Stan Lee: A 93-Year-Old Marvel

Stan Lee

Today is the 93rd birthday of comic book legend Stan Lee.

Here are a few things you may not have known about him.

He was born Stanley Martin Lieber in his parents’ apartment in New York. As a child he enjoyed writing and found work writing obituaries and press releases. He also worked as a sandwich delivery boy, as a theater usher and selling subscriptions to a newspaper. In 1939, he joined Timely Comics, which would eventually become Marvel Comics. He began his career as an assistant — filling inkwells, making meal runs, proofreading and erasing pencils from finished pages. He made his comic-book debut with the text filler “Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge” in May 1941. The story introduced Captain America’s now-trademark ricocheting shield toss. His first comic was a backup feature called “‘Headline’ Hunter: Foreign Correspondent.” In 1941, at 19 years old, Lee was made interim editor, eventually earning the job on a permanent basis.

In the 1950s, the company became known as Atlas Comics and published a wide variety of genres, notably not superheroes. That changed in the late 1950s when DC Comics began having success with “The Flash” and “Justice League of America.” Reacting to that success, Atlas publisher Martin Goodman told Lee to create a superhero team. He worked with artist Jack Kirby to create The Fantastic Four. The success of The Fantastic Four was followed by The Hulk, Thor, Iron Man and the X-Men with Kirby; and Spider-Man with Steve Ditko.

Lee would go on to write and edit most of Marvel’s properties, moderate the letters to the editor pages and write a monthly column. To meet this workload, Lee used what is known as the “Marvel Method,” which was used by other comic publishers before Marvel. Lee would come up with a story idea and the artist would fill the pages based on a synopsis. Lee would fill in word balloons later. He continued writing comics on a regular basis until 1972. After that he became publisher of Marvel, a job he held until 1996.

Our question, with what exclamation does Stan Lee usually sign off?

Today is King Taksin Memorial Day in Thailand, Proclamation Day in South Australia, and Republic Day in South Sudan. It’s unofficially National Card Playing Day, National Chocolate Candy Day and Pledge of Allegiance Day. It’s the birthday of U.S. president Woodrow Wilson, actress Maggie Smith and actor Denzel Washington.


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