Photo: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

5. He almost quit comic book writing

Stan Lee nearly quit the comic book business in the late 1950s after his publisher told him to dumb down the vocabulary in his works.

"He didn't want too much dialogue; he didn't want me to worry about characterization or story—all he wanted was a lot of action," Lee told CBR. "He said to me 'All these readers care about is action."

When he was asked to create a new superhero team in response to DC's updated Flash, he decided it would be his last project and set out to make a statement.

The superhero team he created was The Fantastic Four, which landed far from the mindless action his publisher had hoped for as he upped the complexity of the language and gave each of the heroes real world problems.

The 1961 comic book was a huge success and introduced readers to a realism they had never seen before. More importantly, Lee's successful innovation rekindled his love for writing comics.

"It became fun when I was able to do the kind of stories I wanted instead of the kind of stories my publisher wanted me to do," he told CBR. "From that point on, it was fun, it was exciting, and I loved every minute of it."

6. He created the "Marvel method"

Stan Lee was the first to use what is now known as the "Marvel Method" in creating his comics. Instead of scripting an entire book before it was illustrated, Lee would explain to an artist what was going to take place in each issue and fill in the dialogue afterward.

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