This is one of those times in life where we have the death of someone many recognized as a cultural icon. A creative talent who has launched an era of fictional characters in graphic art, that has developed into huge movie entertainment.
Stan Lee was born Stanley Martin Lieber, on December 28, 1922 in New York City from Romanian-born Jewish immigrant parents. Lee had one younger brother, Larry Lieber born October 26, 1931.
“I grew up in New York City during the Depression. My earliest recollections were of my parents talking about what they would do if they didn’t have the rent money. Luckily, we were never evicted. But my father was unemployed most of the time.”
Most of us that knew anything about Stan Lee, learned it from the emerging array of super hero comic books, primarily created in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s, from the collaborative efforts of Stan Lee, his brother Martin, and some of the soon to become well known names of graphic artists from that period. A list of collaborators include the following:
John Romita Sr.
Marvel branding began in 1961, the year that the company launched The Fantastic Four, with other comic hero titles soon to follow.
The comic books looked much like other published graphic art from that period, but the contents, especially the characters, were very much like average people. It’s rival, DC Comics, a much larger publisher at that time, kept their characters in a different less relatable world. Communism wasn’t mentioned, and international conflicts were kept to a minimum. Sure, they had plenty of aliens, and fiends, but the individuals described in Marvel showed you their flaws, and emotions, and Communism. This caught the attention of young, as well as many college aged readers.
Stan Lee, was a classic liberal in the sense that he understood what it was like to be downtrodden, maligned, have personal problems, but all the while possessing a moral compass. He wasn’t afraid of tackling the larger social issues, including drugs, violence and racism. I think this statement, written about 50 years ago, is at the heart of what made Marvel Comics, more than just graphic art entertainment with simple stories. He posted his own readership columns in the back of the comics, which gave us insight as to who he was as a person.
Let’s lay it right on the line. Bigotry and racism are among the deadliest social ills plaguing the world today. But, unlike a team of costumed super-villains, they can’t be halted with a punch in the snoot, or a zap from a ray gun. The only way to destroy them is to expose them—to reveal them for the insidious evils they really are. The bigot is an unreasoning hater—one who hates blindly, fanatically, indiscriminately. If his hang-up is black men, he hates ALL black men. If a redhead once offended him, he hates ALL redheads. If some foreigner beat him to a job, he’s down on ALL foreigners. He hates people he’s never seen—people he’s never known—with equal intensity—with equal venom.
Now, we’re not trying to say it’s unreasonable for one human being to bug another. But, although anyone has the right to dislike another individual, it’s totally irrational, patently insane to condemn an entire race—to despise an entire nation—to vilify an entire religion. Sooner or later, we must learn to judge each other on our own merits. Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill out hearts with tolerance. For then, and only then, will we be truly worthy of the concept that man was created in the image of God–a God who calls us ALL—His children. ~ Stan Lee
Stan Lee’s characters had feet of clay, his characters were sometimes created from ancient mythic deities, but they too weren’t infallible. Despite the many villains, and dire situations, a common decency existed among his created heroes. Sometimes, even the bad guys & gals, weren’t so bad either.
One of his famous comic character quotations ⋅⋅⋅ “With great ººpower comes great responsibility” ⋅⋅⋅ It has a simple meaning; if you have the ability to do something, make sure that you do it for the good of others.
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.
Stan “The Man” Lee [ December 28, 1922 – November 12, 2018 ] He will be missed.
Ownership & Trademark credits
Parent company Marvel Entertainment, LLC
The Walt Disney Company©
All rights of ownership to characters & images ™ belong to them.