When you think of Marvel Comics, chances are you instantly think of Stan Lee and his characters. Sadly, as you might have heard, Lee passed away recently at the age of 95. His millions of fans will miss greatly him. For many, Lee will live on forever in the characters he created. What better way to honor him than by remembering the characters we’ll never forget?
While Lee is known for being the grandfather of superheroes, it wasn’t always that way. As a teenager, he started working for Timely Publications as a “gofer.” Eventually, he worked his way into writing for their comics. From those humble beginnings, he revolutionized the comic book industry in the 1960’s and created a foundation for other comic book writers and artists to build upon. Many of his characters have become pop-culture icons, branching out into toys, video games, cartoons, and live-action films.
Lee’s ability to create realistic, relatable characters with weaknesses and flaws proved his most powerful strength. Though they had extraordinary powers, they were people just like all of us, which made them even more real and beloved. Over the years, he’s created hundreds of superheroes and super-villains (Asbestos Man, anyone?), but of course, only a handful we’ll never forget.
We’ll miss you, Stan Lee; thank you for everything!
Introduced on November 1961 in The Fantastic Four #1 issue, these titular heroes became some of the Stan Lee’s most read and beloved of all time. Including Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Thing, and the Human Torch, these four heroes obtained their powers through cosmic rays and teamed up to fight Doctor Doom among many other villains. With their increased popularity, their stories went beyond the comic book page and to the television and silver screen.
Doctor Stephen Vincent Strange was created and illustrated by Steve Ditko but scripted by Stan Lee. He first appeared in Strange Tales #110 in 1963. It’s said Lee based the character off of the Chandu the Magician radio program back in the 1930’s.
His psychedelic sorcery instantly set him apart from the heroes who had science-based origin stories, but it was also the very bizarre, transcendental stories that made him memorable and unique. During the early publication of the comics, many wondered if the Marvel writers were pot heads because the strange places the stories would go.
Since his inception, he has become a prominent character, interweaving in and out of several other comics, television shows, and of course, eventually having his own film in 2016.
J. Jonah Jameson
This crotchety Chief Editor of the Daily Bugle first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #1 and has always been against Spider-Man, calling him a costume freak and public menace. Though he wrote articles turning the public against the web-slinging hero, Spider-Man always found a way to thwart and embarrass the hot-headed journalist. Funny enough, it’s said Jameson was inspired by Stan Lee on how his readers might perceive him. The first panel he appears in shows Jameson hunched over a typewriter, frantically typing.
Ant-Man (Hank Pym)
This scientific genius was created by Stan Lee and co-created and drawn by Jack Kirby. His alter-ego, of course, is Ant-Man, a superhero who can change his size. Hank Pym first appeared in the Tales to Astonish issue 27 which was released in 1962, but he didn’t appear as Ant-Man until issue 35. In the Marvel comics, he’s a gigantic figure who was a founding member of the Avengers and creator of the villainous Ultron.
Created by Stan Lee, Don Rico, and Don Heck, this deadly assassin first appeared in Tales of Suspense #52. Originally a KGB agent, she helped and fought many of Marvel’s mightiest heroes, including Hawkeye, Spider-Man, Daredevil, and Iron Man. Of course, she later joined S.H.I.E.L.D. as a double agent and then the Avengers. Though she doesn’t have any super abilities, she was one of the best agents S.H.I.E.L.D. ever had.