Stan Lee’s birthday is today, marking 91 years he has been around. He is practically a super hero himself at that age, and still going strong.
Stan Lee was born Stanley Martin Lieber on December 28, 1922. As a child, he was heavily influenced by books and movies, particularly the ones starring Errol Flynn in heroic roles. He dreamed of one day writing the Great American Novel, a dream which he came very close to. Stan Lee‘s birthday wasn’t always glamorous, having made his way through writing obituaries and delivering sandwiches to get where he is today.
Marvel was initially called Timely Comics, and Stan Lee started out as an assistant, “In those days [the artists] dipped the pen in ink, [so] I had to make sure the inkwells were filled. I went down and got them their lunch, I did proofreading, I erased the pencils from the finished pages for them.”
His first actual writing in a comic book came in Captain America Comics number three, where he officially began using the alias we know today. By his 19th birthday, Stan Lee was promoted to interim editor, and he eventually became one of the most prominent men involved in comics. He entered the US Army where he became a playright, a rare position, and earned his military stripes as a cartoonist before returning to Marvel Comics.
Alongside Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, the Marvel pioneer created some of the most memorable super heroes in the Marvel Comics universe. Spider-Man, Hulk, the Fantastic Four, and Iron Man went on to be some of the most iconic characters in comic book history, even spawning their own films.
Stan Lee even led the movement toward challenging the censorship of comic books, which opened up the industry to a much wider audience. He won two entries in the comic book Hall of Fame in 1994 and 1995.
There is no doubt that the Marvel pioneer has made waves throughout the industry, even appearing in the infamous and recurring Stan Lee cameos. You almost can’t mention comic books without the “excelsior” writer coming to mind, and given what Stan Lee has done to revolutionize the industry, it’s no small accomplishment.
Even though the recent films have come from rival studios and almost created wars among the motion picture heavy hitters, we must never forget that Stan Lee was the man who helped make it all possible.
Happy birthday, Stan Lee. Excelsior!