Stan Lee (born Stanley Martin Lieber, December 28, 1922) is an American comic book writer, editor, publisher, media producer, television host, actor, and former president and chairman of Marvel Comics.
Stanley Martin Lieber was born in New York City on December 28, 1922, in the apartment of his Romanian-born Jewish immigrant parents, Celia (née Solomon) and Jack Lieber, at the corner of West 98th Street and West End Avenue in Manhattan. His father, trained as a dress cutter, worked only sporadically after the Great Depression, and the family moved further uptown to Fort Washington Avenue, in Washington Heights, Manhattan. When Lee was nearly 9, his only sibling, brother Larry Lieber, was born. He said in 2006 that as a child he was influenced by books and movies, particularly those with Errol Flynn playing heroic roles. By the time Lee was in his teens, the family was living in a one-bedroom apartment at 1720 University Avenue in the Bronx. Lee described it as "a third-floor apartment facing out back", with him and his brother sharing a bedroom and his parents using a foldout couch.
A text filler in Captain America Comics #3 (May 1941) was Lee's first published comics work. Cover art by Alex Schomburg.
With the help of his uncle Robbie Solomon, Lee became an assistant in 1939 at the new Timely Comics division of pulp magazine and comic-book publisher Martin Goodman's company. Timely, by the 1960s, would evolve into Marvel Comics. Lee, whose cousin Jean was Goodman's wife, was formally hired by Timely editor Joe Simon.[n 1]
His duties were prosaic at first. "In those days [the artists] dipped the pen in ink, [so] I had to make sure the inkwells were filled", Lee recalled in 2009. "I went down and got them their lunch, I did proofreading, I erased the pencils from the finished pages for them". Marshaling his childhood ambition to be a writer, young Stanley Lieber made his comic-book debut with the text filler "Captain America Foils the Traitor's Revenge" in Captain America Comics #3 (May 1941), using the pseudonym "Stan Lee", which years later he would adopt as his legal name. Lee later explained in his autobiography and numerous other sources that he had intended to save his given name for more literary work. This initial story also introduced Captain America's trademark ricocheting shield-toss, which immediately became one of the character's signatures.
He graduated from writing filler to actual comics with a backup feature, "'Headline' Hunter, Foreign Correspondent", two issues later. Lee's first superhero co-creation was the Destroyer, in Mystic Comics #6 (Aug 1941). Other characters he created during this period fans and historians call the Golden Age of comics include Jack Frost, debuting in USA Comics #1 (Aug. 1941), and Father Time, debuting in Captain America Comics #6 (Aug. 1941).
When Simon and his creative partner Jack Kirby left late in 1941, following a dispute with Goodman, the 30-year-old publisher installed Lee, just under 19 years old, as interim editor. The youngster showed a knack for the business that led him to remain as the comic-book division's editor-in-chief, as well as art director for much of that time, until 1972, when he would succeed Goodman as publisher.
Lee entered the United States Army in early 1942 and served stateside in the Signal Corps, repairing telegraph poles and other communications equipment. He was later transferred to the Training Film Division, where he worked writing manuals, training films, and slogans, and occasionally cartooning. His military classification, he says, was "playwright"; he adds that only nine men in the U.S. Army were given that title.Vincent Fago, editor of Timely's "animation comics" section, which put out humor and funny animal comics, filled in until Lee returned from his World War II military service in 1945. Lee then lived in the rented top floor of a brownstone in the East 90s in Manhattan.
He married Joan Clayton Boocock on December 5, 1947, and in 1949, the couple bought a two-story, three-bedroom home at 1084 West Broadway in Woodmere, New York, on Long Island, living there through 1952. By this time, the couple had daughter Joan Celia "J.C." Lee, born in 1950; another child, Jan Lee, died three days after delivery in 1953. Lee by this time had bought a home at 226 Richards Lane in the Long Island town of Hewlett Harbor, New York, where he and his family lived from 1952 to 1980, including the 1960s period when Lee and his artist collaborators would revolutionize comic books.
In the late 1950s, DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz revived the superheroarchetype and experienced a significant success with its updated version of the Flash, and later with super-team the Justice League of America. In response, publisher Martin Goodman assigned Lee to create a new superhero team. Lee's wife urged him to experiment with stories he preferred, since he was planning on changing careers and had nothing to lose.
Lee acted on that advice, giving his superheroes a flawed humanity, a change from the ideal archetypes that were typically written for preteens. Before this, most superheroes were idealistically perfect people with no serious, lasting problems. Lee introduced complex, naturalistic characters who could have bad tempers, fits of melancholy, and vanity; they bickered amongst themselves, worried about paying their bills and impressing girlfriends, got bored or even were sometimes physically ill.
