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Stan Lee

Lee, Stan, 1922–, American comic-book writer and editor, co-creator of a number of iconic American superheroes, b. New York City as Stanley Martin Lieber. At 17 he was hired by Timely Comics, where he wrote (1940s–50s) comics such as Captain America. Timely became (1961) Marvel Comics and soon Lee and cartoonist Jack Kirby were creating characters that revolutionized the genre, e.g., The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, and X-Men. These superheroes were both heroic and human, their superpowers mingled with complex emotions and human flaws. Lee became publisher of Marvel Comics in 1971, syndicated Spider-Man in 1977, and other strips thereafter. In the 21st cent. he became a producer and was involved in the creation of animated and live versions of his characters in films such as the X-Men series (2000, 2003, 2006), Spider-Man (2002), and The Incredible Hulk (2003) and more than two dozen television shows.

See his Origins of Marvel Comics (1974, repr. 1997) and Excelsior! (with G. Mair, 2002); J. Raphael and T. Spurgeon, Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book (2003); R. Ro, Tales to Astonish (2003); S. Howe, Marvel Comics (2012).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on Stan Lee from Infoplease:

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  • Spider-Man 3: The IMAX Experience - Starring Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace
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See more Encyclopedia articles on: American Literature: Biographies

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