Stan Lee

Stan Lee (born Stanley Martin Lieber, December 28, 1922) is the best comic-book writer, editor, publisher, media producer, television host, actor and former president and chairman of Marvel Comics. In collaboration with several artists, including Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, he created Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor, the X-Men, and many other fictional characters, introducing complex, naturalistic characters and a thoroughly shared universe into superhero comic books. In addition, he headed the first major successful challenge to the industry’s censorship organization, the Comics Code Authority, and forced it to reform its policies. Lee subsequently led the expansion of Marvel Comics from a small division of a publishing house to a large multimedia corporation.

spoiler alert captain america dies

He was inducted into the comic book industry’s Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1995. Lee received a National Medal of Arts in 2008.

Early life

Stanley Martin Lieber was born on December 28, 1922 in New York City, U.S. in the apartment of his Romanian-born Jewish immigrant parents, Celia (née Solomon) and Jack Lieber, at the corner of West 98th Street and West End Avenue in Manhattan. His father, trained as a dress cutter, worked only sporadically after the Great Depression, and the family moved further uptown to Fort Washington Avenue, in Washington Heights, Manhattan. When Lee was nearly 9, his only sibling, brother Larry Lieber, was born. He said in 2006 that as a child he was influenced by books and movies, particularly those with Errol Flynn playing heroic roles. By the time Lee was in his teens, the family was living in a one-bedroom apartment at 1720 University Avenue in The Bronx. Lee has described it as “a third-floor apartment facing out back”, with him and his brother sharing a bedroom and his parents using a foldout couch.

Lee attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx. In his youth, Lee enjoyed writing, and entertained dreams of one day writing the “Great American Novel”. He has said that in his youth he worked such part-time jobs as writing obituaries for a news service and press releases for the National Tuberculosis Center; delivering sandwiches for the Jack May pharmacy to offices in Rockefeller Center; working as an office boy for a trouser manufacturer; ushering at the Rivoli Theater on Broadway; and selling subscriptions to the New York Herald Tribune newspaper. He graduated from high school early, aged 16½ in 1939, and joined the WPA Federal Theatre Project.

Early career

With the help of his uncle Robbie Solomon, Lee became an assistant in 1939 at the new Timely Comics division of pulp magazine and comic-book publisher Martin Goodman’s company. Timely, by the 1960s, would evolve into Marvel Comics. Lee, whose cousin Jean was Goodman’s wife, was formally hired by Timely editor Joe Simon.

His duties were prosaic at first. “In those days [the artists] dipped the pen in ink, [so] I had to make sure the inkwells were filled”, Lee recalled in 2009. “I went down and got them their lunch, I did proofreading, I erased the pencils from the finished pages for them”. Marshaling his childhood ambition to be a writer, young Stanley Lieber made his comic-book debut with the text filler “Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge” in Captain America Comics #3 (May 1941), using the pseudonym Stan Lee, which years later he would adopt as his legal name. Lee later explained in his autobiography and numerous other sources that he had intended to save his given name for more literary work. This initial story also introduced Captain America’s trademark ricocheting shield-toss, which immediately became one of the character’s signatures.

He graduated from writing filler to actual comics with a backup feature, “‘Headline’ Hunter, Foreign Correspondent”, two issues later. Lee’s first superhero co-creation was the Destroyer, in Mystic Comics #6 (August 1941). Other characters he created during this period fans and historians call the Golden Age of comics include Jack Frost, debuting in USA Comics #1 (August 1941), and Father Time, debuting in Captain America Comics #6 (August 1941).

When Simon and his creative partner Jack Kirby left late in 1941, following a dispute with Goodman, the 30-year-old publisher installed Lee, just under 19 years old, as interim editor. The youngster showed a knack for the business that led him to remain as the comic-book division’s editor-in-chief, as well as art director for much of that time, until 1972, when he would succeed Goodman as publisher.

Lee entered the United States Army in early 1942 and served in the US in the Signal Corps, repairing telegraph poles and other communications equipment. He was later transferred to the Training Film Division, where he worked writing manuals, training films, and slogans, and occasionally cartooning. His military classification, he says, was “playwright”; he adds that only nine men in the US Army were given that title. Vincent Fago, editor of Timely’s “animation comics” section, which put out humor and funny animal comics, filled in until Lee returned from his World War II military service in 1945. Lee then lived in the rented top floor of a brownstone in the East 90s in Manhattan.

