Updated on August 8, 2022
The year 2022 marks a century since the birth of Stan Lee, Marvel superheroes’ creator. The Comics book legend was born on December 28, 1922, in New York, to Romanian-born Jewish immigrant parents. His real name was Stanley Martin Lieber. When he started writing comic-book scripts, he used the pseudonym “Stan Lee”, which years later he adopted as his legal name.
To pay tribute to the one who has revolutionized the superhero archetype and was a pioneering force in this niche, we have created the Stan Lee timeline, which highlights important life events and some of his most enduring characters.
By creating iconic characters such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, the X-Men, Doctor Strange, and Black Panther, not only did he turn the small division of pulp magazines for which he was working into the well-known brand Marvel Comics, but he also contributed to superhero movies becoming the lifeblood of the blockbuster industry.
In collaboration with other artists, Mr. Lee introduced superheroes with a more humane and flawed identity that challenged the standards of the idealistically perfect figures that populated the comics magazines of pre-Marvel era. Thus, these figures would struggle with everyday worries like paying rent or wondering about their purpose in life. They would have fits of bad temper, melancholy or vanity.
Endowing his characters with a more naturalistic personality, developing the first black heroes in the comics business and employing new methods of storytelling, the Marvel visionary ushered a new era and saw his work become a huge influence in the movie industry.
Stan Lee: a timeline
We’ve put together a short list of key events in Stan Lee’s life, together with the milestones of some of his iconic creations:
- December 28, 1922: Stan Lee is born
- July 1939: Graduates from DeWitt Clinton High School
- December 1939: Becomes assistant at Timely Comics
- August 1941: 1st superhero, The Destroyer
- December 1942: Enters the US Army
- August 1945: Returns from military service
- December 1947: Marries Joan Clayton Boocock
- December 1961: The Fantastic Four
- 1962: Spider-Man, Thor, the Hulk
- 1963: Iron Man, X-Men, Doctor Strange
- 1964: Daredevil, Wonder Man
- December 1965: The Inhumans
- August 1966: Black Panther
- December 1967: Captain Marvel
- September 1969: Falcon
- November 1974: The Inkpot Award
- December 1981: Moves to LA for Marvel’s film projects
- December 1998: Founds Stan Lee Media
- December 2001: Co-founds POW! Entertainment
- July 2006: Hosts “Who Wants to Be a Superhero”
- January 2008: Superhero comics for Virgin Comics
- November 2008: National Arts Medal
- 2009: Creates the Stan Lee Foundation
- October 2012: Lifetime Achievement Award
- 2015-2017: The Zodiac Legacy Book Series
- November 12, 2018: Dies of heart and respiratory failure
FAQ about Stan Lee
Here are some answers to the questions that people frequently ask about Stan Lee’s life and work.
Why is Stan Lee important?
Stan Lee was a revered comic-book creator, known to millions as the man who has created a world of superheroes, like Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Thor, Doctor Strange, and more for Marvel Comics.
His creation significantly impacted the contemporary age on aspects that might go unnoticed at a first glance:
- Stan Lee humanized the world of superheroes. His characters are not flawless superheroes, they are relatable characters with strong personalities, being described as normal, real people with real problems and weaknesses. This created a sense of hope and empowerment and generations of young people growing up with Lee’s superheroes started to see the potential for outcasts, loners, and the “unpopular” kids to find greater purpose and potential in their own lives. Lee’s superheroes taught the young to find their hidden strength and to use it for the greater good.
- Stan Lee influenced the comics world for decades. He helped reform the Comics Code Authority and addressed issues like discrimination, drugs, and intolerance. Marvel heroes don’t just stand for justice in their fictional universes, they also support real-world causes, tackling issues like bigotry, racism, bullying or drug use. The characters and situations that Lee created are sometimes metaphors for struggles for equality and civil rights, like the X-Men, and other times direct sources of empowerment and representation, like the Black Panther.
- The Stan Lee Foundation promotes literacy, education and the arts. As the manifesto of the Stan Lee Foundation says, “Insecurity is the nemesis of dignity and joy, so The Stan Lee Foundation supports compelling literacy and arts programs promoting life skills that inspire the superhero mindset and empower generations to realize their potential, manifest opportunity, and triumph over self-doubt.”
When did Stan Lee start making comics?
In 1939, Stan Lee began working as a gofer and editorial assistant at Timely Comics, a small publishing company, but made his comic-book debut in 1941, writing the text for “Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge”, illustrated by Jack Kirby and published in Captain America Comics No. 3 (May 1941).
