Stan Lee, the Creator of Marvel Comics was Once a Troubled Kid with Family Issues


Stan Lee is today, the definition of being savvy!

Be it Captain America or Iron Man, Thor or Hulk, Wolverine or Spider-Man… each of these beloved Marvel comic book (now, movie) characters are brain children of Stan Lee.

Almost half of the entire Marvel Comic-book Universe owes its existence to the man. And so do we as superhero lovers. Wouldn’t have been for this man, we could have never get our favorite superheroes.

But ever wondered what made him so creative or to sketch evidently strong characters and the entire backdrop that is not only entertaining but also educating. Where do the lines great powers bring great responsibilities sprouts from?

The man has possible faced more than it meets the eyes. So, now let us dig deeper into it.

Stan Lee was born on December 28, 1922, in New York to Celia and Jack Lieber.

Lee’s father was a dress cutter who did not get much work after the Great Depression. His family was poor and barely managed to get an income apart from their basic needs.

To support his family, Lee had to work in local newspapers and small print media houses, during his high schooling.

Due to economic hardship, he had an abusive family. Fights between his parents were loud and dirty. So eventually, he found his solace in writing and sketching characters who could have the power to save him from this daily day traumas.

In his teenage, he dreamt of writing ‘The Great American Novel’ someday.

Things took an uglier shape when both of Lee’s parents were caught in illegitimate relationships and eventually separated.

He left his home. The only time he visited since then was when his father died, because of major alcohol abuse.

Uncle Ben from Spider-Man was more of an ideal father figure that Stan Lee always imagined to have.

Sometimes, Stan Lee also used direct references in his comics to establish his references to the storyline. For example, here:

The police officer in this section is actually the representation of Stan Lee. He is giving Peter Parker the news that his only father figure is now dead.This was an ironical reference to the absence of a responsible father in his life.

As he passed his early teens, he took a job as an office assistant at Timely Comics and then became an interim editor soon.

This also became the birthplace of The Captain America.

By 1941, Lee started getting opportunities to pen actual comics. He created numerous other characters like The Destroyer, Red Skull etc. and gave Captain America a proper shape with a strong backed-up storyline.

Owing to his creative and technical skills, Lee was soon promoted as the interim editor of the company.

In 1942, he joined the US Army. However, war could not stop his creative stint. He continued scripting training films, manuals, and slogans, which is why he was dubbed in the military as ‘playwright’.

After his military days, Lee joined his company back in the 1950s, which was now called ‘Atlas Comics’.

Now, he started experimenting with different genres like sci-fi, fantasy, and horror.

Around this time, Lee’s mother passed away, because of which he went into a series of depression and got disconnected with his career.

As time passed, he gained back the momentum and it was in the late 1950s, for a competition with DC Comics, when Lee’s publisher asked him to create a new superhero team.

Lee thought to give it more of a heartfelt approach where every character would somewhere represent a part of his life.

And then, he created the ‘Fantastic Four’ and  ‘X-Men’, alongside some major superheroes like, ‘Hulk’, ‘Iron Man’, ‘Thor’, ‘Spider-Man, and ‘Doctor Strange’.

These characters helped him channelize his life’s monotony and eventually, Marvel Comics was co-founded.

Marvel Comics made a goodwill of ‘Comic books with a message’ among critics and soon matched the popularity of DC Comics.

Lee’s contribution to the company became even bigger when he in 1963 formed an entire comic book multiverse and drafted the Avengers.

He was offered the position of president but Lee found the task a bit more demanding than he could contribute. So he rejected the offer by remaining only the publisher and co-founder of the company.

Later his superhero universe got immense popularity and got adopted in movies and cartoons.

My characters are my strength. Quite literally! Because each of them represents an extension of my personality. Like, Cap [Captain america] is a me-version from my war days while Magneto is my father’s reflection of a misled man. Wonder why Wolverine drink so much? Well, I did when mom fucked around. So, you either use your creativity to create things or just run away.

-Stan Lee

Lee’s cameo in every single Marvel movie is also metaphorical. it represents that he is as much as part of every character as they are to him.

Stan Lee has been felicitated with numerous awards, some of them to mention are-  Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame 1994, PGA Vanguard Award 2012, and, Bill Finger Award 2008. He was also nominated for Hugo Awards 2008.

So, what we can take away from Lee’s life is that life is never easy. Not even for the one who is the literal father of all superheroes. In fact, it is full of troubles and fears. But that can either shape us to bring something really extraordinary or just sit back and die insignificant. The choice is yours to make!