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Still Haven’t Caught Up With THOR And/Or CAPTAIN AMERICA: FIRST AVENGER?? Epix Is Making Them Available FREE This Weekend!! Along With THE STAN LEE STORY!!

I am – Hercules!!

Newish Viacom-owned pay channel Epix has organized a free preview weekend running Friday through Sunday on Cox Cable, Verizon Fios and the Dish Network.

And the two most recent “Avengers” prequels – “Thor” and “Captain America: First Avenger” – are premiering this weekend on Epix, along with “With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story.”

None of these appear to be available via Netflix.

Epix schedule:
8:00 p.m. Friday: “With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story”
9:30 p.m. Friday: “Thor”
7:30 a.m. Saturday: “Thor”
9:30 a.m. Saturday: “With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story”
2:15 p.m. Saturday: “Thor”
6:00 p.m. Sunday: “Thor”
8:00 p.m. Sunday: “Captain America: The First Avenger”

The absorbing Stan Lee doc, which begins by depicting the spry 89-year-old charging around Comic Con, is full of old photos and footage of Lee, virtually recognizable without his trademark 2-tone hair and tinted eyewear. The doc reveals Lee worshipped Errol Flynn and originally thought he’d be an actor. At age 16 he worked at the world’s second-largest trouser manufacturing company.

In 1939 he was hired as an assistant at the new Timely Comics when its only office employees were “Captain America” creators Jack Kirby and Joe Simon. (Simon, who passed away at the age of 98 a little over four months ago, is interviewed for this thing, which is sort of awesome.) Lee became Timely’s acting editor-in-chief when he was only 18, following the abrupt departure of Kirby and Simon.

Lee and Timely operated out of the 14th floor of the Empire State Building between 1942 and 1951.

“There were only nine men in the [World War II] army who were classified as playwrights,” says Lee, and he was one of them. The others included William Saroyan, Carl Laemmle Jr., Frank Capra and Theodor Geisel. They wrote training films.

The son of Romanian-born Jewish immigrants, Lee – who apparently looked a lot like Rex Harrison in his youth -- married a WASPy English actress-model. The couple produced a biological daughter but were subsequently foiled by adoption agencies who considered them a “mixed” couple. They’re still together 50 years later despite her destroying the noiseless typewriter on which he created his most famous characters.

Jack Kirby wound up not illustrating Spider-Man (Steve Ditko got that job) because Lee felt Kirby made Spidey look too glamorous.

There's a lot more.  Stan Lee's story is amazing.  How crazy is it that Marvel filed for Chapter 11 in 1996, just four years befoer "X-Men" came out?

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Readers Talkback
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  • April 27, 2012, 4:21 a.m. CST

    Marvel filed Chapter 11 because the Distributers were

    by LargoJr

    strategically and willfully putting a strangle hold on all of the industries publications. They (and their Unions) realized they had the 'Big Two' by the balls, and were squeezing for all they could. They idea was simply legalized racketeering. "Pay up.. or your shipments get to their destinations SOO fucking late, or so badly damaged, that you'll never make another dime. It almost worked too. Then came the Mass Exodus of hot, new artists to Image and such (granted, Marvel & DC's own fault due to a stranglehold on properties and ownership percentages).. and things just went down hill from there. Does anyone have the numbers on just HOW MUCH DC & Marvel lost when they started choking the retailers with variant covers?

  • April 27, 2012, 4:46 a.m. CST


    by Patrick

    Don't know anything about Saroyan but I do know the most well know theater in Fresno is called the Saroyan.

  • April 27, 2012, 5:01 a.m. CST


    by Patrick

    Wait... What? Where did you get your information?

  • April 27, 2012, 6:02 a.m. CST

    God damn DirecTV ain't got no Epix.

    by Shermdawg

    And Shermdawg ain't seen no Thor. shitshitshit...

  • April 27, 2012, 6:39 a.m. CST

    Available to Stream to a Roku as an on demand service too

    by Jesse Kroh

    I plan on watching The Stan Lee doc. Would rather watch Thor and Captain America on BlueRay

  • April 27, 2012, 6:45 a.m. CST

    Young Stan Lee Looks Like Kevin Spacy

    by rakesh patel

    Dude is 89?!?!?!? Amazing. I'll have to watch this doc.

  • No credit card. No bill. Instant streaming.

  • April 27, 2012, 8:08 a.m. CST

    Jack Kirby is the co-creator of Marvel Comics

    by PTSDPete

  • April 27, 2012, 8:08 a.m. CST

    I'vehad occasion to meet many celebrities in my time...

    by MrEkoLetMeLive

    And the only two who lived up to what you'd think they'd be like we're Bill Murray and Stan Lee. 'Nuff said!

  • April 27, 2012, 8:44 a.m. CST

    Frank Miller speech

    by Chris

    Forgot where it was - but Frank Miller gave a speech (for Jack Kirby) - and he took a swipe at the industry and mos def Stan Lee about giving some scratch / more credit to Jack Kirby. Kirby was still alive, I can't remember where I read this. But clearly Kirby didn't get all the accolades he deserved. Fully agree with you and also I can't stand the mastubatory cameos Stan makes in the Marvel movies.

  • I recently read the Kirby! King of Comics biography (which is excellent, highly recommended)....there's an interesting moment in it. It's after Jack died. Roz, Jack's wife, makes it very clear in a quote that she held no hard feelings towards Stan at that point and that at the funeral she wanted to hug him and let him know that. Honestly, I get why people say what they do about Stan Lee. Personally, I see both sides of the argument. But if Kirby's widow didn't hold that grudge after the King had died, I don't see any reason for us to.