DC was the equivalent of the big Hollywood studios: After the brilliance of DC's reinvention of the superhero ... in the late 1950s and early 1960s, it had run into a creative drought by the decade's end. There was a new audience for comics now, and it wasn't just the little kids that traditionally had read the books. The Marvel of the 1960s was in its own way the counterpart of the French New Wave.... Marvel was pioneering new methods of comics storytelling and characterization, addressing more serious themes, and in the process keeping and attracting readers in their teens and beyond. Moreover, among this new generation of readers were people who wanted to write or draw comics themselves, within the new style that Marvel had pioneered, and push the creative envelope still further.
Lee's revolution extended beyond the characters and storylines to the way in which comic books engaged the readership and built a sense of community between fans and creators. He introduced the practice of regularly including a credit panel on the splash page of each story, naming not just the writer and penciller but also the inker and letterer. Regular news about Marvel staff members and upcoming storylines was presented on the Bullpen Bulletins page, which (like the letter columns that appeared in each title) was written in a friendly, chatty style. Lee has said that his goal was for fans to think of the comics creators as friends, and considered it a mark of his success on this front that, at a time when letters to other comics publishers were typically addressed "Dear Editor", letters to Marvel addressed the creators by first name (e.g. "Dear Stan and Jack"). By 1967, the brand was well-enough ensconced in popular culture that a March 3 WBAI radio program with Lee and Kirby as guests was titled "Will Success Spoil Spiderman" [sic].
Amazing Fantasy #15 (Aug. 1962), the first appearance of Spider-Man. Cover art by Jack Kirby (penciller) and Steve Ditko (inker).
Throughout the 1960s, Lee scripted, art-directed and edited most of Marvel's series, moderated the letters pages, wrote a monthly column called "Stan's Soapbox", and wrote endless promotional copy, often signing off with his trademark motto, "Excelsior!" (which is also the New York state motto). To maintain his workload and meet deadlines, he used a system that was used previously by various comic-book studios, but due to Lee's success with it, became known as the "Marvel Method". Typically, Lee would brainstorm a story with the artist and then prepare a brief synopsis rather than a full script. Based on the synopsis, the artist would fill the allotted number of pages by determining and drawing the panel-to-panel storytelling. After the artist turned in penciled pages, Lee would write the word balloons and captions, and then oversee the lettering and coloring. In effect, the artists were co-plotters, whose collaborative first drafts Lee built upon.
Because of this system, the exact division of creative credits on Lee's comics has been disputed, especially in cases of comics drawn by Kirby and Ditko. Lee shares co-creator credit with Kirby and Ditko on, respectively, the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man feature film series.
Following Ditko's departure from Marvel in 1966, John Romita, Sr. became Lee's collaborator on The Amazing Spider-Man. Within a year, it overtook Fantastic Four to become the company's top seller. Lee and Romita's stories focused as much on the social and college lives of the characters as they did on Spider-Man's adventures. The stories became more topical, addressing issues such as the Vietnam War, political elections, and student activism.Robbie Robertson, introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man #51 (Aug. 1967) was one of the first African-American characters in comics to play a serious supporting role. In the Fantastic Four series, the lengthy run by Lee and Kirby produced many acclaimed storylines and characters that have become central to Marvel, including the Inhumans and the Black Panther, an African king who would be mainstream comics' first black superhero. The story frequently cited as Lee and Kirby's finest achievement is the three-part "Galactus Trilogy" that began in Fantastic Four #48 (March 1966), chronicling the arrival of Galactus, a cosmic giant who wanted to devour the planet, and his herald, the Silver Surfer.Fantastic Four #48 was chosen as #24 in the 100 Greatest Marvels of All Time poll of Marvel's readers in 2001. Editor Robert Greenberger wrote in his introduction to the story that "As the fourth year of the Fantastic Four came to a close, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby seemed to be only warming up. In retrospect, it was perhaps the most fertile period of any monthly title during the Marvel Age." Comics historian Les Daniels noted that "[t]he mystical and metaphysical elements that took over the saga were perfectly suited to the tastes of young readers in the 1960s", and Lee soon discovered that the story was a favorite on college campuses. Lee and artist John Buscema launched The Silver Surfer series in August 1968. Lee and Gene Colan created the Falcon, Marvel's first African-American superhero in Captain America #117 (Sept. 1969).
In 1971, Lee indirectly helped reform the Comics Code. The U. S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare had asked Lee to write a comic-book story about the dangers of drugs and Lee conceived a three-issue subplot in The Amazing Spider-Man #96–98 (cover-dated May–July 1971), in which Peter Parker's best friend becomes addicted to pills. The Comics Code Authority refused to grant its seal because the stories depicted drug use; the anti-drug context was considered irrelevant. With Goodman's cooperation and confident that the original government request would give him credibility, Lee had the story published without the seal. The comics sold well and Marvel won praise for its socially conscious efforts. The CCA subsequently loosened the Code to permit negative depictions of drugs, among other new freedoms.
