The iconic face and co-creator of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee has just passed away at age 95.
Lee had revealed to the public that he had been battling pneumonia as early as February of this year as well as several medical conditions brought about by his old age including vision issues. These medical issues have resulted in several cancellations to the 95-year old comic book legend’s appearances in various comic conventions around the world such as Wizard World Cleveland and Comic Con Asia. The cancellations warranted concern from the comic book fans the world over for Lee’s health and well-being.
On Monday morning, the unimaginable would pass. An ambulance rushed to take Lee from his home on Hollywood Hills to the nearby Cedar-Sinai Medical Center where he then succumbed to his illness and died.
A Lifetime of Breathing Life
Stan Lee had long been the face of Marvel Comics bringing to life such iconic characters such as Spider-man, The Fantastic Four, The Hulk, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, Thor, Daredevil, The X-Men and many more.
He had started Marvel Comics in 1961 as a rebranding of then Timely Comics with his friend and partner, legendary artist Jack Kirby. The pair, along with other iconic creators, would usher in a new revolutionary era of comics geared towards the attention of older readers rather than just the younger audience which was the norm at the time. The superheroes and characters they designed were flawed and had very human weaknesses as opposed to the infallible demi-gods of their peers. The revolution took off revitalizing the dwindling comic book industry and soon Marvel Comics rose to become the dominant powerhouse of comics and entertainment that it is today.
The King of Cameos
The eruption of comic book and geek culture into mainstream entertainment in the past decade was due in no small part to the popularity of superhero movies. As such, the rise of the genre gave a new avenue to honor and immortalize the icons and creators that made them all possible. Stan Lee was the king at this with more than 36 cameos across all Marvel Movies from Marvel, Sony and Fox with the only exception being the 2017 Logan film. Lee’s very first cameo appearance was as a hotdog vendor in the 2000 X-Men movie with his most current being the 2018 Venom movie in which he overhears Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock in a conversation with the alien symbiote Venom.
These cameos are generally hilarious and are met with smiles and laughter among everyone the theatre, sometimes even the odd know-it-all whispering to their friend that that was Stan Lee.
Lee has also appeared numerous appearances in a myriad of Television Shows, Animated Products, Print Media, Music Videos, Theme Park Rides and Video Games. Oftentimes, these involve characters associated to him or Marvel Comics but most recently he had a couple of hilarious cameo appearances in the animated Teen Titans Go To The Movies from Marvel’s direct competitor DC. It just goes to show how the man transcended boundaries and limitations in his later years as he has always done in his earlier ones.
Here, at the last panel of his life, Stan Lee might not have had web-slinging powers, or an unbreakable adamantium skeleton but he lived to inspire and taught others to do the same. And that alone is proof that Stan Lee was a real-life superhero living among us.
Farewell, Stan. Excelsior.
Cover Photo Courtesy of Concept Artist Michael Kutsche