Stan Lee, the beloved co-creator of such characters as Spider-Man, Hulk, Doctor Strange, Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Black Panther, X-Men, Ant-Man, Iron Man and Thor, passed away today at the age of 95. Born on December 28, 1922, Stan Lee was a comic book writer, editor, executive producer, actor, and publisher. He was formerly editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, and later its publisher and chairman before leaving the company to become its Chairman Emeritus, as well as a member of the editorial board.
He was inducted into the comic book industry’s Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1995. Lee received a National Medal of Arts in 2008.
Both Marvel Comics and The Walt Disney Company remembered Stan Lee with the following statement:
Today, Marvel Comics and The Walt Disney Company pause and reflect with great sadness on the passing of its Chairman Emeritus, Stan Lee. With a heavy heart, we share our deepest condolences with his daughter and brother, and we honor and remember the creator, voice and champion of Marvel Comics.
“Stan Lee was as extraordinary as the characters he created. A super hero in his own right to Marvel fans around the world, Stan had the power to inspire, to entertain, and to connect. The scale of his imagination was only exceeded by the size of his heart,” said Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company.
Stanley Martin Lieber, aka Stan Lee, loved the written word from an early age, and wanted to craft stories like those in his favorite books and films, which he consumed voraciously. From a simple upbringing in the teeming landscape of Manhattan, young Stanley worked his way through a succession of jobs until the day he found himself an assistant at a comic book publishing company—Timely Comics.
In between refilling artists’ inkwells, erasing pencil lines from comic pages and fetching an untold number of lunches, Stanley expressed his desire to write and create tales of his own; in the May 1941 issue of CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #3, he got his wish. Readers would find a prose story in that issue, “Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge,” sporting the byline of “Stan Lee.” A star was born.
As Stan’s roles and tenure with Timely Comics grew and evolved, so did the company itself. With Stan at its helm, Timely Comics morphed first into Atlas Comics and then into the name that would catapult it into legend and forever be synonymous with Stan Lee: Marvel Comics.
As Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief, Stan “The Man” Lee made his voice the voice of the stories themselves. Writing virtually every Marvel title and working with such luminaries as Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Don Heck, Gene Colan and John Romita, Stan began building a universe of interlocking continuity, one where fans felt as if they could turn a street corner and run into a Super Hero. A rich collection of characters grew out of his nonstop plotting sessions with his artists, including the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk, the X-Men, and more. Today, it would be almost impossible to find a corner of the Marvel Universe that Stan didn’t have a hand in.
Marvel fans found a friend in Stan Lee. He introduced the famous “Stan’s Soapbox” to speak directly to his readers, reaching a personal level rarely seen in comics of the day. Always pushing for new ways of creating comics, Stan also inaugurated the “Marvel method” of plotting and art, creating some of the most iconic stories in the industry to this day.
When something mattered to Stan, you felt it in his words, whether in an editorial or in the stories themselves. With passion for the medium, he helped refine and reform the Comics Code Authority and addressed hot-button issues like discrimination, drugs and intolerance.
Stan stepped up from his position as Editor-in-Chief in 1972 to tackle the role of Publisher at Marvel Comics, and while a strong succession of writers followed in his wake, his spirit and voice remained throughout the adventures that followed. His outspoken love for comics even extended to a series of college campus talks; given any chance to educate and illuminate on the industry, he took it. An entire generation of young readers expanded and strengthened their vocabulary and knowledge through Stan’s stories.
In later years, Stan took on new projects of his own outside of Marvel, but always kept one eye on the universe he created, watching with pride as it continued to grow and expand. Stan worked tirelessly to promote Marvel properties and characters to the film industry, and his spunky cameos in Marvel films and television series became an important part of his legacy.
Over the years, Stan was widely recognized for his remarkable accomplishments, receiving the National Medal of Arts, being inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame and Jack Kirby Hall of Fame and being named a Disney Legend. He continued to work, write and enjoy life and creativity every day—and the world is better for it.
Marvel and the entire The Walt Disney Company salute the life and career of Stan Lee and offer their undying gratitude for his unmatchable accomplishments within their halls. Every time you open a Marvel comic, Stan will be there.
