In a major jolt to the creative world, comic book author, editor and publisher Stan Lee, who is the brain behind the iconic Marvel comics that have given some of the most charismatic superheroes to the world, is no more. He breathed his last on 12 November 2018 at the Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, after he was admitted a day earlier owing to a medical emergency.
To quote a family representative, who spoke to ‘The Hollywood Reporter’, Mr. Stan Lee, who began in the business in 1939 and created or co-created Black Panther, Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Mighty Thor, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Daredevil and Ant-Man, among countless other characters, died early Monday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles’. The same was confirmed by Kirk Schenck, legal attorney for Mr. Lee’s daughter, J.C. Lee.
For those unaware, Stanley Martin Lieber, aka Stan Lee, was a comic book artist, who was born on Thursday, 28 December 1922, to Jewish immigrants from Romania, Celia and Jack Lieber, at West End Avenue in Manhattan, New York City.
Like his comic world, Stan’s life was nothing short of a roller coaster ride. He had seen it all, from the Great Depression to the World War II to the testing times of the Cold War. Before the World War II had broken out, he had joined as an assistant at the Timely Comics, headed by Martin Goodman. This was the same Timely which evolved into the iconic Marvel Comics by the early 60s, and since then, he never looked back.
From his teens, Stan Lee was a passionate writer, and he dreamt one day of writing the ‘Great American Novel’. He has donned many hats, to his own confession, from writing obituaries for a newspaper, to delivering sandwiches for a pharmacy near the Rockefeller Center, to working as an apprentice or office boy for a trouser’s manufacturer ushering at the Rivoli Theater in Broadway.
It was however at Timely Comics that Stan found his true calling. In the early 50s, when Julius Schwartz ushered a new era of superhero comics with his iconic Justice League characters, Stan Lee decided to take a different path. Unlike the idealistic superheroes in demand, he devised a new plan : create humanized superheroes, who had the same flaws as any other human, except that their deeds made them a superhero.
In that effect, he brought back estranged artist Jack Kirby, who had once left the Timely Comics group. Teaming up with another fellow artist Steve Ditko, the group came out with their first superhero group, i.e. the Fantastic Four.
It became popular immediately, and inspired the troika to make more such superheroes. Following the Fantastic Four, came Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, X Men, and with Steve Ditko, Stan created Doctor Strange and the most popular character of Marvel Universe, Peter Parker, who is more famous as the superhero Spider Man! He was subsequently rewarded with many laurels, including the prestigious National Medal of Arts in 2008.
Following the immense popularity of these heroes, the troika assimilated them all into a common universe, giving the iconic title ‘The Avengers’. If William Hanna and Joseph Barbera were the masters of animated cartoons through their iconic series ‘Tom and Jerry’, the troika of Steve, Jack and Stan were famous because of their flawed superheroes of Marvel Comics.
With the demise of Stan Lee, an entire legacy of creativity has come to an end. We hope that his soul attains divinity, and he continues to make the world revel with his creations, even when in heaven.