Stan Lee is 93.
I get so excited every year when his birthday is announced. Maybe it’s because it falls on a vacation day every year. Whatever the case may be, Stan Lee continues to be one of my top storytelling heroes, and whether or not you’re into comics, he’s somebody you should really check out as a storyteller.
NBC Nightly News put together a nice summation of Lee’s career last week. (Click on the link to check it out.) I can count on one hand the number of writers who’ve so publicly and obsessively pursued great storytelling. For Lee, that path included working as a 16-year-old in an undervalued niche (comics) under a pseudonym (to “save his name for more literary work”) and before Marvel Comics was even called Marvel Comics.
When starting out, Stan Lee had remained so consumed with storytelling (and, likely, the need to buy groceries) that he wrote obituaries part-time for the National Tuberculosis Center. During his three-year Army stint in World War II, he scratched his creative bug by writing manuals, training scripts, slogans and cartoons.
So many stories of Stan Lee remind me of the value of goal setting and doing whatever it takes to get to those goals. I remember hearing one story of him taking the reins of an even more maligned subsection of comics–those geared toward girls–because he had that undying urge to write. Lee saw in each book an opportunity to put on a play with dynamic characters, and he took that opportunity quite often.
Now in his eighth decade of public storytelling, Lee continues to use his talents and passions to tell new stories, engage generations of fans, and preserve the rich legacy that he helped create in the now-respected comics industry. He’s the creative force behind Spider-Man, The Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, The Fantastic Four, X-Men, The Avengers, Daredevil… nearly every Marvel hero or villain you love.
Today, let’s celebrate another year with storytelling’s most prolific living history book. Happy Birthday, Stan Lee!
What’s your favorite thing about Stan Lee? Discuss your favorite Stan Lee characters or plot lines below.
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