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Marvels Legend Stan Lee Dies at 95

Amisha Khetani, Head of News and Entertainment

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Stan Lee, creator of Marvel comics characters including Spider-Man and The Hulk, dies at 95.

Even if you weren’t the sort of comic book fan that knew Lee’s name, you’ve seen his face if you’ve ever seen a Marvel movie — and if you’ve seen a Marvel movie in theaters, you probably heard cheers and applause when he showed up on screen. His cameos, in which he shows up for mere seconds at a time in various odd roles, are a fan-favorite element of those blockbuster films.

As the top writer at Marvel Comics and later as its publisher, Lee was widely considered the architect of the contemporary comic book. He revived the industry in the 1960s by offering the costumes and action craved by younger readers while insisting on sophisticated plots, college-level dialogue, satire, science fiction, even philosophy.

“I think everybody loves things that are bigger than life. … I think of them as fairy tales for grown-ups,” he told The Associated Press in a 2006 interview. “We all grew up with giants and ogres and witches. Well, you get a little bit older and you’re too old to read fairy tales. But I don’t think you ever outgrow your love for those kind of things, things that are bigger than life and magical and very imaginative.”

Lee considered the comic-book medium an art form and he was prolific: By some accounts, he came up with a new comic book every day for 10 years. “I wrote so many I don’t even know. I wrote either hundreds or thousands of them,” he told the AP in 2006.

The Fantastic Four fought with each other. Spider-Man was goaded into superhero work by his alter ego, Peter Parker, who suffered from unrequited crushes, money problems and dandruff. The Silver Surfer, an alien doomed to wander Earth’s atmosphere, waxed about the woeful nature of man. The Hulk was marked by self-loathing. Daredevil was blind and Iron Man had a weak heart.

“The beauty of Stan Lee’s characters is that they were characters first and superheroes next,” Jeff Kline, executive producer of the “Men in Black” animated television series, told The Blade of Toledo, Ohio, in 1998.

Some of Lee’s creations became symbols of social change — the inner turmoil of Spider-Man represented ’60s America, for example, while The Black Panther and The Savage She-Hulk mirrored the travails of minorities and women.

Lee made common appearances at comic book conventions and fan events, even in his final years. He cheerfully signed autographs and posed for photos in Dallas last year at Fan Expo Dallas, which was billed as “his final Texas appearance.”

RIP Stan Lee. We’ll always love you. You taught most of us to read.

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Marvels Legend Stan Lee Dies at 95