Stan Lee working on cartoon as member of the Army's Training Film Division
After the Pearl Harbor attack, Lee enlisted in the Army. Initially assisted to the Signal Corps, he was transferred to the Training Film Division when the Army learned of his artistic abilities. He created manuals, training films, slogans, and cartoons such as what he is drawing in this photograph.
Honorable Discharge documentation for Stanley Lieber
Lee served in the Army from 1942 to 1945. He was honorably discharged with a medal for Good Conduct. Notice his classification as "Playwright." He was one of the few in the Army with this designation. His Army experience honed his craft. He not only learned to create content quickly, he turned the process into a creative assembly line with various artists captioning, penciling, coloring, and finalizing. The style became known as the "Marvel Method."
Stan Lee family home movies, 1940s to 1950s
Stanley Martin Lieber (later Stan Lee) married Joan Boocock, originally from Newcastle, England, on December 5, 1947 after a whirlwind romance of two weeks. Their daughter Joan Celia "J. C." Lee was born in 1950. The couple lived on Long Island in New York for many years until moving to West Hollywood, California, in 1981.
More Stan Lee family home movies, 1940s and 1950s.
Documenting their life as a married couple and parents to Joan Celia Leewas important. Documenting the milestones and the day to day activities of living life as a family.
"Even Professors Read Them." Dave Burgin, Newspaper Enterprise Assn (News Chronicle, Thousand Oaks, Calif.), January 5, 1966
This article notes the new sophistication of comic books using the complex character of Spider-Man as an example. Stan Lee explains that nearly all of Spider-Man's fan mail comes from college students, who try to figure out the character's psyche. A college student quoted in the story states that Marvel Comics has created "the first breed of supercharacters that college students--and working adults for that matter--can really identify with."
Stan Lee narrates animated Captain America television show, ca. 1966
Stan Lee, then editor of Marvel Comics, narrates a video regarding the viability of top Marvel Comics characters for television. The first Marvel portrayed on television were panels from the comics, using to same style of illustrations because it worked for the books it should work for the shows. And it did, the transition to different forms of media from comic books made marvel Comics even more successful.
"Comic Books Enter The Neurotic Age." Roger Ebert, New York Post, December 20, 1966
Then a budding film critic, Roger Ebert writes of the progression of comics from child's past time into adult fixation, focusing on the innovations of Stan Lee and the Marvel Group.
"The Radicalization of the Super Heroes." Lindsy Van Gelder and Lawrence Van Gelder, The New Yorker, Vol. 3, No. 42 (October 19, 1970)
The authors explain how the new era of comics by Stan Lee and Marvel Comics changed many peoples thoughts about the unreal world made in comics. Stretching the imagination, taking over the comic book community, reaching audiences that had no interest in comics before, Marvel changed comic books forever.
"It's a Bird, It's a Plane…It's the Messiah." Gary Kriss, The Reporter Dispatch (White Plains, NY), January 30, 1971
A news paper article addressing how Superman was introduced when America really needed a hero. All of the gods (Superman, Hulk, Daredevil, and many others) were put into place right when they were needed, they overcame and encouraged the readers to overcome thier own hardships. Stan Lee brought his own gods into play with Thor and others. These heros are what were needed and played a strong role many people's lives.
"Shazam! Here Comes Captain Relevant." Saul Braun, The New York Times Magazine, May 2, 1971
Stan Lee was successful, now working on a movie with Alain Resnais. An industry that was being overtaken by TV was now revolutionized by Stan Lee and Marvel Comics. Comics were reimagined and had a great influence on the audience. Stan Lee starting as an apprentice in 1941, changed the whole enviroment regarding comics and the reputation that goes along with them.
"Keeping Up…With Youth." Pamela Swift, Parade, August 1, 1971
College students were now participating in the comic book culture. Comic books were becoming so widely read and accepted that they were even held at the library at Princeton.
"Captain Relevance: The New Look in Comic Books." Yvette Cardozo, Fort Lauderdale News and Sun-Sentinel, August 29, 1971
Superheroes are not able to get rid of all of the evil in the world. They have their own struggles, they are able to be more easily related to. Normal people being able to overcome thier own hardships as well as helping others. The Fantastic Four helped Marvel Comics take the leap in the comic book community by being relatable to the masses.
