The connection between different mediums is seldom as apparent as the current culture surrounding the massive Disney buyout of Marvel rights and every glorious thing that comes with having an incredible budget to match your source material. The undeniable fact that the Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Vol. 1 is only the second soundtrack to date to sell over a million copies (a fact made more impressive in an age of singles and ephemeral streams) is irrefutable proof of the powerful connection between good writing and good music.
More important to notice though, is the incredible power the right producer can have on your work. It’s odd to think of Stan Lee in that way, most people blindly accept him as the sole creator of everything from Spiderman to M.O.D.O.K., much in the way they let themselves believe that Aerosmith wrote the lyrics for Don’t want to miss a thing. The fact is, though, Stan Lee wasn’t some super-nerd sitting in a dark room drawing and writing every detail of every universe he created, he was much more of a producer in the way we think about it today than anything. His strengths always resounded in spotting a good thing and capitalizing, and in being an amazing big picture guy who had a knack for finding the perfect artist to bring a vision of his to life.
True, Stan Lee was a brilliant writer, but more importantly he was a man who understood the vision and the process. His initial version of the Hulk was pitched as grey, and based on his love for Frankenstein’s monster as well as a litany of other literary characters. When the illustrator he decided to work with suggested green, he accepted the idea. He rejected earlier visions of Spiderman for being too heroic looking – and he put together Iron Man to pitch what was essentially an Ayn Rand character to a liberal audience just to see if he could. These choices are not the minutia of the day-to-day writer and illustrator – these are the money moves of a man who trusts his talent pool, but knows when and how to say no. He was a man of indomitable vision, and anyone working behind the scenes recording should treat his life as a crash course in success.
Starting with nothing, having a few good stories to tell, and then having the good sense to invest in the right people and reinvest the returns into building an empire is the true path to success most people in the music industry seem to strive for. In this case, Stan Lee was the master. He managed to create, inspire, and guide an insane number of artists to their fame through his input and ideas while still managing to keep himself at the forefront of his brand. Unparalleled and uncompromising vision is a gift, but the ability to do what Stan Lee did is a true art form, and a lucrative one, for any budding music producer looking closely enough to take note.