In 1947, in his book, Secrets Behind the Comics, then-24-year-old Stan Lee offered readers a chance to have their comic book artwork reviewed for the price of $1. 25 years later, shortly after Stan Lee had become head of Marvel, an aspiring artist named Russell Maheras cheekily attempted to take him up on his old offer by sending him his Souperman spoof along with a fee — kindly doubled to take inflation into account — of $2.
Stan Lee stuck to his word. His response can be read below.
(Source: Russ Mahera; Image: Stan Lee, via.)
Marvel Comics Group
December 7, 1972
Mr. Russell Maheras
Okay, never let it be said that sweet ol' Stan ever reneged on an offer (even if it was made 25 years ago!) A promise is a promise! And besides, I can use the two bucks.
However, rates have gone up in 25 years, so all your buck and the buck for postage will buy you is a footnote! Hence footnote--
Do you have talent? Yeah, it seems that way. Have you a sense of humor? Apparently. Is your artwork of professional caliber? Not yet. Why not? Glad you asked--
Your anatomy is still weak-- practice it, study it, work on it. Don't worry too much about inking yet. That can come later. The pencilling is the important thing to begin with. Your layouts are good. You seem to have the ability to tell a story pictorially-- which is important in comics, obviously. But, if you really wanna become a pro, you're kidding around too much. Nobody's impressed with "Souperman" takeoffs now. We were doing them 30 years ago. Do real serious stuff. For example, pick a character you think you could handle-- HULK for example. Then do a serious, no-kidding story about him-- using your own drawings and layouts (no swipes). That's the only way to really tell if you have the stuff or not. When you think your work is as good as what's already appearing in the mags, send it in to us-- or DC, or anybody. Till then, keep studying.
P.S.-- Your backgrounds are pretty good, too.