In 1941, he created his first superhero, Destroyer, in collaboration with Jack Binder. The character was similar to Captain America, a comic-strip superhero created by writer Joe Simon and artist Jack Kirby. The Destroyer premiered in Mystic Comics No. 6 and enjoyed a brief time in the spotlight of Marvel’s early heroes, quickly fading into obscurity.
What did Stan Lee do as a child?
Stan Lee was born Stanley Martin Lieber on December 28, 1922, in New York. Growing up after the First World War and during the early part of the Great Depression, Lee and his younger brother, Larry, saw his parents struggling to make ends meet for the family. As a child, his life was influenced by reading and watching movies, and also by his mother’s and his creative side. As a teen, he dreamt of writing ‘The Great American Novel’. After graduating from high school at age 16, he was hired as a gofer and editorial assistant at Timely Comics and soon promoted as editor.
When and where was Stan Lee born?
Stan Lee (originally named Stanley Martin Lieber) was born on December 28, 1922, in New York.
How old would Stan Lee be today?
On December 28, 2022, Stan Lee would be 100 years old. Stan Lee was born December 28, 1922, and died November 12, 2018, at the age of 95.
Who was Stan Lee’s first hero?
Stan Lee’s first superhero was Destroyer, created in collaboration with Jack Binder. The Destroyer premiered in Mystic Comics No. 6 in 1941.
Is Spider-Man Stan Lee’s favorite?
Spider-Man was one of the favorite co-creations of the Marvel chairman emeritus Stan Lee. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Lee said why he liked Spider-Man: “He’s the one who’s most like me – nothing ever turns out 100 percent OK; he’s got a lot of problems, and he does things wrong, and I can relate to that.”
Was Spider-Man Stan Lee’s first creation?
No, Spider-Man was not Stan Lee’s first creation, his first superhero was Destroyer, created in 1941. Spider-Man, a superhero created by then writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, first appeared in the anthology comic book Amazing Fantasy No. 15 in August 1962.
Who founded Marvel? Did Stan Lee create Marvel?
Lee was the co-creator and former editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics.
Originally, Marvel was started as Timely Comics in 1939 by Martin Goodman, a pulp magazine publisher. The company became Marvel Comics in 1961, the year when it launched The Fantastic Four and other superhero titles created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and many others.
Did Stan Lee create DC Comics?
Stan Lee is not the founder of DC Comics. DC Comics is one of the largest and oldest American comic book companies and the first comic under the DC banner was published in 1937. The predecessor of DC Comics, National Allied Publications, was founded in Autumn 1934 by entrepreneur Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson.
Stan Lee is known primarily as the founder and first Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics, but he also contributed material to DC Comics. He created the “Just Imagine…” comic book series, re-imagining some of the company’s most well-known, iconic characters, including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and the Flash.
Why is Stan Lee in every Marvel movie? Why does Stan Lee have a cameo in every Marvel movie?
Stan Lee appeared in most Marvel Cinematic Universe films, since Iron Man in 2008, totaling 22 cameos in the MCU. Back in the 1960s, Lee’s likeness would be inserted occasionally in covers and inside the pages of the Marvel comics he was overseeing. Lee says that this was not his intention, and these are his words:
“The artists back then would draw me in as a joke or just to have fun. And I would put some dialogue balloons there and it looked as if I intended it. I didn’t try to do cameos in those days.”
“Anything that seemed fun and anything that the readers seemed to enjoy we kept doing and those things brought in a lot of fan mail. And we weren’t doing movies or television, our whole existence depended on comic books, so if you see that something is interesting to the fans you stay with it.”
Did Stan Lee fight in WW2?
During World War II, Lee served in the United States Army Signal Corps. He entered the US Army in early 1942 and his duties included repairing telegraph wires and communications. He was later assigned to the Training Film Division, where he worked to create public relationship pieces, writing manuals, training films, slogans, and information-sharing documents.
What was Stan Lee’s net worth when he died?
According to CelebrityNetWorth.com, Stan Lee had a net worth of $50 million dollars at the time of his death in November of 2018.
About the Stan Lee Timeline
The Stan Lee chronology was built with Office Timeline, a simple yet powerful plugin for PowerPoint that allows users to generate professional-looking timelines and other similar visuals almost instantly. You can download the Stan Lee timeline for PowerPoint for free and use the free edition of Office Timeline to further restyle it.