Have you wished Stan Lee a happy birthday?
It is pretty amazing to think that the most famous and iconic man in comics, the heralded former publisher of Marvel comics, Stan "The Man" Lee turns 87 today. Behind him is over a half a century of an absolutely incredible franchise, and a completely changed industry where comic book characters fill more than just a comic strip in a weekly paper, and have been developed into multi faceted characters who express emotions and are not necessarily invincible. What is probably more amazing still is Stan Lee's inability to stop working. At the ripe old age of 87, Mr. Lee is still a kid at heart, attending comic book conventions throughout the country and making guest cameo appearances in virtually all of Marvel's film adaptations. His upcoming projects include a cameo appearance in ' Iron Man 2' as well as Kenneth Branagh's ' Thor.' In addition to holding a title as Marvel's Chairman Emeritus, Mr. Lee also heads a separate company, POW Entertainment and has a variety of his own projects he is presently working on through that company which include everything from live action films, to a documentary entitled "True Believer," focusing on the life and times of Stan Lee, currently in post production.
If you ever wondered what makes Stan Lee such an influential figure in the industry, then you need only look to the massive catalog of Marvel characters he is credited for creating. Not only did Lee create a great number of incredibly entertaining characters, but he essentially changed the face of the entire industry. In the introduction to "Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics," Stan Lee sums up the influence he has had on comic book characters rather distinctly.
Not only did Stan Lee alter the way characters are written in comic books, but he did everything in his power to promote his timeless characters, going so far as to dress up as "Uncle Stan" in a promotional stunt to encourage sales back in 1975, for example. In a sense, Stan himself is Marvel Comics, and will most likely always be associated with being the father of the great publishing company. As comic book fans, we should feel honored to have him. I did not realize or fully fathom how really fantastic he is until I had the opportunity to meet and interview him at Comic Con. If there is any one person in the industry who has a reason to be conceited or think very highly of himself, it is Stan Lee; but he is not. Mr. Lee is one of the kindest and sweetest guys you will ever meet, and looking back on that moment, I feel honored to have met him. So, if I had a glass to toast to you, I would, but my coffee mug will have to do. Happy Birthday, Stan Lee and may you bless us with many more years of you.
Ask any Marvel fan why he favors our line of comics and he'll probably say something to this effect, "They have a certain style that I like,: Perhaps the most important element in the so-called Marvel style is the fact that we have to stress realism in every panel. I can imagine the scoffers among you leaping to their feet and exclaiming "How can he speak of realism when Marvel specializes in fantasy?" The trick is to create a fantastic premise and then envelope it with as much credibility as possible. Case in point: Spider-Man. Here's a character who can walk on walls like an insect and shoots webs that enable him to swing from building to building. Hardly an overdose of total reality, I grant you. Well, having established the parameters of the unrreal, we then do our best to to treat ol' Spidey as if he could be your next door neighbor. Despite his super powers, he still has money troubles, allergy attacks, dandruff, self-doubts and unexpected defeats. In other words, we think of him as real and try to depict him accordingly.