Yesterday came the sad new that legendary Marvel writer and editor Stan Lee passed away at the age of 95. We are heartbroken to hear about this news and wanted to write something in his honor.
Early Life and Career
Stanley Martin Lieber was born on December 28, 1922, in New York City to Romanian immigrants Celia and Jack Lieber. With part of his childhood spent during the Great Depression, Lieber and his younger brother, Larry, watched his parents struggle to make ends meet for the family.
Lieber, who later shortened his name to “Lee” as a writer, went on to be hired as an office assistant at Timely Comics in 1939 and became an interim editor for the company in the early 1940s. Lee also served domestically in the Army during World War II, working as a writer and illustrator.
The Marvel Revolution
In the late Fifties DC had lots of succes with reviving the Superheroe archetype and subsequently with their Justice League and The Flash character.
Publisher Martin Goodman assigned Lee to come up with a new superheroe team. After his wife suggested he should experiment with stories he wanted to write. He had nothing to lose after all.
In contrast tot he perfect superheroes of Dc, he made his heroes flawed. And in so he introduced complex characters who would argue, worry and sometimes even become ill.
With This way of writing he and Jack Kirby created the first family of superheroes: The Fantastic Four.
And with Kirby he also created The Hulk, Thor, Iron Man and the X-men. Basically all the stars of the MCU. And with Steve Ditko, who died earlier this year, he created Doctor Strange and everybody’s favourite webslinging hero Spider-Man. With Ditko he also created The Marvel Method: a way of collaboration between writer and artist where the artist had more input in the story. This in turn made producing content faster.He was also instrumental in creating a community where the fans would think of the creators as friends. He did this by naming everyone in splash pages in the comic. Next to that every issue had a Bulpenn’s Bulletins page where news about creators would be and news about upcoming storylines.
The Face of Marvel
In 1972 he stopped writing monthly issues and he became publisher for Marvel and it’s figurehead. He made appearances at comic cons and lectures at colleges.
He still wrote occasionally, but he was busy with promoting the brand. Developing tv-series and movies was his second goal and in the end it brought us the MCU with in every movie a cameo of Stan the Man.
For me and many others who love comics, Stan Lee was an everlasting presence in an Industry that changed and became popular again. My first ever comic was a spider-Man one and I remember his voice over for some of the cartoons in the 80’s. My favourite cameo of him is in the Kevin Smith movie Mallrats, where he discusses certain body parts with the character played by Jason Lee. If you haven’t seen that movie, please watch it. It’s a fun movie filled with great references and the best Stan Lee cameo ever.
Goodbye Mr. Lee you will be missed. Excelsior!