It is confirmed that the legendary Stan Lee has passed today.
It is okay to mourn. Additionally, it is okay to clutch your vintage paperback issues of Fantastic Four and yell into the void. Now is the time to remember Stan Lee’s amazing contributions to storytelling. It’s important to know how he went from humble beginnings to present day icon.
Started At The Bottom
Born Stanley Martin Lieber, he began his career at Timely Comics as an errand boy of sorts. Refilling ink wells, getting artists their lunches and erasing pencil marks before final copies were his duties but, that only fueled him towards his goal of becoming a writer. From a young age he had a distinct love for crafting stories of great heroes. He got his debut of sorts in Captain America Comics #3 where he wrote text filler. Shortly after, due to Kirby and Simon leaving, Stan Lee became the youngest interim editor of what would then become Marvel Comics.
Fast forward a few years (1950’s) and Stan Lee would change the superhero archetype forever. No longer were people subjected to an image of perfection they could never attain. He wanted to create flawed, human and complex characters that were inhumanely human. From this desire, and with his partner Jack Kirby, he created The Fantastic Four. The creation of this foursome lead to the birth of some of the most prolific titles to come from Marvel including Spiderman, The Hulk, X-Men and so many others, all of whom shared a universe.
Throughout the 1960’s Stan would not only become a powerhouse for his comics but he would also become solidified in using his work for social commentary. He was not afraid to use his work to denounce the evils of racism, bigotry, drug addiction and so on. This was radical at the time, but he saw it as his duty. If he were going to create more human superheroes then he was going to add in human problems.
It is well noted that during this time there was an influx of new comic readers. It was no longer an industry catering to preteens. Stan Lee and his partners were creating stories with more depth, tackling mature themes and ultimately bringing in older readers. It was a revolution.
You Know The Story From There
From the 1970’s on Stan Lee would create many more titles and wear more even more hats. He became a publisher, opting to write occasionally during that time. He would also become president of the company for a short time but stepped down, preferring to be where the creative action was. In true Stan Lee fashion, he has also been the executive producer for many movie and TV adaptations of his titles. He’s owned companies, some more successful than others, created charities and touched the world with his visions.
He lived a full and fulfilling life at 95. Do not remember him as someone who lost a battle to illness, remember him as he was, a hero.
In short, Stan Lee was a force to be reckoned with. There is so much history that could be written here, but all that needs to be said is, “Thank you.”
Thank you for creating characters who are beyond our comprehension but also act as mirrors in which we see ourselves. Your stories have taken us around the world and to galaxies far, far away. We have loved, hated and created memories with your characters that will stay with us for a lifetime. Through these stories generations have been bridged and bonds formed with people we may never meet in person. Thank you for everything, Stan Lee. In your memory, Excelsior.