Stan Lee, Jewish-American father of the Marvel, is gone

The writer who created globally beloved American comic book heroes like the Hulk, the Fantastic Four and Thor – passed away at age 95.

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November 12, 2018 22:45
3 minute read.
Amazing Spiderman

A Spider-Man comic book is seen in this photo illustration taken November 12, 2018. (photo credit: SHANNON STAPLETON/ REUTERS)

 
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Stan “The Man” Lee, the iconic Jewish father-figure of Marvel Comics and the creator of iconic pop-culture heroes like the Hulk, Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and Thor passed away on Monday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles at age 95.

While American comics already featured inspiring works like Little Nemo [1906] and Dick Tracy [1931] before Lee arrived on the scene, he is often credited by many as the father of the mainstream comic book phenomenon. Lee’s characters formed the basis for the box-office success of Marvel-based movies like The Hulk and Spider-Man, portrayed by diverse actors from Andrew Garfield to Edward Norton and Jessica Alba.

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Born Stanley Martin Lieber in 1922 in Manhattan to Romanian-Jewish parents Celia and Jack Lieber, Lee began working in comics from the bottom-up, making sure the artists who drew comics always had fresh ink. His first break as a writer came with the 1941 third issue of Captain America. He quickly discovered an uncanny talent in writing exciting, original stories for mostly young readers and an uncommon theatrical flair. He eventually adopted the pen name of Stan Lee.

Lee, who gained the nickname ‘The Man,’ used his position as editor to speak to his young readers (whom he called “true believers”) directly through comics. Unlike the shy artist Jack Kirby, who created Spiderman and Doctor Strange for Marvel at the same time, Lee enjoyed presenting himself to the world. He took on minor cameo roles in every Marvel film and many fans still believe he provided the voice-over for the 1980s animated television series “Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends.”

Lee often said that he read extensively growing up and used everything he gained as a reader to invent or, in the case of the Nordic god Thor, retell inspiring stories. Lee often credited his late wife Joan for giving him the encouragement he needed in the 1950s to dare write the stories he wanted to tell.

Until Lee arrived on the comic-book scene, heroes were nearly perfect.

Superman is extremely powerful and Batman is a millionaire. In contrast, most of Lee’s characters had day jobs and needed to navigate their way in a complex world without the aid of butlers or super-vision. If the concept of a pop-culture hero getting bullied or not landing a date seems hackneyed now, it’s only because it was such a breakthrough when it was first introduced by Lee and used again and again since then.


A shy teenager who is secretly the wall climber, a disabled professor who is a powerful telepath or a blind lawyer who can fight in the street were unique and daring when they were first introduced and still gain interest today when the characters appear in Netflix shows or the silver screen. This is also due to the fact Lee gave his characters emotional weaknesses and romantic interests that made them a little more realistic than what was the norm at the time.

Lee was also able to populate an entire fictional universe, ensure that the characters that inhabit it mostly get along and invited his young readers to spend a little time there. Many of whom kept on reading their favorite character as adults as well.

Lee also created openly Jewish characters such as the Thing, who is about to be married in a Jewish ceremony to his long-time girlfriend next month in the fictional Marvel Universe.

Lee’s daughter, J.C., called him “irreplaceable,” the Telegraph reported.

“He loved his life and he loved what he did for a living. His family loved him and his fans loved him,” she said.

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