Hola Dannie aqui,
Today I am the bearer of some devastating news for writers, artists, as well as fanboys and fangirls across the globe and of a myriad of generations. Stan "The Man" Lee the comic creator, writer, publisher, editor, and bullpen runner of Marvel Comics, the man behind so many of our beloved heroes and heroines has passed away today November 12th, 2018.
Stan Lee was born on December 28th, 1922 and went on to lead a life of creation that has helped mold what we know and love of the Marvel Universe. As a child, he grew up in Manhattan, New York worshipping the 1920's-30's heroes of cinema like Douglas Fairbanks, Errol Flynn, Spencer Tracy, Buster Crabbe, and many more. These cinematic titans inspired Lee's young mind to dream of fantastic heroes and were undeniable influences on his life, and the characters he would later breathe life into with the help of artists and illustrators.
Stan's family struggled through the Great Depression and the following era as did a large amount of the U.S. of A's population. His parents both Jewish American-immigrants in his teen years they moved to the Bronx in New York. During this period he shared a bedroom with his brother Larry, while his parents (Celia and Jack Lieber) slept on a fold out couch in the living room. This experience of economic struggle also left its mark on Stan and probably created a desire to achieve financial success and security. Lee worked many jobs during high school while dreams danced through his head of one day becoming a great American writer. Lee graduated early at the age of 16, and he immediately joined WPA Federal Theatre Project a New Deal program set as a relief fund for live artistic performances, theater, employing artists, writers, crew, and directors during a time of financial turmoil especially affecting the creative arts communities of the U.S.A. This program not only gave creatives a livelihood but also made it possible for millions of Americans to enjoy live theater for the first time, sadly the program was terminated after Congress accused the program of left-leaning political undertones in several productions.
In 1939 Stan Lee's Uncle (Robbie Solomon) hooked him up with an assistant job at Timely Comics (by the 1960's Timely transformed into Marvel Comics).
"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."--- Stan Lee
Finally, in 1941 Stan Lieber transformed into Stan "The Man" Lee and got his chance to have his debut in the comic industry with the text filler "Captain America Foils the Traitor's Revenge" in Captain America Comics #3 which also debuted Captain America's well known ricocheting shield throws. According to Stan, he was saving his birth name to use for more literary work as he dreamt of writing the next great American novel. In August of 1941, Stan got his chance to sink his teeth into writing and co-creating the Destroyer a character in Mystic Comics #6, the character Father Time from Captain America Comics #6, and Jack Frost's character in U.S.A. Comics #1.
In 1942 Stan entered the United States Army and served as a member of the Signal Corps here stateside repairing communications equipment, later he was transferred to the Training Film Division where he worked writing training films, slogans, and sometimes even worked as a cartoonist. Stan was one of only nine men in the United States military at that time to earn the esteemed title and classification of "playwright" a title Stan was extremely proud to have been awarded.
After Lee's military service was completed in 1945, he returned to Timely Comics which in the mid-1950s was known as Atlas Comics. At Atlas Comics Stan wrote for a plethora of genres, some of which were medieval adventures, romance, comedic, westerns, horror, and suspense. Lee and Dan Decario teamed up around this time and created "My Friend Irma," a syndicated newspaper strip based on a radio comedy that starred Marie Wilson.
Towards the end of the 1950's DC Comics revived the superhero genre by creating the Flash and in 1960 creating the Justice League of America, in response to this Martin Goodman owner of Timely, Atlas, and Marvel Comics challenged Stan Lee to create a superhero team. Lee and Jack "The King" Kirby created the Fantastic Four based on a previous team of supers Kirby had created called "Challengers of the Unknown" (published by DC prior). Stans influence brought humanity with all its fragile imperfections to comics and truly changed the archetypes of comic heroes in general. Introducing the world to a genuine sense of conflict not only did the comics have thrilling physical turmoil it also now had a mental depth, bringing ego, id, depression, vanity, financial issues, civil rights issues, relationship issues, boredom, illness and anger issues to the dynamic pages illustrated by Kirby. The Fantastic Four was a hit, revitalizing Lee's interest in the field of comics and catapulting a struggling company to immense success that continues to this day.
