By Sean Yoes, Baltimore AFRO Editor, [email protected]
Stan Lee, the irrepressible creator of a phalanx of comic book superheroes including, the Black Panther, Spiderman, Thor and Captain America has died. He was 95.
According to multiple reports, Lee died this morning at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Joan Boocock Lee, his wife of 69 years died July 2017. They had two children.
Lee, born Stanley Martin Lieber was born December 28, 1922 in Manhattan, New York City.
During the Great Depression in 1939, Lieber got a job at Timely Comics, a newly established division of the comic book publisher Martin Goodman. Lee did a little bit of everything during those early days at Timely. But, by 1941 he got the opportunity to do some low-level writing for the original incarnation of Captain America. That same year he adopted the pseudonym Stan Lee (years later he made Stan Lee as his legal name). By the 1960’s Timely evolved into Marvel Comics and what is known as Marvel’s “Silver Age” was born. Along with his long-time creative partner at Marvel, Jack Kirby, the tandem was responsible for transcendent comic book superheroes, that have endured for decades and whose stories have smashed Hollywood box office records in the 21st century. Lee and Kirby either created, or co-created The Fantastic Four, Spiderman, Dr. Strange, Thor, Ironman, The Avengers, The Defenders, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, the Falcon, Luke Cage and the Black Panther, among many others.
In the 1960’s Lee introduced the first Black comic book superhero to the world with the introduction of the Black Panther character, in the Fantastic Four (#52), in 1966. Following the appearance of Black Panther (who received his own starring feature in Marvel Jungle Action, July 1973), came the Falcon (Captain America #117, 1969) and Luke Cage Hero For Hire (June 1972), the first three Black comic book superheroes co-created by Lee, who pushed hard for more diversity in the “Marvel Universe.” The Black Panther has gone on to become one of the most popular movie superheroes of all-time.
Lee made cameo appearances in all of the Marvel movies to date (which have grossed billions of dollars worldwide), often uttering his trademark word, “excelsior.”