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Stan Lee, the Comic Book Legend Behind Marvel, Dies at 95

Legendary comic book writer and editor Stan Lee has passed away. He was 95.

Lee, the most famous figure in American comics, started his comics career in the 1940s and is widely recognized with revolutionizing superhero storytelling by co-creating (largely with the late Jack Kirby) the Marvel Comics Universe in the 1960s.

The co-creator of comic book legends like Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor, and the X-Men, Lee is credited with popularizing the flawed hero, or characters with complex, human personalities. This came in stark contrast to the superhero archetypes of the Golden Age of comics, who were typically flawless muscle-bound god-like figures.

Born Stanley Lieber in 1922, Lee was raised on Errol Flynn movies and dreamed of one day writing the “Great American Novel.” He joined the newly-formed Timely Comics in 1939 — a partnership that would shape the pop culture landscape, as Timely ultimately evolved into Marvel Comics.

The Accomplishments of The Marvel Comics Legend Stan Lee

In 1971, The U. S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare asked Lee to help generate public awareness of teen drug abuse, and Lee wrote a three-part story in The Amazing Spider-Man to call attention to the problem.

He was inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1995. Lee received a National Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush in 2008.

Stan Lee Had A Huge Role In Hollywood As Well

His imagination, business acumen, and innovative storytelling propelled Marvel Comics from a small subset of a larger publication company, into a multimedia conglomerate purchased by The Walt Disney Company for $4 billion in 2009.

As a result of his Marvel pedigree, Lee is also one of the highest-grossing film producers of all time, having been kept on as an executive producer for Marvel Studios films as well as those from Fox and Sony which feature characters from Marvel. There is a certain symmetry to that since in the early days it was Lee who most aggressively pursued TV and movie deals for Marvel.

Over decades of such productions, Lee has also become the king of the cameo, appearing in dozens of Marvel-related film and TV projects. He can next be seen in Black Panther, out next week. Lee filmed a number of cameos with Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker James Gunn prior to his death, so it is not clear when his final film appearance for Marvel will be.

Lee has also done a great deal of charity work, often through the Stan Lee Foundation, a nonprofit for literacy, education and the arts.

Lee’s wife, Joan, passed away in 2017. He is survived by his daughter, JC.


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