The man responsible for crafting some of Marvel comics’ most memorable superheroes including the X-Men, Spider-Man, Iron Man and the Hulk died Monday aged 95.
Marvel Entertainment confirmed Stan Lee’s death on its Instagram account.
Lee was for several generations the creative force driving Marvel comics, becoming for many the embodiment of the imprint by crafting characters that would go on to become iconic worldwide in print, on television and in film.
While his characters were costume-clad vigilantes fighting against sensational villains, the stories Lee crafted often delved into weighty topics of alienation, inequality, minority rights and the battle against inner demons. His characters often combatted their own neuroses as well.
Spider-Man’s alter-ego, Peter Parker, would often quarrel with the trappings of expensive New York City-living and balancing the responsibilities of the mask with the financial burdens of his day-to-day life. The latter oftentimes lost out against the mantra that was Spider-Man’s reason for existence: “with great power comes great responsibility.”
Tony Stark, the billionaire technology savant who dons the Iron-Man armor, struggled with alcoholism and a weak heart.
And despite wielding some of the most impressive powers in the Marvel universe the X-Men were oftentimes the target of genetic prejudice. Labeled freaks for bearing evolved genes they would often seek to defend the ideal that all people deserve to be treated equally in a just society.
It was Lee’s ability to anchor the fantastical characters he created in real-life struggles that helped him tell stories that many could respond to regardless of their background.
He created many of his now-renowned characters in the 1960s before becoming Marvel’s publisher and editorial director in 1972. He would go on to become a Hollywood producer, and would frequently make cameos in Marvel’s cinematic universe.
“Stan Lee and Dr. Seuss and Ray Bradbury. That’s where it begins and ends with me,” Josh Brolin, who plays the out-of-time anti-hero Cable in Deadpool 2 and nefarious villain Thanos in the latest Avengers movie, said on Instagram.
“To those of us who have been so deeply affected by the humanity of his imagination, the understanding of reaching beyond our potential and the necessity of tapping into our immeasurable imaginations, we thank you and are forever indebted. Rest In Peace Dear Stan. You made our time here a better one,” he added.
Robert Downey Jr., the actor who plays Tony Stark across several franchise movies, added on the social media platform: “I owe it all to you,,, Rest In Peace Stan.”