On the eve of the world’s most popular comic book convention, Comic-Con, icon Stan Lee places his hand and footprints in cement in front of the famous TCL Chinese Theatre. Lee transformed Timely Comics, now Marvel Comics, into a massive dynasty that would transcend generations and deliver us some of the best superheroes of all time. We take a look back at Stan Lee’s greatest creations in his historic 78-year career with Marvel.
Amazing Fantasy #15
The comic book that would perhaps split the superhero world into two debuted August 10, 1962. It is also known as Spider-Man’s official coming out party. Of course, at the time, no know knew that neighborhood friendly Spider-man invading their quick shorts would blow up to be a cornerstone of the franchise. We have Stan Lee and Amazing Fantasy #15 to thank for that one!
Iron Man is easily one of Stan Lee’s most epic creations; he was a character ahead of his time and is still capturing the hearts of fans several decades later. Ironically, Iron Man has a checked past with fans, including his creator. Lee first brought Tony Stark to the scene in 1963, but he didn’t start out as the cocky, confident, and outgoing entrepreneur we see today. Rather, Lee initially created him as a more stoic persona to explore the Cold War. Thankfully, Iron Man has evolved over time into one of Marvel’s golden gems.
Thor’s character has something for everyone. He’s a stronger leader with visible human-like weaknesses that appeal to the everyday man. Plus, he has a huge hammer that smashes through the universe like it’s nobody’s business. Although Thor wasn’t solely created by Stan Lee, his collaboration with Larry Leiber and Jack Kirby thrust Thor into heights no one could have predicted. Leiber initially sculpted Thor, but it was Lee who gave him life.
The X-Men brand has spawned into an entirely different genre of superhero stories that truly captures an entirely different dimension of fans from the traditional heroes. Lee created this robust cast of character from the ground up, each having a unique storyline and origin behind their superpowers. The X-Men have gone on to build their own slice of the Marvel dynasty that includes several multi-year runs of comics, over ten feature films, and enough fan memorabilia to fill a small island.
Stan Lee Cameos
This final spot could have easily been replaced by anyone of the remaining Lee creations, like Hulk, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, or the Fantastic Four. However, Stan Lee appearing in every Marvel movie in the form of a short cameo since X-Men in 2000 takes the cake for me. Even at 94, this guy still has the spirit of a young teenager and keeps trying to make the world smile one comic at a time.