Remembering Marvel Comics Legend Stan Lee


Fans create a memorial on Stan Lee’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star (Credit: Sidrao21/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0)

Comic book enthusiasts and movie lovers alike are mourning the loss of legendary writer, editor, and publisher Stan Lee, who died at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California on November 12, 2018. The 95-year-old, responsible for creating iconic superheroes like Spider-Man, Iron Man, the X-Men, The Avengers, and The Fantastic Four, leaves behind a “marvel-ous” legacy that will live on forever.

Stanley Martin Lieber was born in Manhattan, NY on December 28, 1922 to Romanian immigrants Celia and Jack Lieber. Upon graduating from DeWitt Clinton High School, the 16-year-old was hired at what was then called Timely Publications. The company was best known for inexpensive fiction, or “pulp,” magazines. In 1941, when given his first chance to author a story - a short text for Captain America #3 – he signed his name as “Stan Lee.” The creative genius later explained he had only changed it to save his real name for serious literature that he dreamed of writing some day. However, the pseudonym stuck, and soon after, became his legal name.

Lee and Kirby (bottom left) pose
as themselves on the cover
of The Fantastic Four #10
(Credit: use)

Promoted to the editor of the comic book division at the age of 19, Lee spent the next decade writing a variety of genres. In 1960, disillusioned by his nondescript writing career, Lee was contemplating leaving when he was asked to create a superhero character to compete with DC Comics’ successful Justice League.

Lee partnered with artist Jack Kirby, the co-creator of Captain America, to launch the Fantastic Four. The comic book was an instant hit, leading to the development of other superhero characters such as Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Daredevil, and the X-Men. In addition to starring in their individual comic book adventures, the superheroes began cropping up in each other’s fictional worlds – forcing fans to buy multiple series to get the whole story. The success of the intermingling universes led to The Avengers launching as a stand-alone title in September 1963.

Unlike previous superheroes who were depicted as perfect, Lee’s creations were endowed with human flaws, thus making them more relatable to fans. For, example, characters like Spider-Man, who debuted in 1962, had multi-faceted. The crime-fighting superhero was confident and adventurous, while his alter-ego, Peter Parker, was a shy, awkward, high school student – something that most teenagers could identify with.

"He’s just an ordinary guy. And underneath all this wonderful exterior, I’m just an ordinary guy,” said Lee. “He had so many problems, and nothing ever worked out perfectly for him. He was always in some sort of trouble. Yeah, I could feel for old Peter.”

The spider bite that gave Peter Parker
his powers (Credit: use)

Also unique was Lee’s creation process. Most comic books begin with the writer outlining the story and dialogue in detail for the artist to sketch. However, “The Marvel Method” left the layout of the pages to the discretion of the artists, who were given a general plot. It was only after the images were drawn that dialogue was added. While the technique didn’t work for everyone, allowing artists like Jack Kirby (Iron Man, The Avengers) and Steve Ditko (Spider-Man, Doctor Strange) to have creative control resulted in some dazzling works of art.

In 1972, Lee, by then the publisher of Marvel, gave up editorial control to spend time promoting the company. While television shows featuring Marvel characters like Spider-Man and the Hulk did well, achieving success on the big screen proved elusive. A 1990 Hollywood adaptation of Captain America went straight to video, while a low-budget version of the Fantastic Four made in 1994, was never released. It was not until the 2000 release of The X-Men, starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and Halle Berry, that Marvel's superheroes became a hit on the big screen. This was also the first time Lee began the much-loved tradition of making cameo appearances in the movies.

In 2009, the Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel and elevated the superhero world further with summer blockbusters like The Avengers. Though no longer associated with the company, Lee continued to promote his creations with appearances at comic book conventions and fan festivals. The 95-year-old was even developing a new superhero, dubbed Dirt Man, at the time of his death!

Stan Lee at the Phoenix, AZ Comicon in 2011 (Credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Though Lee is no longer with us, his larger-than-life personality, fun-loving wit, and charm will be remembered for generations to come. As Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger succinctly put it, ”Stan Lee was as extraordinary as the characters he created. A superhero in his own right to Marvel fans around the world, Stan had the power to inspire, to entertain and to connect. The scale of his imagination was only exceeded by the size of his heart."

R.I.P. Stan Lee

(1922 – 2018)

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  • isabellagarland
    isabellagarlandThursday, September 3, 2020 at 5:36 am
    your guys are pretty cute when you talk together sometimes
    • imunicornlover1
      imunicornlover1Saturday, August 15, 2020 at 8:38 am
      It's so sad that he died! Rip Stan Lee! You will be forever missed! :(
      • teagytornado101
        teagytornado101Friday, August 14, 2020 at 6:59 pm
        Stan lee: He wasn't just a Marvel COmics legend, he was an awesome person in this world. We need more people like him. He created an amazing comic series or whatever you want to call it. I have to say this man has made something that has changed our lives. Imagine not having Spider-Man! Wouldn;t that be crazy?! I wish him an amazing time in heavan with god. R.I.P Stanley Martin Lieber!
        • howls
          howlsFriday, August 14, 2020 at 6:19 pm
          I am just at a lost for words it's just so sad 😢😢😢😢😢😢😢 I love Spider-Man and those comics helped me thro a hard time and I love the words in the first photo 😭😮😮 I don't want to believe it.
          • laynebot5
            laynebot5Monday, July 20, 2020 at 11:23 am
            Stan Lee is so inspiring rip
            • 6feetapart
              6feetapartSunday, July 19, 2020 at 6:32 pm
              Stanley Martin Lieber...not only an amazing person, he was creative and loving. I remember reading my first marvel comic, I was in 1st grade, (I'm now in 11th) I had just learned how to first comic was spider-woman...the first issue. I wish that Mr. Lieber wouldn't have died. ...but his time came and he had to leave...he still lives in our hearts and mind s...R.I.P Stan Lee!
              • prodigypro101
                prodigypro101Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 6:25 am
                I loved his comics R.I.P
                • lolipoperz
                  lolipoperzSunday, May 17, 2020 at 10:32 am
                  Stan was a huge part of my life I used to like avengers and spider man his movies were the best super hero movies and he was a superhero in himself!
                  • ranchergirl8
                    ranchergirl8Thursday, May 14, 2020 at 4:32 pm
                    R.I.P Stan Lee. You lived a wonderful life and we love you. Thank you for creating the best movies ever.
                    • akshaymul1201
                      akshaymul1201Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 8:30 am
                      let the legend R.I.P😮😨😟😞😪😓😩😭
                      • coolvae
                        coolvaeTuesday, July 21, 2020 at 12:32 pm
                        my favorite movie he made was spider man!
                        • coolvae
                          coolvaeTuesday, July 21, 2020 at 12:34 pm
                          follow me if your favorite super hero is spider man.