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In Memoriam: Stan Lee

Story by Brian Beltran

Stan Lee, creator or co-creator of numerous iconic characters like Spider-Man, Black Panther, Iron Man and more passed away on Nov. 12, 2018. His work to catapult the comic book industry to colossal heights will never be forgotten.

Born Stanley Martin Lieber, the man who would eventually become the famous mastermind we revere today, grew up with a poor family and immigrant parents.

In 1939, Lieber became a writer for Timely Comics under the pseudonym “Stan Lee.” Before long, the companyrebranded to the modern name, Marvel Comics, and was in a fierce competition with DC Comics for superiority in the industry. Lee was tasked with coming up with a cast of unique characters that could compete with DC’s flagship heroes, The Justice League. Thus the Fantastic Four were born.

The Fantastic Four’s immense success in 1961 lead to Lee creating popular new characters like the Hulk, Doctor Strange, and the X-Men. Lee continued to draw critical acclaim for his work because he tackled real world issues and made his characters remarkably relatable.

Basing most of his heroes in New York City, his hometown, readers embraced the humanity that Lee’s super human icons often displayed in print. By 1971, Stan “the man” Lee was the chief editorial director and publisher of Marvel Comics.

Stan Lee speaking at a convention in 1980. Photo courtesy of Larry D. Moore.

Lee eventually moved to the west coast to oversee the development of Marvel Entertainment in Hollywood. Despite his efforts as a pioneer for print comics, Lee was known more notably for his various film cameos in Marvel movies, his first being a bland and forgettable appearance in the 2002 film, Spider-Man.

Since his first appearance on the silver screen, Lee’s cameos became flashier and much more interesting to fans. The Marvel Cinematic Universe, which began in 2008 with Iron Man, made it a point to feature Lee in at least one scene in every movie. Fans have grown accustomed to seeing Stan in films and will be pleased to know that he had filmed future cameos for upcoming Marvel flicks before his death.

We remember Stan Lee fondly as the brilliant mind and cheerful spirit that brought joy to millions of Marvel fans. His famous catchphrase, “Excelsior,” meaning “ever upward,” began as a unique way to end his comics, but now will be used to remember the incredible career of Stan “The Man” Lee.

Image Sources

  • 798px-Stan_lee_circa_80: Photo courtesy of Larry D. Moore. | Used With Permission
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