Stan Lee, the creator of today’s big screen superheroes including Spider-Man, Hulk, Fantastic Four, Black Panther and others, has died. He was 95.
Born Stanley Martin Lieber on Dec. 28, 1922, to immigrant parents in the Washington Heights section of New York, Lee grew up in poverty. He started his career in the comic book world first with a job as an office boy with for $8 a week at Timely Comics, which later became Marvel Comics.
After serving during World War II, Lee returned to Marvel Comics as an editor. During the 1960s, Lee decided to go against the norm when it came to superheroes and created characters with real human issues. One of his most famous is Peter Parker, who worried about taking care of his elderly Aunt May and dating girls while also being the web-slinging crime-fighter Spider-Man.
Lee was among the first major comic book publishers to print Black superheroes, such as Luke Cage and Black Panther, and fought back against stores that did not want to carry a Black hero title. Most famously he stated to store owners that if they did not carry Black superhero titles from Marvel they would not be able to carry any Marvel comics. As a result, fans have witnessed the blockbuster success of the movie Black Panther and the TV series “Luke Cage” on Netflix.
Lee also was seen in numerous big screen adaptations of his creations in reoccurring cameos as a minor character in many of the films, including Deadpool (2016), Hulk (2003), The Avengers (2012) and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014).
Although rich and recognizable by many, he still kept a common touch and philosophy about life. Lee stated during a Washington Post interview, “I used to be embarrassed because I was just a comic book writer while other people were building bridges or going on to medical careers. And then I began to realize: entertainment is one of the most important things in people’s lives. Without it, they might go off the deep end. I feel that if you’re able to entertain people, you’re doing a good thing.”
The last few years of his life was filled with legal drama, which included having his blood stolen for comic book ink and an accusation of sexual misconduct by one of his nurses. Sadly, there was an elder abuse investigation into his personal care and finances as he grew older.