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Stan Lee

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Stan Lee
Stan Lee by Gage Skidmore 3.jpg
Lee in 2014
BornStanley Martin Lieber
(1922-12-28)December 28, 1922
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedNovember 12, 2018(2018-11-12) (aged 95)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
NationalityAmerican
Area(s)Comic book writer, editor, publisher
Collaborators
Awards
Spouse(s)
Joan Boocock
(m. 1947; died 2017)
Children2
Signature
Signature of Stan Lee
therealstanlee.com

Stan Lee[1] (born Stanley Martin Lieber /ˈlbər/; December 28, 1922 – November 12, 2018) was an American comic book writer, editor, and publisher who was active from the 1940s to the 2010s. He rose through the ranks of a family-run business to become Marvel Comics' primary creative leader for two decades, leading its expansion from a small division of a publishing house to a multimedia corporation that dominated the comics industry.

In collaboration with others at Marvel—particularly co-writer/artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko—he co-created numerous popular fictional characters, including superheroes Spider-Man, the X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Black Panther, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch and Ant-Man. In doing so, he pioneered a more naturalistic approach to writing superhero comics in the 1960s, and in the 1970s he challenged the restrictions of the Comics Code Authority, indirectly leading to changes in its policies. In the 1980s he pursued development of Marvel properties in other media, with mixed results. Following his retirement from Marvel in the 1990s, he remained a public figurehead for the company, and frequently made cameo appearances in films based on Marvel characters, on which he received an honorary "executive producer" credit. Meanwhile, he continued independent creative ventures into his 90s, until his death in 2018.

Lee was inducted into the comic book industry's Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1995. He received the NEA's National Medal of Arts in 2008.

Early life

Stanley Martin Lieber was born on December 28, 1922, in Manhattan, New York City,[2] in the apartment of his Romanian-born Jewish immigrant parents, Celia (née Solomon) and Jack Lieber, at the corner of West 98th Street and West End Avenue in Manhattan.[3][4] His father, trained as a dress cutter, worked only sporadically after the Great Depression,[3] and the family moved further uptown to Fort Washington Avenue,[5] in Washington Heights, Manhattan. Lee had one younger brother named Larry Lieber.[6] He said in 2006 that as a child he was influenced by books and movies, particularly those with Errol Flynn playing heroic roles.[7] By the time Lee was in his teens, the family was living in an apartment at 1720 University Avenue in The Bronx. Lee described it as "a third-floor apartment facing out back". Lee and his brother shared the bedroom, while their parents slept on a foldout couch.[6]

Lee attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx.[8] In his youth, Lee enjoyed writing and entertained dreams of writing the "Great American Novel" one day.[9] He said that in his youth he worked such part-time jobs as writing obituaries for a news service and press releases for the National Tuberculosis Center;[10] delivering sandwiches for the Jack May pharmacy to offices in Rockefeller Center; working as an office boy for a trouser manufacturer; ushering at the Rivoli Theater on Broadway;[11] and selling subscriptions to the New York Herald Tribune newspaper.[12] At fifteen, Lee entered a high school essay competition sponsored by the New York Herald Tribune, called "The Biggest News of the Week Contest." Lee claims to have won the prize for three straight weeks, goading the newspaper to write him and ask him to let someone else win. The paper suggested he look into writing professionally, which Lee claims "probably changed my life."[13]He graduated from high school early, aged 16½ in 1939, and joined the WPA Federal Theatre Project.[14]

Career

Early career

With the help of his uncle Robbie Solomon,[15] Lee became an assistant in 1939 at the new Timely Comics division of pulp magazine and comic-book publisher Martin Goodman's company. Timely, by the 1960s, would evolve into Marvel Comics. Lee, whose cousin Jean[16] was Goodman's wife, was formally hired by Timely editor Joe Simon.[n 1]

His duties were prosaic at first. "In those days [the artists] dipped the pen in ink, [so] I had to make sure the inkwells were filled", Lee recalled in 2009. "I went down and got them their lunch, I did proofreading, I erased the pencils from the finished pages for them".[18] Marshaling his childhood ambition to be a writer, young Stanley Lieber made his comic-book debut with the text filler "Captain America Foils the Traitor's Revenge" in Captain America Comics #3 (cover-dated May 1941), using the pseudonym Stan Lee,[19] which years later he would adopt as his legal name.[20] Lee later explained in his autobiography and numerous other sources that because of the low social status of comic books, he was so embarrassed that he used a pen name so that nobody would associate his real name with comics when he some day wrote the Great American Novel.[21] This initial story also introduced Captain America's trademark ricocheting shield-toss.[22]:11

