The Bengal Beat

Stan Lee Tribute

Stan Lee makes one of his many cameos in Spider-Man. 
(Photo courtesy of Alaina Haylock)

Alaina Haylock

Stan Lee makes one of his many cameos in Spider-Man. (Photo courtesy of Alaina Haylock)

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Former Marvel Editor-In-Chief, Stan Lee passed away on November 12 at age 95 in California. Born Stanley Lieber, the legendary editor, had revealed his battle with pneumonia in early February. In his life, Lee developed a lineup of many beloved characters including Black Panther, Spider-Man, the Hulk, Thor, and Iron Man; and this lineup is part of the creative origins of Marvel Studios.

“He created characters we all know and love and [he] inspired millions around the world,” said Wade Hampton sophomore Tien Nguyen.

Lee jump started his career at Timely Comics, fueled by his love for comics and reading. He began as an office gofer, working his way up to editor, writer, and finally illustrator. At Timely, Lee met Jack Kirby, another founder of Marvel Studios. However, they were lured away by an opposing company, Atlas Comics, where Lee was chosen as the chief editor.

“One reason Stan is ‘Stan the Man’ is [because] he took his craft very seriously,” said JC Lee, Stan Lee’s daughter.

During the 1940s, DC Comics dominated the comic book industry with superheroes like Superman, Batman, and Green Lantern. In that time, Stan Lee was publishing generic romance, western, and humorous stories for Atlas Comics. When Lee was unsure of his next step, his wife, Joan B. Lee, suggested that he write comics that he found fascinating, not just marketable. Stan Lee stated, “I wanted the reader to feel [that] we were all friends, that we were sharing some private fun that the outside world wasn’t aware of.”

From this advice, Lee and Kirby brought to life to the Fantastic Four: a superhero team with human flaws. This idea differed from characters like Superman, who was perceived to be basically flawless. The Fantastic Four was a hit, quickly becoming a bestseller. When creating, Stan Lee aimed “to make real flesh-and-blood characters with personality [for his readers].” Following this success, Stan Lee created other popular characters like Spider-Man, Iron Man, the X-Men, Daredevil, and Doctor Strange. With Kirby’s help, Lee combined these heroes to form the team best known as the Avengers.

When reflecting on the creation of Spider-Man, Lee claimed, “I never thought that Spider-Man would become the worldwide icon that he is. I just hoped the books would sell and I’d keep my job.”

Today, Marvel Studios is a $16 billion franchise, originating from the co-founders Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Four of the most grossed movie of all time are derived from Marvel characters. Outside of the company, Lee was an outspoken and influential figure.

“[Stan Lee] was very outspoken against racism and bigotry, which I think is pretty cool,” said Nguyen.

Lee was viewed as “energetic, optimistic, and self-effacing” by the New York Times. It’s undeniable that Lee transformed the comic book world for the better by bringing attention to social issues and trends by including heroes of various ethnicities and backgrounds. For many people, he is seen as the embodiment of Marvel Studios.

“He has inspired a lot of people and I believe the next generation will have even more people trying to make comic books [because of him],” said sophomore Connor McAbee.

In relation to writers or artists pursuing their dreams, Stan Lee said, “I try not to do anything that’s too close to what I’ve done before. And the nice thing is we have a big universe here. It’s filled with new ideas. All you have to do is grab them.”

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