Will Future Generations Care About Stan Lee?

by Luke Smith

012423D-1024x536 Will Future Generations Care About Stan Lee?Will the future generations of comic book fans care about Stan Lee? How many current “Marvel” fans know who Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko are? Is Stan Lee even considered a comic book icon anymore? Or is all his praise souly absorbed within the MCU movie regime? Let’s chat answers.Stan Lee: Arguably the most recognised name (and maybe even face) in comic book history.

Note: Before we get started here, let me first acknowledge that we could argue about the rights and ownership of the Marvel characters between Lee, Kirby and Ditko ’til we are blue in the face, but that is not what this particular article is about.Stan Lee, whether you agree or not, is arguably one of the greatest writers of all time. Stan didn’t just create characters or even simply tell stories; he created universes.

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Despite being a businessman for most of his life, Lee was also a showman. Probably the greatest showman! And he didn’t like his audience hating him… So he had a habit from time to time of blaming others around him when things went wrong.

A good example of this is Stan backtracking on his approval to kill off Gwen Stacy in Amazing Spider-Man issue 121. Stan had given the go-ahead to his writers to kill the character off, only to deny it when fans uproared.

Stan_Lee_in_the_army-300x235 Will Future Generations Care About Stan Lee?Stan entered the comic book industry at the age of 17 and, contrary to popular belief, didn’t start out as a writer.In fact, teenage Stan was actually tasked with doing odd jobs around the office; sweeping floors, emptying ashtrays, making the coffee, and sometimes, on the rare occasion, proofreading.

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The biggest misconception people have is that Stan created Marvel itself, and that is just not the case. The company was actually started by his cousin’s husband, Martin Goodman.This company originally started out as “Newsstand Publications,” which published books of all genres. The company only became focused on comics after the success of  Marvel Comics #1, which introduced the world to the now classic characters: Namour and the original Human Torch.

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After this success, Newsstand Publications rebranded their name to Timely Comics and so fourth until landing on Marvel.

Stan got his first chance to write at the company with a short story within Captain America Comics (A character Lee did not create, though he still lives at the house of Marvel to this day.)At the age of 18, Stan was promoted to editor at Timeley Comics after two of their creators, Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, were fired from the company. They had been fired because they had been caught moonlighting at a competitor, National Comics.  (The Company that would go on to be DC)It is said that it was actually Stan who ratted them out and so secured his own position higher within the ranks, although he denied it repeatedly.

nov18_14_524359964-1024x576 Will Future Generations Care About Stan Lee?Stan Lee’s real name was Stanley Martin Lieber.

He used his pen name, Stan Lee, when working on comics at Timeley (which would later become Marvel) as he wanted to save his “real name” for when he became a real (more serious) writer. This obviously didn’t work out how he had originally thought and he had his name legally changed to Stan Lee in the 70s. Despite Stan Lee being his most popular pen name, this wasn’t the only name Stan wrote under. At the time, he wanted the company to appear a lot bigger and more successful than it was, and so he wrote under several other aliases from time to time. These aliases include Neel Nats, S.T.Anley, and Stan Martin.As the years passed, the comic readers got to know Stan. We were given a look behind the curtain, A glimpse behind the scenes at who he was and what he believed in. This is thanks to Stan’s letter page: Stan’s Soapbox.

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Progressive Stan: Stan’s Soapbox was often used to promote Diversity.

Stan LOVED and SUPPORTED the inclusion of EVERYONE.

In 1972, Roy Thomas took over from Stan as the head of Marvel and from then until 2005, presented each comic book with a large banner declaring, ‘Stan Lee Presents!’, even though Stan had absolutely nothing to do with any of these books.

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Then came the movies, and Stan has been in a lot of them! But, contrary to popular belief, he hasn’t been in them all…

These cameos are not part of any long-standing deal or contract and he didn’t get paid for doing them. He did them simply because he wanted to.

Stan LOVED Hollywood.

Over the years (even after Marvel was sold to Disney), Stan became something of a mascot to Marvel. He travelled around the world, telling stories and promoting the company (again, all for free). He was not employed by Disney to do this and never saw a penny outside of his own dealings with the event organisers.

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In the finally months of 2018, Stan Lee sadly passed away. On that day, it felt like all of us lost a grandparent. Stan was a larger-than-life character whom we all cherished and he has been missed by us fans ever since.

After his death, I worried about what would happen to his legacy, what with the Marvel rights now belonging to Disney, including their juggernaut creation that is the MCU. I had originally thought they would try to sweep Stan under the rug, ignoring all that he had done in an attempt to simply house Marvel underneath their corporate umbrella.

But thankfully, that seems not to be the case. Instead, Disney has continued to praise Stan, standing him up alongside their own legendary creator, Walt Disney. On what would have been Stan’s birthday this year, they even announced that we would be getting a Stan Lee documentary on their streaming platform, Disney Plus.

Now, it may be true that in the generations to come, most might not know who this strange man is. Or why he keeps showing up within every movie of the first three phases of the MCU. But with Disney still supporting this great man’s legacy, hopefully the information will be on-hand to help educate them.

000080221A_Games_2-Footer Will Future Generations Care About Stan Lee?*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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2 comments

nicholas Dalessandro January 30, 2023 - 10:13 am

Nobody gave more of himself to comics and the art of story telling through larger than life heroes. His vision of those heroes having real human quirks and problems was pure genius!! It also had to happen against the opinion of the the day and his boss. Without that vision Spider-Man would never have been born… All Heil Stan

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KJ January 30, 2023 - 7:36 pm

I’d like to think Lee and Kirby will be remembered like Ruth and Gehrig (and to your point I’ll leave it to others to determine who is who). However, those baseball heroes are known because their accomplishments were passed down through the years from father to son which kept their names “alive” for generations. Unfortunately, collecting comics doesn’t really pass down through the ranks like that. However, on the bright side, there will always be collectors interested in the history of the hobby and when they get to Marvel those gentlemen will be front and center. Nuff Said!

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