Stan Lee, legendary comic-book writer, actor, producer, and creator of some of Marvel’s best-known and most beloved superheroes, has died at age 95.
The comics legend was reportedly rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center early Monday morning where he later died. His death was initially reported by TMZ, which later confirmed the report with his daughter, J.C.
It’s difficult to overstate the effect Lee had on the world at large, not only when it comes to the once-partitioned comic-book genre, but also in relation to all things entertainment. His characters, which he co-created with multiple artists such as Jack Kirby, Larry Lieber, and Steve Ditko, span a litany of household names, including Spider-Man, Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Fantastic Four, Black Panther, the X-Men, and countless other heroes, villains, and supporting characters.
Lee began his indelible run with comics in 1939 when he co-created a slew of his best-known characters, including Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, and Black Panther. His work with Marvel helped transform the small company into the industry-leading comic-books publisher, later parlaying the brand into a movie-house titan that would become — under the guidance of Disney — one of the biggest, most profitable studios in history.
From humble beginnings, Lee and his cohorts helped craft powerful stories that not only wowed the imagination, but also touched on major issues of their respective eras, commenting on everything from fascism during the rise of Nazism in World War II to human rights, isolationism, and many other social issues. Unlike other comic book characters of the era, many of Lee’s creations struggled with their own personal flaws and insecurities as often as they tussled with costumed villains.
Characters like the X-Men faced persecution for their powers and threats from supervillains while simultaneously dealing with peer pressure, young love, and an assortment of other elements of typical teenage drama, for example. Similarly, when he wasn’t swinging through the streets of Manhattan as Spider-Man, Peter Parker tangled with bullies, went on dates, and simply tried to live a normal teenager’s life.
Although Lee later parted ways creatively with Marvel, his name continued to adorn the pages of comic books featuring heroes he co-created (as part of an arrangement he made with Marvel after his exit), and his presence was felt across the entire superhero landscape long after his active involvement with their adventures had ceased. In recent years, Lee famously made cameos in each of the films in Marvel’s ever-expanding cinematic universe.
Lee’s health had reportedly been in decline in the years before his death, forcing him to first cut back on, then cease entirely, his appearance schedule at comic conventions. Allegations of elder abuse had also circled Lee and his estate, with family and longtime associates engaged in bitter public disagreements over his care.
Lee is survived by his only daughter, J.C.