In the 1960’s, Stan was the leader of a cultural revolution he would call “The Marvel Age of Comics.” He and a team of talented artists churned out original material and characters like no tomorrow. As both a writer and editor, Lee was instrumental in the creation of Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, The Avengers, Daredevil, The Hulk, Black Panther, The X-Men, and Dr. Strange to name but a few.
Comics, scholars, and historians often cite Lee and Jack Kirby’s “The Galactus Trilogy” from the pages of Fantastic Four #48-50 (1966), as a masterpiece of the superhero genre, and one of the greatest comicbooks of all time. Besides the titular villain, the story arc also introduced the Silver Surfer, as well as Uatu the Watcher – whose race recently made their cinematic debut in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
In 1971, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare contacted Lee and asked him to incorporate an anti-drug message into one of his comicbooks. In doing so, Stan defied the Comics Code Authority, by bringing one of the most heart-wrenching Spider-Man stories to life.
The Amazing Spider-Man #96, #97, and #98 revolved around Harry, Peter Parker’s best friend, heavily abusing pills after a break-up. The subject matter resulted in the CCA withholding their seal of approval. However, Lee and his publisher, Martin Goodman published the story anyway. The following year, in 1972, Lee became publisher at Marvel Comics.
The 21st century was even more marvelous for the Marvel luminary, as some of his most incredible co-creations made their way to the Silver Screen thanks to advancements made in cinematic special effects. In addition to introducing a new generation of fans to the likes of Professor X, Magneto, Dock Ock, Iron Man, and the Mighty Thor, these films also brought the unsuspecting populace “The Man” himself, as his cameos quickly became a staple of the Marvel movie experience.
In 2001, Lee established POW! Entertainment with partners Gill Champion and Arthur Lieberman. Under this banner, Stan continues to bring new heroes and intellectual properties to an eager market of international enthusiasts.
Stan’s achievements were acknowledged in 2008, when he received the American National Medal of the Arts from President George W. Bush. That same year, Lee received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame at the age of 88.
In 2017, he officially “cemented” his legacy at the TCL Chinese Theatre at the age of 94, jokingly remarking to CBS Los Angeles that “If I’d have known I was that good, I’d have asked for a raise.”
-Additional writing by Matt. Murray