Stan Lee, Comics Writer and Co-Creator of Marvel Universe, Dies at 95
The comic-book creator of legend died Monday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He leaves a lasting and massive legacy across many mediums.
Stanely Martin Lieber was born in Manhattan in 1922 to Romanian Jewish immigrant parents. His father Jack struggled to find work during the depression, as the Lieber's moved around Manhattan and the Bronx. As a child Stanley was influenced by the books and movies of the time, in particular, he cited the swashbuckling heroics of movie star Errol Flynn as a favorite.
And it's no surprise given what he would go on to create and do.
As early as 1939 a 17-year-old Stanley Lieber was an assistant at a comics division of a pulp magazine. He soon became a writer, and by 1941 had debuted his pen name, which would eventually be his legal name, as well as one of his signature characters Captain America.
Lee served in the US Army from 1942-1945, he worked as both a writer and illustrator for the Army during that time. Starting in the early 1960's Lee was asked to create a series and characters to compete with DC Comics "Justice League"
Along with artist and co-creator Jack Kirby, Lee would come up with the Fantastic Four. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The X-Men, The Hulk, Spider-Man and many others would soon follow. The signature element of Lee and Kirby's burgeoning Marvel Universe would superheroes with deeper humanity.
His characters were rife with internal conflict to match the comic-book mainstay of external conflict. This would set the characters apart, make them relatable, and arguably revolutionize how these types of stories were told and these types of characters were depicted.
Under Lee, Marvel stories would address the changes in the world at large, through the lens of characters with doubts, concerns, anger, and all sorts of other grounded and familiar emotions.
The juxtaposition of superpowers and everyday neuroses has made characters like Spiderman relatable to generation after generation.
Lee himself was said to be an eternal showman, and he brought a humor and joy to his work that was contagious.
The seeds of this special creative take planted in characters long ago would grow Marvel into the multi-platform behemoth it has become. Lee didn't just put the kindling together that would build this fire, he has carefully stood by it and cultivated it the entire time.
Lee himself was said to be an eternal showman, and he brought a humor and joy to his work that was contagious. He connected with his readers and fans on an almost personal level.
Sadly, his recent years have seen his life take a darker turn, as reported in this Hollywood Reporter story last April. The death of his wife in 2017, a lawsuit with an ex-business manager, and ongoing struggle with his daughter over his estate led to instances of elder abuse and prompted concern from people around him.
Stan Lee was a prolific writer, once having said himself, "I'm a fast writer. Maybe not the best, but the fastest." So we'll leave with one of his own quotes, "There is only one who is all-powerful, and his greatest weapon is love."