  • April 27, 2012, 9:40 a.m. CST

    Comic Wars

    by zer0cool2k2

    Is an excellent book that tells the story of Marvel's struggles in the mid 90's.

  • April 27, 2012, 10:19 a.m. CST

    Woot DVR set, who needs to buy DVDs or Pirate!

    by Saen

  • Not only did jack provide groundbreaking art which the panels practically leaped at you, but he came up with plenty of concepts that Lee took credit for. Two of them being Silver Surfer and The Black Panther. Yet the "King" died almost penniless while Stan reaped untold fame and fortune. I met Stan in person and he seems to be a nice guy, but fuck him. Glad his Cousin Martin Goodman is cold in the grave for fucking Kirby over. The Kirby estate deserves 45% of marvel's share. Excelsior, fuckers!

  • April 27, 2012, 12:16 p.m. CST

    Wanna laugh? Watch this Amazing, Fanatastic video!!

    by Stalkeye

  • April 27, 2012, 12:20 p.m. CST

    hat's odd, blagyver I heard it was the otherway around.

    by Stalkeye

    Lee wanted to attend Kirby's funeral but Roz refused to let him. Also there was a great episode in Superman TAS (Apokolips Now pt. 2) that paid tribute to Kirby after his passing and during a funeral scene in which a character based on Jack called Turpin is laid to rest, you would see one of the attendees baring a familiar image to the "Father" of marvel. A few months later, that scene was omitted. Hmmm...

  • April 27, 2012, 12:27 p.m. CST

    As much as I despide rob Liefeld's art...

    by Stalkeye

    ..he was one of the few in the industry that stood up for Kirby and as a result, some residuals and acknowledgement was given to Kirby and his estate. Rob, when it comes to illustrating comics and meeting deadlines, you suck, but props for standing up for what is right. oh, and you created one of Marvel's interesting characters; Deadpool .

  • April 27, 2012, 12:30 p.m. CST

    Evanier Biography

    by BlaGyver

    Roz wanted to give him a big hug, right in front of everyone to show that what was done was done and that there was no bitterness left dangling.

  • April 27, 2012, 12:31 p.m. CST

    There are supposed to be quotes around that...fuck

    by BlaGyver

    I have the book right here.

  • April 27, 2012, 12:35 p.m. CST

    I'm not disagreeing with the way Kirby was treated in general.

    by BlaGyver

    Evanier definitely knows what he's talking about, though. Lee attended the funeral and sat quietly in the back, then left quickly. Not much beyond that is elaborated on, but it seems like the actions of a man racked with guilt and it seems unfortunate that he left before Roz could let him know.

  • Stan deserves a kick in the balls as oppossed to a Hug. It may sound like I'm taking it personally, but yeah was Jack's brilliant storytelling/art that got me into Comics/Geek Culture (as a Kid during the late 70's) in the first place and for him to be treated like this just show how inconsiderate and ungrateful some people are. Kirby is one of the most influentual comic artists of all time! (IMO he is THE most influentual.) yes buckethead, LONG LIVE THE KING!!

  • April 27, 2012, 1:35 p.m. CST

    The other thing is....

    by BlaGyver

    Stan was definitely the business side of the equation. I think that while Kirby was the epitome of the creative aspect of the genre, Stan was the one that knew how to market comics to the public. I guess what I've been trying to say is that people bash on Stan Lee a LOT. So much so that it seems that they do forget that while he may not have singlehandedly created every Marvel character, his contributions to the industry shouldn't be shortchanged. The other thing I'll say is that there was a recent interview about this documentary with Lee. The interviewer asks him point blank why Kirby's name isn't in the Avengers credits. Let's be fair: Lee's position in these films at this point is mostly ceremonial. Calling him out like that out of the blue during an interview for a completely different movie is a little unprofessional of the interviewer.

  • April 27, 2012, 1:35 p.m. CST

    And it's not like he has much control over that to begin with.

    by BlaGyver

  • As in, Fuck Jack, it's all about numbero Uno.

  • Perelman took advantage of the company's inflated valuation by selling junk bonds (thank Mike Miliken), and personally pocketed nearly $500 million. Meanwhile, Marvel's bank debt rose to more than $600 million. And then came the collapse of the comic book and trading card markets.

  • April 27, 2012, 6:18 p.m. CST

    THOR & CAP on EPIX is a waste

    by film11

    Both movies will be cropped, losing about a third of the visuals. So "free" ain't no deal.

  • April 27, 2012, 10:24 p.m. CST

    Stalk, I honestly see Lee as a mascot at this point.

    by BlaGyver

    I honestly don't think that if he walked up to Marvel execs and demanded that Kirby's name be put in the credits that they'd do anything.

  • April 28, 2012, 9:49 p.m. CST

    They're also showing IM2. I'll dvr them and watch em on Thursday.

    by dahveed1972

  • April 28, 2012, 9:49 p.m. CST

    Film1 how do you know that?

    by dahveed1972

  • April 29, 2012, 12:40 a.m. CST

    Thor and Captain America are available on Netflix.

    by halowiscious

    Thor has been available for about two months. Cap for about two weeks.

  • Not Streaming. Netflix gets movies from EPIX. So Netflix doesn't get it in streaming until it's been on EPIX for a few months.

  • April 29, 2012, 3:10 p.m. CST

    Marvel would not be Marvel without Stan Lee

    by Monolith_Jones

    It's that simple.