Stan Lee, the comic book legend, is one of the most influential men in Hollywood, and his life was always an open book. He is the co-creator of some of the greatest superheroes and the most loved stories of all time. Lee passed away on November 12 at the age of 95.
In 2015, which was Marvel’s 75th anniversary, Lee reflected on his own life and published a memoir titled Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir. This memoir was considered as the highlight and one of the ideas for memorial celebrations for him after he passed away. Here are some of the amazing things about Stan Lee.
Stan Lee revealed that his barber is his wife, Joanie Lee, and she did it for years for him. As a child, he loved to read books by Mark Twain, Jules Verne, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G Wells, and others, and his mother often watched him read. He also said that his mother boosts his confidence because she thought that everything that he did was brilliant.
When he was young, Stan Lee wrote obituaries for funeral ceremonies. He wrote antemortem obituaries for celebrities at an undisclosed news office in New York. He said that he eventually quit that job because it was too depressing.
A week into his job at Timely Comics, Lee got the opportunity to write a two-page Captain America comic. He wrote it under the pen name Stan Lee, which eventually become his legal name, and he titled it “Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge.” His first full comic script would come in Captain America Issue 5, published August 1, 1941.
He also wrote training films for the army with Dr. Seuss. After he was transferred from the army’s Signal Corps in New Jersey, Lee worked as a playwright in the Training Film Division in Queens with eight other men, including a few who become famous too: William Saroyan, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Charles Addams, a cartoonist and the creator of The Addams Family, Frank Capra, director of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and It’s a Wonderful Life and Theodor Geisel, known as Dr. Seuss.
In 1971, Lee received a letter from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare asking him to put an anti-drug message in one of his books. He came up with a Spider-Man story that involved his best friend Harry abusing pills because of a break-up. The CCA would not approve the story with their seal because of the mention of drugs, but Stan Lee convinced his publisher, Martin Goodman, to run the comic anyway.
Another character in his comic that was mentioned was The Hulk. The character was supposed to be gray, but according to Lee, the printer had a hard time keeping the color consistent. So, when the issue came out, The Hulk turned green.
He also mentioned that his wife destroyed his prized typewriter. According to him, during an argument, his wife destroyed the typewriter he used to write the first issues for characters including The Fantastic Four and Spider-Man. He said that it happened before eBay, and he was supposed to auction it.
He also said that a fire destroyed his lectures and interviews. He moved his family to Los Angeles; he set up a studio in Van Nuys where he stored videotapes of his interviews and talks, along with a commissioned bust of his wife. The building was lost to a fire that the fire department believed was arson, but no one was charged with the crime.
And of course, he is best known for his cameos. Beginning with the first Spider-Man film in 2002, Stan Lee has made quick cameos in Marvel films as a service to the fans. He said that his appearance in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer was inspired by the story of Reed and Sue Richards wedding in Fantastic Four Annual Volume 1 #3, in which he and writer and artist Jack Kirby attempt to crash the ceremony but are thwarted.
He was asked which Marvel super-villain he would want to become, and he said he would want to be Dr. Doom. He thinks that Dr. Doom is misunderstood and that just because he wants to rule the world does not mean that he is 100% a villain.
There are a lot of amazing facts about Stan Lee, and no doubt, he is a legend. He helped create some of the world’s most iconic superheroes, and he inspired and moved us all with his incredible characters who stood for all that was right in the world. He may not be with us anymore, but his influence will live on forever.