Marvel Comics’ Real-Life Superhero Was 95

Stan Lee, the legendary writer, editor, and publisher of Marvel Comics, whose brilliant yet flawed creations have made him a real-life superhero for comic book lovers in everywhere, passed away. He was 95 years old.

Lee, who started the business in 1939 and has created or co-created Black Panther, Spider-Man, X-Men, Mighty Thor, Iron Man, Fantastic Four, Incredible Hulk, Daredevil and Ant-Man, among countless among others, died early Monday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, a family representative said. The Hollywood Reporter.

Kirk Schenck, the attorney for Lee’s daughter, JC Lee, also confirmed his death.

Lee’s last years were turbulent. After his 69-year-old wife Joan died in July 2017, he sued the executives at POW! Entertainment – the company he founded in 2001 to develop film, television and video game properties – was accused of defrauding $1 billion, then abruptly dropped the lawsuit a few weeks later. He also sued his former business manager and filed a restraining order against a man who was dealing with his business. (Lee’s estate is estimated to be worth up to $70 million.) And in June 2018, the Los Angeles Police Department revealed that the Los Angeles Police Department was investigating reports of abuse of tall people. age against him.

Through his own work and through frequent collaborations with artist-writers Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and others, Lee has taken Marvel from a small venture to the number one comic book publisher in the world. world and later a multimedia giant.

In 2009, The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion and most of the highest-grossing superhero movies of all time – led by Avengers: Infinity Wargrossed $2.05 billion worldwide earlier this year – featuring Marvel characters.

“I used to think what I did was not very important,” he said Chicago Tribune in April 2014. “People are building bridges and engaging in medical research, and here I’ve been doing stories about fictional people doing extraordinary, crazy things and wearing costumes. But I suppose I’ve come to realize that entertainment isn’t so easily dismissed.”

Lee’s reputation and influence as the face and head of Marvel, even in his teenage years, remained substantial.

“Stan Lee is just as extraordinary as the characters he has created,” Disney President and CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. “As a true superhero to Marvel fans around the world, Stan has the power to inspire, entertain and connect. The scale of his imagination is only beyond the size of his heart.”

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige also paid his respects. “No one has had more influence on my career and everything we do at Marvel Studios than Stan Lee,” Feige said. “Stan left an extraordinary legacy that will outlast all of us. 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.”

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Starting in the 1960s, the fierce and lifeless Lee punched his Marvel superheroes with personality, not just strength. Until then, comic book titles like those of DC Comics were all square and well-adjusted, but his heroes had humanity and hanging; Like Peter Parker/Spider-Man, for example, he’s wondering about his dandruff and confused about dating. The crooks are a complex psychological mess.

“His stories have taught me that even superheroes like Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk have ego flaws and girly issues and don’t live up to their male fantasies 24 hours a day,” Gene Simmons of Kiss said in a 1979 interview. “Through the honesty of people like Spider-Man, I have learned about the gray in human nature.”

(The kiss appeared on the pages of Marvel, and Lee had Simmons bleed into an ink tank so the publisher could say the issues were printed with his blood.)

Manhattan-born Lee wrote, art-directed, and edited most of Marvel’s series and newspapers. He also writes a monthly comic column, “Stan’s Soapbox,” signed with his signature phrase, “Excelsior!”

His approach at Marvel is to brainstorm a story with an artist, then write a summary. After the artist drew the story boards, Lee filled in the word balloons and captions. This process is known as the “Marvel Method”.

Lee has collaborated with artist and writer Kirby on Fantastic Four, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Silver Surfer, and X-Men. With artist and writer Ditko, he created Spider-Man and surgeon Doctor Strange, and with artist Bill Everett created blind superhero Daredevil.

Such collaborations sometimes lead to credit disputes: Lee and Ditko are said to have engaged in bitter battles, and both have received credit on the films and TV shows about The Man. Spider. “I don’t want anyone to think I treated Kirby or Ditko unfairly,” he said Playboy magazine in April 2014. “I think we have a great relationship. Their talent is amazing. But what they want is not in my power to give them.”

Like any Marvel employee, Lee has no rights to the characters he helped create and receives no royalties.

During the 1970s, critical Lee helped push the boundaries of censorship in comics, delving into serious and topical topics in a medium that became kid-friendly entertainment.