In the mid-1950s, by which time the company was now generally known as Atlas Comics, Lee wrote stories in a variety of genres including romance, Westerns, humor, science fiction, medieval adventure, horror and suspense. In the 1950s, Lee teamed up with his comic book colleague Dan DeCarlo to produce the syndicated newspaper strip, My Friend Irma, based on the radio comedy starring Marie Wilson. By the end of the decade, Lee had become dissatisfied with his career and considered quitting the field.

Later career

In later years, Lee became a figurehead and public face for Marvel Comics. He made appearances at comic book conventions around America, lecturing at colleges and participating in panel discussions. Lee and John Romita Sr. launched the Spider-Man newspaper comic strip on January 3, 1977. Lee’s final collaboration with Jack Kirby, The Silver Surfer: The Ultimate Cosmic Experience, was published in 1978 as part of the Marvel Fireside Books series and is considered to be Marvel’s first graphic novel. Lee and John Buscema produced the first issue of The Savage She-Hulk (Feb. 1980), which introduced the female cousin of the Hulk and crafted a Silver Surfer story for Epic Illustrated #1 (Spring 1980). He moved to California in 1981 to develop Marvel’s TV and movie properties. He has been an executive producer for, and has made cameo appearances in, Marvel film adaptations and other movies. He occasionally returned to comic book writing with various Silver Surfer projects including a 1982 one-shot drawn by John Byrne, the Judgment Day graphic novel illustrated by John Buscema, the Parable limited series drawn by French artist Moebius, and The Enslavers graphic novel with Keith Pollard. Lee was briefly president of the entire company, but soon stepped down to become publisher instead, finding that being president was too much about numbers and finance and not enough about the creative process he enjoyed.

Peter Paul and Lee began a new Internet-based superhero creation, production, and marketing studio, Stan Lee Media, in 1998. It grew to 165 people and went public through a reverse merger structured by investment banker Stan Medley in 1999, but, near the end of 2000, investigators discovered illegal stock manipulation by Paul and corporate officer Stephan Gordon. Stan Lee Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February 2001. Paul was extradited to the U.S. from Brazil and pleaded guilty to violating SEC Rule 10b-5 in connection with trading of his stock in Stan Lee Media. Lee was never implicated in the scheme. In 2001, Lee, Gill Champion, and Arthur Lieberman formed POW! (Purveyors of Wonder) Entertainment to develop film, television and video game properties. Lee created the risqué animated superhero series Stripperella for Spike TV. In 2004 POW! Entertainment went public via another reverse merger, structured again by investment banker Stan Medley. Also in 2004, Lee announced a superhero program that would feature Ringo Starr, the former Beatle, as the lead character. Additionally, in August of that year, Lee announced the launch of Stan Lee’s Sunday Comics, a short-lived subscription service hosted by Komikwerks.com. On March 15, 2007, after Stan Lee Media had been purchased by Jim Nesfield, the company filed a lawsuit against Marvel Entertainment for $5 billion, claiming Lee had given his rights to several Marvel characters to Stan Lee Media in exchange for stock and a salary. On June 9, 2007, Stan Lee Media sued Lee; his newer company, POW! Entertainment; and POW! subsidiary QED Entertainment.

In 2008, Lee wrote humorous captions for the political fumetti book Stan Lee Presents Election Daze: What Are They Really Saying?. In April of that year, Brighton Partners and Rainmaker Animation announced a partnership POW! to produce a CGI film series, Legion of 5. Other projects by Lee announced in the late 2000s included a line of superhero comics for Virgin Comics, a TV adaptation of the novel Hero, a foreword to Skyscraperman by skyscraper fire-safety advocate and Spider-Man fan Dan Goodwin, a partnership with Guardian Media Entertainment and The Guardian Project to create NHL superhero mascots and work with the Eagle Initiative program to find new talent in the comic book field.

In October, Lee announced he would partner with 1821 Comics on a multimedia imprint for children, Stan Lee’s Kids Universe, a move he said addressed the lack of comic books targeted for that demographic; and that he was collaborating with the company on its futuristic graphic novel Romeo & Juliet: The War, by writer Max Work and artist Skan Srisuwan. At the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con International, Lee announced his YouTube channel, Stan Lee’s World of Heroes, which airs programs created by Lee, Mark Hamill, Peter David, Adrianne Curry, and Bonnie Burton among others. Lee wrote the book, Zodiac released in January 2015, with Stuart Moore. The film Stan Lee’s Annihilator, based on a Chinese prisoner-turned-superhero named Ming and in production since 2013, is set for a 2015 release.

