Stan Lee, the artist extraordinaire, who revolutionised comic books for kids and adults of every age, passed away at the age of 95. His efforts in transforming comics, from the domain of the 'nerds' to being accessible to everybody, was monumental.
While his creations will live on to immortalise him, he, however, did more than just create works of wonder that caught kids' imaginations. The man, not only did he achieve success after 40 years of age, but he also dedicated his entire life to just one company alone, which now sees the fruits of his sheer commitment.
1. Stan Lee became the interim editor of Timely Comics at the early age of 19.
Timely comics was later rebranded as Atlas, and after all the success, as Marvel Comics.
2. Two weeks into his job at Timely Comics, he got the opportunity to write a two-page Captain America comic.
This was also Lee's first big break.
3. He served the United States army in 1942, following the bombing of Pearl Harbour.
Lee enlisted in the army after hearing of the attacks on Pearl Harbor. He served the army in the Signal Corps, where he repaired telegraph poles and other communication equipment.
4. He pushed an edition of Spider-Man which highlighted the dangers of substance abuse.
He faced a severe backlash from the Comics Code Authority, as the issue depicted Harry from Spider-Man, abusing pills after a break-up. He, however, convinced his publisher to push this important story anyway.
5. He wrote training films for the army and wrote alongside Dr Seuss.
Lee also worked as a playwright in the Training Film Division for the army where he worked closely with Dr Seuss.
6. Often given a subordinate role, Lee brought women and minorities to the forefront in his comics.
In this endeavour, Lee co-created Black Panther, the first mainstream African-American superhero.
7. He revolutionised the comic world by introducing the ‘Marvel Method’ and created a 'shared universe' which allowed for continuity in the comics.
He also introduced complexity in the comics at a time when they were considered childish. He did what he thought was best and was rarely influenced by protesting editors.
8. He used comics to voice social issues.
X-Men, for instance, was credited to be an allegory for the struggle of Civil Rights.
9. Lee donated portions of his personal effects to the University of Wyoming.
As he didn't own the rights to any of the characters he created, he didn't receive anything when Disney purchased the rights from Marvel for $4.24 billion. However, he always has supported and pushed education and art, be it through the narratives in his comics or his philanthropy work.
10. Stan Lee was heavily influenced by authors like Stephen King, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, and William Shakespeare.
These authors' voices live through the narratives in the comics that Stan Lee helped co-create.
11. In 2012, he co-wrote a graphic novel, Romeo and Juliet: The War, which went on to become a New York Time's bestseller.
This only goes on to prove that even after more than five decades of writing comic books, and at a fragile age of 87, he could still create a work of pure genius.
12. Despite facing many hardships, he remained optimistic with his iconic catchphrase, 'Excelsior!'
The catchphrase means 'ever upwards'.
13. Before making a break in the comic book world, Stan Lee used to write obituaries.
He used to write antemortem obituaries at an undisclosed news office in New York. He, however, later quit the job as he found it to be too depressing.