What Made Stan Lee such a Great Comic Book Genius?
Stan Lieberman was born into a
family of working-class Romanian immigrants in 1922. By age 18, he was already
the editor of the comics division at Timely Publications, a family company.
Lieberman worked there for twenty years cranking out westerns, horror, and
crime stories for his eager juvenile readership.
However, genius rose early and dared to be contained. Stan Lieberman grew tired of the two-syllable dialogue and even worse two-dimensional characters he was forced to create. It became so bad that he refused to put his own name on the byline, so he used the dumb name, Stan Lee. By age 40, Stan Lee decided to retire from comics. His wife Joan suggested that as a legacy to his work, he should write a story that reflected characters that he and the public could believe in.
DC Comics had created a super team of their iconic characters including Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Timely Publications knew they had to respond. In 1961, Stan Lee introduced the Fantastic Four, a group of astronauts transformed into super heroes by cosmic rays. Even with super powers, these heroes suffered from everyday problems like acne, dandruff and girlfriend/boyfriend issues.
A nerve had been touched, tons of fan letters poured into Timely Publications. These issues the characters had plus the fact that they actually used their brains elevated comics into a golden age. Real life-like characters that literally leaped off the page into the hearts of millions.
In an interview with the BBC Stan Lee told them, "Just because he's a hero and has super powers doesn't mean he doesn't have problems,"
Lee wrote all of the copy for Marvel covers. However, not to hog all the praise, Stan Lee gives credit to Marvel's success to artists Jack Kirby, Frank Miller and John Romitaand, that became stars in their own right for creating the cover designs.
The main reason that Marvel sold over 50 million copies in a year were the super heroes came from different walks of life such as Spider Man, a teenager thrust to greatness by an insect bite and the dealth of his Uncle Ben. Dr. Bruce Banner, a research scientist turns into the Incredible Hulk due to experiments he’s working on. And how about the billionaire philanthropist Tony Streak that becomes Iron Man in his spare time. Millions of fans have identified with the human side of these characters and have come back for more.
Stan Lee proved he was as human as his characters in 1999, when his private media group tried to pair comics and the Internet. It failed. However, so far in the Marvel universe the movies have grossed over 2.8 billion dollars worldwide.