He graduated from writing filler to actual comics with a backup feature, "'Headline' Hunter, Foreign Correspondent", two issues later. Lee's first superhero co-creation was the Destroyer, in Mystic Comics #6 (August 1941). Other characters he co-created during this period fans and historians call the Golden Age of Comic Books include Jack Frost, debuting in U.S.A. Comics #1 (August 1941), and Father Time, debuting in Captain America Comics #6 (August 1941).[22]:12–13

When Simon and his creative partner Jack Kirby left late in 1941, following a dispute with Goodman, the 30-year-old publisher installed Lee, just under 19 years old, as interim editor.[22]:14[23] The youngster showed a knack for the business that led him to remain as the comic-book division's editor-in-chief, as well as art director for much of that time, until 1972, when he would succeed Goodman as publisher.[24][25]

Stan Lee sits in a office, with several drawings on the background. He is sitting down in front of a table; on that table he is drawing an image.
Lee in the Army

Lee entered the United States Army in early 1942 and served within the US as a member of the Signal Corps, repairing telegraph poles and other communications equipment.[26] He was later transferred to the Training Film Division, where he worked writing manuals, training films, slogans, and occasionally cartooning.[27] His military classification, he says, was "playwright"; he adds that only nine men in the U.S. Army were given that title.[28] In the Army, Lee's division included many famous or soon-to-be famous people, including three-time Academy Award-winning director Frank Capra, New Yorker cartoonist Charles Addams, and children's book writer and illustrator Theodore Geisel, known to the world as "Dr. Seuss."[29] Vincent Fago, editor of Timely's "animation comics" section, which put out humor and funny animal comics, filled in until Lee returned from his World War II military service in 1945. Lee was inducted into the Signal Corps Regimental Association and was given honorary membership of the 2nd Battalion of 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord at the 2017 Emerald City Comic Con for his prior service.[30]

While in the Army, Lee received letters every week on Friday from the editors at Timely, detailing what they needed written and by when. Lee would write, then send the story back on Monday. One week, the mail clerk overlooked his letter, explaining nothing was in Lee's mailbox. The next day, however, Lee went by the closed mailroom and saw an envelope with the return address of Timely Comics in his mailbox. Not willing to miss a deadline, Lee asked the officer in charge to open the mailroom, but he refused. So Lee took a screwdriver and unscrewed the mailbox hinges, enabling him to get at the assignment. The mailroom officer saw what he did and turned him into the base captain, who did not like Lee. He faced tampering charges and could be sent to Leavenworth Prison. Luckily, the colonel in charge of the Finance Department intervened and saved Lee.[31]

In the mid-1950s, by which time the company was now generally known as Atlas Comics, Lee wrote stories in a variety of genres including romance, Westerns, humor, science fiction, medieval adventure, horror and suspense. In the 1950s, Lee teamed up with his comic book colleague Dan DeCarlo to produce the syndicated newspaper strip My Friend Irma, based on the radio comedy starring Marie Wilson.[32] By the end of the decade, Lee had become dissatisfied with his career and considered quitting the field.[33][34]

Marvel revolution

In the late 1950s, DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz revived the superhero archetype and experienced a significant success with its updated version of the Flash, and later with super-team the Justice League of America. In response, publisher Martin Goodman assigned Lee to come up with a new superhero team. Lee's wife suggested that he experiment with stories he preferred, since he was planning on changing careers and had nothing to lose.

Lee acted on that advice, giving his superheroes a flawed humanity, a change from the ideal archetypes that were typically written for preteens. Before this, most superheroes were idealistically perfect people with no serious, lasting problems.[35] Lee introduced complex, naturalistic characters[36] who could have bad tempers, fits of melancholy, and vanity; they bickered amongst themselves, worried about paying their bills and impressing girlfriends, got bored or were even sometimes physically ill.

