At Marvel, Disney is at the Walt Disney Company: an iconic figure. And even if Stan Lee did not create the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, X-Men or Avengers publishing company himself, he was clearly his incarnation for decades. So much so that well-known producers are almost always invited to make a wink of appearance in a film or television production adapted from the Marvel universe. Missing in Los Angeles on November 12 at the age of 95 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Spider-Man's official inventor and his most famous guardian in pantyhose from Marvel will remain famous for helping to upset the comic industry in the 60s.
Imagined together with designers Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby in particular, the superheroes made by Lee between 1961 and 1966 innovated by their more intimate and tortured aspects than their hierarchical elders from famous DC competitors (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and other Green Lantern ) The paradox is characterized by Lee's typical self-deprecating style, supermen dressed in Marvel is often defined as equivalent in the comic of a new wave of French cinema. It might not be a coincidence that one of the last flag bearers, famous director and comedian Alain Resnais, was tickled with affection for this superhero more in touch with the daily, heartbroken heart of Spider-Man / Peter Parker to rent a galley for The Fantastic Four. Resnais and Lee also formed lasting friendships in the late sixties and together fed several film projects that eventually never appeared. They were then far from imagining that thirty years later, in the early 2000s, the superhero heroes created together with Lee would be in power in Hollywood in the best-selling films seen throughout the world.
Even today, almost all films from Marvel Studios (a Disney subsidiary since 2009) are based on the character, humor and narrative grammar that Stan Lee and his colleagues laid the foundation for half a century ago. Although his life began to darken in 2017 by the death of his wife, Joannie, forever, not to mention the dirty sequel to personal setbacks, Stan Lee has lived long enough to see his super hero become the box office world champion. The stabbing fate of this former Romanian immigrant child, born in 1922 in Manhattan, hit by poverty by his parents, was hit hard by the Great Depression.
During his teenage years in the Bronx, Stanley Martin Lieber fled to adventure, mythology and film novels with Errol Flynn. He secretly appreciates the dream of becoming a writer, while collecting side jobs such as delivering sandwiches, placing Broadway theater or office boy. In 1939, at the age of 17, he was hired as a cheerleader for the Timely Comic label, a subsidiary of a family owned publishing company, Martin Goodman. Superman's flash victory, published a year earlier by a competitor (future DC), Timely also published comic books with superpowered heroes, such as Submariner, Ka-Zar and Android. flammable The Human Torch, a future draft of the Fantastic Four member. On time, Stanley filled the ink bottle, took the author's lunch, erased the sketch of the page to recycle … But very quickly, he aspired to do more. A booming sector since the creation of Superman, the comic industry enjoyed a golden age, bestsellers sold up to one million copies every month and Stanley Lieber wanted to write.
Created in 1941 by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, patriotic and anti-Nazi Nazi superheroes would give him the opportunity to formalize his talent as a dialogist, in the 3 issue of the magazine (dated May 1941). His pseudonym: Stan Lee. Registered in the army in transmission services in 1942, "Stan" returned to Timely to be demobilized in 1945 to climb the stairs. But the postwar climate is unfortunately far more hostile to comics, now considered too cruel and responsible for misleading youth or even pushing them into delinquency. Superheroes are no longer trendy and Captain America, even though the gondola head at Marvel four years earlier, stopped appearing in 1949. On time, changing its name to Atlas in the 50s, it will change its orientation to romance, westerns, poles, stories espionage, comedy … But Stan Lee is bored. The industry has become routine, the box is spinning without innovation, and Bronx teenagers who dream of big feathers are approaching middle age with the impression of losing their grand design.
Across, still the market leader, DC comics attacked again with a new superhero team that revived the genre, in 1960: the American Justice League. Called by his boss, Goodman, to mobilize rivals, Stan Lee decided, on the advice of his wife, to innovate for good and find, with Jack Kirby, a family of guards who would revolutionize the comic: The Fantastic Four. Red Richards (Mr. Fantastic), his wife Susan (changing Jane's name in VF), his brother-in-law Johnny Storm (The Human Torch) and his childhood friend The Thing (Ben Grimm) form an open-operation group. Their personal lives, quarrels, inconveniences and financial worries are told in proportion to their exploits, all in a tone that is far less rigid, more relaxed than their counterparts in DC. Almost the comic book was successfully launched in 1961 which Stan Lee, encouraged by his boss to create another superhero in the same vein, gave birth in 1962 to the future foundation of the entire empire of Marvel: Spider-Man, introduced in the magazine Amazing Fantasy No. 15.
Most superhero soap
Designed by Steve Ditko, this superhero named Peter Parker will destroy American youth. A lonely and shy high school student, a geek before a science expert, this orphan child was raised by his aunt May and his uncle, Ben, gained his superhuman strength after the radioactive spider stung in the laboratory (in times of fear of death). atoms, radiation in all their forms provide the ideal alibi for Stan Lee and its authors). Tempted by guilt for refusing to arrest a robber who, on the same night, will kill his uncle, Parker decides to use his power to serve the good and become Spider-Man. Complex, bankrupt, often unlucky with women and struggling with thousands of worries every day (including caring for ailing aunt), Peter Parker touches the hearts of readers, who identify themselves as they cheer in front of the exploits of their alter egos in costumes. True innovation in comic history, by his youth and appearance, Spider-Man quickly became for Marvel what Superman and Mickey were in DC and Disney: dolls. Without matching Krypton's super human record, the sale of "The Spider-Man" flew up to several hundred thousand copies a month.