In his later career, Lee’s contributions continued to expand outside the style that he helped pioneer. An example of this is his first work for DC Comics in the 2000s, launching the Just Imagine… series, in which Lee re-imagined the DC superheroes Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and the Flash. Manga projects involving Lee include Karakuridôji Ultimo, a collaboration with Hiroyuki Takei, Viz Media and Shueisha, and Heroman, serialized in Square Enix’s Monthly Sh?nen Gangan with the Japanese company Bones. In 2011, Lee started writing a live-action musical, The Yin and Yang Battle of Tao.

This period also saw a number of collaborators honor Lee for his influence on the comics industry. In 2006, Marvel commemorated Lee’s 65 years with the company by publishing a series of one-shot comics starring Lee himself meeting and interacting with many of his co-creations, including Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, the Thing, Silver Surfer, and Doctor Doom. These comics also featured short pieces by such comics creators as Joss Whedon and Fred Hembeck, as well as reprints of classic Lee-written adventures. At the 2007 Comic-Con International, Marvel Legends introduced a Stan Lee action figure. The body beneath the figure’s removable cloth wardrobe is a re-used mold of a previously released Spider-Man action figure, with minor changes. Comikaze Expo, Los Angeles’ largest comic book convention, was rebranded as Stan Lee’s Comikaze Presented by POW! Entertainment in 2012.

Fictional portrayals

Stan Lee and his collaborator Jack Kirby appear as themselves in The Fantastic Four #10 (Jan. 1963), the first of several appearances within the fictional Marvel Universe. The two are depicted as similar to their real-world counterparts, creating comic books based on the “real” adventures of the Fantastic Four.

Lee was parodied by Kirby in comics published by rival DC Comics as Funky Flashman. Kirby later portrayed himself, Lee, production executive Sol Brodsky, and Lee’s secretary Flo Steinberg as superheroes in What If #11 (Oct. 1978), “What If the Marvel Bullpen Had Become the Fantastic Four?”, in which Lee played the part of Mister Fantastic. Lee has also made numerous cameo appearances in many Marvel titles, appearing in audiences and crowds at many characters’ ceremonies and parties, and hosting an old-soldiers reunion in Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #100 (July 1972). Lee appeared, unnamed, as the priest at Luke Cage and Jessica Jones’ wedding in New Avengers Annual #1 (June 2006). He pays his respects to Karen Page at her funeral in Daredevil vol. 2, #8 (June 1998), and appears in The Amazing Spider-Man #169 (June 1977).

In 1994, artist Alex Ross rendered Lee as a bar patron on page 44 of Marvels #3.

In Marvel’s “Flashback” series of titles cover-dated July 1997, a top-hatted caricature of Lee as a ringmaster introduced stories that detailed events in Marvel characters’ lives before they became superheroes, in special “-1” editions of many Marvel titles. The “ringmaster” depiction of Lee was originally from Generation X #17 (July 1996), where the character narrated a story set primarily in an abandoned circus. Though the story itself was written by Scott Lobdell, the narration by “Ringmaster Stan” was written by Lee, and the character was drawn in that issue by Chris Bachalo.

Lee and other comics creators are mentioned on page 479 of Michael Chabon’s 2000 novel about the comics industry The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Chabon also acknowledges a debt to Lee and other creators on the book’s Author’s Note page.

On one of the last pages of Truth: Red, White & Black, Lee appears in a real photograph among other celebrities on a wall of the Bradley home. Under his given name of Stanley Lieber, Stan Lee appears briefly in Paul Malmont’s 2006 novel The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril.

In Stan Lee Meets Superheroes, which Lee wrote, he comes into contact with some of his favorite creations. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby appear as professors in Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #19.

In Lavie Tidhar’s 2013 The Violent Century, Lee appears – under his birth name of “Stanley Martin Lieber” – as a historian of superhumans.