The first superheroes Lee and artist Jack Kirby created together were the Fantastic Four, based on a previous Kirby superhero team, Challengers of the Unknown, published by DC Comics.[37] The team's immediate popularity[38] led Lee and Marvel's illustrators to produce a cavalcade of new titles. Again working with Kirby, Lee co-created the Hulk,[39] Thor,[40] Iron Man,[41] and the X-Men;[42] with Bill Everett, Daredevil;[43] and with Steve Ditko, Doctor Strange[44] and Marvel's most successful character, Spider-Man,[45] all of whom lived in a thoroughly shared universe.[46] Lee and Kirby gathered several of their newly created characters together into the team title The Avengers[47] and would revive characters from the 1940s such as the Sub-Mariner[48] and Captain America.[49] Years later, Kirby and Lee would contest who deserved credit for creating The Fantastic Four.[50]

Comics historian Peter Sanderson wrote that in the 1960s:

DC was the equivalent of the big Hollywood studios: After the brilliance of DC's reinvention of the superhero ... in the late 1950s and early 1960s, it had run into a creative drought by the decade's end. There was a new audience for comics now, and it wasn't just the little kids that traditionally had read the books. The Marvel of the 1960s was in its own way the counterpart of the French New Wave... Marvel was pioneering new methods of comics storytelling and characterization, addressing more serious themes, and in the process keeping and attracting readers in their teens and beyond. Moreover, among this new generation of readers were people who wanted to write or draw comics themselves, within the new style that Marvel had pioneered, and push the creative envelope still further.[51]

Lee's revolution extended beyond the characters and storylines to the way in which comic books engaged the readership and built a sense of community between fans and creators.[52] He introduced the practice of regularly including a credit panel on the splash page of each story, naming not just the writer and penciller but also the inker and letterer. Regular news about Marvel staff members and upcoming storylines was presented on the Bullpen Bulletins page, which (like the letter columns that appeared in each title) was written in a friendly, chatty style. Lee remarked that his goal was for fans to think of the comics creators as friends, and considered it a mark of his success on this front that, at a time when letters to other comics publishers were typically addressed "Dear Editor", letters to Marvel addressed the creators by first name (e.g., "Dear Stan and Jack"). Lee recorded messages to the newly formed Merry Marvel Marching Society fan club in 1965.[53]By 1967, the brand was well-enough ensconced in popular culture that a March 3 WBAI radio program with Lee and Kirby as guests was titled "Will Success Spoil Spiderman" [sic].[54]

Throughout the 1960s, Lee scripted, art-directed and edited most of Marvel's series, moderated the letters pages, wrote a monthly column called "Stan's Soapbox", and wrote endless promotional copy, often signing off with his trademark motto, "Excelsior!" (which is also the New York state motto). To maintain his workload and meet deadlines, he used a system that was used previously by various comic-book studios, but due to Lee's success with it, became known as the "Marvel Method". Typically, Lee would brainstorm a story with the artist and then prepare a brief synopsis rather than a full script. Based on the synopsis, the artist would fill the allotted number of pages by determining and drawing the panel-to-panel storytelling. After the artist turned in penciled pages, Lee would write the word balloons and captions, and then oversee the lettering and coloring. In effect, the artists were co-plotters, whose collaborative first drafts Lee built upon.

Following Ditko's departure from Marvel in 1966, John Romita Sr. became Lee's collaborator on The Amazing Spider-Man. Within a year, it overtook Fantastic Four to become the company's top seller.[55] Lee and Romita's stories focused as much on the social and college lives of the characters as they did on Spider-Man's adventures.[56] The stories became more topical, addressing issues such as the Vietnam War,[57] political elections,[58] and student activism.[59] Robbie Robertson, introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man #51 (August 1967) was one of the first African-American characters in comics to play a serious supporting role.[60] In the Fantastic Four series, the lengthy run by Lee and Kirby produced many acclaimed storylines as well as characters that have become central to Marvel, including the Inhumans[61][62] and the Black Panther,[63] an African king who would be mainstream comics' first black superhero.[64]

The story frequently cited as Lee and Kirby's finest achievement[65][66] is the three-part "Galactus Trilogy" that began in Fantastic Four #48 (March 1966), chronicling the arrival of Galactus, a cosmic giant who wanted to devour the planet, and his herald, the Silver Surfer.[67][68] Fantastic Four #48 was chosen as #24 in the 100 Greatest Marvels of All Time poll of Marvel's readers in 2001. Editor Robert Greenberger wrote in his introduction to the story that "As the fourth year of the Fantastic Four came to a close, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby seemed to be only warming up. In retrospect, it was perhaps the most fertile period of any monthly title during the Marvel Age."[69] Comics historian Les Daniels noted that "[t]he mystical and metaphysical elements that took over the saga were perfectly suited to the tastes of young readers in the 1960s", and Lee soon discovered that the story was a favorite on college campuses.[70] Lee and artist John Buscema launched The Silver Surfer series in August 1968.[71][72]

