Stan Lee: The True Story Of The Marvel Comics Legend

a destroyer of worlds a friendly

neighborhood hero good versus evil and

all from the single mind of a comic-book

pioneer passed away at the age of 95

Stan Lee has left a long legacy behind

him and one that goes well beyond the

recent years of cameo appearances in the

MCU for the casual fan Lee is simply

known as the creator of Marvel comics

but his history is long complicated and

filled with more twists and turns than

the comics he wrote for his controversy

with the creation of certain Marvel

heroes and the legacy he will leave

behind take a journey with us as we

explore the true story of Stan Lee what

do you think of when you hear the name

Stan Lee for many it'll conjure up an

image of the old Stan Lee a man mostly

used for appearances and representative

of Marvel's long history even at 95

years old he had a coolness factor about

him the kind of guy you'd wait in line

at a comic convention for one of the

only guys he'd want to sign the front of

a classic Marvel comic the man you say

AHA to when his cameo scene appears in a

Marvel movie but the real Stan Lee is

more than just a novelty he was a

pioneer a Visiona stay in the face of

Marvel like any face of a giant company

Steve Jobs Bill Gates Mark Zuckerberg

Lee has faced his fair share of

challenges and debates over the years to

remain the face of Marvel in almost a

revisionist history where many people

have placed him as the sole creator of

the company this is not the case at all

man behind the smiling man and almost

true mascot of Marvel is a history

filled with different versions of events

a lot of feuds and some clashes even

more epic than the Avengers have taken

on but in the years before Marvel comics

were actually a thing Stan Lee's journey

to the company began with a life and

career path that never had anything to

do with comics at all

like the setting of many comic books

Stanley grew up in New York City

including areas like Washington Heights

and the Bronx

Stanley's real name is actually Stanley

Martin Lieber he developed the nickname

Stanley in high school and hasn't looked

back since

even legally changing his name to

Stanley in the years to follow his

father lost work during the Great

Depression giving Lee a deeper

understanding of the privilege of

working and doing work whenever you can

Lee's work ethic seemed to form at a

very young age and didn't let up until

his death this year after graduating

high school in the late 30s Lee went

right to work following his passion for

writing his ultimate goal was to create

an epic novel and begin his career as a

successful author his first job was far

from writing novels in fact his first

true writing gig started out writing

obituaries of all things he further

pursued his interests with newspaper

jobs and some work in local theaters so

how did Stanley get involved with the

world of comic books

well it's all thanks to some family

connections Lee's uncle Robbie Solomon

got him a job at a company known as

timely comics manda Lee worked directly

under his cousin's husband Martin

Goodman never heard of timely comics

well before Marvel Comics became the

company name timely comics provided the

introduction to iconic superheroes like

Captain America Namor the Submariner and

the Human Torch an original version not

a member of the Fantastic Four so what

did Stan Lee contribute to the creation

of these heroes and side characters like

Bucky well nothing really

during his early days with timely comics

Lee was an assistant providing writers

with extra ink running errands around

the office and completing random tasks

as needed showcasing the work ethic

inspired by his father Lee eventually

moved up in the ranks getting more

assignments and his own chance at

creating a hero of his own in 1941 the

timely comics series mystic debuted the

character of the destroyer much like

Captain America the destroyer was a Nazi

fighting superhero which was injected

with a special serum that made him

stronger and increased other abilities

instead of Captain America's traditional

red white and blue costume the destroyer

taunts a much darker design with his

skull motif across his chest the

destroyer saw mild success but before

Lee could expand and grow on as hero

connections he was entered into the Army

in 1942 was leave fighting the

frontlines like his heroes in the army

not quite he actually used his army

experience to expand on his writing


the official role Lee served while in

the military was known as a playwright

with much of his work involving training

manuals and instructional films by the

time Lee returned from the Army the

comic book industry wasn't doing so well

people didn't really take comics

seriously mostly aimed toward young

children and sales were plummeting

especially for timely comics a company

who lagged behind other industry giants

like DC Lee himself was even growing

tired and disillusioned of the comic

book industry one he had only been in

for just a few years in the early 50s

Ty Lee Comics focused on horror stories

cops and robbers and ventured away from

the prime superhero material they were

known for by copying other successful

