan Lee with a strong character and an ego that was not fragile. Roy Thomas added that if Lee was fragile, he hid it quite well and protected it with a phenomenal armor that was his smile, better than Iron Man’s suit on Tony Stark.

In his involvement with the Marvel Group, Thomas indicated that Lee was the team leader, the brains and the one with a clear vision of the direction needed with each character. So he could guide each artist and tell him what he wanted to capture in each comic and achieve a quality comic.

Thomas believes that Lee was a visionary of the time, as few there were or are even at this time. He would take actions that he felt were appropriate for the moment, such as changing positions, even if it was to take a lesser position than his current one. An example would be when Lee appointed the former managing editor, only to move from this position to become an ordinary editor.

The Stan Lee documentary has been available on the Disney Plus platform since June 16, 2023. Tell us your impression in the comments if you have already seen it.


I am a circus aerialist influenced by Dick Grayson and Spider-Man. Fortunate to write about the characters that inspired me. I also have a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and a Master's degree in International Trade.


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