On 12 November 2018, our favourite comic book writer, Stanley Martin Lieber, better known as Stan Lee, passed away.
As we mourn the death of the editor-of-chief of Marvel Comics, let us also celebrate Stan Lee’s life by recalling 10 facts about him.
He was in the army
Just like many Singaporean sons, Stan Lee joined the US Army and was assigned to the Signal Corps. Serving three years then, it was also during the period of World War II.
The US Army paid a tribute to him in a Twitter post and uploaded an image of him as a young handsome sergeant.
Rest in peace, Soldier.
Comic book creator @TheRealStanLee has passed away at the age of 95. Lee served in the #USArmy Signal Corps during WWII from 1942-1945. We are deeply grateful for his service to our country and for his tremendous support to servicemembers. #Excelsior! pic.twitter.com/P9tdwoxxx2
— U.S. Army (@USArmy) November 12, 2018
Next Avengers’ Cameo is Filmed
You should know by now that Stan Lee made a cameo in almost every Marvel film. If you want to, you can watch all his cameos here:
The next Avengers film, which is set to be released in May 2019, has him as a cameo, too. He has already filmed the cameo, though it’s unknown whether the studio would use the footage or not.
What’s the #Excelsior all about?
You might see the hashtag #Excelsior instead of #RIPStanLee and it’s for a good reason.
Back in the 1960s, Stan Lee wrote a monthly column for Marvel and signed off with “Excelsior!”, a Latin word that means “ever upward”. He had then wanted to use a unique word that his rivals wouldn’t copy.
Since then, it has become his catchphrase.
Why he Used Stan Lee instead of his Full Name
Stan Lee’s real name (as mentioned earlier) is Stanley Martin Lieber. The reason why he opted for Stan Lee is that he initially wanted to use that name for his “lesser works in comic writing”, and use his real full name for novel writing.
Well, turns out his so-called “lesser works” become so popular, his pen name stuck as well.
He created imperfect characters
Up till the 1950s, superheroes were perfect; so perfect that they did not have a single flaw. Lee, on the other hand, decided to introduce characters that were more like humans.
Bad tempers, vanity and imperfection in general were then so refreshing. Peter Parker, for instance, is not all-mighty– he struggles with balancing his schoolwork and his superhero adventures. The idea is that Spider-Man, like any other human being, is far from being perfect.
And that went well with fans; after all, no one is supposed to be perfect. Not even superheroes.
He has a charity foundation
The Stan Lee Foundation was established in 2010, and it gives access to literary resources, enabling individuals to be engaged and self-sufficient. Respect again.
He is married to Joan B. Lee
Not sure if y’all know this, but Stan Lee’s wife is actually Joan Boocock Lee, a British-American model and voice actress. I’m a sucker for romance, and if the couple’s love story doesn’t move you, I’m not sure what will.
They met in the most unlikely of circumstances: Stan Lee was going for a blind date and Joan opened the door of the modeling agency. Stan Lee fell in love with Joan almost immediately, claiming that she was the girl he has been drawing since childhood. He professed his love for her and they got married soon after.
And by the way, “soon after” means two weeks of dating.
After about 70 years of marriage, Joan passed away on 6 July 2017 from stroke-related complications.
He defied the Comic Code Authority
Green Goblin Reborn! (1971) was the first in mainstream comics that depicted and condemned the abuse of drugs. One prominent line by Spider-man was: “I would rather face a hundred super-villains than throw my life away on hard drugs, because it is a battle you cannot win!”
This was significant because the Comics Code forbade the portrayal of drugs altogether. By publishing without the seal of approval from the Comics Code Authority, Marvel was taking a risk. Thankfully, it paid off and the issues sold well.
He started from the bottom
I’m sure many of us have been dished the advice to learn something from bottom up. But how many of us actually go up if we do start from the bottom? How many of us actually become as successful as Stan Lee?
In 1939, Stan Lee was just an assistant at the new Timely Comics. He had to fill inkwells for artists, proofread and “erased the pencils from the finished pages”. His efforts were not for nothing though. He made his comic book debut in 1941, became an interim editor and eventually the editor-in-chief. The rest, as they say, is history.
About his Passing
Earlier this year, Lee has revealed that he has been battling pneumonia, an inflammatory condition of the lung. In February this year, his condition worsened and he was rushed to the hospital.
Yesterday (12 November), he was taken to Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after suffering a “medical emergency”, and was declared dead shortly.
He was 95 years old.
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