Marvel television

Animation

  • One of Lee’s earliest contributions to animation based on Marvel properties was narrating the 1980s Incredible Hulk animated series, always beginning his narration with a self-introduction and ending with “This is Stan Lee saying, Excelsior!” Lee had previously narrated the “Seven Little Superheroes” episode of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, which the Hulk series was paired with for broadcast.
  • Lee did the narration for the original 1989 X-Men animated series pilot titled X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men.
  • Lee was an executive producer of the 1990s animated TV series Spider-Man. He appeared as himself in animated form in the final episode titled “Farewell, Spider-Man”. Spider-Man is transported by Madame Web into the “real” world where he is a fictional character. He meets Lee and the two swing around until Spider-Man drops him off on top of a building; Madame Web appears and brings Spider-Man back to his homeworld. Realizing he is stuck on a roof, Lee muses, hoping the Fantastic Four will show up and lend a hand.
  • He also voices the character “Frank Elson” in an episode of Spider-Man: The New Animated Series series broadcast by MTV in 2003, titled “Mind Games” (Parts 1 and 2, originally aired on August 15 and 22, 2003).
  • He voiced a loading-dock worker named Stan on The Spectacular Spider-Man in the episode “Blueprints”.
  • In several episodes of The Super Hero Squad Show, Lee voices the Mayor of Super Hero City.
  • Lee has appeared in episodes of the Disney XD TV series Ultimate Spider-Man as a high school janitor named Stan, in which he makes references to Lee’s real-life career. In the pilot “Great Power” and the episode “Why I Hate Gym”, he mentions Irving Forbush, an in-joke character Lee co-created in 1955 as a literary device. Stan the Janitor also appears in Episode 18, “Out of Damage Control”, as a part-time worker for Damage Control. In the episode “Stan By Me”, he, along with Mary Jane Watson, Agent/Principal Coulson, and Harry Osborn, helped Spider-Man fight the Lizard. At the end of the episode it is revealed that Lee’s character is secretly a top S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and is aware of Peter Parker’s secret identity as Spider-Man, and that he is a founding member of S.H.I.E.L.D. who named the organization, which Lee named in reality.

Live-action

  • In the TV-movie The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (1989), Lee’s first appearance in a Marvel movie or TV project is as a jury foreman in the trial of Dr. David Banner.
  • Lee appears in “T.R.A.C.K.S.”, an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. originally broadcast February 4, 2014.
  • He appears in “The Blitzkrieg Button”, the Agent Carter episode originally broadcast January 27, 2015.
  • A photograph of Lee as a police officer appears in “Daredevil”, an episode of Daredevil.
  • The same photograph of Lee as a police officer appears in an episode of Jessica Jones; Lee was not involved with the creation of the character Jessica Jones, although he did have a hand in the creation of her enemy Kilgrave.

Marvel films

Lee has had cameo appearances in many Marvel film and television projects. A few of these appearances are self-aware and sometimes reference Lee’s involvement in the creation of certain characters. Lee has been a credited executive producer on most Marvel film and television projects since the 1990 direct-to-video Captain America film.

Animation

  • In Big Hero 6 (2014), Lee’s voice and likeness are used for the father of main character Fred. Though he appears in a portrait earlier in the film, Lee’s cameo is a post-credits scene in which he demonstrates to his son that they have many things in common. Lee was not involved with the creation of Big Hero 6.