comics and looking for quick cash grabs

Lee and others at the company didn't

have the same passion to write a

real-life tragedy at home also gave Lee

a whole

and perspective on the work he was doing

in 1953 Lee's wife gave birth to their

second daughter Jan Lee three days after

she was born she passed away an

unbearable loss for any family to handle

Lee trudged on through the comic book

industry and in 1958 timely comics was

ready to close their doors this is when

Lee received an assignment along with

artist Jack Kirby their goal was to

create a new superhero series but one

that focused on a group of heroes as

opposed to just one drawing inspiration

from the Justice League of America Lee

and Kirby collaborated to create the

Fantastic Four back in the 1950s

superheroes were aimed at children 12

and younger featuring cookie cutter

dialogue simple stories and little depth

to the characters Lee aimed for an older

audience looking to tap into older teens

who sought out the excitement of comics

but yearned for stories with a little

bit more maturity this is where the

Fantastic Four came in these heroes had

problems they bickered with each other

they dealt with things like breakups and

her demons and accepting their roles as

heroes art and dialogue featured

contents never seen before or even

considered in the comic comics once

relegated as children's fodder now had a

chance to be taken more seriously and

with the launch the Fantastic Four Stan

Lee and company could venture off and

created more heroes all in a shared

universe timely comics officially became

Marvel Comics in 1961 Lee worked with

many prominent comic-book artists during

this time including Jack Kirby and Steve

Ditko through their collaborations Lee

helped develop a process which would

later be referred to as the Marvel

method instead of writing out a full

script or story ahead of time a basic

outline or synopsis would be conceived

and handed off to the artists to fill in

panels once the art was complete text

bubbles and dialogue would then get

added as needed the creative process

allowed for much faster production and

collaboration among artists back during

these days the comic world was like the

Wild West and specific credits were a

little muddled especially when using the

Marvel method whether Lee wrote just the

synopsis a majority of the dialogue or a

mix of bull he was often credited as the

sole writer while someone like Jack

Kirby would be credited as the are

these credits brought on a lot of

contention and debates over the years

even though they were making successful

content a rift was eventually formed

between Lee and his co-workers despite

the arguments over proper credit for

writing in stories you could not deny

the success of Marvel and Lee's hand in

creating some of the most iconic heroes

of all time following the Fantastic Four

came the Incredible Hulk in 1962 during

that same year Lee and Kirby worked with

Larry Lieber to develop Thor the God of

Thunder based on mythology and not so

much of an original creation fans loved

it and they wanted more in a very

similar way that Marvel Studios has

rolled out the MCU in recent years

Marvel Comics was steamrolling through

hero introductions and filling up

newspaper stands with all types of

heroes in 1963 Lee and Lieber

collaborated again to create Iron Man

the hero looked vastly different than

his modern-day counterpart and wasn't

nearly the success that Robert Downey

jr. has made him but was still a

significant addition after debuting in

the Marvel series tales of suspense it

took nearly five years before the hero

even got his own solo series and if you

thought the formation the Fantastic Four

in a single comic was impressive then

imagine the work it took to lay out the

formation of the x-men which debuted in

1963 the original x-men were much

different than we know today wolverine

didn't even debut until 1975

instead the original lineup included

characters like Cyclops beast angel

Iceman and a Marvel Girl

aka Jean Grey the x-men was another

collaboration between Jack Kirby and

Stan Lee furthering their impressive

comic-book resume as if these heroes

were not enough the biggest Stanley

creation would come in 1962 when he

collaborated with Steve Ditko to create

the amazing spider-man


the spandex costume design and young age

of Peter Parker really stood out from

the other heroes and people flocked to

purchase issues at the comic in 1963 the

amazing spider-man received his own solo

series and eventually led to the

creation of some of the most iconic and

well-known characters in the Marvel

Universe with Lee creating an expanded

universe at Marvel that was time to

bring these heroes together and they

wasted no time in doing so thus The

Avengers were born once again teaming

with Jack Kirby and production heroes

like ant-man Thor Iron Man The Hulk and

wasp were all teamed up together and

dubbed as Earth's Mightiest Heroes the

crossover effect worked heroes could

randomly pop up in other comics and the

Marvel publication universe was going


beyond the iconic heroes we all know and

love today Lee knew how to get to the

true heart of his readers and connect

with them like no other comic could

