Right off the hop, we want to make one thing clear - a lot of artists and writers have had a pivotal role to play in the legacy of Marvel Comics. That said, no matter how much respect some current and former Marvel employees deserve for their contributions, there is one name that rises above the rest, Stan Lee.
Unfortunately no longer with us after his 2018 passing, Stan Lee co-created so many beloved Marvel Comics characters that it would be foolish to try and list them all here. In fact, over Lee’s 95 years on this planet, he accomplished many amazing things, some of which fans of his should know more about. With that in mind, it is time to get to this list of 20 surprising facts about the real Marvel mind, Stan Lee.
20 One of a Kind Haircuts
In this day and age, most celebrities get made up by an entire team of people before their notable public appearances. However, according to Stan Lee’s memoir, “Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir”, the only person he let cut his hair as an adult was his beloved wife Joanie.
19 Lucky Man
Considering that Stan Lee co-created a series of characters that possessed every superpower under the sun, it is clear that the guy had one heck of an imagination. That is why it is so funny to learn that when he was asked which superpower he would most like to have, he said luck. Once we remembered how badass Domino was in Deadpool 2, however, we totally understood his choice.
When it comes to Stan Lee, one of the man’s most amusing quirks was his tendency to give many of his characters first and last names that started with the same letter. As it turns out, the reason for that is is Stan struggled to remember names and it was easier for him to recall them when they started with the same letter.
After the publication of the 1954 book “Seduction of the Innocent” in which psychiatrist Fredric Wertham claimed that comics corrupted, the industry adopted a strict set of rules. Known as the Comics Code Authority, the rules strictly forbade comic book stories in which characters used illicit substances. That presented a problem when the US government asked Stan Lee to write an anti-drug comic so he convinced Marvel’s owner to publish the first comic in years that broke the rules.
16 What’s In a Name?
As many people know, there are loads of Hollywood stars that have adopted stage names. What most of them likely don’t realize is they have something in common with Stan Lee whose birth name was Stanley Martin Lieber. As for Lee’s motivation for altering his name, early in his career, he thought he would transition into writing novels someday and didn’t want his true name associated with comics. Funnily enough, he eventually became so well known as Stan Lee that he legally changed his name to that.
15 The Marvel Method
Due to the fact that Stan Lee both wrote and edited numerous comic book titles at the height of his career, the man needed to work quickly. For that reason, he pioneered the so-called Marvel method. This process involved the writer explaining his intended story to the artist who would come back with a fully drawn comic so the scribe could add dialogue to it.
14 Unfortunate Lawsuit
Even though Stan Lee is most famous for his contributions to comics, he also was involved in several other projects during his life. For example, he created an animated show for Pamela Anderson named Stripperella which debuted in 2003. Unfortunately, due to his involvement in that show, Lee got sued as an exotic dancer claimed she came up with Stripperella’s concept and told Stan about it while performing for him.
13 Crossing Over
When it comes to Stan Lee, there is absolutely no question that he will forever be associated with Marvel Comics. However, a lot of people don’t realize that during the early 2000s he briefly worked for DC Comics. During this time period, Stan worked with several DC in-house creators to write a 13 issue series called Just Imagine in which he put his stamp on the company’s most famous characters.
12 The Father of More Than Just Characters
When most people talk about Stan Lee’s contributions to the comic book industry, they tend to list off the best-known characters that he co-created during his career. Sadly, one of his most important creations often gets ignored, the shared universe. After all, it was Lee that decided to have characters from different comics series like Spider-Man and Daredevil exist in the same world and interact.
11 Only a Teen
When Stan Lee first went to work at the company that would become Marvel Comics, he was there to perform whatever menial tasks were needed. Thankfully for him, soon after Lee got his first chance to write for the company, legendary comics scribes Joe Simon and Jack Kirby left Marvel. As a result, Marvel’s publisher was desperate so he promoted the inexperienced Lee by making him interim editor, even though Stan was only 19 at the time.
10 Morbid Job
At the height of Stan Lee’s career, he regularly wrote stories that were known for being full of fun and life. That must have been quite the change for him as earlier in his life, Lee worked for a news department in New York writing obituaries for still-alive celebrities that could be run when they passed away.
9 Extreme Executive
In reality, we all know that Stan Lee wasn’t a filmmaker. However, technically speaking, he has to be included among the most successful film producers of all time. After all, due to all of the characters and storylines he created, Stan was credited as an Executive Producer on pretty much all of the modern Marvel movies and shows up until his passing.
8 Exit Stage Left
During the early 1960s, the comic book medium got next to no respect and Marvel’s publisher even asked Stan Lee to dumb down his writing. Severely frustrated by that demand, Lee decided to leave Marvel after creating the Fantastic Four which he wrote exactly the way he wanted to. When the FF became a hit, it gave Lee the freedom to do things his way so he stuck around.
7 Poor Partner
During the late ‘90s, Stan Lee was approached by a man named Peter Paul and the two created a project named Stan Lee Media. Unfortunately, after Stan created some new characters under that business’ banner, it turned out that he put his trust in the wrong person. After all, Paul exaggerated the company’s profits to investors which resulted in him getting busted for fraud by the SEC. It should be noted, during the SEC’s investigation that found that Lee wasn’t involved in the wrongdoing.
Earlier in this list, we looked at the fact that Stan Lee once reimagined several of DC Comic’s most famous characters. Apparently still interested in that kind of thing during the early 2010s, Lee co-wrote the New York Times bestselling graphic novel “Romeo and Juliet: The War”. In this reinterpretation of Shakespeare’s classic play, both families are made up of superhuman soldiers that are at war.
5 He Didn’t Realize What He Was Agreeing To
While Spider-Man has been involved in many fantastic moments, some stand head and shoulders above the rest, including the death of Gwen Stacy. Amazingly enough, according to an Alter Ego magazine Stan Lee interview, he gave his permission to have Gwen Stacy pass away but he didn’t really think about it. This was the case because Lee was getting ready to travel at the time and when he returned from Europe he was shocked at Gwen’s death and had to be reminded he’d agreed to it.
4 Stan Vs. Marvel
By the time of Stan Lee’s passing, from the outside looking in it appeared like there was no ill will between him and Marvel. However, that wasn’t the case in the early 2000s as Stan felt that Marvel had failed to compensate him for all of their movie successes which they were obligated to do. As such, Lee sued Marvel and after an out of court settlement, he received an undisclosed seven-figure sum of money.
3 Inauspicious Beginnings
Earlier in this list, we looked at the fact that it wasn’t long after Stan Lee started working at the company that would become Marvel that he became its editor. Before that, however, he had to make his comic book writing debut and he didn’t exactly start out on top. Instead, in his debut as a comic book writer Lee penned a two-page story called “Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge”.
Obviously, someone who has a flair for words, Stan Lee turned himself into a legend due to his writing abilities. Despite that, a lot of people have no idea that during ‘70s Lee wrote an epic poem called “God Woke”. An incredible piece that you can hear Stan Lee recite if you search for it on YouTube, Lee’s poem even got turned into a graphic novel that was released in 2016.
1 Amazing Co-Workers
Before Stan Lee began working in the comics industry, he served in the army where he was tasked with writing for the Training Film Division in Queens. Incredibly enough, the other people who worked for the Training Film Division at that time included the future Dr. Seuss, director Frank Capra, and the creator of The Addams Family.
Sources: mentalfloss, whatculture, buzzfeed, screenrant, factinate