10 Amazing Facts About Stan Lee

BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images
BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images

Comic book legend Stan Lee’s life was always an open book. The co-creator of some of the greatest superheroes and most beloved stories of all time, Lee—who passed away on November 12 at the age of 95—became just as mythical and larger-than-life as the characters in the panels. In 2015, around the time of Marvel’s 75th anniversary, Lee had the idea to reflect on his own life, as he said, “in the one form it has never been depicted, as a comic book … or if you prefer, a graphic memoir.”

The result, published by the Touchstone imprint of Simon & Schuster in 2015, was Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir—which was written by Lee with Peter David and features artwork by cartoonist and illustrator Colleen Doran. Here are 10 things we learned about Lee.

1. HIS WIFE WAS ALSO HIS BARBER.

As a bit of a throwaway fact, Stanley Martin Lieber (Stan Lee) revealed the secret of his slicked back mane on the second page of his memoir. “My whole adult life, I’ve never been to a barber,” he wrote. “Joanie always cuts my hair.”

2. HIS CONFIDENCE CAME FROM HIS MOTHER.

Lee wrote that as a child he loved to read books by Mark Twain, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and others, and his mother often watched him read: “I probably got my self-confidence from the fact that my mother thought everything I did was brilliant.”

3. YOUNG STAN LEE WROTE OBITUARIES.

Before writing about the fantastic lives of fictional characters, Lee wrote antemortem obituaries for celebrities at an undisclosed news office in New York. He said that he eventually quit that job because it was too “depressing.”

4. CAPTAIN AMERICA WAS HIS FIRST BIG BREAK.

A week into his job at Timely Comics, Lee got the opportunity to write a two-page Captain America comic. He wrote it under the pen name Stan Lee (which became his legal name) and titled it "Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge." His first full comic script would come in Captain America Issue 5, published August 1, 1941.

5. HE WROTE TRAINING FILMS FOR THE ARMY WITH DR. SEUSS.

After being transferred from the army’s Signal Corps in New Jersey, Lee worked as a playwright in the Training Film Division in Queens with eight other men, including a few who went on to be very famous: Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Saroyan, cartoonist Charles Addams (creator of The Addams Family), director Frank Capra (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington [1939] and It’s a Wonderful Life [1946]) and Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss.

6. HE DEFIED THE COMICS CODE AUTHORITY WITH AN ANTI-DRUG COMIC.

In 1971, Lee received a letter from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare asking him to put an anti-drug message in one of his books. He came up with a Spider-Man story that involved his best friend Harry abusing pills because of a break-up. The CCA would not approve the story with their seal because of the mention of drugs, but Lee convinced his publisher, Martin Goodman, to run the comic anyway.

7. AN ISSUE AT THE PRINTERS TURNED THE HULK GREEN.

The character was supposed to be gray, but according to Lee, the printer had a hard time keeping the color consistent. “So as of issue #2,” Lee wrote, “with no explanation, he turned green.”

8. HIS WIFE DESTROYED HIS PRIZED TYPEWRITER.

According to Lee, during an argument, Joanie destroyed the typewriter he used to write the first issues for characters including Spider-Man and The Fantastic Four. “This happened before eBay," he wrote. "Too bad. I could’ve auctioned the parts and made a mint.”

9. A FIRE DESTROYED HIS INTERVIEWS AND LECTURES.

When Lee moved his family to Los Angeles, he set up a studio in Van Nuys where he stored videotapes of his talks and interviews, along with a commissioned bust of his wife. The building was lost to a blaze that the fire department believed was arson, but no one was ever charged with the crime.

10. HIS FAVORITE MARVEL FILM CAMEO WAS BASED ON ONE FROM THE COMICS.

Beginning with the first Spider-Man film in 2002, Stan Lee has made quick cameos in Marvel films as a service to the fans. He said that his appearance in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) was inspired by the story of Reed and Sue Richards’ wedding in Fantastic Four Annual Volume 1 #3, in which he and artist/writer Jack Kirby attempt to crash the ceremony but are thwarted.

A version of this story ran in 2015.

Finally: Avengers 4 Has a Title and a Trailer

Marvel Entertainment via YouTube
Marvel Entertainment via YouTube

After months of speculation as to when the first official trailer—and the title—would drop for the fourth film in the Avengers series, the time has come! Feast your eyes on Avengers: Endgame.

The trailer begins pretty bleak, as expected, as we see Tony Stark/Iron Man alone, reflecting on all the damage Thanos did in the previous film and all the friends he lost. We then see Steve Rogers/Captain America, Bruce Banner/The Hulk, and Natalia Romanova/Black Widow, similarly defeated after the events of Avengers: Infinity War and trying to pick up the remaining pieces. Hawkeye and Thor are also briefly shown.

However, the most exciting part of the trailer is no doubt the ending. We see Scott Lang/Ant-Man come to the front door, and the heroes ask if it was an old message they were seeing on their monitor, confused as to how they could see him. Black Widow confirms that it's happening right now, thus teasing Ant-Man using the Quantum Realm to time travel—an idea that one fan theory had already put forward. It's all the hope we need to know our heroes will likely all be brought back to life.

Avengers: End Game hits theaters on May 3, 2019.

Russo Brothers Reveal What Disney Thought of Avengers: Infinity War's Dark Ending

Chuck Zlotnick, Marvel Studios 2018
Chuck Zlotnick, Marvel Studios 2018

Disney movies always end in a happily ever after, right? Wrong. Avengers: Infinity War was released by the family-friendly Disney, but half of our favorite superheroes died in the last few minutes of the film.

Surprisingly, Anthony and Joe Russo, the film's directors, did not receive any pushback from Disney about the bleak finish, according to Deadline.

“They were incredibly encouraging of the choices we made,” Joe Russo said.

Anthony Russo explained that he and his brother have never planned to stick to the happy ending narrative when it comes to the Avengers series.

“The only way to drive a conversation is to surprise people,” Anthony said. “If you’re constantly adhering to convention, you’re not going to surprise people.”

Perfectly mastered plot twists create “pop culture talking points for an audience, but they’re also just good narrative,” he added.

The Russo brothers also discussed what the possible influx of new characters and A-list talent could mean for the Marvel Cinematic Universe if and when the Disney-Fox merger is finalized. The deal will introduce Deadpool and the X-Men into the MCU.

"The acquisition of Fox is showing us where the future of the business is going to go,” Joe Russo said, adding that while the brothers have talked to Disney CEO Bob Iger about the future of the MCU, “We haven’t talked to him about when he is going to do it."

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