"Comics: For the Connoisseur, No Laughing Matter." Martin Flusser Jr., Newsday, September 15, 1971
There was a rebirth in the interest for comic books, this interest was revitalized by characters like Captain America, Batman, Superman, and many others. The interest peaked as people could see themselves in the characters, the average appearing person being able to miracles. Stan Lee and other comic book writers were making characters that connected to the average person, and these characters began to have a following from people from all walks of life.
Stan Lee speaking at a college campus around 1971.
Stan Lee was a well known speaker, appearing on nearly all platforms and medium. Despite not truly enjoying giving speeches, he often structured his appearance as a question and answer, making it more casual and interactive. With the appearances and speeches, public awareness of Marvel and Stan Lee grew exponentially. The comics that he wrote had a large audience in the college demographic and he had spoken on many campuses and been an inspiration to the students at large.
Capsulized remarks at the Spring 1972 meeting of the Newspaper Comics Council
rederic Wertham's The Seduction of the Innocent (1954) maintained that comics exercised a bad influence on young people and led to an increase in juvenile delinquency. This attack led to the creation of the Comics Code Authority in 1955 and the Newspaper Comics Council (NCC), an organization made up of 80 newspaper executives and cartoonists to police the content of comic books and strips. At this meeting Stan Lee, among others in the comics industry, was asked by the council to address the relevance of comics in relation to issues in contemporary society.
"Comics sell with textbooks on college bookstore racks." Bud Weidenthal, The Cleveland Press, March 10, 1973
Comic books began to be sold had college bookstores, and were one of the best sellers. College students who did not think that they would enjoy the comics where glad that these books were readily available. Even those who did not not want to read them did not judge those who were glad that the books were in the bookstore.
Segment about Marvel Comics Group on WNBC-TV News (New York) reported by Scott Osborne, 1973.
This news story includes a Marvel issue that referenced drug trafficking. In 1971, while Lee was Marvel's editor-in-chief, the U.S. Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare asked the company to weave anti-drug messaging into the popular comics, which Marvel proceeded to do, most famously in a three-part story that appeared in Amazing Spider-Man issues 96 through 98.
Pictured Stan Lee with his work, dated 1974
Picture of Stan Lee with a copy of a book that he had written, Origins of Marvel Comics.
Interview with Stan Lee on New York City’s WWOR-TV television talk show Straight Talk, 1974.
Creating a fictional world, a place were people of all ages can escape to, a fairytale that replaces that hole that is left when the fairytales that we all enjoyed as children are no longer intriguing, that is what comic books do. Comic book conventions cater to the older readers as a place to gather and connect over the shared interest of comic books. These heroes connected to the readers because despite thier powers they have normal people issues.
Stan Lee pictured with Spider-Man, ca. 1975
Picture of Stan Lee with the character Spiderman.
Interview with Stan Lee by his daughter Joan Celia “J.C.” Lee, ca. 1975.
Federico Fellini, an Italian filmmaker, met Stan Lee with an entourage (some people assuming they were bodyguards based off of thier apparel) to discuss thier own skills and creations. Coming out of the conversation the two had plans in the future to continue thier friendship and interact again. Stan Lee had met with many influencial people who grew up reading and were fans of Marvel Comics and his work, like Paul McCarthy.
Different looks of Stan Lee, 1970s
A collage of portaits of Stan Lee.
Excelsior Productions presents StanLee’s Soap Box: Marvel Comics Convention, April 23 - 25, 1976
Marvel’s second annual convention, held at the Commodore Hotel in New York City. Includes interviews with fans, an interview with Archie Goodwin, who became editor-in-chief in 1975, an art lesson by penciler John Buscema, an interview by Stan Lee's daughter J.C.
Interview with Stan Lee on Canadian morning television news show Canada A.M., May 3, 1976.
Growing up Stan Lee wanted to be an actor but he had found a job at this comic book company and never left. At the age of 16, Lee became the editor, which was supposed to be temporary until a more qualified individual was found but that individual was never found. Comics have many similarities in the layout and the ways that they are portrayed. The target audience of comics books has expanded, and are also a great way to get younger individuals into reading because a comic book does not seem threatening.
Interview done by CNN with Stan Lee in New York City, dated September 8, 1976
The interveiw discussed British Marvel Weekly with their own Captain Britian. Stan Lee discusses how the comic book format was geared to a more diverse population not just children and how the audience demographics were changing.