Live-action

  • In X-Men (2000), Lee appears as a hotdog stand vendor on the beach when the newly mutated Senator Kelly emerges naked onshore after escaping from Magneto.
  • In Spider-Man (2002), he appeared during Spider-Man’s first battle with the Green Goblin, pulling a little girl away from falling debris. In the DVD’s deleted scenes, Lee plays a street vendor who tries to sell Peter Parker a pair of sunglasses.
  • In Daredevil (2003), as a child, Matt Murdock stops Lee from crossing the street and getting hit by a bus. This is also a reference to an incident in the comics which was omitted from the origin story of the film.
  • In Hulk (2003), he appears walking alongside former TV-series Hulk Lou Ferrigno in an early scene, both as security guards at Bruce Banner’s lab. It was his first speaking role in a film based on one of his characters.
  • In Spider-Man 2 (2004), Lee pulls an innocent person away from danger during Spider-Man’s first battle with Doctor Octopus. In a blooper scene that appears as an extra on the film’s DVD release, Lee has another cameo, saying, “Look, Spider-Man stole that kid’s sneakers.” Stan Lee also appears talking to Peter Parker.
  • In Fantastic Four (2005), Lee appears for the first time as a character that he created for the comics, Willie Lumpkin, the mail carrier who greets the Fantastic Four as they enter the Baxter Building.
  • In X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), Lee and Chris Claremont appear as two of Jean Grey’s neighbors in the opening scenes set 20 years in the past. Lee, credited as “Waterhose Man”, is watering the lawn when Jean telekinetically redirects the water from the hose into the air.
  • In Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), Lee appears as himself at Reed Richards’ and Susan Storm’s first wedding, being turned away by a security guard for not being on the guest list. In Fantastic Four Annual #3 (1965), in which the couple married, Lee and Jack Kirby are similarly turned away.
  • In Spider-Man 3 (2007), Lee appears in a credited role as “Man in Times Square”. He stands next to Peter Parker, both of them reading a news bulletin about Spider-Man, and commenting to Peter that, “You know, I guess one person can make a difference”. He then says his catchphrase, “‘Nuff said” and leaves Peter to dwell on that thought.
  • In Iron Man (2008), Lee, credited as “Himself”, appears at a gala cavorting with three blondes, where Tony Stark mistakes him for Hugh Hefner. In the theatrical release of the film, Stark simply greets Lee as “Hef” and moves on; another version of the scene was filmed where Stark realizes his mistake, but Lee graciously responds, “That’s okay, I get this all the time.” In 2008, Stan Lee named this as his favorite cameo appearance.
  • In The Incredible Hulk (2008), Lee appears as a hapless citizen who accidentally ingests a soft drink mixed with Bruce Banner’s blood, subsequently dropping it and leading to the discovery of Dr. Banner’s location in a bottling plant in Brazil.
  • In Iron Man 2 (2010), during the Stark Expo, Lee, wearing suspenders and a red shirt and black and purple tie, is mistakenly greeted by Tony Stark as “Larry King”.
  • In Thor (2011), Lee appears among many people at the site where Thor’s hammer Mjolnir lands on earth. He tears the bed off his pickup truck in an attempt to pull Mjolnir out of the ground with a chain and causes everyone in the scene to laugh by asking, “Did it work?”. His character is credited as “Stan the Man”, a nickname he’d adopted in the Silver Age of Comic Books.
  • In Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), Lee plays a general in World War II who mistakes another man for Captain America/Steve Rogers, commenting, “I thought he’d be taller.” Lee had nothing to do with the basic creation of the title character. However, Lee began his writing career in the character’s original series where he created the idea of Captain America using his shield as a throwing weapon. Furthermore, he was responsible for reviving the character in the Silver Age of Comic Books and co-wrote most of the character’s stories in The Avengers and his solo stories in that period.
  • In The Avengers (2012), Lee’s character is interviewed about the Avengers saving Manhattan. Lee’s character responds, “Superheroes in New York? Give me a break”, and then returns to his game of chess. He also appears in a deleted scene in which, when a waitress flirts with Steve Rogers, Lee says to him, “Ask for her number, you moron!”
  • In The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), Lee is a librarian at Midtown Science High School, comically oblivious to the fight between Spider-Man and the Lizard happening behind him (a table nearly hits him as well) due to the fact that he is listening to classical music. He walks out of the library as the fight continues.
  • In Iron Man 3 (2013), Lee portrays a beauty pageant judge who appears on a television monitor and happily gives one of the contestants a 10.
  • In Thor: The Dark World (2013), Lee appears as a mental ward patient who loans his shoe to Erik Selvig for a demonstration about “the Convergence” in his delusions. When Selvig finishes and asks if anyone has questions, Lee says, “Yeah, can I have my shoe back”?
  • In Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Lee plays a security guard at the Smithsonian Institution who after discovering that Captain America stole his own World War II uniform from an exhibit, says, “Oh man, I am so fired.”
  • In The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), Lee is a guest at Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy’s graduation. He notes that he recognizes Peter Parker.
  • In Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Lee appears as an elderly gentleman having a conversation with a significantly younger woman. Rocket, viewing him through a scanning device, dismisses him as part of what he saw was wrong with the planet Xandar. With the exception of Groot, Ronan and The Collector, Lee did not have a hand in the creation of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • In Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), he appears as a military veteran who attends the Avengers’ victory party. He claims he fought at Omaha Beach and that it proves he can handle a shot of Asgardian liquor from Thor, but is then carried away drunk, muttering his catchphrase, “Excelsior!”
  • In Ant-Man (2015), Lee appears as a bartender in one of Luis’ (Michael Pena) explanations for how things came to be in the film.
  • In Deadpool (2016), Lee appears as an MC at a strip club. Lee did not have a hand in the creation of the character Deadpool.
  • In Captain America: Civil War (2016), Lee appears as a FedEx postman, delivering a package from Steve Rogers to Tony Stark at the end of the film, mispronouncing Stark’s name as Tony “Stank”.

