What was the Marvel Method
According to Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Wally Wood, and other top writer-artists, "the Marvel Method" was a method for stealing writing pay. They claim that Lee abused his position as editor, putting his own name on other people's work. As editor he then edited the dialogue, so that technically he wrote (actually re-wrote) the finished words. So the writing pay would go to him. Other publishers mocked Lee for stealing credit, in comics about "Stan Me", "Stan Bragg", "Funky Flashman", etc. Millions of children grew up with "Stan Lee presents", or later watched the movies, and came away believing that this one editor somehow wrote all the stories himself. Once they realised this was impossible, they clung to the idea that somehow he was essential to the creation process.

Why it matters today

This is not just in the past. These characters are now worth billions to Marvel. Marvel can only own them if Stan Lee created them. Because Stan Lee was a salaried employee: whatever he created belonged to Marvel. But Jack Kirby (and Steve Ditko and Wally Wood) were freelancers who worked from home: there is no evidence that they signed over any rights to Marvel, beyond the implied right to print their stories. They had no written contracts. Obviously Marvel's lawyers argue that Marvel owns the characters. But Marvel does not want us to see the evidence, and their position rests heavily on a judge trusting Stan Lee's word.

Other uses of the term "Marvel Method"

The Marvel Method, more broadly, refers to any arrangement where a writer expects an artist to contribute to writing a comic story. E.g. by giving a rough synopsis instead of a detailed script. But when this web site talks about The Marvel Method it usually refers to Stan Lee working with Jack Kirby, and also to Stan Lee's work in general.