Hello, everyone, my name is Jon, and I am relatively new to Fan Fest. I want to introduce you to my new weekly article series called Marvel-ous Mondays. The focus of the series will be to really dive into the characters and their storylines/histories with the intention of creating some background on such topics for all types of fans. I am a huge Marvel fanatic, and I really hope to explore some interesting themes on a weekly basis. Above all else, I really hope all of you enjoy the content and walk away from the articles with a new view of the brand and its seemingly endless list of heroes and villains.
Now, let’s get down to business. For the first Marvel-ous Monday, I could think of no other subject than the man, the myth, the legend: Stan Lee. I have to pay homage to the individual responsible for giving us fans everything we love about Marvel and, honestly, the man is truly responsible for how pop culture idealizes super heroes. He made super heroes relatable in a way that no one had ever done before, and the industry will forever be changed because of his existence. It is sad that he was never able to see his universe completely play out on screen, but the one he created on the millions of pages of paper should never be overlooked.
Stanley Martin Lieber was born in New York on December 28, 1922, and his home life was less than ideal. Like almost every American family, the Depression greatly affected his family, especially his father’s career as a dress cutter. His ‘rags to riches’ journey notably started with his job as an assistant at Timely Comics in 1939, which later turned into Marvel Comics in the 1960s. After being promoted to an editor in 1941, his career was halted when he served our country in the Army during the latter half of World War II. During this time, Lee wrote manuals and scripts for the Signal Corps. It wasn’t until the 1960s when he went on his creative hot streak and created heroes like Spider-Man, Iron Man, and the X-Men. Stan Lee was named Marvel’s publisher in 1972, and the rest of his tenure at Marvel solidified the company’s status in history as one of the most profitable in the entertainment industry.
The story of how he met his beloved wife is fairly well known, but it sounds almost like the plot of a romantic comedy. In short, he was set up on a blind date with another model—yes, Joan was a British model—but when she met him at the door, he was love struck. He proposed to her a couple of weeks after his first encounter, and the two were married in 1947. They remained married until her death in 2017. Lee has said that his wife served as an inspiration for his writing on a daily basis, and he even accredited his creation of the Fantastic Four to her support and image. Perhaps his own harshest critic, Lee really did not think his work was so profound until later in his career. He was often on record joking about his want to publish the next great American novel, but what he failed to realize is that he constructed one of the greatest fictional universes known to man.
During the late 1960s, Stan Lee used his platform to advocate for equality and to combat the mainstream race tensions found in cities across the U.S. While such celebrity actions seem expected today with the introduction of social media, Stan Lee empowered people groups and communities through well-developed characters and crucial storytelling. If you haven’t watched some of Stan Lee’s last interviews (i.e. a 2017 statement regarding Marvel’s position on equality), the man was truly advocating for all people until the end.
His vision for the industry and his profound impact on Hollywood will forever be remembered, and his legacy for being a great human being will always be carried on through those who read his works or watch his characters on screen. Thank you, Stan Lee, for using your time on this planet to be a real super hero fighting for justice and inspiring all fans to be the best people they can be. Excelsior!
Jon Maus is a high school English Language Arts teacher and an all-around pop culture enthusiast. He has a B.S. and a M.E. in English. Some of his favorite fandoms include The Walking Dead, Marvel, Disney, Back to the Future, and the Karate Kid.