Monday, November 12, 2018
Very sad news today...
Stan Lee, the public face of Marvel Comics and co-creator of iconic superheroes such as Spider-Man, Thor, and Black Panther, has passed away at age 95.
Born Stanley Lieber in 1922, Lee began his career in comics as a gofer/Guy Friday, thanks to his uncle Robbie Solomon. His roots at Marvel go back to 1939, when the company was still called Timely Comics. He worked his way up from small fill-in writing assignments to becoming an increasingly important figure, eventually becoming editor-in-chief in 1941. After Timely became Atlas and the WWII-era superhero fad cooled, Lee worked on romance, monster, and cowboy comics.
Lee’s crowning triumph came when the publisher was at the brink of failure in the late 1950s. He was given carte blanche to try out new superhero concepts and, in collaboration with Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and other artists, delivered the building blocks of what would later become the Marvel Universe in 1961. The Marvel approach was to humanize its superheroes, giving them flaws and foibles that felt fresh in comparison to the prevailing execution from rival DC Comics. Marvel’s success was synonymous with the Stan Lee name, and the words “Stan Lee Presents” preceded story title and company pronouncements for decades.
When Marvel hit hard times and declared bankruptcy in 1998, the company voided Lee’s contract. The move was seen as a disrespectful dismissal to one of the company’s founding fathers and Marvel’s corporate leadership eventually signed Lee back on as a symbolic figurehead, cutting him a hefty seven-figure salary and participation on any profits made from TV and movie adaptations.
He continued as a jovial presence at conventions for decades—including a Los Angeles-based gathering once branded as Stan Lee’s Comikaze—and began making cameos in the blockbuster movies based on the characters he helped birth.
He had an amazing life and ended up making a long-lasting career out of creating iconic comic characters that have become such an integral part of the entertainment industry and Pop Culture to this day.
He will be missed, but remembered for a VERY long time.