The following year, Lee and Gene Colan created the Falcon, comics' first African-American superhero in Captain America #117 (September 1969).[73] Then in 1971, Lee indirectly helped reform the Comics Code.[74] The U. S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare had asked Lee to write a comic-book story about the dangers of drugs and Lee conceived a three-issue subplot in The Amazing Spider-Man #96–98 (cover-dated May–July 1971), in which Peter Parker's best friend becomes addicted to prescription drugs. The Comics Code Authority refused to grant its seal because the stories depicted drug use; the anti-drug context was considered irrelevant. With Goodman's cooperation and confident that the original government request would give him credibility, Lee had the story published without the seal. The comics sold well and Marvel won praise for its socially conscious efforts.[75] The CCA subsequently loosened the Code to permit negative depictions of drugs, among other new freedoms.[76][77]

Lee also supported using comic books to provide some measure of social commentary about the real world, often dealing with racism and bigotry.[78] "Stan's Soapbox", besides promoting an upcoming comic book project, also addressed issues of discrimination, intolerance, or prejudice.[79][80]

In 1972, Lee stopped writing monthly comic books to assume the role of publisher. His final issue of The Amazing Spider-Man was #110 (July 1972)[81] and his last Fantastic Four was #125 (August 1972).[82]

Later Marvel years

Lee in 1975

Lee became a figurehead and public face for Marvel Comics. He made appearances at comic book conventions around America, lecturing at colleges and participating in panel discussions. Lee and John Romita Sr. launched the Spider-Man newspaper comic strip on January 3, 1977.[83] Lee's final collaboration with Jack Kirby, The Silver Surfer: The Ultimate Cosmic Experience, was published in 1978 as part of the Marvel Fireside Books series and is considered to be Marvel's first graphic novel.[84] Lee and John Buscema produced the first issue of The Savage She-Hulk (February 1980), which introduced the female cousin of the Hulk[85] and crafted a Silver Surfer story for Epic Illustrated #1 (Spring 1980).[86]

He moved to California in 1981 to develop Marvel's TV and movie properties. He was an executive producer for, and made cameo appearances in Marvel film adaptations and other movies. He occasionally returned to comic book writing with various Silver Surfer projects including a 1982 one-shot drawn by John Byrne,[87] the Judgment Day graphic novel illustrated by John Buscema,[88] the Parable limited series drawn by French artist Mœbius,[89] and The Enslavers graphic novel with Keith Pollard.[90] Lee was briefly president of the entire company, but soon stepped down to become publisher instead, finding that being president was too much about numbers and finance and not enough about the creative process he enjoyed.[91]

Beyond Marvel

Lee stepped away from regular duties at Marvel in the 1990s, though he continued to receive an annual salary of $1 million as Chairman Emeritus.[92] In 1998 he and Peter Paul began a new Internet-based superhero creation, production, and marketing studio, Stan Lee Media.[93] It grew to 165 people and went public through a reverse merger structured by investment banker Stan Medley in 1999, but, near the end of 2000, investigators discovered illegal stock manipulation by Paul and corporate officer Stephan Gordon.[94] Stan Lee Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February 2001.[95] Paul was extradited to the U.S. from Brazil and pleaded guilty to violating SEC Rule 10b-5 in connection with trading of his stock in Stan Lee Media.[96][97] Lee was never implicated in the scheme.

In 2001, Lee, Gill Champion, and Arthur Lieberman formed POW! (Purveyors of Wonder) Entertainment to develop film, television and video game properties. Lee created the risqué animated superhero series Stripperella for Spike TV.

