The comic book universe has lost one of its founding fathers. Stan Lee, founder of Marvel Comics, died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, on Monday, Nov. 12, according to the Associated Press. A family attorney confirmed to AP that the creator of legendary superheroes such as Spider-Man, Thor, The Incredible Hulk and the Fantastic Four died earlier in the day.
The world knows that Lee brought them a whole new world filled with exciting stories, superhuman powers and tons of action. However, there is so much more to know about the man behind these amazing characters.
As the world mourns the huge loss of Stan Lee, we take a look at some of the most interesting facts about him, a man who re-defined an art medium that many weren’t sure would stand the test of time.
1. Stan Lee Started His Career In His Teens
Lee’s first editing job sort of fell into his lap when he was just 17. The young man worked at Timely Comics as an assistant. His uncle (by marriage) was the publisher of the company. As the company looked to replace two fired editors, Lee was asked to fill in for the job on a temporary basis. That temp gig turned out to be something that would change his life.
“When you’re 17 years old, what do you know,” Lee told “Web of Stories” in a 2016 interview. “I said ‘sure I can do it.’ And that was it. I became the editor and I think he forgot to hire somebody.”
2. Lee Thought The World Would Hate Iron Man
It might be hard to wrap your brain around the assumption that people would hate Iron Man. The superhero is one of the most popular characters in the Marvel universe. However, the character’s creator wasn’t convinced the public would appreciate the multi-millionaire weapons maker.
When Iron Man made his comic book debut in 1963, the world was fully involved in the Cold War. It was a time when people didn’t want to think about the military. But Lee saw this as a challenge.
“I think I gave myself a dare,” he said in an interview promoting the first Iron Man movie. “It was the height of the Cold War. The readers, the young readers, if there was one thing they hated, it was war, it was the military. So I got a hero who represented that to the hundredth degree. He was a weapons manufacturer, he was providing weapons for the Army, he was rich, he was an industrialist. I thought it would be fun to take the kind of character that nobody would like, none of our readers would like, and shove him down their throats and make them like him … And he became very popular.”
Popular is right. Beyond the comic books, the Iron Man movie franchise has grossed more than $2.5 billion worldwide so far.
3. Stan Lee Was Not His Real Name
The world knew him as Stan Lee, but that was not the name on his birth certificate. Born Stanley Martin Lieber on Dec. 28, 1922, the comic book writer opted to use Stan Lee as a pseudonym for what he thought would be his “lesser works” in the comic book world. He wanted to save his full name for the novels he intended to publish later on.
4. Stan Lee Worked With Dr. Seuss
Lee served in the U.S. Army during World War II. During that time, he worked as a playwright. It may seem like an unusual role for a solider, but his superiors knew of his work in the comic industry. So they sent him to New York to write film scripts for Army training movies.
“The next thing I knew, I was writing training films, and I’m sitting next to [playwright] William Saroyan and Theodor Geisel [Dr. Seuss] and the guys [Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts] who wrote the Jimmy Cagney movie White Heat,” he told “Hollywood Reporter. “I was churning this stuff out — it was the least I could do for my country.”
5. Lee Put A Little Of Himself Into The Fantastic Four
Marvel fans know how much Lee loved to making cameo appearances in his characters’ films. Lee popped up in a variety of the movies, including “Daredevil,” the “Iron Man” films and many more.
However, he also infused the leader of the Fantastic Four, Mr. Fantastic, with some of his own personality quirks.
“I modeled the leader of the group a little after myself,” he told Hollywood Reporter. “He was the world’s greatest scientist. That is not after me. But he also talked so much that he would bore the hell out of you. That was me. And he used big words. And I liked doing that because that gave the Thing, the other character, the opportunity to always be insulting him. The ‘Gee, does the man never shut up?’”
Lee will be sorely missed, but he leaves behind an amazing legacy.