Stan Lee, co-creator of Marvel Comics and the father of many iconic superheroes, passed away on November 12 in Los Angeles, California at the age of 95. The comic legend had been struggling with pneumonia and some vision issues for the past year.

Stan Lee was born on December 22, 1922 in New York as Stanley Martin Lieber. He was heavily influenced by Errol Flynn’s movies growing up. In 1939, Lee graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School and later joined the WPA Federal Theater Project.

In 1942, Lee joined the Signal Corps of the US Army and later transferred to the Training Film Division, where he started producing films, cartoons, and manuals. After three years of serving, he left the Army and married Joan Clayton Boocock, the love of his life, two years later. They lived happily together for 70 years, had two children, before Joan passed away in 2017.

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Stan Lee and his wife Joan

Lee began his comic career in 1939 as an assistant at Timely Comics (which later became Atlas Comics and then Marvel as we know it today) and started using the pseudonym "Stan Lee" in 1941. There, he wrote several stories in the science fiction, horror and romance genres.

In the late 50s, Lee was tasked with creating a new superhero team to respond to the rising popularity of DC Comics at the time. Thus, he teamed with artist Jack Kirby and created his first superheroes: the Fantastic Four.  Debuted in 1961, Fantastic Four #1 was a huge success.

Then, for over a decade, Lee went on to create the superheroes that we know and love: Hulk, Thor, the X-Men, Spider-Man, and the iconic Avengers. In 1972, he stepped down from writing books monthly and took on the position of publisher.

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The father of many of our beloved heroes

From there, Lee became the public face of Marvel, and of the comic book industry in general. He appeared in several comic book conventions. In 2012, the annual Los Angeles comic convention Comikaze Expo was renamed Stan Lee's Comikaze. This is the highest honor that anyone could receive in the industry.

Lee was known for the love that he expressed for his work, his characters, and crucially, his fans. He never stopped contributing. In 2010, Lee founded the Stan Lee Foundation, which aims to provide more access to literacy resources.

A Tribute to Stan Lee: All Of His Marvel Universe Cameos

Stan Lee was no doubt one of the most influential figures in the entertainment industry. He was considered the man who revolutionized comic books and their heroes. Before him, comic books were mainly targeted at children, and the heroes were the perfect embodiments of justice and righteousness. Lee chose to take a different approach. He created characters with more complexity. They have emotions, flaws, and struggles just like everyone else. That makes them easier to relate to, and more interesting to a wider range of audience. "Stan opened the doorway for more sophisticated and interesting treatments of any subject matter in comics,” said Tom Brevoort, Marvel’s senior vice president of publishing, in 2011. “He made comics interesting and relevant and fun again.”

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Several notable names in the worlds of comic books, TV, and movies have paid tribute to Stan Lee on social media and shared the effect that he had on their lives. Chris Evan, who portrays Captain America in Marvel movies, says that there will never be another man like Stan Lee, who for decades brought joy, inspiration, confidence, and comfort to generations of readers. Wolverine star Hugh Jackman calls Lee a pioneer in the universe of superheroes and expresses his pride in having played a part in Lee’s legacy.

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Stan Lee and Chris Evan

Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of Disney, says that Lee was “a superhero in his own right”, who was “as extraordinary as the characters he created.” Meanwhile, Chris Pratt, the actor who plays Star-Lord in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, considers himself “extraordinarily lucky” to have met Stan Lee.

Marvel’s rival DC Comics also published a tweet on its official Twitter site to acknowledge Stan Lee for all the contribution that he made to the comic book industry. “He changed the way we look at heroes, and modern comics will always bear his indelible mark. His infectious enthusiasm reminded us why we all fell in love with these stories in the first place. Excelsior, Stan,” the tweet reads.

Even though Lee is gone, he will live on forever through his characters, his stories, and all the amusing cameos that he had in movies based on Marvel characters.