Lee also supported using comic books to provide some measure of social commentary about the real world, often dealing with racism and bigotry. "Stan's Soapbox", besides promoting an upcoming comic book project, also addressed issues of discrimination, intolerance, or prejudice.
In 1972, Lee stopped writing monthly comic books to assume the role of publisher. His final issue of The Amazing Spider-Man was #110 (July 1972) and his last Fantastic Four was #125 (Aug. 1972).
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In later years, Lee became a figurehead and public face for Marvel Comics. He made appearances at comic book conventions around America, lecturing at colleges and participating in panel discussions. He owned a vacation home on Cutler Lane in Remsenburg, New York and, from 1975 to 1980, a two-bedroom condominium on the 14th floor of 220 East 63rd Street in Manhattan. Lee and John Romita, Sr. launched the Spider-Man newspaper comic strip on January 3, 1977. Lee's final collaboration with Jack Kirby, The Silver Surfer: The Ultimate Cosmic Experience was published in 1978 as part of the Marvel Fireside Books series and is considered to be Marvel's first graphic novel. Lee and John Buscema produced the first issue of The Savage She-Hulk (Feb. 1980) which introduced the female cousin of the Hulk and crafted a Silver Surfer story for Epic Illustrated #1 (Spring 1980). He moved to California in 1981 to develop Marvel's TV and movie properties. He has been an executive producer for, and has made cameo appearances in, Marvel film adaptations and other movies. He and his wife bought a home in West Hollywood, California previously owned by comedian Jack Benny's radio announcer, Don Wilson. He occasionally returned to comic book writing with various Silver Surfer projects including a 1982 one-shot drawn by John Byrne, the Judgment Day graphic novel illustrated by John Buscema, the Parable limited series drawn by French artist Mœbius, and The Enslavers graphic novel with Keith Pollard. Lee was briefly president of the entire company, but soon stepped down to become publisher instead, finding that being president was too much about numbers and finance and not enough about the creative process he enjoyed.
Peter Paul and Lee began to start a new Internet-based superhero creation, production and marketing studio, Stan Lee Media, in 1998. It grew to 165 people and went public through a reverse merger structured by investment banker Stan Medley in 1999, but near the end of 2000, investigators discovered illegal stock manipulation by Paul and corporate officer Stephan Gordon. Stan Lee Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February 2001. Paul was extradited to the U.S. from Brazil, and pleaded guilty to violating SEC Rule 10b-5 in connection with trading of his stock in Stan Lee Media. Lee was never implicated in the scheme.
In 2001, Lee, Gill Champion and Arthur Lieberman formed POW! (Purveyors of Wonder) Entertainment to develop film, television and video game properties. Lee created the risqué animated superhero series Stripperella for Spike TV. In 2004 POW Entertainment went public via another reverse merger structured again by investment banker Stan Medley. Also in 2004 Lee announced a superhero program that would feature Ringo Starr, the former Beatle, as the lead character. Additionally, in August of that year, Lee announced the launch of Stan Lee's Sunday Comics, hosted by Komikwerks.com, where monthly subscribers could read a new, updated comic and "Stan's Soapbox" every Sunday. The column has not been updated since February 15, 2005.
In 2006, Marvel commemorated Lee's 65 years with the company by publishing a series of one-shot comics starring Lee himself meeting and interacting with many of his co-creations, including Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, the Thing, Silver Surfer and Doctor Doom. These comics also featured short pieces by such comics creators as Joss Whedon and Fred Hembeck, as well as reprints of classic Lee-written adventures.
On March 15, 2007, Stan Lee Media's new president, Jim Nesfield, filed a lawsuit against Marvel Entertainment for $5 billion, claiming that the company is co-owner of the characters that Lee created for Marvel. On June 9, 2007, Stan Lee Media sued Lee; his newer company, POW! Entertainment; POW! subsidiary QED Entertainment; and other former Stan Lee Media staff at POW!
In August 2011, Lee announced his support for the Eagle Initiative, a program to find new talent in the comic book field.
In 2011, Lee was writing a live-action musical, The Yin and Yang Battle of Tao. In October, Lee announced he would partner with 1821 Comics on a multimedia imprint for children, Stan Lee's Kids Universe, a move he said addressed the lack of comic books targeted for that demographic; and that he was collaborating with the company on its futuristic graphic novel Romeo & Juliet: The War, by writer Max Work and artist Skan Srisuwan.
In April 2012, Lee announced his partnership with Regina Carpinelli, the founder and CEO of Comikaze Expo. Comikaze Expo, Los Angeles' largest comic book convention, was rebranded as Stan Lee's Comikaze Presented by POW! Entertainment.
It was announced in February 2013 that one of Lee's recently created characters, the Annihilator, a Chinese prisoner-turned-superhero named Ming, would be adapted into a film written by Dan Gilroy and produced by Barry Josephson.
