Nobody has a 100 percent record. Even the most consistent producers of good stuff come up with a stinker now and then. If the good stuff is good enough, though, the legacy remains secured.
In the case of the late, great Stan Lee, for every Spider-Man there’s a Leap-Frog, Cat-Man and Ape-Man. For every Incredible Hulk there’s a Stripperella, a Count Nefaria and a Matador. Lee probably has a ratio of about three good characters to every ten shonky ones, but the good ones are so good that it doesn’t matter a damn. If you create the X-Men, you’ve earned the right to also create nonsense like Paste-Pot Pete.
Which is to say, we maybe shouldn’t get too excited about the news that when he died, Stan Lee was working with his daughter J.C. on a new character named Dirt Man.
Yeah, Dirt Man. It’s not the most promising of names, is it? It sounds a bit… crap? But one of Stan Lee’s most beloved characters is a guy named Cyclops who literally has two eyes, so you can’t tell everything from a name.
J.C. told the gossip site TMZ: “I’ve been trying to get him to do a character with me my entire life. He did listen to me and we have been working on a character called Dirt Man. The last little angel we’ve got tucked away is Dirt Man. I said ‘Daddy, please, no clatter, no steel, no any of that. Let’s get down and dirty, let’s do what’s going on and about love - let’s do Dirt Man’. And it is very interesting. And it’s not over yet. There is a little trickery. I hope it will be a movie.”
It won’t be a movie, probably - “Let’s do what’s going on and about love” is a collection of words rather than a character description, and both clatter and steel are extremely cinematic. But equally perhaps J.C is hinting at the idea of a superhero who’s committed to battling climate change. It’s certainly topical and ‘going on’ right now and the name Dirt Man does suggest someone who’d be a little earthy.
Perhaps this is Stan Lee’s Captain Planet moment and Dirt Man could actually turn out to be really good. It certainly beats the environment destroying Avengers who tend to think nothing of burning cities to the ground and unleashing various other un-green weaponry.
Even if not, the world is still reeling from the knowledge that there’s no more Stan Lee - look at this tribute at his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
We’ll take all the Lee we can get, even in the form of presumably soil-based superhero Dirt Man. Maybe Dirt Man could have a variation on Stan Lee’s “Excelsior!” catchphrase and say “Excavator!”
Is that rubbish? Probably.
QUIZ: Which Marvel villain are you?