Stan Lee was done with comics. He according to a famous source was quoted he was writing “Nonsense.” as he piloted over his wife Joan admitting himself to be in a stupid business. The Maverick was a tongue and cheek persona who didn’t give the rollicking fart of writing any more jingoisms for a country’s advocacy. Instead, he wanted to write pure adult stuff something any hero or villain wanted to connect with. Billions of fans patrolling the WWII Corp was responsible for him to touch the history of the pop culture that rewarded him gold, following his wife’s advice.
A Sunday night of the famous NBC radio show called the “The Chase and Sanborn hour” provided the perfect sojourn to the Lee Family. Lee’s mother, Celia exchanged the extras of encouraging reading and creativity for her only son because in earlier days, families considered sending their children to work. “Stanley Martin Lieber’s” family, were Jewish since they belonged to the battalion of the 2.7 million Jewish immigrants, the struggles of “Great Depression of the United States standing between 1875 and 1924.
Lee was the vernacular of Superhero
The Marvel Movie Man cameo of the generation has established a medium for participators who wanted to read, write and draw. The Lieber man was a huge fan of the jungle action movies as he considered himself to be the kid of Errol Flynn and the popular Tarzan Movie Serials. His killer montage of those movie influences could easily be found with his characters who were the benefactor of those graphic writing in particular.
Short and Gripping Narratives would be the punch of Lee’s work. The cliffhanger narratives were the strong work ethic that enthralled the immortal face of the comic book industry. In the late interview with Larry King, he accepted he wasn’t afraid of dying, but rather would be happier to be remembered among his friends; because immortal was boring.
Stanley Lieber had become Stan Lee
If any moral compass demanded the action of punching Hitler straight in the face, then it all started way back in the 1930’s. Family always choose the hard ways of surviving without employment. The statistics of unemployment had hit nineteen percent for the supplies to come in. Father’s void of filling as the man of the hour impacted Lee on a deep level. He was the guy who prioritized work and career over everything else.
The time had come when the son was to leave the confines of his dependency and workload of the family and to join as the hero to aid the comic legends; Joe Simon and Jack Kirby (The Creators of Captain America). Simon and Kirby under Martin Goodman the publisher brought the newly Branded Comic Pantheon into the mainstream.
Timely Comics was now referenced as “The Marvel Comics” who were selling nearly one million copies of the first issue of Captain America showing the hero punching Adolf Hitler, an exclusive cover available on stands. Lee’s job allowed to watch the industry in action and form opinions about it’s operation after which he could write a story for the Captain America #3 (1941) and the iconic pen name got the recognition it deserved.
The frequent demand for content put him in the ranks where he began writing longer stories as he was the best proof checker the publication had ever hired. Putting him up in the hierarchy had allowed him to edit another writer’s work. The hierarchy always plays with a fortune of one’s destiny. The unclear events with Simon and Kirby’s ouster had made Lee the rising star as he got promoted to head of Goodman’s comics division.
Stan Lee in World War II: The Signal Corps Training Film Division
The Corp of Fort Monmouth, a large base in New Jersey that housed more than 100 Signal Corps enlisted “The Man behind Marvel” as an army officer in November 1942. His position was filled in by another attendant at Marvel when he was completing his training at the corps school. The significant military role had to a lot with research for the base. The division was responsible for handling communication for the military in the ensuing years.
Those days researchers had developed radar and an all-important hand-held walkie-talkie that supported the exchange of wireless messages. Lee learned how to string communications and repair the lines that were part of his daily job which leads to active combat duty overseas. The army was recognized for their communication infrastructure that required keeping in flow the modern warfare communications. Numerous talents were hired everywhere with additional trading centers opening at Camp Crowder, Missouri, and on the West Coast at Camp Kohler, near Sacramento, California.
Stan’s everyday tasks were like any other soldier, his task list involved patrolling the perimeter and watching for enemy ships or planes mounting a surprise attack during the cold New Jersey winter. The Atlantic nearly froze him to death. After the Oceanfront, Lee’s talent as a writer and comic book editor came out in front of his superior officers. With immediate effect, he was assigned to the Training Film Division, coincidentally based in Astoria, Queens.