Following the success of Fox Studio's 2000 X-Men film and Sony's then-current Spider-Man film, Lee sued Marvel in 2002, claiming that the company was failing to pay his share of the profits from movies featuring the characters he had co-created. Because he had done so as an employee, Lee did not own them, but in the 1990s, after decades of making little money licensing them for television and film, Marvel had promised him 10% of any future profits.[92] Lee and the company settled in 2005 for an undisclosed seven-figure amount.[98][92]

In 2004, POW! Entertainment went public. Also that year, Lee announced a superhero program that would feature former Beatle Ringo Starr as the lead character.[99][100] Additionally, in August of that year, Lee announced the launch of Stan Lee's Sunday Comics,[101] a short-lived subscription service hosted by Komikwerks.com. From July 2006 until September 2007 Lee hosted, co-created, executive-produced, and judged the reality television game show competition Who Wants to Be a Superhero? on the Sci-Fi Channel.[102]

In March 2007, after Stan Lee Media had been purchased by Jim Nesfield, the company filed a lawsuit against Marvel Entertainment for $5 billion, claiming Lee had given his rights to several Marvel characters to Stan Lee Media in exchange for stock and a salary.[103] In June 2007, Stan Lee Media sued Lee; his newer company, POW! Entertainment; and POW! subsidiary QED Entertainment.[104][105]

In 2008, Lee wrote humorous captions for the political fumetti book Stan Lee Presents Election Daze: What Are They Really Saying?[106] In April of that year, Brighton Partners and Rainmaker Animation announced a partnership with POW! to produce a CGI film series, Legion of 5.[107] Other projects by Lee announced in the late 2000s included a line of superhero comics for Virgin Comics,[108] a TV adaptation of the novel Hero,[109] a foreword to Skyscraperman by skyscraper fire-safety advocate and Spider-Man fan Dan Goodwin,[110] a partnership with Guardian Media Entertainment and The Guardian Project to create NHL superhero mascots[111] and work with the Eagle Initiative program to find new talent in the comic book field.[112]

Lee promoting Stan Lee's Kids Universe at the 2011 New York Comic Con

In October 2011, Lee announced he would partner with 1821 Comics on a multimedia imprint for children, Stan Lee's Kids Universe, a move he said addressed the lack of comic books targeted for that demographic; and that he was collaborating with the company on its futuristic graphic novel Romeo & Juliet: The War, by writer Max Work and artist Skan Srisuwan.[113][114] At the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con International, Lee announced his YouTube channel, Stan Lee's World of Heroes, which airs programs created by Lee, Mark Hamill, Peter David, Adrianne Curry and Bonnie Burton, among others.[115][116][117][118] Lee wrote the book Zodiac, released in January 2015, with Stuart Moore.[119] The film Stan Lee's Annihilator, based on a Chinese prisoner-turned-superhero named Ming and in production since 2013, was released in 2015.[120][121][122]

In his later career, Lee's contributions continued to expand outside the style that he helped pioneer. An example of this is his first work for DC Comics in the 2000s, launching the Just Imagine... series, in which Lee re-imagined the DC superheroes Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and the Flash.[123] Manga projects involving Lee include Karakuri Dôji Ultimo, a collaboration with Hiroyuki Takei, Viz Media and Shueisha,[124] and Heroman, serialized in Square Enix's Monthly Shōnen Gangan with the Japanese company Bones.[125][126] In 2011, Lee started writing a live-action musical, The Yin and Yang Battle of Tao.[127]

This period also saw a number of collaborators honor Lee for his influence on the comics industry. In 2006, Marvel commemorated Lee's 65 years with the company by publishing a series of one-shot comics starring Lee himself meeting and interacting with many of his co-creations, including Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, the Thing, Silver Surfer, and Doctor Doom. These comics also featured short pieces by such comics creators as Joss Whedon and Fred Hembeck, as well as reprints of classic Lee-written adventures.[128] At the 2007 Comic-Con International, Marvel Legends introduced a Stan Lee action figure. The body beneath the figure's removable cloth wardrobe is a re-used mold of a previously released Spider-Man action figure, with minor changes.[129] Comikaze Expo, Los Angeles' largest comic book convention, was rebranded as Stan Lee's Comikaze Presented by POW! Entertainment in 2012.[130]

At the 2016 Comic-Con International, Lee introduced his digital graphic novel Stan Lee's God Woke,[131][132][133] with text originally written as a poem he presented at Carnegie Hall in 1972.[134] The print-book version won the 2017 Independent Publisher Book Awards' Outstanding Books of the Year Independent Voice Award.[135]

Philanthropy

The Stan Lee Foundation was founded in 2010 to focus on literacy, education, and the arts. Its stated goals include supporting programs and ideas that improve access to literacy resources, as well as promoting diversity, national literacy, culture and the arts.[136]

Lee donated portions of his personal effects to the University of Wyoming at various times, between 1981 and 2001.[137]

Fictional portrayals

Marvel

Lee and Kirby (bottom left) as themselves on the cover of The Fantastic Four #10 (January 1963). Art by Kirby and Dick Ayers.

