Marvel just released a touching tribute to legendary comic book icon Stan Lee on what would have been his 98th birthday. Lee passed away at the age of 95 in November, 2018.
Born December 28, 1922 in New York City (the city that would eventually become somewhat of a nexus for Marvel’s comic book heroes and villains), Lee got his start in the industry in 1939 as an assistant at Timely Comics. Timely would later go on to be rebranded as Atlas Comics, which then would later evolve into Marvel, with Lee climbing the ladder over the years. Alongside artist Jack Kirby, Lee helped to create some of the most iconic comic book teams and characters to this date, including the likes of the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and the X-Men.
The homage from Marvel calls Stan Lee “the architect of the Marvel Universe” and goes on to say, “from fantastic families to amazing spiders to uncanny outcasts and even earth’s mightiest, Stan Lee’s vision lives on.” Marvel’s tribute goes on with two videos praising the Marvel heavyweight and his work. The first, titled Marvel Remembers the Legacy of Stan Lee, features several Marvel creators and executives, including Marvel CCO Joe Quesada, sharing fond remembrances of Lee and the impact he has had on popular culture over the decades. A second video features clips from Celebrating Marvel’s Stan Lee, a star-studded tribute that aired on ABC last year. Along with the videos, Marvel’s celebration of Lee includes writings about his work and his legacy, with titles like The Most Memorable Stan Lee Super Hero Debuts, Stan Lee’s Most Dazzling Super Villain Debuts and Stan Lee on What Made Spider-Man So Special.
Marvel isn’t alone in celebrating Stan Lee’s birthday. Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr. shared an Instagram photo of himself with Lee on the set of Avengers: Infinity War wishing him a happy birthday and saying, “we miss you.”
Even non-comic fans will likely find Lee’s mustachioed face familiar from his extensive work on film. Lee played himself in Kevin Smith’s Mallrats (which would later pay off in hilarious fashion in his Captain Marvel cameo) and has popped up in just about ever major Marvel film since his first appearance as a hot dog vendor in 2000’s X-Men. With more than 120 credits to his name, Lee would become a mainstay in the MCU in various blink-and-you’ll-miss-it roles, with the last one being in Avengers: Endgame.
The world lost one of its greatest creative minds with the passing of Stan Lee, a man whose impact on popular culture still resonates to this day and will continue to for the foreseeable future. And Marvel gave one of its most important figures an appropriately touching tribute. Rest in peace, Stan Lee. Excelsior!
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