Stan Lee (1922 – 2018)
Stan Lee was born in New York to Romanian Jewish immigrants.
As a teenager he started work at Timely Productions, writing stories in their comic books department, and was promoted to editor aged 18. Later, in 1961, Stan and artist Jack Kirby created the Fantastic Four, and Timely changed its name to Marvel. As president of the company, Stan co-created the Silver Surfer, the X-Men, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Doctor Strange and the Incredible Hulk in a golden age for comic book development.
He retired from editing in 1971 but always maintained his links with Marvel – and in the recent (since 2008) series of Marvel Studios blockbuster films, Stan consistently made cameo appearances.
His characters changed the way global audiences saw heroes, and they achieved enduring popularity because of their human frailties – they tended to face real-world everyday problems in their lives, notwithstanding the amazing super-powers with which they became endowed.
For all the tributes to Stan Lee as the ultimate super-hero himself, his success was perhaps based on his ability to create compelling humans behind the colourful masks.