Lee and Jack Kirby appear as themselves in The Fantastic Four #10 (January 1963), the first of several appearances within the fictional Marvel Universe.[138] The two are depicted as similar to their real-world counterparts, creating comic books based on the "real" adventures of the Fantastic Four.

Kirby later portrayed himself, Lee, production executive Sol Brodsky, and Lee's secretary Flo Steinberg as superheroes in What If #11 (October 1978), "What If the Marvel Bullpen Had Become the Fantastic Four?", in which Lee played the role of Mister Fantastic.

Lee was shown in numerous cameo appearances in many Marvel titles, appearing in audiences and crowds at many characters' ceremonies and parties. For example, he is seen hosting an old-soldiers reunion in Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #100 (July 1972), in The Amazing Spider-Man #169 (June 1977), as a bar patron in Marvels #3 (1994),[139] at Karen Page's funeral in Daredevil vol. 2, #8 (June 1998), and as the priest officiating at Luke Cage and Jessica Jones' wedding in New Avengers Annual #1 (June 2006). Lee and Kirby appear as professors in Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #19 (2006).

He appears in Generation X #17 (July 1996) as a circus ringmaster narrating (in lines written by Lee) a story set in an abandoned circus. This characterization was revived in Marvel's "Flashback" series of titles cover-dated July 1997, numbered "-1", introducing stories about Marvel characters before they became superheroes.

In Stan Lee Meets Superheroes (2007), written by Lee, he comes into contact with some of his favorite creations.[128]

Other publishers

Lee was parodied by Kirby in comics published by rival DC Comics as Funky Flashman.[140]

Lee and other comics creators are mentioned in Michael Chabon's 2000 novel set in the early comics industry The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.

Under the name Stanley Lieber, he appears briefly in Paul Malmont's 2006 novel The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril.[141]

In Lavie Tidhar's 2013 The Violent Century, Lee appears – as Stanley Martin Lieber – as a historian of superhumans.[142]

Film and television appearances

Lee had cameo appearances in many Marvel film and television projects, including those within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.[143] A few of these appearances are self-aware and sometimes reference Lee's involvement in the creation of certain characters.[144] He had completed the filmed footage for his cameo in the upcoming Avengers: Endgame prior to his death.[145]

Personal life

Lee was raised in a Jewish family. In a 2002 survey of whether he believed in God, he stated, "Well, let me put it this way... [Pauses.] No, I'm not going to try to be clever. I really don't know. I just don't know."[146]

From 1945 to 1947, Lee lived in the rented top floor of a brownstone in the East 90s in Manhattan.[147] He married Joan Clayton Boocock, originally from Newcastle, England,[148] on December 5, 1947,[149][150] and in 1949, the couple bought a house in Woodmere, New York, on Long Island, living there through 1952.[151] Their daughter Joan Celia "J. C." Lee was born in 1950. Another daughter, Jan Lee, died three days after delivery in 1953.[152]

The Lees resided in the Long Island town of Hewlett Harbor, New York, from 1952 to 1980.[153] They also owned a condominium on East 63rd Street in Manhattan from 1975 to 1980,[154] and during the 1970s owned a vacation home in Remsenburg, New York.[155] For their move to the West Coast in 1981, they bought a home in West Hollywood, California, previously owned by comedian Jack Benny's radio announcer Don Wilson.[156]

In September 2012, Lee underwent an operation to insert a pacemaker, which required cancelling planned appearances at conventions.[157][158]

On July 6, 2017, his wife of 69 years, Joan, died of complications from a stroke. She was 95 years old.[159]

In April 2018, The Hollywood Reporter published a report that claimed Lee was a victim of elder abuse; the report asserted that among others, Keya Morgan, business manager of Lee and a memorabilia collector, had been isolating Lee from his trusted friends and associates following his wife's death, to get access to Lee's wealth, estimated to be worth US$50 million.[160][161] In August 2018, Morgan was issued a restraining order to stay away from Lee, his daughter, or his associates for three years.[162]

Death

Fans flocked to Lee's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, adorning it with pictures and notes on the day of his death.

