Stan Lee is perhaps best-known as the creator, or co-creator, of some of the most beloved and well-known comic book creations in history. Since comic book movies exploded, and Marvel Studios became a powerhouse, Lee has gone from obscure poster boy for comic book geeks, to a more widely respected mainstream icon. The larger-than-life 95-year-old is one of the leading names in the world of comics and graphic novels.
Indeed, a couple years back, he even had the idea to chronicle his life in the form of a memoir, and do it as a graphic novel. This led to the release of Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir in 2015. As Lee turned 95 last month, we felt it was the perfect occasion to look at some of the stunning things you never knew about this cultural icon.
His wife is his barber
We often hear stories of how celebrity spouses also fulfill other roles in their partners’ lives. For example, comedian Billy Connolly is married to wife Pamela Stephenson, who is also his psychologist. In the case of Stan Lee, his late wife Joan, who tragically died of a stroke in July 2017, was also Lee’s barber, and cut his hair his entire adult life. Lee actually even claimed in an interview that he had never been to a barber’s before in his life.
He used to write obituaries
It’s weird to think that one of the greatest creative minds of the past 60 years actually got his start writing obituaries. Or perhaps it’s not so hard to imagine. As a young man, Lee wrote a multitude of celebrity obituaries from offices in New York City. This might not seem like a particularly trendy job, but it was paid writing work for a budding wordsmith. Lee eventually quit the job because, unsurprisingly, he is said to have found it too depressing after a while.
Captain America was his first assignment
In 1939 he began working as an assistant for a company called Timely Comics, and within a week he was given his first assignment. Lee penned a two-page Captain America comic, using the pen name Stan Lee. The comic was a huge success, and the hugely talented 17-year-old was on the road to great things. It’s pretty clear Lee hasn’t looked back since that moment – so9 we have a lot to thank Captain America for!
He wrote an anti-narcotics comic
In the early 1970s, following a request from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Lee decided to write an anti-narcotics comic. Rather than be blatant about it, he included the message in one of his hugely successful Spider-Man comics. In the story, Spidey’s friend Harry begins abusing pills following a bad break-up. Controversially the Comics Code Authority would not sign off on the release of the comic, as it contravened their rules – but Lee convinced his publishers to release it anyway.
As you can see, Stan Lee was something of a maverick, and a wunderkind when he was younger. Obviously, he could never have dreamt that he would enjoy the success he has, but it’s clear that he is one of the most important and influential figures in mainstream popular culture. He’s getting on in years now, but, there’s no doubt when Lee finally does pass away, he will leave a lasting legacy for others to Marvel at.