He got added along with eight other artists, filmmakers, and writers to create a range of public relation pieces propaganda tools and information sharing document. Stan Lee earned the transfer based on his writing skills. By mid-1943, he became the supporting role for Corps consisting of 27, 000 officers and 287,000 enlisted men, backed by another 50,000 civilians who worked alongside them. This is when he got introduced to Frank Capra an Italian American film director, producer, and writer who became the creative force behind some of the major award-winning films of the 1930s and 1940s.
Col E Melvin was in command of the unit who besides the army officials realized the requirement of an unprecedented number of training films aided to prepare recruits from all over the country and with varying education levels. There Lee had found the opportunity of fine-tuning his writing skills through work on scripts and instruction manuals, in addition to editing films and drawing up promotional posters. It was there where he witnessed the potential of mass media to entertain and educate audiences.
The Illustrious Teacher and the Pearl Harbor
He wrote training films and film scripts. He did posters and wrote instruction manuals during his time at the Queens Facility. Lee recalled himself as one of the greatest teachers of that time. The illustrious division was a consortium for many famous or soon-to-be-famous individuals, from three-time Academy-award winning director Frank Capra and New Yorker cartoonist Charles Addams to a children’s book writer and illustrator named Theodor Geisel.
The world already knew Geisel through his famous pen name “Dr. Seuss”. Lee often joked about his days during World War II service. Nevertheless, the demand for training films was paralleling the growth of the armed forces even before Pearl Harbor. For training large numbers of men had been accomplished most effectively through the medium of films.
For the fiscal year of 1942, an amount of $4,928,810 was selected for Army Pictorial Service, of which $1,784,894 was recruited for motion picture production and $1,304,710 for motion picture distribution. More than four times the amount, a total of $20,382,210, was appropriated for the fiscal year, 1943, and half went for training films and for the training of officers for photographic specialist courses.
Julius Rosenberg carried out a clandestine mission spying for Russia when Lee was servicing his time with the signal corps. Julius Rosenberg was the primary suspect of the famous Julius and Ethel Rosenberg case. The Rosenbergs were American citizens who were suspected of spying, with others, for the Soviet Union. The spy ring they led in New Jersey had recorded thousands of pages of top-secret documents handed over to the Russian handlers. In 1953, Rosenberg and his wife Ethel were convicted, imprisoned and executed.
The Fantastic Vision
Lee’s independent vision belonged to the Realism of the World War settings and somehow, he wanted to break the barrier of not writing anymore for Juvenile pieces but for a hairraising incorporation. Relatable characters, current events and combining the fantastic was his take on the creating the classic pulp fiction. To make the unreal real he and Martin wanted to plop an earthly superhero into a familiar setting to connect with the readers. Well unsure about the Fantastic Four, Lee and Kirby took a chance on the path breaker and were rewarded with booming sales. The watershed moment that saved the industry from collapsing into the grounds.
The Birth of Superheroes
Lee’s publisher was known to pounce on any trend that got a good hit and Martin wanted to encapsulate this potential trend. After the massive success of “Fantastic” Lee wanted to justify his time working alongside Ditko, the next major addition to the genre this time happened to be the 1962 introduction of Spiderman. Goodman could not be persuaded at both the character’s name and the unlikeliness of a teenage superhero. Yet Lee pressed on following up with the immensely successful characters with Thor, the Hulk, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, and the X-Men.
“You just don’t stop when you’re on a winning streak,”
For any successful publication, a good marketing is what spreads to the fans. To improve Marvel’s market he included publication updates, author biographies, and gossip about the industry in the back of new comics. Lee and his Marvel family tree took Marvel from a circulation of 18 million in 1961 to 32 million for the next quarter of 1965. Fan Clubs formed on College Campuses. TV Executives started calling (following Marvel animated shows) as Lee appeared on the Dick Cavett Show. Lee was the strike of chord for his readers as it brought new fans daily.
1960’s were at the peak of cultural tensions and the guy was giving the world comics capable of changing with times. The educational and the cultural merit of comics needed to be pushed. Certain readers wanted to escape the troubling times but after surviving a company buyout lee felt the platform was being underutilized where the comic platform should talk about war, peace, rebellion, and civil rights.