Lee died at the age of 95 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, on November 12, 2018, after being rushed there in a medical emergency earlier in the day.[163][164][165] Earlier that year, Lee revealed to the public that he had been battling pneumonia and in February was rushed to the hospital for worsening conditions at around the same time.[166] The immediate cause of death listed on his death certificate was cardiac arrest with respiratory failure and congestive heart failure as underlying causes. It also indicated that he suffered from "aspiration pneumonia."[167]

Roy Thomas, who succeeded Lee as editor-in-chief at Marvel, had visited Lee two days prior to his death to discuss the upcoming book The Stan Lee Story, and stated "I think he was ready to go. But he was still talking about doing more cameos. As long as he had the energy for it and didn't have to travel, Stan was always up to do some more cameos. He got a kick out of those more than anything else."[168]

Accolades

Stan Lee is congratulated by President George W. Bush on receiving the National Medal of Arts in 2008.
Year Award Nominated work Result
1974 Inkpot Award[172] Won
1994 The Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame[173]
1995 Jack Kirby Hall of Fame[174]
2002 Saturn Award The Life Career Award
2008 National Medal of Arts[175]
2009 Hugo Award[176] Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation- Iron Man Nominated
Scream Awards[177] Comic-Con Icon Award Won
2011 Hollywood Walk of Fame[178]
2012 Visual Effects Society Awards Lifetime Achievement Award
Producers Guild of America[179] Vanguard Award
2017 National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers[180] Performance in a Comedy, Supporting

Bibliography

Books

  • Lee, Stan; Mair, George (2002). Excelsior!: The Amazing Life of Stan Lee. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-2800-8.
  • Lee, Stan (1997) [Originally published by Simon & Schuster in 1974]. Origins of Marvel Comics. Marvel Entertainment Group. ISBN 978-0-7851-0551-0.
  • Lee, Stan; David, Peter (2015). Amazing, Fantastic, Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1501107771.

Comics bibliography

Lee's comics work includes:[86]

DC Comics

Marvel Comics

Simon & Schuster

Other

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Lee's account of how he began working for Marvel's predecessor, Timely, varied. He said in lectures and elsewhere that he simply answered a newspaper ad seeking a publishing assistant, not knowing it involved comics, let alone his cousin Jean's husband, Martin Goodman:

    I applied for a job in a publishing company ... I didn't even know they published comics. I was fresh out of high school, and I wanted to get into the publishing business, if I could. There was an ad in the paper that said, "Assistant Wanted in a Publishing House." When I found out that they wanted me to assist in comics, I figured, 'Well, I'll stay here for a little while and get some experience, and then I'll get out into the real world.' ... I just wanted to know, 'What do you do in a publishing company?' How do you write? ... How do you publish? I was an assistant. There were two people there named Joe Simon and Jack Kirby – Joe was sort-of the editor/artist/writer, and Jack was the artist/writer. Joe was the senior member. They were turning out most of the artwork. Then there was the publisher, Martin Goodman ... And that was about the only staff that I was involved with. After a while, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby left. I was about 17 years old [sic], and Martin Goodman said to me, 'Do you think you can hold down the job of editor until I can find a real person?' When you're 17, what do you know? I said, 'Sure! I can do it!' I think he forgot about me, because I stayed there ever since.[17]

    In his 2002 autobiography, Excelsior! The Amazing Life of Stan Lee, he writes:

    My uncle, Robbie Solomon, told me they might be able to use someone at a publishing company where he worked. The idea of being involved in publishing definitely appealed to me. ... So I contacted the man Robbie said did the hiring, Joe Simon, and applied for a job. He took me on and I began working as a gofer for eight dollars a week...

    Joe Simon, in his 1990 autobiography The Comic Book Makers, gives the account slightly differently: "One day [Goodman's relative known as] Uncle Robbie came to work with a lanky 17-year-old in tow. 'This is Stanley Lieber, Martin's wife's cousin,' Uncle Robbie said. 'Martin wants you to keep him busy.'"

    In an appendix, however, Simon appears to reconcile the two accounts. He relates a 1989 conversation with Lee:

    Lee: I've been saying this [classified-ad] story for years, but apparently it isn't so. And I can't remember because I['ve] said it so long now that I believe it.
    ...
    Simon: Your Uncle Robbie brought you into the office one day and he said, 'This is Martin Goodman's wife's nephew.' [sic] ... You were seventeen years old.