"King" Kirby and Stan "The Man" went on to create together some of the greatest heroes to ever be in comic-mythos, The Hulk (Anger issues), Iron Man (alcoholism and vanity), Thor (ego/god), and the ever so complex X-Men (civil rights). It is debated who truly created Spiderman. Originally Kirby brought the bug based character idea to Lee. Lee went home and came back with the name Peter Parker and thought Steve Ditko would be a better panel to panel illustrator fit for the project. However, Lee knew that Kirby was the king of cover art, so I like to think Spidey was the result of great creative collaboration. Stan also worked with Bill Everett creating Daredevil, and again with Ditko on Doctor Strange. One of the coolest things that Lee was responsible for was all the heroes living in a shared universe based on the real world. These heroes fought in places we all knew of making them easier for children's imaginations to grasp as being real-life heroes and creating generations of what Lee deemed "True Believers." Later on, Lee and Kirby corralled their creations and revived some from the 1940's (Sub-Mariner and Captain America) to create another super-powered team, The Avengers.
In 1977 Lee and John Romita Sr. created a Spider-Man newspaper strip, and in 1978 Lee and Kirby collaborated on "The Silver Surfer: The Ultimate Cosmic Experience" which is considered the first "graphic novel" and their final collaboration. Also in 1978, Lee teamed up with "Big" John Buscema for the debut issue of The Savage She-Hulk. In 1980 Big John and Stan worked on a Silver Surfer story Epic Illustrated #1.
In 1981 Stan moved to California to be a hands-on developer of Marvels TV and movie projects and worked on and off writing for artists such as John Byrne, Mœbius, Buscema, and Keith Pollard. Lee briefly held the office of president of Marvel Comics, he later voluntarily stepped down to resume being a publisher as it was less about the numbers and more about the creative end of the business, which was where Lee's heart and soul truly belonged.
In 2008, "Stan Lee Presents Election Daze: What Are They Really Saying?" a humorous political book was published. Some other projects in the 2000s that Lee worked on are the TV adaptation of the novel "Hero," a series of superhero comics for Virgin Comics, the forward for Skyscraperman, a partnership with Guardian Media Entertainment to create mascots for the NHL (National Hockey League) and he worked with the Eagle Initiative program to scout new and inventive talent in the field of comics. In 2011 Lee developed "Stan Lee's Kids Universe," to bring attention to comics and create comics for the child demographic. In 2012 Lee announced his YouTube Channel "Stan Lee's World of Heroes" with the help of Mark Hamill, Bonnie Burton, Peter David, Adrianne Curry, and others. In 2015 Lee wrote "Zodiac" with Stuart Moore. In 2016 at the Comic-Con International the digital graphic novel "Stan Lee's 'God Woke'" debuted, the novel was based on a poem Lee wrote and recited at Carnegie Hall in 1972, the print version of 'God Woke' went on to win the 2017 Independent Publisher Book Awards the award was for Outstanding Books of the Year and the Independent Voice Award.
As a fan of cinema, it had to delight Lee beyond all means when his creations lit up the silver screen and became a reality. Maybe someday he can look down from Shamayim and see a great Fantastic Four film.
Many of us grew up hearing Stan Lee's voice narrating Marvels animated television series, some may have been introduced to him from his myriad of cameos in recent cinema, or maybe they had the honor of meeting him at one of the many comic conventions he frequented. I have no memory of not knowing him, and as Wheels said to me earlier today "Lee was the voice of my childhood in a lot of ways. He was the cool Walt Disney."
Stan Lee brought the empathy of cinema to comics, he sparked a billion imaginations and has indeed achieved immortality through the eternal mark he has left on our hearts and minds. Personally, I will admit I have cried today I met the man many times over the years at conventions and a couple of dinners, his personality was truly infectious, and I am and shall always be a TRUE BELIEVER.
Thank you Stan "The Man" Lee, I hope you and King Kirby are creating together again in the great beyond. EXCELSIOR!
Stay Strong, Live Good, Love Movies!
Dannie aka Pekosa Peligrosa
My Dad shared this photo of me today before he heard the news. I loved Spidey again thank you Stan.