Please join us today in remembering Stan “The Man” Lee.
You can view more statements below:
No one has had more of an impact on my career and everything we do at Marvel Studios than Stan Lee. Stan leaves an extraordinary legacy that will outlive us all. Our thoughts are with his daughter, his family, and his millions of fans. #ThankYouStan #Excelsior!
— Kevin Feige (@Kevfeige) November 12, 2018
Thank you for filling our childhoods with such joy. You will be dearly, dearly missed… pic.twitter.com/Qt2sZqaNlc
— Russo Brothers (@Russo_Brothers) November 12, 2018
We’ve lost a creative genius. Stan Lee was a pioneering force in the superhero universe. I’m proud to have been a small part of his legacy and …. to have helped bring one of his characters to life. #StanLee #Wolverine pic.twitter.com/iOdefi7iYz
— Hugh Jackman (@RealHughJackman) November 12, 2018
There will never be another Stan Lee. For decades he provided both young and old with adventure, escape, comfort, confidence, inspiration, strength, friendship and joy. He exuded love and kindness and will leave an indelible mark on so, so, so many lives. Excelsior!!
— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) November 12, 2018
Thanks for everything Stan Lee! What a life, so well lived. I consider myself extraordinarily lucky to have gotten to meet you and to have played in the world you created.
— chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) November 12, 2018
Today we lost one of the greats. @TheRealStanLee, you were a inspiration and superhero to us all. Thank you for contributing so much- and giving us all something to aspire to! ?
— Zoe Saldana (@zoesaldana) November 12, 2018
Damn… RIP Stan. Thanks for everything. pic.twitter.com/TMAaDJSOhh
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) November 12, 2018
Now that was a life well lived and lived to its fullest. Excelsior! 1922-2018
Thank you Stan Lee, from all your fans.
— Paul Bettany (@Paul_Bettany) November 12, 2018
I am so grateful to have known and worked with this man, even briefly, over the years. He quite literally changed the landscape of entertainment forever. The term “Legend” seems to get… https://t.co/gkqJ8g8fxP
— Zachary Levi (@ZacharyLevi) November 12, 2018
THANK YOU, @TheRealStanLee. You gave us characters that continue to stand the test of time and evolve with our consciousness. You taught us that there are no limits to our future as long as we have access to our imagination. Rest in power! #EXCELSIOR #StanLee #rip pic.twitter.com/hnSmnHIDln
— Winston Duke (@Winston_Duke) November 12, 2018
Stan Lee. A gentleman and a genius. It was an honor to be a small part of his universe. Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/iZNtQRRqKD
— Kat Dennings (@OfficialKat) November 12, 2018
Rest in Peace Stan Lee
— Letitia Wright (@letitiawright) November 12, 2018
Stan…more than a master of stories, you always seemed like a master of living. I will look to you for inspiration for the rest of my life. You live on. xoxo Your Wasp
#liveon #StanLee pic.twitter.com/JRA2aRM3bG
— Evangeline Lilly (@EvangelineLilly) November 12, 2018
He changed the way we look at heroes, and modern comics will always bear his indelible mark. His infectious enthusiasm reminded us why we all fell in love with these stories in the first place. Excelsior, Stan.
— DC (@DCComics) November 12, 2018
His contribution to Pop Culture was revolutionary & cannot be overstated. He was everything you hoped he would be & MORE. I loved this man & will never stop missing him. They say you should never meet a childhood idol. They are wrong. #RIPStanTheMan pic.twitter.com/6OKH07ahJg
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) November 12, 2018
Thank you Stan Lee for making people who feel different realize they are special.
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) November 12, 2018
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Sad, sad day. Rest In Power Uncle Stan. You have made the world a better place through the power of modern mythology and your love of this messy business of being human… you let us be extra human… superhuman even. I am deeply honored to have been a small part in the Stan Lee constellation.
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Rest in peace, Soldier. Comic book creator Stan Lee has passed away at the age of 95. Lee served in the #USArmy Signal Corps during World War II from 1942 to 1945. We are deeply grateful for his service to our country and for his tremendous support to servicemembers over the years. #marvel #soldier #respect #honor