"Interview with Stan Lee." Katha Quinn and Peter McGowan, Celebrate Magazine, December 1976
Stan Lee discussed his previous jobs how they led him to being the comic book writer that he was. He had thought that comic book writing would be a temporary job but he had no idea of the empire that would be created under Marvel Comics. Discussing the background of his characters and how he wanted his comics to be looser and freer for a new audience, younger and older readers.
Discussion conducted by Mike Gold, head of public relations for DC Comics, Inc., at 1976 Chicago Comicon featuring Stan Lee (publisher of Marvel Comics), Jenette Kahn (publisher of DC Comics), and Harvey Kurtzman (freelance humorist and co-creator of Litt
It can be hard to work in an industry that is not seen as reputible, but Stan Lee stands up for his industry and argues that the comic book industry is different from magazines and other industries. Kahn argues that comics, when they were first starting, were better than movies and rivaled tv because they could be take home and the fantasy could be relived. Comics are not low quality they are for the masses.
"The FOOM Interview: Stan Lee." David Anthony Kraft, FOOM, Vol. 1, No. 17 (March 1977)
FOOM was Marvel Comics’ self-produced fan magazine of the mid-1970s, following the canceled Marvelmania and preceding Marvel Age. Running 22 quarterly issues (February 1973 – Fall 1978), it was initially designed and edited by comic book writer-artist Jim Steranko. FOOM is an acronym for "Friends of Ol' Marvel".
"Pop Neurosis: Stan Lee's Comic Relief" Crawdaddy magazine, March 1977
Marvel Comics was a sensation that was climbing and thier didn't seem to be a stop to thier climb. Giving the history of Stan Lee and the company once known as Timely Comics and how they grew together. Lee was excited to see what the future holds, trying not to focus on the past.
"How I Invented Spider-Man." Stan Lee, Quest, July/August 1977
Inteview with Stan Lee for Chicago PBS station WTTW, 1978.
Critic Johanna Steinmetz interviews Stan Lee and then discusses the comics industry and the value of comic books to society with the show's hosts John Callaway and Jim Reynold.
Stan Lee modeling a Hathaway shirt for the C. A. Hathaway Company, 1970s
An photograph of Stan Lee captioned with a quote from Stan Lee, "When you create super-heroes, people expect you to look like one. I wear Hathaway shirts".
Press release from Marvel Comics Group, ca. 1979
By the mid-1970s, Lee was a figurehead and public face for Marvel Comics, and he and the company profited from his public appearances. From 1968 through 1986, Cadence Industries was the parent company of Marvel Comics Group (formerly known as Magazine Management).
American Program Bureau promotional flyer for Stan Lee, ca. 1979
Lee signed with a lecture coordination agency which promoted him as "Speaker-Man" who could bring fresh and exciting programming to college campuses.
Stan Lee introduces his daughter Joan on a Father’s Day segment of the television talk show Midday with Bill Boggs, 1979.
Stan Lee's daughter named Joan, after his wife (comically stating this is so he doesn’t have to remember another name), states that she is pursuing a career in acting. Joan speaks very highly of her father and is grateful for the influence that he had on her.
Interview with Stan Lee by Martin Kent, dated 1979
An interview with Stan Lee, relating him to Spiderman saying he was bitten by a bug and exposed to creativity and ambition. Stan Lee wanted there to be more out of life and the comic books help finding the more. The superheroes created are fascinating becuase are capable of more than any human and can make them feel as though they may have a spark of something super within them.
"Stan Lee." Contemporary Literary Criticism, Volume 17, Thomson Gale, 1981.
Lee played a vital role in the revitalization of the comic book industry. The characters created relating to the masses and creating excitement and intrigue by the readers. This collection of reviews and critisms of Stan Lee and Marvel Comics evatluated the connections between the characters and real life, finding what is appealing to the masses.
Segment about Marvel Comics on television news program, ca. 1982.
Appearing in the segment with Stan Lee are Marvel indexer and historian George Olshevsky, Marvel’s editor-in-chief (1978-1987) Jim Shooter, and artist Denys Cowan who worked with Marvel in the 1980s and 90s.
Stan Lee on Alan Thicke’s television talk show Thicke of the Night, January 17, 1984.
