Writer, publisher, and editor of Marvel comics, Stan Lee, passed away in Los Angeles on November 12, 2018. He was 95 years old and had been battling pneumonia since early this year. Lee’s death touched the hearts of many, and his creations will be remembered for years to come.
Lee started his long and amazing career in 1939 with a company called Timely Comics. This would eventually transform into Marvel Comics in around 1961, which has become nationally known. Lee was a huge contribution to Marvel’s growth, creating and co-creating many of the most famous Marvel characters seen in movies and comics. These characters include Spider-Man, Black Panther, Iron Man, Wolverine, and plenty more. It was during this time of Marvel Comics creation when he adopted the name “Stan Lee” instead of his birth name “Stanley Lieber.”
The list of Lee’s accomplishments is lavish. Among the most impressive of his accolades are receiving the National Medal of Arts in 2008 and being inducted into multiple hall of fames, including the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Lee’s fame can be accredited to his contributions to Marvel characters and superheroes. His first big hits were characters “Destroyer” and “Jack Frost,” made during the early 1940’s. Fans’ responses to these characters allowed his career to grow as he helped create more and more characters. The long list includes Black Panther, Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Daredevil, Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men. Most, if not all, of these superheroes are loved by fans both on the movie screen and in comics. For example, the movie Black Panther, released February 2018, totaled $1.347 billion dollars in box office revenue. Some other impressive movies that Lee heavily contributed to are The Avengers, which totaled $1.519 billion dollars in revenue, Avengers: Infinity War, which totaled over $2 billion dollars in revenue, the Spider-Man Movies, and tons more for most of the Marvel heroes.
Lee’s fame can also be contributed to his art of crafting his characters and how it revolutionized the comic business. The difference between Lee and his competition was the amount of detail Lee put into his heroes. He not only focused on the appearance of his superheros, but put tons of effort into their personalities as well. He started doing this in the 60’s, a time where superheroes seemed like a body with powers. Lee changed the industry by making his heroes more human like. This made his and Marvel’s heroes so unique compared to other heroes from rival companies. A good example of this is Spider-Man. Spider-Man, also known as Peter Parker when his mask is off, is goofy and has problems with relationships. This made Spider-Man one of the more popular superheroes in the comic industry, as his character made him more attractive to watchers and readers.
One of these fans, Junior Dante Sigular, has actually been inspired by Lee’s heroes because of their character. In fact, he said that Spider-Man was his favorite out of all the heroes. “He [Spider-Man] inspired me to become a greater version of myself,” said Dante. Fellow Junior Ishan Patel also prefers Spider-Man when it comes to Marvel’s/Lee’s heroes. But unlike Dante, Ishan is more attracted to the comical side of Spider-Man, saying “He has a very pure and childish disposition,” which makes him great to Ishan. Lee’s skill was so remarkable that fellow celebrity Gene Simmons, a member of the rock band “Kiss,”even gave his own input on Lee’s characters. He said “[Lee’s] stories taught me that even superheroes like Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk have ego deficiencies and girl problems and do not live in their macho fantasies 24 hours a day” (hollywoodreporter.com). Having superheroes with more realistic human traits rather than just superhuman abilities like Spider-Man and Hulk allows fans to relate to and become more attached to the character, even though they do not possess the same power. Lee’s death on the 12th has come with much sadness. To no surprise, many celebrities have given their condolences to Lee and his family over various social media platforms. Here are some of the posts after Lee was pronounced dead that Monday.
Photo CreditWorld Famous “Spider-Man” (via wikimedia.org)
This picture was posted by Chris Pratt on Twitter. He said, “Thanks for everything Stan Lee. What a life, so well lived. I consider myself extraordinarily lucky to have gotten to meet you and to have played in the world you created.”
This picture was posted by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on Twitter. He captioned it, “What a man, what a life. When I first broke into Hollywood. He welcomed me with open arms and some very sage advice I’ll forever take to heart. A true icon who impacted generations around the world.”
Many people shared the same reaction as Dwayne Johnson and Chris Pratt, although they are obviously not close to Pratt or Johnson when it comes to following. For example, Dante and Ishan both had unique reactions to the horrible news. Dante, who has been a Marvel fan since as soon as he remembers, said, “My immediate reaction to Stan Lee’s death was sad and also empathetic because I know Marvel fans understand what exactly we lost.” Alongside Dante, Ishan also had his own input. “I was sad he died but there's no need to be sad because he lived a very successful and good long life,” said Ishan. Ishan, like Dante, had been a Marvel fan since his childhood.
As a person, Lee was always very open and honest throughout his career. During his time, he was always humble about his job. For example, in an interview with the Chicago Tribune in 2014, he said, “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” (hollywoodreporter.com). This humbleness and genuinity that Stan had was part of what made him so well respected by many. In fact, he was considered a “real life superhero” by many of his fans and peers. This lightheartedness will assure that his legacy will not only live on through his heroes, but also through everyone he was close to.
Although Lee’s death was very saddening for countless people, Lee’s legacy will live on for years. As long as superheroes exist, Lee will always be remembered for his contributions through his creations which will last far past his death. Lee is leaving behind a net worth of $50 million to $80 million and his daughter, Joan Celia Lee, who is an actress. To honor Stan Lee, it is only fitting to put his own trademark motto.