after the adventures of spider-man Thor

or the Hulk would end each issue of

Marvel Comics would feature letters to

the editor chosen and responded to by

Stan Lee himself and this is where Lee

truly thrived he had the ability to

reach readers understand their questions

and respond to them like a friend in

those letters he would write back

casually offer advice and come across as

a mentor no problem was too small and

Lee's gracious attitude really came

across on the page he brilliantly used

those small sections of the comics to

build the greatest character of all

himself illustrations of Lee would start

building his brand along with ending

each letter with his catchphrase

excelsior because of Lee's brand

building and personal response with fans

he quickly became the face of Marvel and

in many ways remains the face of Marvel

today because of his natural ability to

promote and woo audiences other creators

like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko were

cast in the shadows and the resentment

grew because of it what Lee put in his

work and creative forces behind many

iconic heroes credit was not spread

around like it should have been in the

years following the major success of

Marvel's early days Kirby and eTCO have

both spoke out against Lee and his

contributions to the heroes nevertheless

Lee forged on continuing to grow

Marvel's brand as much as possible and

promoting became almost a full-time job

for Lee he not only created a diverse

group of hero

but helped forge diversity through the

characters and storytelling the Black

Panther was introduced in the Fantastic

Four in 1966 before joining the Avengers

and eventually getting his own solo

comic book series marking the first

african-american character in mainstream

comics Lee also used spider-man's mantle

to tell an anti drug use story line in

1971 he realized that the message

delivered by comic books went beyond

entertainment and could actually

resonate with children even though Lee

was at the head of Marvel the comics he

helped develop and create work kind of

running away from him starting in the

70s comics were getting even grittier

and more violent especially as the young

teenage fans grew up into young adults

the violence increased characters would

get killed off and the bright palettes

of panels were often replaced with

darker tones and visuals even for Lee's

friendly neighborhood spider-man as a

writer Lee was turning into more of a

relic than the hot new thing but the

marketing genius had plenty of ways to

keep himself fresh in the mind of fans

making a move from New York to

California Lee saw the major potential

of film and TV adaptations of some of

his best creations

he spearheaded many projects while still

working as the main publisher with

Marvel and long before the MCU began

Lee's wide world of cameos the Stan Lee

is now synonymous with cameo and it was

a smart and calculated move Lee used

before the man even became so

recognizable before he was shown on

screen Lee used his voice to serve as

the narrator for both the live-action

Incredible Hulk and the animated show

spider-man and his amazing friends

though shows both aired in the early

1980s and Lee's first on-screen cameo

would come as a jury foreman for the

1989 TV movie entitled the trial of the

Incredible Hulk oddly enough his second

cameo came during a spider-man crossover

episode with the animated Muppet Babies

Stan Lee appeared during a live-action

segments where The Muppet Babies shot

webs at him through the panels of the

comic kicking off the comedic nature

many of his cameos have taken on over

the years one of the more memorable

cameos in the early 90s was not actually

in a Marvel movie but rather Kevin

Smith's Mallrats

Smith was a huge comic book nerd who has

gone on to direct episode of TV's flash

and right

for various comic book series Stan Lee

plays himself in the film and is treated

like comic book royalty by the creators

on screen just as Lee's space

personality and character were getting

known to mainstream comic book fans the

marvel genius was slowly getting pushed

out of the company roles had changed

over the years

new faces were coming in and Lee was

essentially getting paid over a million

a year just for his history with the

company he was still writing the odd

comic here or there but it was now more

likely to see Stan Lee's name in the

credits of a Marvel film rather than on

the front cover of the comic books so

was the reign of Stan Lee / Stan Lee may

have been out of the marble company but

his creative nature could not be stopped

using his name and celebrity in the

comic book world Lee formed the Stan Lee

media company in 1998 the company seemed

to be off to a fast start by gaining the

right to Conan the Barbarian but nothing

else really took off the company focused

a lot on digital medium with a new hero

team the seventh portal premiering

through a season of webisodes the

financial misdeeds of Stan Lee media

didn't stop Lee from pursuing more

entertainment options after leading the

company he started over fresh with Pao

entertainment through this company Lee

created books TV shows movies and plenty

of international content ever the hype

man Lee promoted projects all the time

