10 things you never knew about Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee

Stan Lee, Marvel
Stan, the man, Lee has, rather oddly perhaps, been a part of my life for a long time. Ever since, in fact, the days that I first discovered Marvel comics and found myself reading Stan’s Soapbox in early Marvel comic books. Now, of course, Stan Lee is better known as the man behind the current trend in superhero movies like Spiderman, The Avengers, Iron Man and Guardians of the Galaxy. The man who originally worked at the predecessor company to Marvel Comics, Timely Comics, where he filled the artists ink wells and fetched their lunch, is now one of the world’s most successful movie producers of all time. So, in honour of the great man himself, here are ten facts that probably didn’t know about Stan Lee. Excelsior!

1. His real name is Stanley Martin Lieber
Stan Lee’s real name is Stanley Martin Lieber and he was born in 1922, in New York, to Romanian born Jewish immigrants in Manhattan. He changed his name to Stan Lee when he wrote his first Captain America filler because he wanted to save his real name for more literary work.

2. He wanted to be a writer form an early age
Stan Lee says that he was influenced by books and films from a very early age and he always wanted to be a writer. In his youth, his ambition was to write The Great American Novel, but he started his writing career writing obituaries and press releases.

Stan Lee, Marvel, Captain America
Captain America Comics #3
3. His first contribution to comic books was a Captain America Text filler
Stan Lee didn’t invent Captain America, but it was Lee who introduced the idea of Captain America’s signature move of throwing his shield at adversaries in a text filler story that Lee wrote in the comic book entitled 'Captain America Foils the Traitor's Revenge' in Captain America issue #3. Captain America was created by the artists Jack Kirby and Joe Simon.

4. Stan Lee is the highest grossing film producer ever
Since Stan Lee is the executive producer of all Marvel films, whether he created the character or not, he is the highest grossing filmmaker ever, with his films having grossed an amazing 11 billion dollars. Personally, Stan Lee’s personal wealth is estimated by some to be around $200 million, though Lee himself has denied that it is anywhere near that mark. What is known is that Stan Lee receives an annual salary of $1m a year from Marvel, and he is guaranteed that for life

5. The first character that Stan Lee created was called The Destroyer
Lee’s first ever comic book creation was a character called The Destroyer, a journalist who was given a super soldier serum during World War II by a German scientist who was against the Nazis. This character debuted in Mystic Comics #6 in October 1941.

6. Stan Lee joined the army in 1942
In 1942, Stan Lee joined the army and served in the Signal Corps. He later got transferred to the Training Film Division where he wrote training manuals, slogans for the army, and scripts for training films. Lee has said that his military classification as this time was that of ‘Playwright’.

Amazing Fantasy #15 (Aug. 1962),
the first appearance of Spider-Man. 
7. He was responsible for a change in the comic code
Lee caused a reform in the Comics Code Authority with regards to their attitude toward stories about drugs. Lee was asked to write an anti-drug use story in a Marvel comic in 1971 and the resulting Spiderman story that depicted the negative sides of drug use was refused the Comics Book Authority seal of approval. Lee published the three-issue Spidey story anyway, which forced the authority to relax the code in this area.

8. Stan Lee briefly worked for DC Comics
Marvel and Stan Lee went through a bit of a rocky patch in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s when Stan Lee Media filed for bankruptcy and the co-founder of Stan Lee Media, Peter Paul was accused of Fraud. Shortly after this, Stan Lee worked briefly for arch rival DC Comics, where he wrote a series of comics called ‘Just Imagine’, in which Lee rewrote the history of some of DC’s best known characters, including Superman and Batman, as he would have written them if they were his own characters.

9. Stan Lee loves his cameo appearances
Stan Lee’s cameo appearances in the Marvel superhero movies is not exactly breaking news, but did you know that there is a special clause in the contract for any Marvel film that Lee must appear in a cameo? He has appeared in too many Marvel movies to list, but you can check out most of them in the video of Stan lee cameo appearances that I have included in this post.

10. He is no lightweight with his own reading
Stan Lee has listed his favourite authors as including Arthur Conan Doyle, Shakespeare, Dickens and Mark Twain.  He said he also read the bible as a child because he liked the phraseology, but when asked if he believed in God, he said he wasn’t sure.

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