By now you’ve seen the news all over the Internet: Stan Lee hung on for a solid 95 years, but today was the day we finally lost him. His full unshortened name was Stanley Lieber, and he entered the comics industry at its very beginning, finding employment at what was then called Timely Comics in 1939.
Under Stan’s influence Timely Comics grew into Marvel Comics and revolutionized superhero storytelling with fleshed-out heroes that had real-world problems. Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko played a major role along with Stan, but they were mostly private and introverted people. Stan was the opposite: loud and boisterous, with a gruff Jimmy Durante inflection in his voice.
Most recently, Stan served as the de facto ambassador for our current superhero-obsessed culture. He’s not only made cameo appearances in every Marvel Studios film, but even in places he had nothing to do with yet influenced. He appeared in episodes of Heroes, Eureka and Nikita, and most recently showed up in Teen Titans Go To The Movies.
Right until the end, Stan loved his fans. No matter how up in years he got, he was always willing to lend his face or his voice to a movie or TV show, and never stopped visiting with admirers at cons (for a hefty fee — I would have seen him but he wanted $100 first).
The majority of comic book creators who laid the foundation for today’s blockbusters never lived to see it all blossom — with the exception of Stan. We should all feel fortunate he got to bask in the fruits of his labor for as long as he did, and that we got to enjoy it along with him. Thanks for the memories, Stan. Nuff said.