especially at comic conventions some of

his various productions included comic

mascots based off of every NHL team a

reality show on the History Channel

entitled Stan Lee's superhumans and a

YouTube channel entitled Stan Lee's

world of heroes Lee was able to venture

out beyond just comics understanding how

new generations enjoy all different

types of media

despite Lee's passing POW Entertainment

will continue to produce content and

expand on Lee's creations with the


one of the biggest changes to Stanley's

legacy came with a release of x-men in

the year 2000 Lee saw the success of

x-men in 2002 spider-man and tried to

fight to get royalties while Marvel

eventually settled with Lee and paid him

a pretty hefty one-time lump B Lee

missed out on a chance to earn a massive

fortune with the launch of the MCU in

2008 the MCU completely changed Marvel

and the sale to Disney launched the

comic books to whole new heights while

Lee was given cameo roles in all the MCU

films his royalty check could have been

much bigger if a better agreement was

made obviously Lee's grudge with the

payments wasn't big enough to keep him

out of those movies the early 2000s also

marked a time when Lee's life was

celebrated with some pretty honorable

Awards in 2002 he won the Saturn Award

for life career in 2011 he received his

own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

in 2012 he won the Lifetime Achievement

Award from the visual effects society

Awards in 2017 Lee was inducted along

with his collaboration partner Jack

Kirby into the Disney Legends Hall of

Fame these awards were just the icing on

the cake for Lee they were all well

deserved and Lee continued to do active

work well into his 90s like anyone over

the age of 75 there are numerous health

problems to consider

in early 2018 Lee had nurses with him

nearly 24 hours a day and especially

when he traveled he was firmly dedicated

to his cameo roles but had to limit

travels to just California as

long-distance travel became Tom to make

matters worse in 2017 his wife Joan

passed away after complications from a

stroke they were married for 69 years

and the loss was obviously heartbreaking

for Lee rumors also sprung up about

health care abuse and a strained

relationship with his daughter even with

all of the drama health problems and sad

passing of his wife Lee kept a happy

face in public

amid the few appearances he did make

sadly Stanley passed away at the age of

95 on November 12 2018 the cause of

death was most likely due to health

complications from pneumonia something

he battled for a lot of 2018 and led to

his deteriorating health the comic book

world quickly mourned and celebrated the

life of Stan Lee not only did countless

fans share memories about Lee but so did

many celebrities whose lives were

impacted by him one of the biggest

examples comes from the original

Avengers actors like Chris Evans Chris


Robert Downey junior Scarlett Johansson

and Jeremy Renner they took out a

full-page in The Hollywood Reporter

dedicated to lead DC Comics maybe one of

Marvel's biggest rivals but they also

paid their respect in multiple ways a

real-life Superman statue in Metropolis

Illinois was adorned with a black

armband to honor lead and we imagine

more dedications in the form of print

will be on the way his final two cameos

were filmed for two Marvel productions

spider-man into the spider-verse and the

Avengers for the Avengers for cameo is a

great way to go out although you know

future MCU movies will find ways to

sneak the likeness of Lee in using

statues paintings and other creative

Easter eggs no matter how you feel about

Lee's past or the disputes about his

writing credits he was there for all of


he transitioned timely comics into

Marvel Comics he helped develop the

webslinger spider-man and he truly

entertained millions of people over the

years even after his passing the people

Lee will reach and impact will only

expand as Marvel Comics continues to

grow and the MCU has movie and

television release plans well past 2020


or than the fans are the thousands upon

thousands of people Lee has offered the

opportunity to have employment for in

the early days there were writers

assistants artists marketing interns and

all other sorts of positions at Marvel

Comics as the industry grew and ventured

into film we have Lee to thank for the

film crews screenwriters set designers

costume designers and actors hired for

various roles over the years just like

the work ethic Lee's own father

instilled in him by going through the

Great Depression he has passed it on

through a countless amount of people


Stanley's legacy will live on forever

thanks to the world and heroes he

created similar to authors like Mark

Twain or Stephen King

Stanley's name will forever be

associated with the world of publishing

generations from now the name Stanley

will conjure up images of the Marvel

logo his endless amount of cameos and

the iconic heroes had a part in creating

what's your favorite memory of Stanley

what's your favorite cameo appearance

how should marble honor him in the

future let us know in the comments

section below

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