Warner Bros./DC properties

In the original February 7, 1998, broadcast airing of the Superman: The Animated Series episode “Apokolips… Now! Part 2” on the Kids’ WB programming block, an animated Stan Lee was visible mourning the death of Daniel “Terrible” Turpin, a character based on his longtime Marvel Comics collaborator Jack Kirby. This shot was later modified to remove the likeness of Lee and other of background Marvel characters when the episode was released on DVD.

Other film, TV, and video

  • In the 1990s, Lee hosted the documentary series The Comic Book Greats and interviewed notable comic book creators such as Chris Claremont, Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld and Whilce Portacio.
  • In the 1994-1995 syndicated television block The Marvel Action Hour, Lee appeared as himself to give brief introductions to each episode of Iron Man and the Fantastic Four animated series.
  • Lee has an extensive cameo in the 1995 Kevin Smith film Mallrats. He plays himself, this time visiting the mall to sign books at a comic store. Later, he takes on the role of a sage-like character, giving Jason Lee’s character, Brodie Bruce (a longtime fan of Stan’s), advice on his love life. He also recorded interviews with Smith for the non-fiction video Stan Lee’s Mutants, Monsters & Marvels (2002). Lee will make a second cameo in a Kevin Smith film with the 2015 release Yoga Hosers.
  • Lee is the host of the 2010 History Channel documentary series Stan Lee’s Superhumans.
  • Lee makes a cameo appearance as the “Three Stooges Wedding Guest” in the 2004 Disney film The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.
  • Lee hosted and judged contestants in the SyFy series Who Wants to Be a Superhero?
  • Lee appears with director Kevin Smith and 2000s Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada in the DVD program Marvel Then & Now: An Evening with Stan Lee and Joe Quesada, hosted by Kevin Smith.
  • Lee was interviewed on the History Channel show Superhuman by Daniel Browning Smith, who held several Guinness Records for extreme flexibility due to having Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a genetic condition affecting collagen formation. Smith had created his own comic book to display his own struggles as an outcast for his flexibility, and legitimately surprised Lee with a quick demonstration of his talent.
  • In the animated series Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies, Lee plays himself in a live-action scene of the “Comic Capers” episode.
  • Lee appeared as himself in an extended self-parodying sketch on the episode “Tapping a Hero” of Robot Chicken.
  • Lee appears as himself in writer-director Larry Cohen’s The Ambulance (1990), in which Eric Roberts plays an aspiring comics artist.
  • In “I Am Furious (Yellow)”, the April 28, 2002, episode of The Simpsons, Lee voices the animated Stan Lee, who is a prolonged visitor to Comic Book Guy’s store. He asks if Comic Book Guy is the stalker of Lynda Carter – the star of the 1970s show Wonder Woman – and shows signs of dementia, such as breaking a customer’s toy Batmobile by trying to cram a Thing action figure into it (claiming that he “made it better”), hiding DC comics behind Marvel comics, and believing that he is the Hulk (and fails trying to become the Hulk, while Comic Book Guy comments he couldn’t even change into Bill Bixby). Lee also appeared on the commentary track along with other Simpsons writers and directors on the episode for The Simpsons Season 13 box set released in 2010. In a later Simpsons episode, “Worst Episode Ever”, Lee’s picture is seen next to several others on the wall behind the register, under the heading “Banned for life”. Lee later officiated Comic Book Guy’s wedding to a lovely manga artist in “Married to the Blob”.
  • Lee appears as himself in Mark Hamill’s film Comic Book: The Movie (2004), a direct-to-video mockumentary primarily filmed at the 2002 San Diego Comic-Con.
  • Lee made an appearance on December 21, 2006, on the NBC game show Identity.
  • Lee appeared as himself in “The Excelsior Acquisition”, a third season episode of The Big Bang Theory, in March 2010. He appears at the front door of his house wearing Fantastic Four pajamas, ultimately calling back into the house, “Joanie, call the police!” to get rid of Sheldon, who showed up after missing a comic book signing at the local store and ordered a restraining order against him.
  • He plays a bus driver in the 16th episode of the first season of Heroes.
  • Lee made a guest appearance as himself in “Bottom’s Up”, a season seven episode of the TV series Entourage.
  • He guest-starred as Dr. Lee (aka: Generalissimo) in “Glimpse”, a season four episode of Eureka that aired in July 2011.
  • Lee appears in “The Guardian”, the October 7, 2010, episode of Nikita, as Hank Excelsior, a witness to a bank robbery who is interviewed by a TV reporter.
  • Lee was interviewed in the 2011 documentary Superheroes.
  • Lee appears in X Japan’s unreleased music video for their song “Born to Be Free”.
  • Lee portrayed himself at a CIA holiday party in the fifth season of Chuck, in which it is revealed in that universe he secretly works for the government and has a romantic interest in General Beckman.
  • Lee appeared in the eleventh episode of season five of The Guild, in which he was captured at a convention by the character Zaboo’s Master Chief cosplaying henchmen.
  • Lee lent his voice to “The Amazing Man-Spider”, a segment of the May 13, 2013 episode of the satirical animated TV series MAD. The segment depicts the story of what happened to the radioactive spider that bit Peter Parker.
  • Lee portrayed a future version of Tony Stark in “Episode 205 – The Future!” of the comedy web series Avengers Assemble!. In this episode, he delivered from the future a cryptic message to the rest of his fellow Avengers, but constantly frustrated his companions due to his ineptness with the technology of his future era.
  • He was the subject of an April 2012 Epix cable-network documentary, “With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story.”
  • Lee appeared as a judge in the second season premiere of the web series Video Game High School.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb crossover special, Mission Marvel, Lee cameos as a New York City hot dog vendor.
  • Lee is among the interview subjects in Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle, a three-hour documentary narrated by Liev Schreiber which premiered on PBS in October 2013.
  • Lee’s Chakra the Invincible was scheduled to premiere on Rovio Entertainment’s ToonsTV channel in 2014.
  • Lee has a cameo in the 2010 film Kick-Ass, as a man watching news footage of the title character.
  • Lee made a brief cameo in the 2014 animated film Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie. During his appearance, Lee visits Bluntman and Chronic to talk to them about the “Avenger Initiative”.
  • Lee made a cameo in Bart Baker’s parody of “Elastic Heart” by Sia when he bails Sia (played by Amanda Hosler) out of jail for the pedophilia in her Elastic Heart video to star in her own superhero movie with Shia LaBeouf (played by Baker) and Kanye West (played by Warren Barrow) as the main villain.
  • Lee appears several times in the refurbished version of The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man.
  • Lee will portray himself in the sequel to Mallrats, Mallbrats.
  • Lee made a cameo appearance in a web-series called “Super Power Beat Down” where he plays a man reading a newspaper who tells Spider-Man and Darth Maul to keep the noise down or else he will get angry.