Comic books had a previous reputation as being childish, immature, and encouraging violence. Alan Thicke was an individual who did not see comic books in a great light, arguing that some of the comics are misogynistic. Stan Lee states that comics are good for teaching kids to read, but Thicke does not quite agree. Thicke wished Lee the best of luck in getting the bomics to other forms of media, in which he most likely saw that Lee was successful by the end of his life.
Dated February - July 1985
Various news article clippings about Stan Lee and the Marvel Comic empire.
Stan Lee, ca. 1985
Pictured Stan Lee with a Marvel comic behind him on a bookshelf.
"Move Over Cowboys, It's 'Action Figures'" Licensing International Englishtown N.J., dated July 1985
The times have changed, new superheroes have taken over the American youth. Action figures of everyone's favorite superheroes were the new favorite toys. Not only where the heroes being sold, the villians also have a market. Kids play with the villians out of neccesity to thier own stories with the superheroes. Marvel has a grab on the market, and the end to this market does not seem to have an end.
Interview transcript dated ca. 1985
An annotated transcript of an interveiw of Stan Lee done by Leonard Pitts, Jr. for his book "Coversations wioth the Comic Book Creators".
News story on National College Television’s newsmagazine “Campus America” about Stan Lee, ca. 1985.
Marvel comic books were written for intelligent readers not only children. Marvel was on top of its industry, but it offers more, it is culture and art. The superheroes are given true human characteritics, which make them more appealing to the readers because they can see parts of themselves in the heroes.
Home movie of Stan Lee filming wife Joan touring their home and yard, ca. 1985.
Stan and Joan Lee showing a tour of their yard and home, having fun and enjoying the time spent together and all the laughs that come from the filming.
" Stan Lee, It's a Marvelous Life" Comics Scene, Vol. 2, No. 1, 1987
Stan Lee is seen as a hero in his own right, although he is better known as the hero creator. This interveiw with Stan Lee discusses not only his characters but also his relationship with his work partner Jack Kirby. Lee and Kirby may not have been friends outside of work but the works that they created together were widely loved.
"Interview;: The Marvel-ous Stan Lee" The Standford Daily. Dated June 3, 1987
With the expansion of the Marvel empire, being bought by New World Pictures, Stan Lee found himself (Marvel's publisher) not able to write the comics like he once had. Rather he continued to write the Spider-Man newspaper strip focus on what was to come. In the article there is an interview portion with Lee discussing the start, the present, and how amazing it all has been.
Feature on Spider-Man’s wedding, Good Morning America, June 4, 1987.
Segment features Stan Lee, Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson (played by model Tara Shannon) promoting the upcoming televised wedding of the comics characters at New York City’s Shea Stadium on June 5, 1987. The mock ceremony, officiated by Stan Lee, was a live performance adaptation of the comic book storyline “The Wedding!” produced by Marvel Comics. It took place at home plate in front of more than 45,000 fans just before the baseball game between the New York Mets and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“Photo album” of wedding ceremony of Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson created by Marvel Entertainment Group, June 1987.
Features scenes of the mock wedding between Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson, along with coverage of the event by various media outlets. Also shows scenes of reception following the wedding.
"Stan Lee; An outspoken interview with 'The Man' from Marvel", interveiw conducted by John Weber. Dated July 3, 1987
Spider-Man from the beginning was deemed one of Marvel's most successful characters. But according to Stan Lee heroes never can have thier own happy ending, which makes writing thier stories so interesting. Lee states that one of his tests with writing comic strips is when he starts to get bored, this is when the character could change drastically or that storyline would end.
Story by KTLA 5 News (Los Angeles) about return of Jack Kirby’s Marvel Comics artwork, 1987
Jack Kirby helped to create and illustrate the superheroes that everyone loved so much. Stan Lee had recieved much of the praise for creating the heroes and many forgot or ignored the large part that Kirby had played. Kirby had to fight in a legal battle to get his own original works back, he wanted them back mainly to be able to help his grandkids go to college and for then to know the kind of work that thier grandpa had done.
"Stan Lee; Marvel Creator Zaps Heroes Into Hardcover", interview conducted by Jeff Rovin. Dated January 1989
Going into the background and thought of the characters that Stan Lee created, clued the readers into how the mind of Stan Lee worked while creating these characters. With the Marvel comic books doing so well, Stan Lee was very pleased with his work and the work of his team.
