Stan Lee, co-creator of some of the most iconic fictional characters we know today, such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, Black Panther and Thor, passed away on Monday at the age of 95 at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to a family lawyer.
Saying that Stan Lee was a legendary giant in the comic book industry would be an understatement. Lee, born Stanley Martin Lieber, helped create some of the most famous faces in modern pop culture who have touched the hearts of many and been continuously met with box-office success.
In 1939, at the age of 17, he started working as an assistant at Marvel’s predecessor, Timely Publications, and became the comics editor there at 18. In the 1960s, Stan Lee collaborated with co-creators Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko and saw Marvel Comics grow to become massively popularity. He was known for creating diverse groups of complex characters who were flawed, relatable and loveable. His most famous character, Peter Parker, or Spider-Man, brought in $100 million in its film manifestation during the opening weekend.
In 2008, Lee was awarded the National Medal of Arts, the highest civilian award for creative artists, by then-President George W. Bush.
Marvel’s popularity soared once more when the creation of the movie “Iron Man” led to the blossoming of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe and made it the highest-grossing film franchise of all time, earning over $17 billion worldwide. Stan Lee was famous for appearing in humorous cameos throughout the films and television shows.
Many Marvel actors, like Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson and Chris Evans, paid tribute to Stan Lee after his passing.
“There will never be another Stan Lee,” Chris Evans tweeted on the afternoon of Nov. 12. “For decades he provided both young and old with adventure, escape, comfort, confidence, inspiration, strength, friendship and joy. He exuded love and kindness and will leave an indelible mark on so, so, so many lives. Excelsior!!”
“I owe it all to you, Rest in Peace Stan.” Iron Man-actor Robert Downey Jr. wrote in an Instagram post.
“Thank you @TheRealStanLee for the escape from this world & great joy inhabiting the ones you created!! You made so many believe in the good, the heroic, the villainous, the exciting, most of all, you were giving & gracious to us all. RIP,” wrote Nick Fury actor Samuel L. Jackson on Twitter.
NYU students are also among those who have felt loss and were deeply saddened by Stan Lee’s death.
“Personally, I am at a loss for words,” CAS first-year Shayna Crespo said. “He was a great man, considered a legend even, I wouldn’t be where I am believing in myself and what I can do, if it wasn’t for his inspirational comics and movies. I was also inspired by his beginnings as a World War II veteran and the fact that he died the day after veterans day really hit home. He was an extraordinary man.”
CAS first-year Clara Plutzer noted the timing of his death.
“[His death] felt poetic, like the end of an era, especially with the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s 10-year anniversary,” Plutzer said. “It’s as if Stan Lee’s passing was symbolic, and in a way was Marvel passing the torch from the beloved original Avengers to a new era of superhero stories.”
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