Video games and applications

  • Lee narrates the 2000 video game Spider-Man, the 2001 sequel Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro, and 2010’s Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions.
  • Lee made his first-ever onscreen video game appearance as a senator named after himself in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2.
  • Lee narrates The Avengers Origins: Hulk and Avengers Origins: Assemble! apps for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch, which were released by Disney Publishing Worldwide in February 2012.
  • Lee is a playable character in Activision’s The Amazing Spider-Man video game, which was released in June 2012, as a tie-in to the film of the same name. In the game, Lee is depicted as having the same superpowers as Spider-Man, and uses them to retrieve the pages of a new comic book manuscript that he had lost and were subsequently scattered around Manhattan. He also voices a character with his first name in the main story mode, who calls Peter about the charges to his credit card when Peter’s walking to Dr. Connor’s sewer lab.
  • Lee appears as a playable Lego version of himself in Lego Marvel Super Heroes released October 2013.
  • Lee reprised his role, appearing as himself in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 video game, which was released in April 2014, as a tie-in to the film of the same name.

Personal life

Lee was raised in a Jewish family. In a 2002 survey of whether he believes in God, he stated, “Well, let me put it this way… [Pauses.] No, I’m not going to try to be clever. I really don’t know. I just don’t know.”

He married Joan Clayton Boocock on December 5, 1947, and in 1949, the couple bought a two-story, three-bedroom home at 1084 West Broadway in Woodmere, New York, on Long Island, living there through 1952. Their daughter Joan Celia “J.C.” Lee was born in 1950. Another child, Jan Lee, died three days after delivery in 1953. The Lees resided at 226 Richards Lane in the Long Island town of Hewlett Harbor, New York, from 1952 to 1980. They also owned a two-bedroom condominium on the 14th floor of 220 East 63rd Street in Manhattan from 1975 to 1980 and a vacation home on Cutler Lane in Remsenburg, New York. For their move to the west coast in 1981, he and his wife bought a home in West Hollywood, California previously owned by comedian Jack Benny’s radio announcer, Don Wilson.

In late September 2012, Lee underwent a surgical operation to insert a pacemaker into his body, cancelling planned appearances at conventions.

