Stan Lee, the legendary writer, editor, and publisher of Marvel Comics whose fantabulous but flawed creations made him a real-life superhero to comic book lovers everywhere has died. He was 95.
As per an international report, Lee, who began in the business in 1939 and created or co-created Black Panther, Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Mighty Thor, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Daredevil and Ant-Man, among countless other characters, died early Monday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Also, Kirk Schenck, an attorney for Lee's daughter, J.C. Lee, also confirmed his death.
Through his work with frequent artist-writer collaborators Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and others, Lee catapulted Marvel from a tiny venture into the world's No. 1 publisher of comic books and, later, a multimedia giant.
In 2009, The Walt Disney Co. bought Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion, and most of the top-grossing superhero films of all time — led by Avengers: Infinity War's $2.05 billion worldwide take earlier this year — have featured Marvel characters.
Lee's fame and influence as the face and figurehead of Marvel, even in his nonagenarian years, remained considerable.
Speaking to the media, “Stan Lee was as extraordinary as the characters he created," Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said in a statement.
"A superhero in his own right to Marvel fans around the world, Stan had the power to inspire, to entertain and to connect. The scale of his imagination was only exceeded by the size of his heart,” he adds.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige also paid tribute. “No one has had more of an impact on my career and everything we do at Marvel Studios than Stan Lee," Feige said. "Stan leaves an extraordinary legacy that will outlive us all. Our thoughts are with his daughter, his family and the millions of fans who have been forever touched by Stan’s genius, charisma and heart.”
Beginning in the 1960s, the irrepressible and feisty Lee punched up his Marvel superheroes with personality, not just power. Until then, comic book headliners like those of DC Comics were square and well-adjusted, but his heroes had human foibles and hang-ups; Peter Parker/Spider-Man, for example, fretted about his dandruff and was confused about dating. The evildoers were a mess of psychological complexity.
It is to be noted that the Manhattan-born Lee wrote, art-directed and edited most of Marvel's series and newspaper strips. He also penned a monthly comics column, “Stan's Soapbox,” signing off with his signature phrase, “Excelsior!”
Lee collaborated with artist-writer Kirby on the Fantastic Four, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Silver Surfer and X-Men. With artist-writer Ditko he created Spider-Man and the surgeon Doctor Strange, and with artist Bill Everett came up with the blind superhero Daredevil.
Lee scripted banal scenarios with characters like Nellie the Nurse and Tessie the Typist, but in 1971, he inserted an anti-drug storyline into "The Amazing Spider-Man” in which Peter Parker's best friend Harry Osborn popped pills.
Stanley Martin Lieber was born on December 28, 1922, he grew up poor in Washington Heights, where his father, a Romanian immigrant, was a dress-cutter. He was a lover of adventure books and Errol Flynn movies. He graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School, joined the WPA Federal Theatre Project, where he appeared in a few stage shows, and wrote obituaries.
Following DC Comics' lead with the Justice League, Lee and Kirby in November 1961 launched their own superhero team, the Fantastic Four, for the newly renamed Marvel Comics, and Hulk, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Daredevil and X-Men soon followed. The Avengers launched as its own title in September 1963.
Long before his Marvel characters made it to the movies, they appeared on television. An animated Spider-Man show (with a memorable theme song composed by Oscar winner Paul Francis Webster, of "The Shadow of Your Smile" fame, and Bob Harris) ran on ABC from 1967 to 1970. Bill Bixby played Dr. David Banner, who turns into a green monster (Lou Ferrigno) when he gets agitated, in the 1977-82 CBS drama The Incredible Hulk. And Pamela Anderson provided the voice of Stripperella, a risque animated Spike TV series that Lee wrote for in 2003-04.
Lee launched the internet-based Stan Lee Media in 1998, and the superhero creation, production and marketing studio went public a year later. However, when investigators uncovered illegal stock manipulation by his partners, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2001. (Lee was never charged.)
In 2002, Lee published an autobiography, Excelsior! The Amazing Life of Stan Lee.
Like Alfred Hitchcock before him, the never-bashful Lee appeared in cameos in the Marvel movies, shown avoiding falling concrete, watering his lawn, delivering the mail, crashing a wedding, playing a security guard.
Here’s how the characters for Marvel reacts on Stan Lee sudden demise….