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Stan Lee, Cultural Icon

Stan Lee, born Stanley Martin Lieber, December 28, 1922, is for many a living cultural icon. Starting out as an American comic-book writer, he became an editor, publisher, media producer, television host, actor and eventually president and chairman of Marvel Comics. Working with Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and others, he created Spider-Man, the Hulk, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, Thor, the X-Men, and many other comic book characters in what was probably the world’s first ‘shared superhero universe’. Lee led the expansion of Marvel Comics from a small division of a publishing house to a large multimedia corporation, and laid the groundwork for the modern ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ based on his original protagonists. Lee became a member of the comic book industry's Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1995, and received a National Medal of Arts in 2008. Here are some memorable quotes from his life and work:

With great power there must also come ... great responsibility!

Amazing Fantasy, #15, August 1962

Comic book should be written as one word. So from now on, I want you to remember that. I never want to see the word comicbook written as two words. They are not funny books. They are not comic books, they are comicbooks! Remember that, or incur my wrath.

Youtube video, ‘Stan Lee Hates “Comic Books” - Stan's Rants’

I never thought that Spider-Man would become the world wide icon that he is. I just hoped the books would sell and I'd keep my job.

Interview, March 13, 2006

It's a tremendous challenge, because there have been so many characters created over the years. Every time you think you come up with a great name, you find out somebody has already done it. Dreaming up the stories isn't that hard, but coming up with a good title is the toughest part.

Online interview, Esquire, July 3, 2012

There is only one who is all powerful, and his greatest weapon is love.

Silver Surfer

I just figured that Bruce Banner had probably been a friend of Reed Richards, and Reed had given him some elastic trousers. There's an explanation for everything, but you may not be technically advanced enough to follow me on all of this.

‘Spidey Bites: Stan Lee's Secret for Saving Spider-Man the Musical?’, Vanity Fair, March 10, 2011


Signature line on Stan Lee's Soapbox editorial pages

What did Doctor Doom really want? He wanted to rule the world. Now, think about this. You could walk across the street against a traffic light and get a summons for jaywalking, but you could walk up to a police officer and say "I want to rule the world," and there's nothing he can do about it, that is not a crime. Anybody can want to rule the world. So, even though he was the Fantastic Four's greatest menace, in my mind, he was never a criminal!

Stan Lee's Amazing Marvel Universe

It's geeks who really make or break a TV show or movie or videogame.

The Washington Post, July 23, 2010

I don't really see a need to retire as long as I am having fun.

Interview, Feb. 6, 2006

Everybody wants to feel that you're writing to a certain demographic because that's good business, but I've never done that ... I tried to write stories that would interest me. I'd say, what would I like to read?... I don't think you can do your best work if you're writing for somebody else, because you never know what that somebody else really thinks or wants.

Brandweek, May 2000

The power of prayer is still the greatest ever known in this endless eternal universe.

The Avengers, #14

If you're writing about a character, if he's a powerful character, unless you give him vulnerability I don't think he'll be as interesting to the reader.

Interview, March 13, 2006

I used to be embarrassed because I was just a comic-book writer while other people were building bridges or going on to medical careers. And then I began to realise: entertainment is one of the most important things in people's lives. Without it they might go off the deep end. I feel that if you're able to entertain people, you're doing a good thing.

The Washington Post, July 23, 2010

If Shakespeare and Michelangelo were alive today, and if they decided to collaborate on a comic, Shakespeare would write the script and Michelangelo would draw it. How could anybody say that this wouldn't be as worthwhile an artform as anything on earth?

Stan Lee: Conversations

I try not to do anything that's too close to what I've done before. And the nice thing is we have a big universe here. It's filled with new ideas. All you have to do is grab them.

Brandweek, May 2000

If we don't blow ourselves up, the future will be wonderful.

Interview with Steve Aoki, Neon Future Sessions

I'm a frustrated actor. My ... goal is to beat Alfred Hitchcock in the number of cameos. I'm going to try to break his record.

Interview, February 6, 2006

Someone wants to do a movie of my life now and he's writing a script, and I said to him, "What the hell could you do? I've never been arrested, I haven't taken drugs, I've had the same wife for 54 years -- where's anything of interest to people?"

Interview, April 30, 2002

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