HOLLYWOOD — Days after being designated a Disney Legend and just ahead of the annual Comic-Con gathering in San Diego, Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee sank his hands and feet into cement July 18 in the forecourt of the TCL Chinese Theatre.
Lee, 94, created or co-created 90 percent of Marvel Comics’ characters, including Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Daredevil, the Avengers, Silver Surfer and Dr. Strange.
On July 14, he was honored as a Disney Legend during the D23 Expo in Anaheim, where he delivered a rousing speech and received a standing ovation from the Disney faithful.
The cheers were just as loud outside the Chinese Theatre as filmmaker Kevin Smith and comic-book artist Todd McFarlane sang the praises of Lee, who was characteristically humble.
“If I’d have known I was so good I would have asked for a raise,” Lee said, joking that he is apparently “far too good to be wasting time with ordinary people.”
“But I seem to be spending my life with ordinary people who are the best people in the world,” he said. “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 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.
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.