Lehman Community Mourns the Loss of New York Native Stan Lee

By Teresa Fanzo

Stan Lee at Phoenix Comicon, pictured in 2011. Photo courtesy of Flickr.

“I will miss seeing his cameos in every Marvel movie,” said Peter Watson, a Lehman freshman.

Stan Lee, the comic book writer known for the creation of many Marvel characters such as Spider-Man and the Hulk, died at the age of 95 on November 12, 2018. His death came as a shock to the comic world and the pop culture industry.

Born Stanley Martin Lieber in Manhattan, Lee moved to the Bronx when he was a teenager. Growing up he was inspired by books and movies and admired heroic figures like Robin Hood. Stan Lee went to Clinton High School, less than a mile away from Lehman College.

According to biography.com, Lee became an assistant in the Timely Comic division of Pulp Magazine, an inexpensive nonfiction magazine, in 1939. By the 1960s, Timely evolved into Marvel Comics when the company launched the Fantastic Four. He made his debut in May of 1941 with writing filler, plots that do not actually progress the story, for “Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge.” He used a pen name, Stan Lee, which he would later adopt as his legal name. 

By the end of the 1950s, he considered leaving his job. He was dissatisfied and he was not given the opportunity to write the stories he wanted. During this time, Lee was on the verge of quitting, but with his wife’s advice, he began writing the kind of stories he enjoyed.

“I mourn Stan not just as an innovator and storyteller but as a New Yorker and a Bronxite.”  

- Lehman Senior and film and television studies major Juan Vasquez

The DC comics editor, Julius Schwartz, first introduced the public to the concept of the super-team with the Justice League of America. To combat this, Lee was tasked with the assignment to create their company’s own super-team.   

Lee and his partner, Jack Kirby, created the Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, and arguably Marvel’s most successful character, Spider-Man. These characters were grouped into Marvel’s super-team, The Avengers.

Stan Lee created a world of relatable characters and intriguing storylines. In 2008, the comic studio ventured into the film industry, and since 2008, Lee has had a cameo feature in every single Marvel film.

Lee was an icon who revolutionized the comic industry and inspired many Lehman students. Junior and film and television studies major Julia Brennan said, “I grew up reading Marvel comics. Spider-Man is the first movie I remember seeing in theaters as a kid, so I hold a great sense of gratitude towards Stan Lee.” 

Senior and Lehman film and television studies major Juan Vasquez said, “The sorrow that was his passing transcended the comics world. I mourn Stan not just as an innovator and storyteller but as a New Yorker and a Bronxite.”