First I wrote:
And then I wrote:
Lee certainly can't be blamed for the media's indifference to the careers of the many people who didn't work with him in any significant way. Such names would include the aforementioned Jerry Siegel (who just barely contributed a few scripts to Marvel before he left, possibly with the intent of biting Lee's style with the Archie line of "Mighty Comics"), Joe Kubert, John Broome, Gardner Fox, Alex Toth. The media didn't care if any of them were doing great work or crappy work, because all comics were crappy by definition. You can blame Lee for his own crappy work, but he didn't create the dominant prejudice against comics of all kinds.
Lee was the only one the media paid attention to, and that's not because he kept all of his employees in obscurity. It was because he knew how to perform in public, how to give audiences what they wanted. He sold his comics as being different from everything that had come before. That was some truth and some falsehood to that, as there was in his claim to have originated everything. I don't believe that he originated everything, but I do believe that he gave Kirby, Ditko and everyone else who worked under him some degree of guidance, always oriented on what he felt would sell to the public.
I'm talking about authorship, and have been since I mentioned "the presence of real comics creators" in my first post. I'm sure his position on character-creation is influenced by legal considerations, so that it has to be taken with a grain of salt. Legally, an "honorary co-credit" is all that Lee had the power to bestow in terms of the matter of creation, at least as long as he was a Marvel employee. But because he wanted to sell the personalities behind Marvel Comics as much as he wanted to sell the characters, Lee frequently praised his collaborators to the heavens. That's one of the big reasons that I credit him with creating much of the debate we have today about authorship. Even the fact that Lee credited Kirby with inventing the Silver Surfer ironically abetted many of Kirby's later outsized claims that he Kirby did everything.