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Remembering Stan Lee: How He Rose To Fame

Stan Lee, the creator of the legendary Marvel comic superheroes, passed away Monday at the age of 95. His death was sad news for the comic world and those who had the pleasure of appreciating the work Lee developed.

Thanks to a job with Timely Comics at the age of 16, after he finished high school, a career Lee didn't even know he wanted was formed. He often said he must have been the only one who applied for the office assistant job because he got it. Whatever the reason was, it was the one decision changed the New York City native's life forever.

It has never occurred to Lee that he could be a comic writer. In fact, it was never even on his radar, as his focus was to help his parents pay bills. When he started in the business, the perception of comics was that they were merely books children enjoyed. As time went on, the opinion of the industry changed, and Lee became more taken with the comic world.

Lee finally got his shot to switch up the comic book industry when Timely was renamed Atlas. He was given the role of editor, and his comic genius began to shine. It was under a new regime that The Witness, The Destroyer, Jack Frost, Whizzer, and Black Marvel, were born courtesy of Lee. Side note, up until this point, he had been going by his birth name, Stanley Martin Lieber. After he gained success by penning comics under the name Stan Lee, he legally changed it.

During the 1970's is when a whole new era of comics was born. Atlas was renamed Marvel Comics, in an attempt to compete with DC Comics. It was under the new format that Lee, along with artist Jack Kirby, created the first of many superheroes in the Marvel Universe, the Fantastic Four. From that point forward with his characters, Lee went out to promote and prove to the world that comics were not a medium for children, as well as prove they are great ways of telling stories.

In the years that followed, the comic god created a slew of legendary superheroes including, Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, and the X-Men. At the age of 50, Lee was named Marvel Comics editorial director and publisher. He had been part of the company for 37 years before he earned the role that helped make the company a serious rival to DC Comics.

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Although he achieved great success and critical acclaim with Marvel, in 1998 Lee shocked the comic world by leaving Marvel to start his own company. He had spent 60 years with the comic publisher and did not want to abandon the company altogether. Lee kept a hand in the company when he was named chairman emeritus, which essentially meant he was retired, but still maintained a say in Marvel.

Unfortunately, branching out on his own did not prove to be the best move for the genius creator. The new company lasted six years before filing bankruptcy in 2004. However, it was not all bad. Pow Entertainment was created for his various to new characters and stories. He continued to develop more risqué creations through the new company for years.

Life was again changed for Stan Lee when the iconic characters he created for Marvel, such as Spider-Man, X-Men, and Iron Man, were adapted into huge film franchises during the early 200's. The movies helped open up an entirely new generation to the classic comics, as well as give Lee a new outlet for the characters he loved. He often made cameo appearances in the films that featured his legendary superheroes.

The news of Stan Lee's passing hit the comic world hard. Celebrities, artists, and writers alike flooded social media with tributes to him. It was apparent to those who did not personally know him that his talent was only one small factor that made him such an icon. He has been called larger than life but also a man who appreciated all the success he had in his life.

There will never be another man like Lee, who definitely changed the comic book world. As fans, colleagues, family, and fans mourn the loss of this icon; they are also celebrating everything he achieved. He has left his mark on the comic world for generations to enjoy and cherish. Perhaps we can all take a page out of Lee's book and live life to its fullest, while always being kind and appreciative.

RIP Stan Lee! Your legacy lives on, but there will never be another comic genius quite like you. What is your favorite character created by Lee?

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