Sad news today, as we wish a fond farewell to comics maven Stan Lee. It’s not often you can say of a man that he literally created a whole world, but Stan Lee and Marvel Comics certainly did that. Excerpt:
In the late ’50s, DC started reimagining its heroes — kicking off what comics historians call the “Silver Age” of the business — but those figures were still, largely, otherworldly and two-dimensional, living in made-up places such as Metropolis and Gotham City.
In the early ’60s, Lee was asked to come up with a team of superheroes to compete against DC’s Justice League. With the notable help of artists such as Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, he helped instigate a revolution, though Lee didn’t see it that way at the time.
“If my publisher hadn’t said ‘let’s do superhero stories,’ I’d probably still be doing ‘A Kid Called Outlaw,’ ‘The Two-Gun Kid’ or ‘Millie the Model’ or whatever I was doing at the time,” he told CNN in 2013.
Marvel revitalized the comics business with a series of flawed, more human superheroes. Its figures lived in the real world — a few were based in New York City, with all its dirt and clamor — and struggled with everyday challenges, whether it was paying the rent or wondering about their purposes in life.
First came the Fantastic Four, a superhero team probably most famous for the grumpy, rock-skinned Thing. Following that success Lee and Marvel introduced such characters as Spider-Man, the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, the X-Men and Daredevil.
As a kid I spent many a happy hour poring over the adventures of Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Hulk, Captain America and the Avengers. And every month there was a bonus, as Stan the Man always penned his regular column, Stan’s Soapbox, printed in the back of each comic. There Stan passed on Marvel news, anecdotes and pithy bits of his own brand of wisdom. In fact, the term I often use to refer to you readers, “True Believers,” is cribbed from Stan’s Soapbox.
Later, with the advent of Marvel movies and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he became famous for the “Staneo,” appearing in every Marvel movie, even if just for a moment.
He was a piece of our youth, and he’ll be missed. Excelsior, Mr. Lee! Excelsior!