9 Amazing Facts About The Legendary Stan Lee
To mark Stan Lee’s 95th birthday this past month we’ve unearthed some lesser-known facts about the legendary Marvel creator.
He’s the writer and creative mind behind the Marvel universe and therefore a legend in the comic book world. With creations like Spiderman, Iron Man and The Hulk he re-imagined the modern super hero and gave new life to an industry that was considered lowbrow when he first started in the early 1940s.
Today, his impact is still felt, not only in the comic book industry but on the big screen where his heroes are brought to life in epic fashion.
To celebrate his 95th birthday this past month (Dec. 28, 1922), we’ve unearthed some lesser-known facts about the creator of the Marvel Universe.
Here, 9 things you (probably) didn’t know about Stan Lee.
1. He landed an editor position at 17
2. He had Howard Hughes in mind when he created Iron Man
The inspiration for Stan Lee’s Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man was Howard Hughes, a film director and philanthropist known for his playboy lifestyle.
“Hughes was one of the most colourful men of the time,” Lee explained in an interview. “He was an inventor, an adventurer, a ladies’ man and a nutcase. He was incredible.”
When Stan Lee introduced the character to audiences in 1963, he was well aware of the challenge he faced in presenting a weapons manufacturer as a hero.
4. Stan Lee was in the army
Stan Lee didn’t have his editor position at Timely Comics long before he headed off to join the war efforts in 1942. His first assignment was with the US signal Corps, where he repaired telegraph poles and other communication equipment.
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.
7. Stan Lee was making cameos long before Marvel movies
Stan Lee has appeared in over 30 Marvel movies but the self-proclaimed “cameo artist” was rubbing shoulders with superheroes long before the movie deals.
His first appearance in the Marvel comics came in an early issue of Fantastic Four, in which a meeting with artist Jack Kirby is interrupted by Doctor Doom, who commands Lee to lure the Fantastic Four into a trap.
“The artists back then would draw me in as a joke or just to have fun,” Lee told Business Insider. “And I would put some dialogue balloons there and it looked as if I intended it. I didn’t try to do cameos in those days.”
Today, Lee’s cameos range from casual onlooker to interacting with the cinematic heroes he originally dreamed up. But no matter how insignificant his cameos may seem, the creator of the Marvel universe doesn’t underestimate his influence on ticket sales.
“When people don’t see my cameo in a movie, they buy another ticket to see the film again so they can find me,” Lee told CBR.
Watch Stan Lee’s Marvel cameos here
9. He tried to find real life superheroes
In a documentary television series called Stan Lee’s Superhumans, the Marvel creator and host Daniel Browning Smith travel the world searching for people with extraordinary abilities.