Stan Lee, beloved comic book icon, has passed on November 12. The 95-year old was one of the most prominent figures in the industry, and was a driving force behind the creation of characters such as Spider-Man, Thor, Iron Man, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four.
Lee began his career as an assistant in 1939 at Timely Comics, which would later on evolve into Marvel Comics. He made his comic-book debut with Captain America Comics #3 (1941), and created his first superhero, the Destroyer, in the same year.
His first break came in the late 1950s, when DC Comics started re-introducing updated versions of its superheroes along with the formation of the Justice League. Lee was tasked with coming up with a new superhero team as well – and the resulting product was the Fantastic Four. The immediate success of the Fantastic Four led Lee and his team to follow up with characters such as the Hulk, Thor, Ironman, and Daredevil.
Prior to Lee’s contribution, superheroes were often idealistically perfect as their name suggests. Stan Lee created a new generation of superheroes who were subject to human emotions and flaws, which allowed comic books to expand beyond their previous audience of teenage boys.
Following his retirement, Lee became a public face for Marvel comics and enjoyed the success of his life’s work. Lee was known for his cameo appearances in many Marvel film and television projects, including those outside the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Lee was a credited executive producer on most Marvel film and television projects, staring with 1990 direct-to-video film Captain America.
From humble beginnings as an assistant, Lee led Marvel comics from a small division within a publishing house to a large multimedia corporation. Lee died at the age of 95 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, on November 12, 2018 after being rushed in for a medical emergency earlier in the morning.
“I used to think what I did was not very important,” he told the Chicago Tribune in April 2014. “People are building bridges and engaging in medical research, and here I was doing stories about fictional people who do extraordinary, crazy things and wear costumes. But I suppose I have come to realize that entertainment is not easily dismissed.”
Rest in peace Stan Lee, you will be greatly missed.
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