    Lee: Sixteen and a half!

    Simon: Well, Stan, you told me seventeen. You were probably trying to be older... I did hire you.

References

  1. ^ Lee & Mair 2002, p. 27
  2. ^ Miller, John Jackson (June 10, 2005). "Comics Industry Birthdays". Comics Buyer's Guide. Iola, Wisconsin. Archived from the original on October 30, 2010.
  3. ^ a b Lee & Mair 2002, p. 5
  4. ^ Almanac, World (September 1986). The Celebrity Who's Who – World Almanac. p. 213. ISBN 978-0-345-33990-4. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
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    The DC comics were ... one dimensional characters whose only characteristic was they dressed up in costumes and did good. Whereas Stan Lee had this huge breakthrough of two-dimensional characters. So, they dress up in costumes and do good, but they've got a bad heart. Or a bad leg. I actually did think for a long while that having a bad leg was an actual character trait.

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  39. ^ DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 85: "Based on their collaboration on The Fantastic Four, [Stan] Lee worked with Jack Kirby. Instead of a team that fought traditional Marvel monsters however, Lee decided that this time he wanted to feature a monster as the hero."
  40. ^ DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 88: "[Stan Lee] had always been fascinated by the legends of the Norse gods and realized that he could use those tales as the basis for his new series centered on the mighty Thor...The heroic and glamorous style that...Jack Kirby [had] was perfect for Thor."
  41. ^ DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 91: "Set against the background of the Vietnam War, Iron Man signaled the end of Marvel's monster/suspense line when he debuted in Tales of Suspense #39...[Stan] Lee discussed the general outline for Iron Man with Larry Lieber, who later wrote a full script for the origin story."
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  43. ^ DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 100: "Stan Lee chose the name Daredevil because it evoked swashbucklers and circus daredevils, and he assigned Bill Everett, the creator of the Sub-Mariner to design and draw Daredevil #1."
  44. ^ DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 93: [Stan Lee] decided his new superhero feature would star a magician. Since Lee was enjoying his collaborations with Steve Ditko on The Amazing Spider-Man, he decided to assign the new feature to Ditko, who usually handled at least one of the backups in Strange Tales.
  45. ^ DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 87: "Deciding that his new character would have spider-like powers, [Stan] Lee commissioned Jack Kirby to work on the first story. Unfortunately, Kirby's version of Spider-Man's alter ego Peter Parker proved too heroic, handsome, and muscular for Lee's everyman hero. Lee turned to Steve Ditko, the regular artist on Amazing Adult Fantasy, who designed a skinny, awkward teenager with glasses."
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Further reading

External links

Business positions
Preceded by
Joe Simon
Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief
1941–1942
Succeeded by
Vincent Fago
Preceded by
Vincent Fago
Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief
1945–1972
Succeeded by
Roy Thomas
Preceded by
n/a
Fantastic Four writer
1961–1971
Succeeded by
Archie Goodwin
Preceded by
Archie Goodwin
Fantastic Four writer
1972
Succeeded by
Roy Thomas
Preceded by
n/a
The Amazing Spider-Man writer
1962–1971
Succeeded by
Roy Thomas
Preceded by
Roy Thomas
The Amazing Spider-Man writer
1972–1973
Succeeded by
Gerry Conway
Preceded by
n/a
The Incredible Hulk writer
(including Tales to Astonish stories)

1962–1968
Succeeded by
Gary Friedrich
Preceded by
Gary Friedrich
The Incredible Hulk writer
1968–1969
Succeeded by
Roy Thomas
Preceded by
n/a
Thor writer
(including Journey into Mystery stories)

1962–1971
(with Larry Lieber in 1962)
(with Robert Bernstein in 1963)
Succeeded by
Gerry Conway
Preceded by
n/a
The Avengers writer
1963–1966
Succeeded by
Roy Thomas
Preceded by
n/a
(Uncanny) X-Men writer
1963–1966
Succeeded by
Roy Thomas
Preceded by
n/a
Captain America writer
(including Tales of Suspense stories)

1964–1971
Succeeded by
Gary Friedrich
Preceded by
n/a
Daredevil writer
1964–1969
Succeeded by
Roy Thomas