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AN ORIGINAL GENIUS: Stan Lee, co-founder of Marvel Comics, dies

LOS ANGELES — Stan Lee, the co-founder of Marvel Comics and the man behind Marvel superheroes such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man and Black Panther, died Nov. 12 after being rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center from his Hollywood Hills home.

He was 95.

Paramedics where dispatched at 8:34 a.m. to a Hollywood Hills home in the 9100 block of West Oriole Way, on a medical response call for a 95-year-old man, said Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Lee had suffered several illnesses over the last year, which included a bout of pneumonia and vision issues.

Social media was quick to offer reactions from both coasts.

“There will never be another Stan Lee,” tweeted actor Chris Evans, who plays Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. “For decades he provided both young and old with adventure, escape, comfort, confidence, inspiration, strength, friendship and joy. He exuded love and kindness and will leave an indelible mark on so, so, so many lives. Excelsior!!”

“Thank you Stan Lee for making people who feel different realize they are special,” actor Seth Rogan tweeted.

“Rest in peace, Stan Lee. The many worlds of imagination & delight you created for humanity will last forever,” tweeted Elon Musk, founder of Hawthorne’s SpaceX.

“Original and genius are two very overused words in the world today, but Stan was both,” tweeted Tom Rothman, Motion Pictures Group chairman for Sony Pictures. “Add irrepressible and irreplaceable, and you begin to describe the man. We have all lost a true superhero. We will greatly miss our friendly neighborhood Stan Lee.”

“Stan Lee was as extraordinary as the characters he created,” tweeted Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company in Burbank. “A super hero in his own right to Marvel fans around the world, Stan had the power to inspire, to entertain and to connect.”

“Stan Lee created some of the most incredible and enduring characters of our time, and he chose New York City as the place to tell their stories,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted. “On behalf of his hometown, I want to express our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.”

“I seem to be spending my life with ordinary people who are the best people in the world,” Lee said at a 2017 ceremony in which he sank his hands and feet into cement in the forecourt of the TCL Chinese Theatre. “I’ve been the luckiest man in the world because I’ve had friends. And to have the right friends is everything. People you can depend on. People who tell you the truth if you ask for something. I’ve been lucky in that area.

“And lucky to have a wonderful wife,” he added, referring to his wife of nearly 70 years, Joan, who died July 6, 2017 at age 93.

Born Stanley Martin Lieber on Dec. 28, 1922, in New York City, Lee began his career in 1939 as an assistant at Timely Comics with such duties as getting lunch, filling inkwells and proofreading.

His first published work was as a text filler for Captain America No. 3, published in 1941. He wrote under the name Stan Lee, which would later become his legal name, writing in his autobiography that he intended to save his given name for more literary work.

Lee was named interim editor of Timely Comics in 1941, and would be editor-in-chief for what would evolve into Marvel Comics in 1961 until 1972 when he became publisher.

He was credited with giving his superheroes a more nuanced humanity than other comics typically written for preteens in the post-World War II era.

Together with artist Jack Kirby, Lee created the Fantastic Four, based on previous comics Kirby had published in DC Comics. The team’s immediate popularity led Lee and Marvel’s illustrators to produce more popular characters such as Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, and the X-Men, Daredevil, Doctor Strange and — Marvel’s most successful character — Spider-Man.

Lee was also known for making several cameo appearances in Marvel Cinematic Universe films, as well as Comic-Con conventions and other events for fans.

More than 2 million of Lee’s comic books have been published in 75 nations and in 25 languages. His characters have been featured in 24 animated television series and several live-action movies.

In August, Lee was granted a three-year extension of a temporary restraining order against his partner and business manager.

Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Laura Hymowitz ordered Keya Morgan to stay at least 100 yards away from Lee; Lee’s daughter, 68-year-old Joan Celia Lee; and Lee’s brother, 86-year-old Larry Lee, through Aug. 17, 2021. Lee alleged Morgan embezzled about $5 million in assets, including autograph proceeds and artwork.

Lee was not present at the hearing, but his attorney, Jonathan Freund, said afterward his client will be pleased with the ruling.

“Stan has been doing pretty well, he’s working again and his health is generally improving,” said Freund, who added that Lee had been creating new comic book characters.

 

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