Stan Lee speaking at the Fourth Spirit of America Awards Gala in Beverly Hills, California, on December 13, 1990.
Lee announces creation of the American Spirit Foundation’s “Entertainers for Education” project, which Lee chaired. Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan is also shown speaking in support of the project. This foundation focused on the development of education programs for public schools in the U.S. Stan Lee noted that many different forms of media, including comics, can teach and intrigue students to stay in school.
"A Web of Marvels," Fear! magazine, April 1991; Stan Lee interview conducted by Pat Jankiewicz
This transcript of an interview with Stan Lee, he expresses his frustration with the films made from the comics, stating that they did not have enough of the Marvel style. Despite this frustration Stan Lee states that he is interested in the next steps and is confident that people are going to see the movies and read the comics, becuase that is what people do.
"The Amazing Stan Lee." Henry Cabot Beck, Interview, October 1991.
A interview with Stan Lee, relating him to the amazing Spiderman, 'a spider whom fate has given a starring if brief, role to play in the drama we call life!'
Stan Lee and Spider-Man in promotional video for McDonald's, 1994.
Action figures from Marvel Comics were included in McDonald's Happy Meals for chidren in 1995.
Transcript of an interveiw Stan Lee did with People magazine, dated September 1, 1995
During this online interview Stan Lee discusses the plans and current works in progress to get Marvel characters on the screens and not just in the comic books. The interview includes questions pulled from real people with real questions for Stan Lee to answer.
Stan Lee stares down Spider-Man, ca. 1995
Stan Lee pictured in a stare down with Spider-Man.
Transcipt of interview with Stan Lee and Spider-Man with AOL, dated July 9, 1996
An online interview done with Stan Lee, where people from the audience were able to send in their questions for Lee to answer. Spider-Man also joined the interview and was able to add some comments and information to the interview.
Stan Lee's chat on MSNBC on the internet, dated January 23, 1997
An online chat in which Stan Lee opened the floor to answer questions that poeple had regarding Marvel and questions for Stan Lee personally. Lee answers all of the questions and is thankful for the participation in the forum.
Stan Lee at Marvel Super Hero Island, ca. 1999
Marvel Super Hero Island opened at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure park in Orlando, Florida in 1999, ten years prior to Universal competitor The Walt Disney Company acquiring Marvel Entertainment in 2009. The Island’s architecture and theming is modeled after a Marvel comic book.
Stan Lee and Spider-Man at Marvel Super Hero Island, ca. 1999
Stan Lee pictured with Spider-Man at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure park.
Dateline NBC newsmagazine segment on "The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man" at Universal Studios' Islands of Adventure, 1999
Feature about this 3D dark ride built for the Islands of Adventure opening in 1999. The critically-acclaimed attraction took three years to produce, with many new technologies and techniques being developed. The Dateline story is followed by the computer animation storyboard produced for the ride by the Kleiser-Walczak Construction Company.
Stan Lee Media promotional video, 1999.
Stan Lee Media was a production and marketing company that was founded in 1998. This company was founded by Stan Lee and Peter F. Paul, Lee's then-friend. The company won the Best of Show Web Award in November of 2000, after having filed for bankruptcy the company closed operations entirely by December 19, 2000.
"Stan Lee." Paul Semel, FHM (For Him Magazine), July - August 2000
A question and answer with Stan Lee regarding his characters and the fans that come along with all of the characters.
Story on Stan Lee on Extra newsmagazine, 2000.
The television newsmagazine Extra hosted a segment titled “Money & Power” in which Stan Lee is rated #2 in terms of money and power in Hollywood.
Segment on KCAL 9 - CBS (Los Angeles) about DC Comics’ Just Imagine comic book line, 2001.
The comics were written by Stan Lee in which he re-imagined several DC Comics superheroes, including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, and the Flash.
Stan Lee's appearance on Tavis Smiley’s late night PBS television talk show, 2004.
The interview starts with a brief introduction then shows the preview for the film Fantastic Four released in 2005. Stan Lee thinks of himself as too young to be legendary, despite all of the works that he has done. He loves the works that he does, which is why is so excited about his career and all that entails. If he didn't love what he was doing and the artists that he works with he doesn't think would be successful.