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Lee, Stan

Lee, Stan, 1922–2018, 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; while still a teenager became its editor. Timely became (1961) Marvel Comics and soon Lee and cartoonists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko were creating characters that revolutionized the genre, e.g., The Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, and X-Men. These superheroes were both heroic and human, their superpowers mingled with complex emotions human flaws, and an awareness of social trends; the plots and dialogue were more sophisticated and mingled with satire and elements of science fiction. Lee became publisher of Marvel Comics in 1972, syndicated Spider-Man in 1977, and other strips thereafter. In the 21st cent. he became a producer and was involved in the creation of live and animated versions of his characters in films such as the X-Men series and Spider-Man (2002) and its sequels and in more than two dozen television shows.

See his Origins of Marvel Comics (1974, repr. 1997), Excelsior! (with G. Mair, 2002), and Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir (with P. David, 2015); biography by B. Batchelor (2017); 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.

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