Stan Lee has almost mythical standing among comic book aficionados. Without him, the world would never have heard of Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, or any of the other 350 comic book characters that sprang from his fertile mind (see the list here).
Born Stanley martin Lieber on December 28, 1922, Lee revolutionized the comic book industry and American culture with his creativity. Here are some facts about the Man behind Marvel Comics.
- One of his first jobs was writing obituaries.
- He enlisted in the US Army in 1942 and served through World War II as part of the Signal Corps, where he wrote manuals, training film scripts and slogans for the Army’s home front efforts, as well as occasional cartooning.
- He was one of only nine people in the Army at that time to be listed as a “playwright.”
- He became an editor at Timely Comics in 1941. Timely Comics would eventually be renamed “Atlas Comics” in the 1950s and was re-branded as “Marvel Comics” in 1961.
- In 1998, Stan signed a lifetime deal with Marvel Enterprises, Inc. The contract only requires that he spend 10 percent of his time with the company. In a 2012 Reddit Q&A thread, he told a fan, “I don’t have any spare time.”
- It is no secret that Stan has cameo roles in many Marvel movies, but did you know that it is actually part of his contract? A special clause in the agreement specifies that Stan must appear in any film based on one of his characters.
- Stan wrote more than a dozen DC Comics in a series that re-imagined many popular DC characters with new histories and personalities.
- In 2008, President George W. Bush presented Stan with the American National Medal of the Arts.
- In 2012, Stan co-wrote a New York Times bestselling graphic novel for 1821 Comics called Romeo and Juliet: The War.
- Stan Lee is a playable character in downloadable content for the 2012 video game The Amazing Spider-Man.
- If he could be one Marvel super villain, Stan has said he would want to be Dr. Doom.
- Stan’s trademark catchphrase – “Excelsior!” – means “Ever upward.”
- Stan is the recipient of the 2,428th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It is located at 7072 Hollywood Blvd, in front of the Live Nation Building.