Iconic comic creator Stan Lee, who gave the world the radioactive Spiderman, the Incredible Hulk and the legend of Thor has died at the grand old age of 95. Lee died at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to a family lawyer.
A career that spanned 75 years, Stan Lee whose real name is Stanley Martin Lieber, was born to Jewish immigrants from Romania. He began as a writer and went on to become the editor at Timely Comics which was later re-christened Marvel. He contributed to Captain America’s story as a writer but to today’s fans of Marvel he is known through his cameo’s in the various Marvel films.
Lee created today’s popular characters the Fantastic Four, the Spider Man and the Incredible Hulk in the 1960s, brought them outside the juvenile genre and gave them real issues to deal with such as the Cold War and bankruptcy. Even the futuristic X-Men were created way back in 1963, as a group of teenage heroes born with super-powers.
Despite the Marvel comics and the consequent film franchise being a multi-billion dollar empire, Stan Lee himself revealed that he was barely worth $100 million. He received no part of the sale of the Marvels brand to Disney in 2009 which was worth $4 billion. The Marvel series has grossed over $17 billion at the global box office, making it the highest-grossing film franchise of all time.
Marvel, which is as much identified by its comic characters as by Stan Lee did see some turbulence in the relationship. According to a report in the Guardian, Lee was paid a salary of $1 million per year. But Lee took the comic brand to court in 2000 as he was not paid by them for the subsequent film and TV spinoffs of Spider Man that the brand entered into. He won the suit and The Independent reported that he ultimately received a one-time payment of $10 million.
“Since I am deeply fond of Marvel and the people there, I sincerely regret the situation had to come to this,” Lee said in a statement after the lawsuit. He remained with the company as its “chairman emeritus.”
Stan Lee is survived by his daughter JC Lee. His wife, Joan passed away in 2017.