Legendary comic book writer Stan Lee has died. He passed away at the age of 95 on Nov. 12. For readers who are not familiar with Lee, he’s the old man who makes cameo appearances in the Marvel films and TV shows.
Lee’s real name was Stanley Martin Lieber. He was the creator of numerous comic book superheroes including The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, X-men, The Avengers, Iron Man, Hulk, Black Panther, Ant-Man and many others. Lee was an icon in the comic book world. His favorite phrase was “With great power comes great responsibility.” The words empowered fictional superheroes and his fans. Lee brought diversity to the comic book world through his superheroes and supervillains. Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko created some of the other Marvel characters. Among them, Captain America, Venom, Thanos, The Falcon, Jessica Jones, Power Man, Luke Cage and Iron Fist.
In the late 1930s, Timely Comics was unknown. They became Marvel Comics in the 1960s. Timely’s biggest rival was National Comics Publications (NCP), which became DC Comics in the 1970s. Back then, people were more interested in reading about Superman and Batman.
Lee joined Timely Comics in 1939 at 17 and over time went on to become editor-in-chief to a dwindling comic book audience. In the early 1960s, Marvel went bankrupt and Lee thought about ending his comic book career. NCP’s comic books, The Flash and the Justice League of America, were hitting the charts while Timely Comics were having a hard time.
Two things saved his career: his wife, Joan Boocock Lee, and the Fantastic Four. His wife gave him the idea to create the Fantastic Four and Lee got illustrations from his friend Kirby. The release of “The Fantastic Four” in 1961 brought new life to Timely Comics and saved Lee’s career.
Former Richland student and comic book fan Henry Pham is a huge fan of Lee’s.
“Stan Lee was the main comic book writer the whole world has looked up to,” Pham said. “People who love comic books have aged happily with these superheroes, including Spider-Man. The comic books have taught people strength, power and responsibility that people need to encounter the conflict and events of our world.”
Lee wanted his comic book characters to have human characteristics because we all understand that humans make mistakes and learn from them. We are not perfect in our lives. Lee wanted us to understand what a superhero can do as a normal human being.
Lee is my inspiration to become a filmmaker. My favorite Lee superheroes are Spider-Man and Daredevil. If it was not for Lee, comic books may have died. In my opinion, his legacy is equal to the great Walt Disney.
Thank you, Stan Lee. May you rest in peace.