Lee is among the interview subjects in Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle, a three-hour documentary narrated by Liev Schreiber which premiered on PBS in October 2013.
Disney Publishing announced in November 2013 that Lee would write a book, Zodiac, with Stuart Moore.
The Stan Lee Foundation was founded in 2010 to focus on literacy, education and the arts. Its stated goals include supporting programs and ideas that improve access to literacy resources, as well as promoting diversity, national literacy, culture and the arts.
In Marvel's "Flashback" series of titles cover-dated July 1997, a top-hatted caricature of Lee as a ringmaster introduced stories that detailed events in Marvel characters' lives before they became superheroes, in special "-1" editions of many Marvel titles. The "ringmaster" depiction of Lee was originally from Generation X #17 (July 1996), where the character narrated a story set primarily in an abandoned circus. Though the story itself was written by Scott Lobdell, the narration by "Ringmaster Stan" was written by Lee, and the character was drawn in that issue by Chris Bachalo.
On one of the last pages of Truth: Red, White & Black, Lee appears in a real photograph among other celebrities on a wall of the Bradley home. Under his given name of Stanley Lieber, Stan Lee appears briefly in Paul Malmont's 2006 novel The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril.
In Lavie Tidhar's 2013 The Violent Century, Lee appears – under his birth name of "Stanley Martin Lieber" – as a historian of superhumans.
Film and television appearances
One of Lee's earliest contributions to animation based on Marvel properties was narrating the 1980s Incredible Hulk animated series, always beginning his narration with a self-introduction and ending with "This is Stan Lee saying, Excelsior!" Lee had previously narrated the "Seven Little Superheroes" episode of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, which the Hulk series was paired with for broadcast.
Lee was an executive producer of the 1990s animated TV series Spider-Man. He appeared as himself in animated form in the series finale episode titled "Farewell, Spider-Man." Spider-Man is transported by Madame Web into the "real" world where he is a fictional character. He meets Lee and the two swing around until Spider-Man drops him off on top of a building; Madame Web appears and brings Spider-Man back to his homeworld. Realizing he is stuck on a roof, Lee muses, hoping the Fantastic Four will show up and lend a hand.
He also voices the character "Frank Elson" in an episode of Spider-Man: The New Animated Series series broadcast by MTV in 2003, titled "Mind Games" (Parts 1 and 2, originally aired on August 15 and 22, 2003).
Lee has appeared in episodes of the Disney XD TV series Ultimate Spider-Man as a high school janitor named Stan, in which he makes references to Lee's real-life career. In the pilot "Great Power" and the episode "Why I Hate Gym," he mentions Irving Forbush, an in-joke character Lee co-created in 1955 as a literary device. Stan the Janitor also appears in Episode 18, "Out of Damage Control," as a part-time worker for Damage Control. In the episode "Stan By Me," he, along with Mary Jane Watson, Agent/Principal Coulson, and Harry Osborn, helped Spider-Man fight the Lizard. At the end of the episode it is revealed that Lee's character is secretly a top S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and is aware of Peter Parker's secret identity as Spider-Man, and that he is a founding member of S.H.I.E.L.D. who named the organization, which Lee named in reality.
Lee has had cameo appearances in many films based on Marvel characters that he created or co-created. Many of these appearances are self-aware and sometimes reference Lee's involvement in the creation of the characters. Lee is a credited executive producer on most films based upon Marvel characters he created or co-created.
In X-Men (2000), Lee appears as a hotdog stand vendor on the beach when Senator Kelly emerges naked onshore after escaping from Magneto.
In Spider-Man (2002), he appeared during Spider-Man's first battle with the Green Goblin, pulling a little girl away from falling debris. In the DVD's deleted scenes, Lee plays a street vendor who tries to sell Peter Parker a pair of sunglasses "just like the X-Men wear."
In Daredevil (2003), as a child, Matt Murdock stops Lee from crossing the street and getting hit by a bus.
In Hulk (2003), he appears walking alongside former TV-series Hulk Lou Ferrigno in an early scene, both as security guards at Bruce Banner's lab. It was his first speaking role in a film based on one of his characters.
In Spider-Man 2 (2004), Lee pulls an innocent person away from danger during Spider-Man's first battle with Doctor Octopus. In a blooper scene that appears as an extra on the film's DVD release, Lee has another cameo, saying, "Look, Spider-Man stole that kid's sneakers."
In X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), Lee and Chris Claremont appear as two of Jean Grey's neighbors in the opening scenes set 20 years ago. Lee, credited as "Waterhose Man," is watering the lawn when Jean telekinetically redirects the water from the hose into the air.
In Spider-Man 3 (2007), Lee appears in a credited role as "Man in Times Square". He stands next to Peter Parker, both of them reading a news bulletin about Spider-Man, and commenting to Peter that, "You know, I guess one person can make a difference". He then says his catchphrase, "'Nuff said."
In Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), Lee appears as himself at Reed Richards' and Susan Storm's first wedding, being turned away by a security guard for not being on the guest list. In Fantastic Four Annual #3 (1965), in which the couple married, Lee and Jack Kirby are similarly turned away.
In Iron Man (2008), Lee (credited as "Himself") appears at a gala cavorting with three blondes, where Tony Stark mistakes him for Hugh Hefner. In the theatrical release of the film, Stark simply greets Lee as "Hef" and moves on; another version of the scene was filmed where Stark realizes his mistake, but Lee graciously responds, "That's okay, I get this all the time."
In The Incredible Hulk (2008), Lee appears as a hapless citizen who accidentally ingests a soft drink mixed with Bruce Banner's blood, subsequently dropping it and leading to the discovery of Dr. Banner's location in a bottling plant in Brazil.
In Iron Man 2 (2010), during the Stark Expo, Lee, wearing suspenders and a red shirt and black and purple tie, is greeted by Tony Stark as "Larry King".
In Thor (2011), Lee appears among many people at the site where Thor's hammer Mjolnir lands on earth. He tears the bed off his pickup truck in an attempt to pull Mjolnir out of the ground with a chain and causes everyone in the scene to laugh by asking, "Did it work?". His character is credited as "Stan the Man".
In Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), this time portraying a general in World War II, who mistakes another man for Captain America/Steve Rogers, commenting, "I thought he'd be taller." This film is an exception considering Lee had nothing to do with the basic creation of the title character. However, Lee began his writing career in the character's original series where he created the idea of Captain America using his shield as a throwing weapon. Furthermore, he was responsible for reviving the character in the Silver Age of Comic Books and co-wrote most of the character's stories in The Avengers and his solo stories in that period.
In The Avengers (2012), Lee makes a cameo appearance as a random citizen in the park asked about the Avengers saving Manhattan. Lee's character responds, "Superheroes in New York? Give me a break", and then returns to his game of chess. He also appears in a deleted scene, apparently as the same character: when a waitress flirts with Steve Rogers, he says to him, "Ask for her number, you moron!"
In The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), Lee makes a cameo as a librarian at Midtown Science High School, comically oblivious to the fight between Spider-Man and the Lizard happening behind him (a table nearly hits him as well) due to the fact that he is listening to classical music. He walks out of the library as the fight continues.
In Iron Man 3 (2013), Lee makes a cameo as the beauty pageant judge that appears on a television monitor and happily gives one of the contestants a 10.
In Thor: The Dark World (2013), Lee appears as a mental ward patient who loans his shoe to Erik Selvig for a demonstration about "the Convergence" in his delusions. When Selvig finishes and asks if anyone has questions, Lee says, "Yeah, can I have my shoe back"?
In Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Lee appears as an elderly gentleman having a conversation with a significantly younger woman. Rocket, viewing him through a scanning device, dismisses him as part of what he saw was wrong with the planet Xandar. With the exception of Groot, Ronan and The Collector, Lee did not have a hand in the creation of the Guardians of the Galaxy. He was originally intended to appear in a cell of the Collector's, giving Groot a rude gesture, but this scene was not filmed.
In the Disney animated film, Big Hero 6 (2014), Lee's voice and likeness are used for the father of main character Fred. Though he appears in a portrait earlier in the film, Lee's cameo is a post-credits scene in which he demonstrates to his son that they have many things in common.
Lee has an extensive cameo in the 1995 Kevin Smith film Mallrats. He plays himself, this time visiting the mall to sign books at a comic store. Later, he takes on the role of a sage-like character, giving Jason Lee's character, Brodie Bruce (a longtime fan of Stan's), advice on his love life. He also recorded interviews with Smith for the non-fiction video Stan Lee's Mutants, Monsters, and Marvels (2002). Lee will make a second cameo in a Kevin Smith film with the 2015 release Yoga Hosers.
Lee appears with director Kevin Smith and 2000s Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada in the DVD program Marvel Then & Now: An Evening with Stan Lee and Joe Quesada, hosted by Kevin Smith.
Lee was interviewed on the History Channel show Superhuman by Daniel Browning Smith, who held several Guinness Records for extreme flexibility due to having Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a genetic condition affecting collagen formation. Smith had created his own comic book to display his own struggles as an outcast for his flexibility, and legitimately surprised Lee with a quick demonstration of his talent.
In "I Am Furious (Yellow)", the April 28, 2002, episode of The Simpsons, Lee voices the animated Stan Lee, who is a prolonged visitor to Comic Book Guy's store. He asks if Comic Book Guy is the stalker of Lynda Carter – the star of the 1970s show Wonder Woman – and shows signs of dementia, such as breaking a customer's toy Batmobile by trying to cram a Thingaction figure into it (claiming that he "made it better"), hiding DC comics behind Marvel comics, and believing that he is the Hulk (and fails trying to become the Hulk, while Comic Book Guy comments he couldn't even change into Bill Bixby). Lee also appeared on the commentary track along with other Simpsons writers and directors on the episode for The Simpsons Season 13 box set released in 2010. In a later Simpsons episode, "Worst Episode Ever", Lee's picture is seen next to several others on the wall behind the register, under the heading "Banned for life". Lee later officiated Comic Book Guy's wedding to a lovely manga artist in "Married to the Blob".
