The co-creator of Marvel Comics and some of the most iconic superheroes, Stan Lee, has died on Monday morning. Marvel itself has confirmed the news.
According to TMZ, Lee was rushed in an ambulance from his home in Hollywood Hills to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he later passed away. The comics legends has had issues in the past year or so battling pneumonia as well as some problems with his vision.
Stan Lee was born Stanley Martin Lieber on December 22, 1922 in New York City. His father, Jack Lieber, was a dress cutter and both he and his wife Celia were Romanian-born Jewish immigrants. Growing up, Lee found himself influenced by the movies, especially anything with Errol Flynn playing the hero. Lee graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx a year and a half early in 1939, and he went on to join the WPA Federal Theater Project.
In 1942, Lee joined the US Army and became a member of the Signal Corps, where he repaired communications equipment. Later, he transferred to the Training Film Division and produced films, manuals, and cartoons. Lee left the Army in 1945 and married the love of his life, Joan Clayton Boocock, in 1947. They were together for 70 years, and had two children, before Joan’s passing in 2017.
Lee first started working in comics in 1939 as an assistant at Timely Comics and made his debut as a text filler in Captain America Comics #3 in 1941, where he first used his pseudonym “Stan Lee.” By the ’50s, Timely Comics evolved into Atlas Comics, and Lee wrote numerous stories in the romance, science fiction, and horror genres.
Publisher Martin Goodman tasked Lee with creating a superhero team in the late ’50s as a response to the popularity of what DC Comics was doing at the time. Lee teamed with Jack Kirby to create the Fantastic Four, which was loosely based on Kirby’s work at DC, Challengers of the Unknown. Lee made his characters flawed, to have realistic problems, and to be something readers could relate to. When Fantastic Four #1 debuted in late 1961, it was a smashing success.
He continued using the theme of flawed superheroes and applied it to new teams and characters, working again with Kirby on X-Men, Hulk, Thor, and Iron Man; later, the two would come together to create the iconic Avengers. Lee worked with Bill Everett on Daredevil, and found his biggest success with artist Steve Ditko on Spider-Man. Lee continued his dominance as a writer at Marvel until 1972, when he took on the role of publisher and stopped writing monthly books.
From there, Lee became a figurehead and representative of Marvel and the comic book industry as a whole. He began appearing at comic book conventions, meeting fans, and in 2012, Comikaze Expo was rebranded as Stan Lee’s Comikaze, which is the ultimate honor for anyone in the comic book industry. Lee loved his work, his characters, and most importantly, his fans, and he never stopped giving. He started the Stan Lee Foundation in 2010 which focused on literacy, education, and the arts, in order to improve access to literacy resources.
Lee will always be remembered for the way he changed pop culture through the characters he created, the stories he told, and amusing cameos he had in all those movies. Thanks for everything, Stan.
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Author: Mat Elfring
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