Stan Lee Dies at 95

Stan Lee (Taken from

Finn Hogan, Chief Editor

Marvel Comics figurehead and author Stan Lee passed away on November 12th, 2018. Lee is best known for his creation of hundreds of beloved superheroes, including Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Hulk, and the Fantastic Four.

Stan Lee, age 95, passed away in a Los Angeles hospital. He had suffered several health issues throughout the past year, including bouts of pneumonia, and blindness. J.C. Lee, Stan’s daughter, released a statement saying, “My father loved all of his fans. He was the greatest, most decent man.”

Millions of people all across the world mourn the loss of the Godfather of Marvel Comics. Lee, who started working with Marvel in 1939, back when it was Timely Comics, was originally hired as an intern. He became an editor in 1941, one year before joining the US army.

Lee fought in WWII from 1942-1945, writing scripts for training films as part of the Signal Corps. He is one of nine people listed in the army as “playwright”. He married Joan Boocock in 1947, and the two were together until Joan’s death in 2017.

After the war, Lee returned to his job at Marvel Comics. He continued working with Marvel throughout the 1950s, and contemplated quitting several times. The comic book industry took a massive hit during the 50s after the U.S. Senate had ruled that comic books were responsible for an increase in teenage delinquency.

In 1961, Lee’s boss came to him and told him to model a series of superheroes on the heroes created by DC comics, though Lee had other plans. He wanted to create heroes that were not so geared towards younger audiences, and who were not morally perfect. He presented his boss with the Fantastic Four, a group of superhumans who were constantly fighting with each other. From 1961 to 1968, Lee collaborated with several artists to create some of the most well-known superheroes, including Spider-Man, Captain America, the Incredible Hulk, and Iron Man. He became Marvel’s publisher and editorial director in 1972, and was named Publisher of the Year by the Periodical and Book Association of America in 1978.

Many attribute Marvel’s success to Stan Lee, from how his characters are designed to the collaborative process he goes through with his artists. In a 2012 interview with the Washington Post, Lee stated,  “All of our characters were freaks in their own way. The greatest example was with X-Men – they were hated because they were different. The idea I had, the underlying theme, was that just because somebody is different doesn’t make them better… That seems to be the worst thing in human nature.” Lee’s superheroes were meant to reflect something about the era they were created in, and the audience being targeted. The anxious inner turmoil of Spider-Man was meant to represent the youth and attitude of the 60s, while Black Panther and She-Hulk represented the struggles of women and minorities.

All of Lee’s characters are perfectly imperfect. Iron Man has a weak heart due to a piece of shrapnel stuck in his chest after a visit to Vietnam. The brilliant Dr. Banner has terrible anger issues that turn him into the temperamental Hulk, and awful bouts of self-loathing as a result. Daredevil is blind, the X-Men are all different and have their own struggles with their abilities.

Lee took care to make sure his heroes seemed as real as possible, both by giving them human attributes and putting them in familiar settings. Rather than creating cities such as DC’s Metropolis or Gotham, many of Lee’s heroes are from his hometown of New York City.

Lee is also credited with creating what is known as “The Marvel Method”. Before Lee, comics were a less collaborative effort. An author would come up with a screenplay-like script for the artist and leave them to do the artwork. When working with Lee, however, artists admitted that they had never been so involved in the creative process before. Lee would bring fragments of ideas to the artist, and they would sit and create the plot together. The artist would then create sketches for the comic, and Lee would later add dialogue and text.

Lee continued to work with Marvel up until his death, writing the equivalent of a comic book a day for 10 years. Several heroes of his creation have been made into movies, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the most successful franchises to date. The MCU is a compilation of 20 movies, all characters of Lee’s creation. Lee was deeply involved in the process of creating this universe, and appears in every single film in small, cameo roles. He appeared in over 34 Marvel movies in total, not including roles in one-off movies such as The Incredible Hulk and Daredevil. Lee will also be appearing in Avengers 4, as they finished filming before his death.

Marvel actors expressed their gratitude to Lee on their social medias following the announcement of his death. Robert Downey Jr., who pioneered the Marvel Cinematic Universe with his role as Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man, posted a photo of himself with Lee. Downey wrote, “I owe it all to you,,, Rest in Peace Stan.”

Tom Holland, who was recently added to the Marvel cast as Spider-Man, wrote, “How many millions of us are indebted to this guy, none more so than me. The father of Marvel has made so many people so incredibly happy. What a life and what a thing to have achieved. Rest in Peace Stan.”

Stan Lee leaves behind an impressive legacy of heroes and villains, stories that millions have grown up with and seen parts of themselves in. He lived to entertain, as he believed, “Entertainment is one of the most important things in people’s lives. Without it they might go off the deep end. I feel that if you’re able to entertain people, you’re doing a good thing.”