Lee made an appearance on December 21, 2006, on the NBC game show Identity.
Lee appeared as himself in "The Excelsior Acquisition", a third season episode of The Big Bang Theory, in March 2010. He appears at the front door of his house wearing Fantastic Four pajamas, ultimately calling back into the house, "Joanie, call the police!" to get rid of Sheldon, who showed up after missing a comic book signing at the local store and ordered a restraining order against him.
He plays a bus driver in the 16th episode of the first season of Heroes.
He guest-starred as Dr. Lee (aka: Generalissimo) in "Glimpse", a season four episode of Eureka that aired in July 2011.
Lee appears in "The Guardian", the October 7, 2010, episode of Nikita, as Hank Excelsior, a witness to a bank robbery who is interviewed by a TV reporter.
Lee was interviewed in the 2011 documentary Superheroes.
Lee is scheduled to appear on X Japan's music video "Born to be Free".
Lee portrayed himself at a CIA holiday party in the fifth season of Chuck, in which it is revealed in that universe he secretly works for the government and has a romantic interest in General Beckman.
Stan Lee appeared in the eleventh episode of season five of The Guild, in which he was captured at a convention by the character Zaboo's Master Chief cosplaying henchmen.
Stan Lee lent his voice to "The Amazing Man-Spider", a segment of the May 13, 2013 episode of the satirical animated TV series MAD. The segment depicts the story of what happened to the radioactive spider that bit Peter Parker.
Stan Lee portrayed a future version of Tony Stark in "Episode 205 – The Future!" of the comedy web series Avengers Assemble!. In this episode, he delivered from the future a cryptic message to the rest of his fellow Avengers, but constantly frustrated his companions due to his ineptness with the technology of his future era.
He was the subject of an April 2012 Epix cable-network documentary, "With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story.”
Lee is a playable character in Activision's The Amazing Spider-Man video game, which was released in June 2012, as a tie-in to the film of the same name. In the game, Lee is depicted as having the same superpowers as Spider-Man, and uses them to retrieve the pages of a new comic book manuscript that he had lost and were subsequently scattered around Manhattan. He also voices a character with his first name in the main story mode, who calls Peter about the charges to his credit card when Peter's walking to Dr. Connor's sewer lab.
Lee was raised in a Jewish family. In a 2002 survey of whether he believes in God, he stated, "Well, let me put it this way... [Pauses.] No, I'm not going to try to be clever. I really don't know. I just don't know."
In late September 2012, Lee underwent a surgical operation to insert a pacemaker into his body, cancelling planned appearances at conventions.
^Sanderson, Peter; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2008). "1940s". Marvel Chronicle A Year by Year History. Dorling Kindersley. p. 19. ISBN978-0756641238. Joe Simon and Jack Kirby's assistant Stanley Lieber wrote his first story for Timely, a text story called 'Captain America Foils the Traitor's Revenge'. It was also his first superhero story, and the first work he signed using his new pen name of Stan Lee.
^Thomas, Roy, Stan Lee's Amazing Marvel Universe (Sterling Publishing, New York, 2006), p. 11. ISBN 978-1-4027-4225-5 The line reads: "With the speed of thought, he sent his shield spinning through the air to the other end of the tent, where it smacked the knife out of Haines' hand!" It became a convention starting the following issue, in a Simon & Kirby's comics story depict the following: "Captain America's speed of thought and action save Bucky's life—as he hurls his shield across the room".
^Thomas, Stan Lee's Amazing Marvel Universe, pp. 12–13
^Thomas, Stan Lee's Amazing Marvel Universe, p. 14
The DC comics were ... one dimensional characters whose only characteristic was they dressed up in costumes and did good. Whereas Stan Lee had this huge breakthrough of two-dimensional characters. So, they dress up in costumes and do good, but they've got a bad heart. Or a bad leg. I actually did think for a long while that having a bad leg was an actual character trait.
^DeFalco, Tom "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 84: "It did not take long for editor Stan Lee to realize that The Fantastic Four was a hit...the flurry of fan letters all pointed to the FF's explosive popularity."
^DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 85: "Based on their collaboration on The Fantastic Four, [Stan] Lee worked with Jack Kirby. Instead of a team that fought traditional Marvel monsters however, Lee decided that this time he wanted to feature a monster as the hero."
^DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 88: "[Stan Lee] had always been fascinated by the legends of the Norse gods and realized that he could use those tales as the basis for his new series centered on the mighty Thor...The heroic and glamorous style that...Jack Kirby [had] was perfect for Thor."
^DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 91: "Set against the background of the Vietnam War, Iron Man signaled the end of Marvel's monster/suspense line when he debuted in Tales of Suspense #39...[Stan] Lee discussed the general outline for Iron Man with Larry Lieber, who later wrote a full script for the origin story."
^DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 94: "The X-Men #1 introduced the world to Professor Charles Xavier and his teenage students Cyclops, Beast, Angel, Iceman, and Marvel Girl. Magneto, the master of magnetism and future leader of the evil mutants, also appeared."
^DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 100: "Stan Lee chose the name Daredevil because it evoked swashbucklers and circus daredevils, and he assigned Bill Everett, the creator of the Sub-Mariner to design and draw Daredevil #1."
^DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 93: [Stan Lee] decided his new superhero feature would star a magician. Since Lee was enjoying his collaborations with Steve Ditko on The Amazing Spider-Man, he decided to assign the new feature to Ditko, who usually handled at least one of the backups in Strange Tales.
^DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 87: "Deciding that his new character would have spider-like powers, [Stan] Lee commissioned Jack Kirby to work on the first story. Unfortunately, Kirby's version of Spider-Man's alter ego Peter Parker proved too heroic, handsome, and muscular for Lee's everyman hero. Lee turned to Steve Ditko, the regular artist on Amazing Adult Fantasy, who designed a skinny, awkward teenager with glasses."
^DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 94: "Filled with some wonderful visual action, The Avengers #1 has a very simple story: the Norse god Loki tricked the Hulk into going on a rampage ... The heroes eventually learned about Loki's involvement and united with the Hulk to form the Avengers."
^DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 86: "Stan Lee and Jack Kirby reintroduced one of Marvel's most popular Golden Age heroes – Namor, the Sub-Mariner."
^DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 99: "'Captain America lives again!' announced the cover of The Avengers #4...Cap was back."
^DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 107: "Originally created for pulp magazines, and then used in Marvel Comics #1 (Oct. 1939), Ka-Zar the Great was brought up by tigers...When Stan Lee and Jack Kirby revived the character, they also paid homage to...[Edgar Rice] Burroughs' ideas: The dinosaur-filled Savage Land is based on Burroughs' Savage Pellucidar."
^"Radio". The New York Times. March 3, 1967. Retrieved April 20, 2013. Abstract only; full article requires payment or subscription
^Thomas, Roy; Sanderson, Peter (2007). The Marvel Vault: A Museum-in-a-Book with Rare Collectibles from the World of Marvel. Running Press. p. 98. ISBN978-0762428441.
^Manning, Matthew K.; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2012). "1960s". Spider-Man Chronicle Celebrating 50 Years of Web-Slinging. Dorling Kindersley. p. 37. ISBN978-0756692360. [Stan Lee] knew that most readers tuned in every month for a glimpse of that side of Spider-Man's life as much as they did to see the wall-crawler battle the latest supervillain.
^Manning "1960s" in Gilbert (2012), p. 39: The Amazing Spider-Man #47 (April 1967) "Kraven's latest rematch with Spidey was set during a going-away party for Flash Thompson, who was facing the very real issue of the Vietnam War draft."
^Manning "1960s" in Gilbert (2012), p. 43: The Spectacular Spider-Man #1 (July 1968) "Drawn by Romita and Jim Mooney, the mammoth 52-page lead story focused on corrupt politician Richard Raleigh's plot to terrorize the city."
^Manning "1960s" in Gilbert (2012), p. 46: The Amazing Spider-Man #68 (Jan. 1969) "Stan Lee tackled the issues of the day again when, with artists John Romita and Jim Mooney, he dealt with social unrest at Empire State University."
^David, Peter; Greenberger, Robert (2010). The Spider-Man Vault: A Museum-in-a-Book with Rare Collectibles Spun from Marvel's Web. Running Press. p. 34. ISBN0762437723. Joseph 'Robbie' Robertson made his debut in The Amazing Spider-Man #51, in a manner that was as quiet and unassuming as the character himself. His debut wasn't treated like the landmark event that it was; he was simply there one day, no big deal.
^DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 117: Stan Lee wanted to do his part by creating the first black super hero. Lee discussed his ideas with Jack Kirby and the result was seen in Fantastic Four #52.
^Thomas, Stan Lee's Amazing Marvel Universe, pp. 112–115
^Hatfield, Charles (February 2004). "The Galactus Trilogy: An Appreciation". The Collected Jack Kirby Collector1: 211.
^DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 115: "Stan Lee may have started the creative discussion that culminated in Galactus, but the inclusion of the Silver Surfer in Fantastic Four #48 was pure Jack Kirby. Kirby realized that a being like Galactus required an equally impressive herald."
^DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 131: "When Stan Lee was told to expand the Marvel line, he immediately gave the Surfer his own title...Since Jack Kirby had more than enough assignments, Lee assigned John Buscema the task of illustrating the new book."
^Daniels, p. 139: "Beautifully drawn by John Buscema, this comic book represented an attempt to upgrade the medium with a serious character of whom Lee had grown very fond."
^DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 137: "The Black Panther may have broken the mold as Marvel's first black superhero, but he was from Africa. The Falcon, however, was the first black American superhero."
^Saffel, Steve (2007). "Bucking the Establishment, Marvel Style". Spider-Man the Icon: The Life and Times of a Pop Culture Phenomenon. Titan Books. p. 60. ISBN978-1-84576-324-4. The stories received widespread mainstream publicity, and Marvel was hailed for sticking to its guns.
^Daniels, pp. 152 and 154: "As a result of Marvel's successful stand, the Comics Code had begun to look just a little foolish. Some of its more ridiculous restrictions were abandoned because of Lee's decision."
^Manning "1970s" in Gilbert (2012), p. 61: "Stan Lee had returned to The Amazing Spider-Man for a handful of issues after leaving following issue #100 (September 1971). With issue #110. Lee once again departed the title into which he had infused so much of his own personality over his near 10-year stint as regular writer."
^Saffel, "An Adventure Each Day", p. 116: "On Monday January 3, 1977, The Amazing Spider-Man comic strip made its debut in newspapers nationwide, reuniting writer Stan Lee and artist John Romita."
^Sanderson "1970s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 187: "[In 1978], Simon & Schuster's Fireside Books published a paperback book titled The Silver Surfer by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby...This book was later recognized as Marvel's first true graphic novel."
^DeFalco "1980s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 197: "With the help of artist John Buscema, [Stan] Lee created Jennifer Walters, the cousin of Bruce Banner."
^Witt, April (October 9, 2005). "House of Cards". The Washington Post. p. W10. Archived from the original on October 27, 2011.
^Cowsill, Alan; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "2000s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 300. ISBN978-0-7566-6742-9. It was quite a coup. Stan "The Man" Lee...swapped sides to write for DC. Teaming up with comicdom's top artists, Lee put his own unique take on DC's iconic heroes.
^Lee's account of how he began working for Marvel's predecessor, Timely, has varied. He has said in lectures and elsewhere that he simply answered a newspaper ad seeking a publishing assistant, not knowing it involved comics, let alone his cousin Jean's husband, Martin Goodman:
"I applied for a job in a publishing company ... I didn't even know they published comics. I was fresh out of high school, and I wanted to get into the publishing business, if I could. There was an ad in the paper that said, "Assistant Wanted in a Publishing House." When I found out that they wanted me to assist in comics, I figured, 'Well, I'll stay here for a little while and get some experience, and then I'll get out into the real world.' ... I just wanted to know, 'What do you do in a publishing company?' How do you write? ... How do you publish? I was an assistant. There were two people there named Joe Simon and Jack Kirby – Joe was sort-of the editor/artist/writer, and Jack was the artist/writer. Joe was the senior member. They were turning out most of the artwork. Then there was the publisher, Martin Goodman... And that was about the only staff that I was involved with. After a while, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby left. I was about 17 years old [sic], and Martin Goodman said to me, 'Do you think you can hold down the job of editor until I can find a real person?' When you're 17, what do you know? I said, 'Sure! I can do it!' I think he forgot about me, because I stayed there ever since". IGN FilmForce (June 26, 2000): Stan Lee interview part 1 of 5
However, in his 2002 autobiography, Excelsior! The Amazing Life of Stan Lee (cited under References, below), he says:
"My uncle, Robbie Solomon, told me they might be able to use someone at a publishing company where he worked. The idea of being involved in publishing definitely appealed to me. ... So I contacted the man Robbie said did the hiring, Joe Simon, and applied for a job. He took me on and I began working as a gofer for eight dollars a week...."
Joe Simon, in his 1990 autobiography The Comic Book Makers (cited under References, below), gives the account slightly differently:
"One day [Goodman's relative known as] Uncle Robbie came to work with a lanky 17-year-old in tow. 'This is Stanley Lieber, Martin's wife's cousin,' Uncle Robbie said. 'Martin wants you to keep him busy.'"
In an appendix, however, Simon appears to reconcile the two accounts. He relates a 1989 conversation with Lee:
Lee: I've been saying this [classified-ad] story for years, but apparently it isn't so. And I can't remember because I['ve] said it so long now that I believe it." ... Simon: "Your Uncle Robbie brought you into the office one day and he said, 'This is Martin Goodman's wife's nephew.' [sic] ... You were seventeen years old."
Lee: "Sixteen and a half!"
Simon: "Well, Stan, you told me seventeen. You were probably trying to be older.... I did hire you."