Everyone remembers their first Marvel movie, staring up at the screen and just knowing from that moment on you would be hooked. This amazing feeling was made possible because of one amazing man: Stan Lee, the mastermind behind the original Marvel comic books.
Stan Lee was not only famous for his amazing comic books, but he was also known as a real life superhero to his fans. Unfortunately, on November 12th this real life superhero moved on from this world to the next.
There is no doubt that Lee will be missed dearly and that his memory will live on in all of his works that continue to bring joy to the population. But even though most people know the comic books themselves, how many people really know the creator himself.
The Man, the Myth, the Legend
On December 28th, 1922 Stanley Martin Leber came into the world, son to Jack Lieber and Celia Lieber. Both of his parents were moved from Romania to the Bronx before he was born.
At 10 years old, Stanley was reading Shakespeare and other classics, such as works by Arthur Conan Doyle and Mark Twain. He graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School and aspired to be an author of serious literature.
After trying, and failing, to get different writing jobs, a relative of Stanley offered his a job at Timely Publications. At first he was the office goffer, but then he began writing his own stories.
At Timely he worked with artist Jack Kirby and writer Joe Simon, who collaborated to create Captain America. After Kirby and Simon left for a revival company, Lee became the chief editor.
While chief editor, he began writing his comics but used many different pseudonyms so that people believed he had many different people writing for Marvel. The most popular name turned out to be his first name split in half. Stan Lee.
When WWII began Lee helped write training manuals for the troops. He used comics, rather than just words so that it would be more interesting to read.
After the war he went back to writing, but began to tire of writing romance, generic humor, and other genres. His wife, Joan B. Lee, encouraged him to write what he wanted to, rather than just write what was selling.
The Beginning of an Era
In 1961 Lee and Kirby, who came back to the company, produced the first issue of The Fantastic Four. This was the start of a revolutionary comic book company.
After creating many other comics Lee had established what he called “the Marvel method.” He would give his artists a summary of the story he wanted them to created, then let them fill in the dialogue and draw the superheroes themselves.
This method is different from how other comic book companies would go about making comics. They would give their artists a script and have them write everything word for word.
After many years of readers enjoying the comic books themselves, Lee decided it was time to move to the big screen. Unfortunately he was unsuccessful at his first attempts.
After many failed attempts his comics became movies in the early 2000s, but Lee did not receive the money he deserved. In 2005, Lee went to court over the money problem and won.
Later in 2009 Walt Disney bought Marvel for $4 billion. This sale is really what pushed Marvel onto the Screen.
An Icon Begins to Age
During the last few years of his life Stan Lee was still full of energy and life. Even though he was getting closer and closer toward the end, you couldn’t tell by the way that he lived.
Later in his life, Stan Lee wrote a memoir about himself titled “Excelsior! The Amazing Life of Stan Lee.” He also wrote “Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir,” which included all of the artists that helped Stan Lee with his comics.
He would also make cameos in all of the Marvel movies. This became a tradition and fans would wait to see where he would turn up in every new movie that came out.
Even though Lee seemed immortal, he knew that he would die soon, and this frustrated him.
“I want to do more movies, I want to do more television, more DVDs, more multi-sodes, I want to do more lecturing, I want to do more of everything I’m doing. The only problem is time. I just wish there were more time.”
Stan Lee was an incredible man and every comic book fan will miss him greatly.