Fifty-seventh installment in a series exploring very important people in my life.
Let me start explaining how this will work: I listed 65 idols of mine. Every Friday (with the exception of those reserved for the Rock Chain posts) I’ll draw one of the names (following a system that it’s really not important to be explained here) and talk about it.
Therefore, the order in which the names will appear doesn’t necessarily shows where they rank in my preference.
As a final introductory note, this is also not a biography article. I’ll just write how I feel about people represented in it, their talent and their importance in my life.
What would the life of a child be without super-heroes? I clearly remember playing Superman, Captain America or Batman when I was a little kid. I also remember saying that I wanted to be a super-hero when I grew up.
Super-heroes are essential to kids, for they help the development of their imagination and creativity. However, when in the right hands it can become something that transcends age and become important not only for children, but for adults, and the whole Pop culture.
And that’s why someone who created a large part of those characters deserves all accolades, like Stan Lee.
Stanley Martin Lieber was born in New York City, on December 28, 1922. His parents were Romanian immigrants and lived in Manhattan. As a child, he was influenced by books and movies with heroic characters.
When he was in his teens, the family moved to a one-bedroom apartment in the Bronx, with him and his brother sharing the bedroom and his parents sleeping in a fold-out couch.
Lee enjoyed writing and as a teenager, he had part-time jobs such as writing obituaries for a news service and press-releases for the National Tubercolosis Center.
His first job in the industry was in 1939 at Timely comics, filling inkwells and getting lunch for the artists and also doing proofreading. He debuted as a writer with the text filler “Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge” under the pseudonym Stan Lee, which he later adopted as his legal name. Two issues later, he wrote for actual comics in a story called “Headline Hunter, Foreign Correspondent”.
After a dispute among the editors of the magazine with the publisher, they left and the latter named Lee interim editor at 19. However, Lee joined the US Army early in 1942 and worked writing manuals, slogans and occasionally cartooning.
In the mid-fifties Lee wrote stories in a variety of genres, but had become overall dissatisfied with his career. However, when rival company DC Comics started doing very well with Flash and Justice League of America, his publisher assigned him to create a new team of super-heroes. And that’s when the genius of Stan Lee arose.
He had the brilliant idea of creating super-heroes with mundane problems like paying the bills, bad temper, fits of melancholy and vanity. And that’s what made them resonate with people of all ages and Cultural icons.
Let’s take a look at a rather shortened list of characters created by him: Spider-Man, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, The Fantastic Four, Dr. Doom, Black Widow, The Avengers, Hawkeye, Doctor Octopus, Thor, X-Men and many (and I do mean many) more.
Is that a good list? The trace of personality I admire most in an artist is creativity. And you can’t get more creative than that. Look at how different and complex these characters are. This is really something out of the mind of a genius.
Personally, I got into Stan Lee very late in my life, through the Marvel movies rather than the comics, but it was enough for me to recognize his brilliance.
Oh, and his cameo on Kevin Smith’s cult favorite Mall Rats is just hilarious.
Therefore, Mr. Lee, you and all your super-heroes creations are mostly welcome to the Hal of Idols.
The blog is taking a well-deserved break until the first week of January when I’ll be back analyzing the NFL Wild Card games. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a fantastic 2016! See you next year! Bye!
Be sure to check out my book “Straight and Lethal”
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