Stan Lee, Creative Genius Behind Spider-Man, Would Have Been 96 Today

Vince BucciGetty Images

When Stan Lee passed away on November 12, 2018, he was a mere 47 days away from reaching his 96th birthday. In honor of his big day, the creative force behind many of Marvel’s most popular properties has been trending on Twitter and other social media outlets all day.

The former Chairman Emeritus of Marvel Comics appeared in 58 live action and animated versions of the Marvel Universe, ranging from his first surprise cameo in The Trial of the Incredible Hulk to his latest animated part in this year’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Some of his appearances were nothing more than a photo, but his presence was always there. As Altpress recently reported, Lee still has a couple more cameos to share with the world.

Before he passed away, Stan Lee filmed scenes for Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel. In an interview quoted by ComicBook.com, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige stated that his division merely “brought a world to life” that had been created by Stan Lee. Feige also pledged that Lee’s “influence will never go away.” This seems to hint that Marvel Studios is planning to do much more than simply continue to develop movies based on Lee’s creations. It doesn’t take much speculation to guess that Lee’s presence will likely still be seen in one form or another for years to come.

Stan Lee began his illustrious career in 1939 at the tender age of 16. He worked his way up from being an assistant at Timely Comics to becoming the head of Timely’s second name, Marvel Comics, by 1972. During that 33-year time period, Lee revolutionized the face of comic books and pop culture entertainment by giving the world a new type of superhero that had the same flaws and issues as everyday people.

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are credited with creating big-name characters such as the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, the X-Men, Thor, and Iron Man. Lee then teamed up with Bill Everett to bring Daredevil to life. It was Lee’s collaboration with Steve Ditko that would ultimately have the biggest impact on Marvel’s bottom line, though. The two breathed life into a shy, nerdy teenage boy named Peter Parker who became Spider-Man after being bitten by a radioactive spider.

The writer, editor, and publisher encouraged fans to become superheroes in the real world by saying that any person who “helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is the right thing to do, is indeed without a doubt, a real superhero.”

Fans, actors, and other comic book creators flocked to Twitter today to celebrate the life of Stan Lee. In one prime example, Robert Downey, Jr. shared a quote from Lee about Downey being “born to play Tony Stark” and looking “exactly how I pictured him.”

He may be gone, but his legacy will continue forever. As Stan Lee loved to say during his own editorial columns, Excelsior and ’nuff said.