Happy Birthday, Stan Lee! Comic Book Legend Turns 90

Comic book legend Stan Lee turned 90 years old Friday.

Lee was born Stanley Martin Lieber to Romanian-born Jewish parents in a New York City apartment building almost a century ago. In 1939, when he was 16 years old, his uncle Robbie Solomon hired him as an assistant at Timely Comics, which would evolve into Marvel Comics by the 1960s. His duties included making sure the inkwells were filled, erasing pencil from finished pages, and proofreading.

Two years later, he made his comic book debut with the text filler for Captain America Comics No. 3. under the pseudonym “Stan Lee.” He used the pseudonym because he wanted to use his given name for more literary work, but he eventually ended up adopting Stan Lee as his legal name.

Lee quickly began writing actual comics, and, when Timely editor Joe Simon and his partner Jack Kirby left the company in late 1941, the 18-year-old was hired as interim editor. He became publisher 31 years later.

In 1947, Lee married Joan Clayton Boocook. The two are still married 52 years later and have a daughter, Joan Celia Lee, who was born in 1950. Their second daughter, Jan Lee, died three days after she was born in 1953.

Lee was assigned by Martin Goodman, publisher of Timely Comics, to create a new superhero team in the late ’50s. That team — which he created with Jack Kirby — was the Fantastic Four. The team was a huge success, and Lee went on to create even more characters including the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, and the X-Men with Kirby.

With writer-artist Steve Ditko, Lee created Spider-Man, who made his debut in Amazing Fantasy#15 in 1962.

Fifty years later, Lee partnered with Regina Carpinelli, the founder and CEO of Comikaze Expo, the largest comic book convention in Los Angeles. The expo was renamed Stan Lee’s Comikaze Presented by POW! Entertainment.

In his six decade career, Lee has received several awards including the National Medal of Arts and the Vanguard Award from the Producers Guild of America. He also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2011.

What is your favorite Stan Lee creation?