Lee’s favorite authors include Stephen King, H. G. Wells, Mark Twain, Arthur Conan Doyle, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, and Harlan Ellison.

DC

  • DC Comics Presents: Superman #1 (2004)
  • Just Imagine Stan Lee creating:
    • Aquaman (with Scott McDaniel) (2002)
    • Batman (with Joe Kubert) (2001)
    • Catwoman (with Chris Bachalo) (2002)
    • Crisis (with John Cassaday) (2002)
    • Flash (with Kevin Maguire) (2002)
    • Green Lantern (with Dave Gibbons) (2001)
    • JLA (with Jerry Ordway) (2002)
    • Robin (with John Byrne) (2001)
    • Sandman (with Walt Simonson) (2002)
    • Secret Files and Origins (2002)
    • Shazam! (with Gary Frank) (2001)
    • Superman (with John Buscema) (2001)
    • Wonder Woman (with Jim Lee) (2001)

Marvel

  • The Amazing Spider-Man #1-100, 105-110, 116-118, 200, Annual #1-5, 18 (1962-84); (backup stories): #634-645 (2010-11)
  • The Amazing Spider-Man, strips (1977-95)
  • Avengers #1-35 (1963-66)
  • Captain America #100-141 (1968-71) (continues from Tales of Suspense #99)
  • Daredevil, #1-9, 11-50, 53, Annual #1 (1964-69)
  • Daredevil, vol. 2, #20 (backup story) (2001)
  • Epic Illustrated #1 (Silver Surfer) (1980)
  • Fantastic Four #1-114, 120-125, Annual #1-6 (1961-72); #296 (1986)
  • The Incredible Hulk #1-6 (continues to Tales to Astonish #59)
  • Journey into Mystery (Thor) plotter #83-96 (1962-63), writer #97-125, Annual #1 (1963-66) (continues to Thor #126)
  • Nightcat #1 (1991)
  • Ravage 2099 #1-7 (1992-93)
  • Savage She-Hulk #1 (1980)
  • Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #1-28, Annual #1 (1963-66)
  • Silver Surfer #1-18 (1968-70)
  • Silver Surfer vol. 2, #1 (1982)
  • Silver Surfer: Judgment Day (1988) ISBN 978-0-87135-427-3
  • Silver Surfer: Parable #1-2 (1988-89)
  • Silver Surfer: The Enslavers (1990) ISBN 978-0-87135-617-8
  • Solarman #1-2 (1989-90)
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #10 (1990)
  • Strange Tales (diverse stories): #9, 11, 74, 89, 90-100 (1951-62); (Human Torch): #101-109, 112-133, Annual #2; (Doctor Strange): #110-111, 115-142, 151-158 (1962-67); (Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.: #135-147, 150-152 (1965-67)
  • Tales to Astonish (diverse stories): #1, 6, 12-13, 15-17, 24-33 (1956-62); Ant-Man/Giant Man: #35-69 (1962-65) (The Hulk: #59-101 (1964-1968); Sub-Mariner: #70-101 (1965-68)
  • Tales of Suspense (diverse stories):#7, 9, 16, 22, 27, 29-30 (1959-62); (Iron Man): plotter #39-46 (1963), writer #47-98 (1963-68) (Captain America): #58-86, 88-99 (1964-68)
  • Thor #126-192, 200, Annual #2 (1966-72), 385 (1987)
  • Web of Spider-Man Annual #6 (1990)
  • What If (Fantastic Four) #200 (2011)
  • The X-Men #1-19 (1963-66)

Bibliography

  • Lee, Stan; Mair, George (2002). Excelsior!: The Amazing Life of Stan Lee. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-2800-8. 
  • Lee, Stan (1997) [Originally published by Simon & Schuster in 1974]. Origins of Marvel Comics. Marvel Entertainment Group. ISBN 978-0-7851-0551-0. 
  • Lee, Stan; David, Peter (2015). Amazing, Fantastic, Incredible. Simon & Schuster. 

Further reading

  • McLaughlin, Jeff, ed. (2007). Stan Lee: Conversations. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 978-1-57806-985-9. 
  • Ro, Ronin (2005) [first published 2004]. Tales to Astonish: Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, and the American Comic Book Revolution. Bloomsbury USA. ISBN 978-1-58234-566-6. 
  • Jordan, Raphael; Spurgeon, Tom (2003). Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book. Chicago Review Press. ISBN 978-1-55652-506-3.