Goodbye To The Man Who Gave Us Our Superheroes

`Keep moving forward, and if it’s time to go, it’s time. Nothing lasts forever’ – Stan Lee, the genius comic superhero creator who died on Monday at the age of 95

By Lan KB

The man who inspired thousands of kids to fall in love with comic superheroes, and then the numerous superhero movies, is dead. RIP Stan Lee!

He died on Monday at 95 following complications from a medical emergency. He is credited with ushering in a new era of superhero storytelling, and saw his creations become a giant influence in the movie business.

The colourful Marvel Comics patriarch was asked in the early ’60s to come up with a team of superheroes to compete against DC’s Justice League. And with that he started a revolution.

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.

These new superheroes — all created in a burst between 1961 and 1964 — were hugely popular and allowed Marvel to surpass DC in both sales and fashionableness.

Spider-Man, in particular, became the imprint’s signature character: a neurotic photographer named Peter Parker who, after being bitten by a radioactive spider, develops spider-like powers. Parker was forever clashing with newspaper editor J. Jonah Jameson (an angry, cigar-chomping martinet who was no Perry White), wondering about his relationship with Mary Jane Watson and worrying about his fragile Aunt May. Crime fighting was the least of his concerns.

“I never thought that Spider-Man would become the worldwide icon that he is. I just hoped the books would sell and I’d keep my job,” Lee said in 2006.

Stan’s work for Marvel Comics – fantabulous but flawed creations, in the words of The Hollywood Reporter – made him a real-life superhero to comic book lovers everywhere.

In all, Stan 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.

Born Stanley Martin Lieber on Dec 28, 1922, he grew up poor in Washington Heights, where his father, a Romanian immigrant, was a dress-cutter. A lover of adventure books and Errol Flynn movies, Stan graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School, joined the WPA Federal Theatre Project, where he appeared in a few stage shows, and wrote obituaries.

In 1939, he got a job as a gofer for US$8 a week at Marvel predecessor Timely Comics. Two years later, for Kirby and Joe Simon’s Captain America No. 3, he wrote a two-page story titled “The Traitor’s Revenge!” that was used as text filler to qualify the company for the inexpensive magazine mailing rate. He used the pen name Stan Lee.

Later when his characters became big-screen icons, he was there with them, making cameos in the Marvel movies, shown avoiding falling concrete, watering his lawn, delivering the mail, crashing a wedding or playing a security guard.

The characters he created gave us inspirations that all of us are superheroes too. Stan Lee will be remembered through his creations.

Here are some quotable quotes from Stan Lee:

“You know, I guess one person can make a difference … ’nuff said.” – Stan Lee tells Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker in Spider-Man 3 (2007).

“I used to think what I did was not very important. People are building bridges and engaging in medical research, and here I was doing stories about fictional people who do extraordinary, crazy things and wear costumes. But I suppose I have come to realize that entertainment is not easily dismissed.” – Speaking to Chicago Tribune in April 2014.

“I wanted them to be diverse. The whole underlying principle of the X-Men was to try to be an anti-bigotry story to show there’s good in every person.” – Stan Lee,

“You know, my motto is ‘Excelsior.’ That’s an old word that means ‘upward and onward to greater glory.’ It’s on the seal of the state of New York. Keep moving forward, and if it’s time to go, it’s time. Nothing lasts forever.” – Stan Lee, Playboy

“Life is never completely without its challenges.” – Stan Lee, Playboy

Read his obituary here:

Stan Lee Is Dead at 95; Superhero of Marvel Comics