|Stan Lee and Irwin Hasen at the Legends Behind the Comic Books panel|
Uslan began the panel by asking Stan Lee what accomplishment in his career he was most proud of. Lee first responded by cracking "Living long enough to come here!" but went on to say, with a mixture of humility and grandeur, that he would "leave that to posterity to judge" which earned him a chuckle from his fellow panelists.
The next question went to Jerry Robinson, who was asked when he first realized that comics were being taken seriously as an art form. He related an experience when he hosted a show at the Kennedy Center on the influences of pop art on modern art. They were displaying a rendition of the Joker by a famous artist, and next to it sat Robinson's original drawing of the Joker. Ruefully, Robinson said, "His painting was insured for $100,000; I was only originally paid $100 for my drawing."
|Ramona Fradon looks over the crowd during the panel|
Joe Sinnott revealed that he actually enjoyed his pencilling more than inking. He came into inking almost accidentally; he had already been pencilling for Marvel, when Stan came to him with a rush job from Jack Kirby and asked him to help out by inking. It worked so well that more assignments followed, including their legendary run on Fantastic Four. Appreciatively, Sinnott related, "I'll never forget when Stan said to me ‘Joe, whatever you do, don't leave us.'"
Joe Simon got a hot button topic when he was asked for his thoughts on Captain America being created during the Roosevelt administration, and, as Uslan put it, "being killed during the Bush administration." Steering away from the political implications, Simon simply expressed his desire for the return of the original Captain America, "without the popgun and the knife."
|Murphy Anderson at the Legends Behind the Comic Books panel|
Murphy Anderson talked about his relationship with longtime DC editor Julie Schwartz. Anderson reminisced about how he and Julie would have lunch together frequently, and said their collaboration was great. A lot of this was founded on their common interests, Anderson said, "We both loved sci-fi." Asked whether he preferred pencilling or inking, Anderson surprised the audience by saying "I prefer to do a complete job", explaining that he found it frustrating when an inker would mishandle his pencils. Romita concurred with this, but threw a compliment to his fellow panelist Joe Sinnott, saying, "But if I had an inker I knew I could trust, like Joe, it was fine."
With time running low, Uslan chose to wrap the panel up by asking each member of the panel to answer the same question; who was the most creative person they worked with in the comics industry? Stan, of course, named Jack Kirby, calling him a "born storyteller and an endless source of ideas." Joe Simon also naturally went with his longtime partner, saying Kirby "invented an entire form of dynamic storytelling." Romita too bowed to the King of Comics. Jerry Robinson name-checked Mort Meskin, Irwin Hasen mentioned Sheldon Mayer and Bill Finger, Ramona Fradon cited Linda Fite, whom she worked with on several stories, and said her words instantly conjured vivid imagery. Dick Ayers listed Frank Giacoia, John Severin, and Gene Colan, while Murphy Anderson mentioned Will Eisner and Lou Fine.
With that, Uslan appealed to the audience, here in the town that gave birth to comics, to show their appreciation for the men and women behind it all. He was not disappointed as the crowd rose to their feet in a raucous round of applause, proving that the decades have not diminished the enthusiasm and appreciation for these legends.
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