There were trials and error to engage with an audience that too the younger generation. Somehow the Industry was revolutionized with the introduction of The Amazing Spiderman #96. The 1971 comic art featured nefarious subplot of drug overuse. All comics had to use the anti-drug context as rules mentioned by CCA (The Comics Code Authority) had rules against any mention of drugs. New issues always displayed the CCA approval stamp, but Lee prioritized message over the seal. He ducked that bar to give Marvel that new freedom to explore more grown-up storylines. Lee cultivated a new adult relationship and like all other companies, the decline hit the readers.
With the fall in readership, Lee’s Rank only kept increasing until he got the title of the publisher at Marvel by 1972. The comic market for the superheroes was especially stagnating and byte ned he had to look for other avenues of production, Hollywood. Lee shifted from New York City to Los Angeles who was promised many new opportunities.
Comics Market: The Decline
There was an only minimal success as Lee got his creations to films and televisions in the 1970s and the 1980s. Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno the stars of The Incredible Hulk series was perhaps the greatest breakthrough, but it got canceled in 1982. A spin off the She-Hulk had a brief life which also got canceled. Stan Lee was just the eternal face of comics and perhaps that’s why he had been able to retain his position for a longer lifetime.
Fans followed him everywhere wherever he went and despite the financial depression back in New York, Lee and his enigmatic smile did the job of representing marvel throughout the decade.
The 1990s was the decade of stranger things. Marvel survived another merger and Lee’s paycheck was tripled overtime, the only hardbone in the rise of Lee was the making of major feature films that continued to stall based on the Marvel characters.
Frank Miller’s Adult Graphic Novel The Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore’s and Dave Gibbon’s Watchmen expanded the horizon for adult audiences. Following the massive triumph for Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman and the massive victory sales of DC’s comic book The Death of Superman (1992), the consciousness of the larger slice of mass began to occupy their minds with these iconic superheroes.
Lee pushed his projects and made his connections in Hollywood, hoping to follow DC’s success on the big screen. The rest is what the audiences are familiar with the current line of Hollywood mainstreams be it games, tv shows, comics. A major genre film boom paved way for a lot of Marvel Films be it X-Men (2000) and Spider-Man (2002). Although X-Men were owned by 20th Century Fox and Spider-Man was the only one that made a deal with Sony to bring that character into the universe.
The Man behind Marvel
Following the tradition of Alfred Hitchcock, Lee became his own Easter Egg for the likes of Marvel Studios’ blockbuster Avengers (Disney), X-Men (Fox) and Spider-Man (Sony) series. He at this point become the face of both Marvel and comics fandom which includes Paramount’s Iron Man in 2008; soon after, Disney acquired Marvel and propelled the Avengers into one of history’s most lucrative film franchises.
He also became the voice for countless roles in animated series, including narrating series based on The Incredible Hulk and memorably Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends in the early- to mid-1980s. Stan Lee might be the pivot for the mass entertainment but he never would want us to forget that he was a strong and innovative writer.
Spider-Man: A State of Mind
Spiderman was not just a successful model title, but it changed how the industry wrote on superheroes. As Lee had said Spiderman is “A state of mind”. The web-slinger symbolized hopes, fear dreams, frustration that haunted all consciousness till the final walk of the character’s life. Spidey’s persona shows how Lee’s fans connected with him for the same reasons they connected with his characters. His accessible persona made Lee available to the fans through those comics put on their shelves.
Spiderman: Death without Warning
The newest chapter restored Lee’s amazing work of understanding the beauty of undertaking adult themes and delving into the dark twist of the character’s death. A newer more fearful foe arises to menace the weary web-slinger. The fight between Lizard and Spidey accounts for more dreadful accounts as one witnesses Silvermane’s life pass infancy as he de-ages to become nothing more but a memory.
Lee’s best work on Spiderman so far accompanied by John Romita Sr. best known for his work on Marvel Comics’ The Amazing Spider-Man and for co-creating the character The Punisher. He was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2002.
Stan Lee’s sense of public persona was born out of a teenage desire to be an actor. The identity qualified him to be morphed in a kind of celebrity identity, that enabled him to play up the brash New York City attitude that he saw all around him in his youth. Lee’s years during the Great Depression times provided him the necessary chops to play the rugged tough guy. However, Lee’s modesty is one of the many reasons that he is a giant in the trade and a passionate fan himself.