Lee’s entry into the Timely Comics in 1939 proved to be a big step in his career. He started out by doing menial jobs but soon made his comic-book debut with the text filler ‘Captain America Foils the Traitor's Revenge’.
In 1941, Lee started getting opportunities to do actual comics with a backup feature. He created the ‘Destroyer in Mystic Comics No. 6’, ‘Jack Frost in USA Comic No. 1’ and ‘Father Time in Captain America Comics No.6’.
When he was only 19 years old, owing to a conflict in the company and his escalating creativity, Lee was made interim editor of the company and worked with the company for a good 31 years, mostly as editor-in-chief.
In 1942, he joined the United States Army and served stateside in the Signal Corps. He continued his creative streak there by writing manuals, training films and slogans, which is why he was classified in the military as ‘playwright’.
After finishing his stint with the army, Lee joined back the company in 1950s, which was now known as the ‘Atlas Comics’. He started experimenting with various genres––writing romantic, sci-fi, horror, humorous stories, etc.
Around the same time, he produced a newspaper strip with his colleague Dan DeCarlo, titled ‘My Friend Irma’, which was essentially based on a radio comedy that starred Marie Wilson. Lee was getting increasingly discontented with his career.
In the late 1950, in competition with DC Comics, Lee’s publisher, Goodman, asked him to create a new superhero team. Lee thought to work on the stories that he believed in since he was getting disgruntled with his monotonous career.
For this assignment, Lee, in association with his colleague Jack Kirby, created a team of superheroes called ‘Fantastic Four’ with superheroes like, ‘Hulk’, ‘Iron Man’, ‘Thor’, ‘Spider-Man, ‘X-Men’, ‘Doctor Strange’, etc.
Throughout 1960s, he scripted, art-directed and edited most of Marvel's series while moderating the letters pages. He was also writing a monthly column, ‘Stan’s Soapbox’. His job was getting very taxing but Lee, for once, was enjoying it.
Continue Reading Below
In 1971, Lee was asked to write a story on bad-effects of drugs and he thought of including it in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’. The Comics Code Authority was against it because the portrayal of drugs was against the code.
Lee and Goodman went ahead with it anyway and published the story in their comics. The story got really famous and Marvel was appreciated for spreading the responsible message. The CCA abolished the Code and permitted negative depictions of drugs.
From 1975, he was more busy and gained popularity as a figurehead and public face for Marvel Comics. He attended the comic book conventions around America, lectured at colleges and participated in panel discussions.
Lee’s role in the company was becoming bigger and bigger as in 1981 he was given the role to develop Marvel’s TV and movie properties, for which he had to shift to California with his family.
He was made the president of the company but Lee found the task to be a little more technical than he could handle. So to remain closer to the creative processes of the company he stepped down to become the publisher.
In 1998, Lee along with Peter Paul started a new Internet-based superhero creation, production and marketing studio, ‘Stan Lee Media’. The company grew and gained a considerable success but had to be closed down due to legal implications.
He got involved with the DC Comics for the first time in his creative career in 2000 when he launched ‘Just Imagine…’ series for them, in which he re-created DC superheroes Like, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc.
In 2001, Lee formed ‘POW! (Purveyors of Wonder) Entertainment’ with Gill Champion and Arthur Lieberman, in order to create film, television and video game properties. He also launched the ‘Stan Lee's Sunday Comics’.
When Lee finished his 65 years with Marvel, it honored him in 2006 with the publication of a series of one-shot comics in which Lee was shown interacting with his co-creations like ‘Spider-Man’, ‘Doctor Strange’, etc.
Continue Reading Below
In 2007, at the Comic-Con International, a Stan Lee action figure was launched in order to honor him. The body used in the making of action figure was a re-used mold of Spider-Man figure with some minor changes.
2008 was a busy year for Lee as he published ‘Stan Lee Presents Election Daze: What Are They Really Saying?’, collaborated with Hiroyuki Takei on ‘Karakuridoji Ultimo’, Produced CGI film series ‘Legion of 5’ in partnership, etc.
Lee’s entertainment company partnered with Guardian Media Entertainment in 2010 on The Guardian Project in creating superhero mascots for the National Hockey League. He also announced writing a live-action musical, ‘The Yin and Yang Battle of Tao’.
Lee announced his new YouTube channel, ‘Stan Lee's World of Heroes’, airing various programs created by him , at San Diego Comic-Con International in 2012.
He wrote the book, ‘Zodiac’, along with Stuart Moore. The book was released in 2015.
Lee underwent a surgical operation to insert a pacemaker into his body in 2012.
Lee is a fan of Bruce Lee films and follows writers like Mark Twain, Arthur Conan Doyle, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, etc.
Lee has appeared in movies based on Marvel characters like, ‘X-Men’, ‘Iron Man’, ‘Iron Man 2’, ‘Fantastic Four’, ‘Spider-Man’, ‘Spider-Man 2’, ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’, ‘Captain America’, ‘Thor’, ‘The Avengers’, ‘Daredevil’, etc.
Lee first started using the pseudonym "Stan Lee", which years later he adopted as his legal name.