Stan Lee was active right til the end. In the clip above, he’s the subject of a 2015 Larry King interview where he talks about his career, how he got into comics and what he got out of his 20 movie cameos. What an unbeatable charisma, complete with that wonderful New York accent. Two days ago, we lost him at the age of 95.
Born in New York City to a couple of Romanian Jewish immigrants, Lee grew up reading comic books and watching Errol Flynn at the movies. That was a perfect start for a kid who in 1939 was hired at a publishing firm called Timely Comics (the future Marvel) where he wrote filler for the comics, including “Captain Marvel”.
Lee eventually started writing comics of his own. His first superhero was Destroyer, a journalist who fought Nazis after being injected with a powerful serum. You might say that’s also a way for a Jewish kid to attack Hitler, but Lee did join the Army during World War II as well and served with the Signal Corps.
After returning to Timely, which was now called Atlas Comics, Lee and his perennial collaborator Jack Kirby began what would become the Marvel revolution. In the early 1960s, they experienced an unequaled creative rush – the Fantastic Four was followed by the creation of Hulk, Thor, Black Panther, Spider-Man, and many other colorful heroes.
Stan Lee always fought against racism and bigotry. It showed in his comics, in his work for Marvel and it keeps showing in the cinematic blockbusters that have been so tremendously successful the past decade, challenging our perception of what a superhero should look like. In 2008, President George W. Bush presented him with the National Medal of the Arts. Comic books should indeed be taken seriously.
Marvel has evolved into a juggernaut of a company, developing comic books, movies, games, in a partnership with Disney that both benefit from. And Stan Lee has remained its icon, his movie cameos turning into an event that every fan expects. It’s sad that we won’t see him again in the future, but at least he will make an appearance in the next Infinity War.
Sad, sad day. Rest In Power, Uncle Stan. You have made the world a better place through the power of modern mythology and your love of this messy business of being human… pic.twitter.com/x6yZ6ClNSX
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) 12 november 2018
There will never be another Stan Lee. For decades he provided both young and old with adventure, escape, comfort, confidence, inspiration, strength, friendship and joy. He exuded love and kindness and will leave an indelible mark on so, so, so many lives. Excelsior!!
— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) 12 november 2018
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On the news of Lee’s death, many Hollywood celebrities expressed their grief, not least the stars of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans and Robert Downey, Jr.