Stan Lee, the prolific visionary beyond numerous Marvel Comics characters and titles, has died, according to TMZ.
As of this writing, no cause of death has been given, although the famed writer and artist was 95 years old. He had also recently battled pneumonia.
His daughter, J.C., speaking exclusively to TMZ, says that an ambulance was dispatched to his Hollywood Hills home, and that he was taken to an L.A. hospital where he later died.
“My father loved all of his fans. He was the greatest, most decent man.”
Born Stanley Martin Lieber in 1922, Lee grew up in poverty in and around New York City. By his teens, he’d taken an interest in adventure books and movies, and was particularly smitten by the swashbuckling adventures of Errol Flynn, according to a 2006 press release.
By the time he finished high school just a few months after his 15th birthday, Lee had already dipped his hands in the publishing industry, writing obituaries and press releases here and there, and doing menial jobs in the newspaper business.
Lee started out small in comics, almost embarrassingly so, according to a 2009 L.A. Times report. Working in the trenches at Timely Comics – the predecessor of what would become Marvel Comics – Lee found that his skills as a young artist and writer weren’t exactly appreciated by his older peers.
“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”
By World War II, Lee had begun to make a name for himself in the comics industry, authoring on his own full editions of comics in the Timely/Marvel canon, as well as creating his own characters and producing stories around them.
By the 1950’s, Lee had turned the comics industry on its head, producing complex characters – even superheroes – with moral failings, in a departure from the previous style of making comic-book protagonists squeaky-clean archetypes. He also introduced concepts such as having various characters collectively exist in a shared “universe,” as well as building a community between the product and its fans.
To that end, Lee often made himself available to fans, first making cameos in movies based on his creations, usually appearing as himself, and tongue almost always planted firmly in cheek. He also appeared in cameos not having anything to do (directly) with his comic book properties, appearing in such diverse media (almost always as himself) as Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies and The Big Bang Theory.
Stan Lee is survived by his daughter, J.C. His wife of 69 years, Joan Lee, died in 2017.
This is a developing story. More information about Stan Lee’s death will be provided as it becomes available.