This past week the world lost a man who brought our favorite superhero’s that we all know and love to life, the legendary comic book writer, editor, and publisher Stan Lee was announced dead Monday morning at the age of 95.
Born Stanley Martin Lieber on December 28, 1922, he started off working as an assistant at Timely Comics, which later on it would adopt the name Marvel comics. The first comic book in which Lee got to work on was in 1941 with “Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge” in Captain America Comics #3. In 1961, it saw the success of archival DC comics coming out with the victory of a new superhero the Justice League. In response, Lee’s boss appointed him to create and develop a new superhero group, his collaboration with artist Jack Kirby led to the creation of the Fantastic Four, building the foundation for Marvel.
Flawed with human foibles and hung ups, what was unique about Lee’s approach to comics is that his characters were made with personalities and not just power. Up until then, superhero’s were idealistically perfect, fighting crime and saving the day. Lee introduced more complex naturalistic imperfections. Aside from their super-human abilities, he revealed a side in their stories where you get to see the characters go through real-life situation such as relationship issues, paying bills or even getting sick, Lee’s way of making his characters relatable to the readers is what made his fans coming back for more. Furthermore, Lee touched upon topics that were occurring within society such as racism. In retaliation, he was one of the creative minds in developing the X-Men, in which readers saw is mirroring the issues of race during the Civil Rights movement.
He would continue to work with Jack Kirby and would co-create Marvels most prominent characters like the Hulk, Thor, Iron Man as well as the X-Men. While working alongside Steve Ditko, the two came about creating Doctor Strange and Marvels most successful and recognizable character Spider-Man. He would collectively team them in creating the worlds mightiest heroes the Avengers in 1963.
Lee was on the brink of building one of the biggest comic-book empires, in 1971 Lee was named publisher and focused on developing Marvel as a brand. With seeing the success of competing brand DC comics in films, Lee moved to Los Angeles in the 1980’s to expand Marvel into TV and movies, developing animated TV series, to appearing in over 40 cameos’s throughout various marvel and non-marvel film, grossing over a incredible 20 billion dollars in theaters around the world.
Through his work, his legacy will continue to live on through the characters that he created. Stan Lee was a real-life superhero In his own right, not only will he be revered for his work at Marvel, or his famous “Excelsior!” slogan at the end of his comics, but making comic-books and geeks around the world feel connected and ordinary within society, and for that I say thank you, rest in paradise.
Photo Credits: @bosslogic, Photofest