In 1954, the book by psychologist Frederic Wertham . was published The charm of the innocent prompted calls for the government to regulate violence, sex, drug use, interrogation of public authority figures, etc., in comics as a way to curb “adolescent delinquency years”. Wary’s publishers took the lead by founding the Comic Code Administration, a self-censoring agency that, while avoiding Washington’s heavy-handedness, still ignited adult interest in comics. and stereotype this medium as a mere amused child.

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Lee wrote mediocre screenplays with characters like Nellie the Nurse and Tessie the Typist, but in 1971 he incorporated an anti-drug plot into “The Amazing Spider-Man,” in which the best friend Peter Parker’s Harry Osborn took the pill. Those issues, which don’t carry the CCA’s “sign of approval” on the cover, have become hugely popular, and the organization has since relaxed some of its guidelines.

Born Stanley Martin Lieber on December 28, 1922, he grew up in poverty in Washington Heights, where his father, a Romanian immigrant, was a clothes cutter. A lover of adventure books and Errol Flynn films, Lee graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School, joined the WPA Federal Theater Project, where he appeared in several theater shows and wrote obituaries.

In 1939, Lee got a job as an $8-a-week hangout at Marvel’s predecessor Timely Comics. Two years later, for Kirby and Joe Simon Captain America Third, he wrote a two-page story titled “Traitor’s Revenge!” was used as a document filler in order for the company to qualify for the low-cost journal submissions. He uses the pseudonym Stan Lee.

He was appointed interim editor by publisher Martin Goodman at the age of 19 when the previous editor quit. In 1942, he enlisted and served in the Signal Corps, where he wrote manuals and made training films with a team that included Oscar winner Frank Capra, Pulitzer Prize winner William Saroyan, and Theodor Geisel (aka Theodor Geisel). called Dr. Seuss). After the war, he returned to the publishing house and served as editor for several decades.

Following DC Comics’ lead with 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 the X-Men soon after. The Avengers debuted under their own name in September 1963.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Manhattan’s high-culture vultures disapprove of the way Lee makes a living. People will “avoid me like I have the plague. … Today, it’s different,” he once said washington articles.

However, not everyone feels the same way. Lee recalls being once visited by Federico Fellini at the New York office, who wanted to talk about nothing but Spider-Man.

In 1972, Lee was appointed publisher and gave up his post as Marvel’s editor to devote full time to promoting the company. He moved to Los Angeles in 1980 to set up an animation studio and build relationships in Hollywood. Lee bought a house overlooking the Sunset Strip once owned by Jack Benny’s broadcaster Don Wilson.

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Long before his Marvel characters appeared in movies, they were on television. An animated show about Spider-Man (with a memorable theme song composed by Oscar-winner Paul Francis Webster, famously “The Shadow of Your Smile”, 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 CBS drama 1977-82 The Incredible Hulk. And Pamela Anderson provided the voice of Stripperellaan animated Spike adventure television series that Lee wrote for 2003-04.

Lee founded the internet-based Stan Lee Media in 1998, and the superhero creation, production, and marketing studio went public a year later. However, when investigators discovered illegal stock manipulation by his partners, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2001. (Lee has never accused).

In 2002, Lee published an autobiography, Wonderful! Stan Lee’s Wonderful Life.

Survivors include his daughter and younger brother Larry Lieber, a Marvel writer and artist. Another daughter, Jan, died at an early age. His wife, Joan, was a hat model whom he married in 1947.

“JC Lee and all of Stan Lee’s friends and colleagues would like to thank all his fans and wise men for their kind words and condolences,” a family statement read. . “Stan is an icon in his field. His fans love him and look forward to interacting with them. He loves his fans and treats them with the respect and love they have for him.”

“He has worked tirelessly throughout his life to create great characters for the world to enjoy. He wants to inspire our imagination and let us all use it to make the world a better place. His legacy will last forever.”

Like Alfred Hitchcock before it, Lee was never shy about appearing in cameo roles in Marvel movies, demonstrating avoiding falling concrete, watering the lawn, delivering mail, getting married, playing a security guard. , etc

In Spider-Man 3 (2007), he chatted with Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker as they stopped in a Times Square street to read the news that the web-slinger would soon receive the keys to the city. “You know,” he said, “I guess one person can make a difference…” nuff said. “

Duane Byrge and Borys Kit contributed to this report.

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