Also read 5 comic books to find Spider-Man
Hunted by the police, demeaned in the press, from a simple social background, Spider-Man was the perfect anti-hero for the second half of the 1960s which was marked in the United States by the American protest and resistance movement. father. At the head of the extraordinary creative decade for Marvel Comics, Stan Lee envisioned almost all the future leaders of the superhero superhero – the Hulk, Iron Man, Avengers, X-Men, Black Panther, Ant-Man … "soap" characters of Marvel heroes, widely exploited in Spider-Man, but also their greater permeability into the contemporary world attracts older readers, even students. Stan Lee, the mockery and media starvation encouraged him to receive many press interviews and invitations to campus conferences, becoming a charismatic VRP from trendy Marvel. We came from Europe to meet him, like Resnais or Fellini and, little by little, Lee's jokes and tastes of microphones would keep him away from pure creation.
Addiction and controversy
Marvel Comics editor in chief until 1968, Stan Lee became director of publishing in 1972 and, little by little, tried to regulate the migration of heroes to other media, on priority television. Operating frequently back and forth in Hollywood ever since, Lee got some results. A Spider-Man cartoon born in 1967 (its generic VF and its famous song "Spiders, spiders, is very …" will circulate around French schools in the 70s). Canvas weavers will also be the subject of a very bad TV series in 1977, followed by Captain America and, more satisfactorily, the cathodic adaptation of The Incredible Hulk with bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno in the role of the green monster. When he told reporters, Stan Lee and Alain Resnais, who became friends in the early 1970s, dreamed at that time of a Spider-Man film made by French people, who would soon leave the project. Between the 70s and 80s, Hollywood studios would only get Marvel catalogs that were embarrassing to the series or the B-series. Cooled, Stan Lee, settled definitively in Los Angeles since 1981 with his wife Joanie and their only daughter, the plague to see that ahead, DC Comics competitors won two golden adaptations from the ranks of their super heroes: superior human being (1978) later by Richard Donner Batman Tim Burton (1989).
At the age of 67, Lee was no longer an honorary member of the Marvel Comics Group when it was bought in 1989 by Wall Street billionaire Ronald Perelman. Helpless since retiring spring gold Lee will be watching from the West Coast until the sinking of Marvel's finances, the victims of Perelman's disastrous and almost fraudulent company management, and the spectacular comic market collapse. This does not prevent him from remaining a person loved by readers around the world, even if, in the inner circle, lasting controversy begins to settle on the mustache's omnipotence and the reality of his various creative fathers. It must be said that from one interview to the next interview, Stan Lee sometimes seems to change his version of the state of creation of modern myths, the estimates he made in the name of closed memory. Obscured for years by former colleagues Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby, Stan Lee was criticized by puritans for literally seizing the designers of the other magical concepts of Spider-Man and Fantastic Four. And because it's also mostly royalty …
The general public and less radical readers assume that after all, Lee has embodied the face that Marvel always needs, a father figure who opens the door to this extraordinary kingdom. Among these grateful fans, a myriad of directors, writers, producers, actors, ex-children from the 60s and 70s who, in the late 90s, had enough influence in Hollywood to want to see adaptations beautiful from the Marvel heroes. screen. That's good: the company finally came out of its financial nightmare, taken over in 1998 by a group of toy producers, Ron Perlmutter and Avi Arad, who started, like Stan Lee but with more talent, on a food tour. hollywood. The inauguration of the 21st century will be beautiful and culturally marked at the beginning of the reign of Marvel heroes, in America soon tortured by the September 11 attacks and asking for new saviors. In 2000 and 2002, the victory of X-Men and especially Spider-Man films put cult publishers on a map of world pop culture forever. Stan Lee, who has been transformed into an animated production series with his company POW Entertainment, has been permanently fired from Marvel's new management but with sympathetic compensation of nearly one million dollars a year. And the "representation task" in the media for each new film release. That's good: he likes it.
"I am very proud of Spider-Man Sam Raimi, just as I imagined. The movie scene where Uncle Ben is unemployed, reading classified ads to find work makes me think my own father is looking for work during the Great Depression … I gave an example of Ben Parker to him, "Stan Lee said, in 2002, to the authors of these lines, in his office in Los Angeles." I really hope that my old friend Bob Kane (Batman's co-creator in 1939, died in 1998 – red ) was there to see the film Sam Raimi, he who continued to map me after the success of Batman from Tim Burton! "He added, his naughty smile was very typical of his lips.
From the decade of 2000, almost 80 years, Stan Lee finally enjoyed a global film explosion inspired by his "superheroes" and, quite proudly, loved to see publishers once again the tendency to move to multimedia studios. Marvel Studios was founded in 2006 and, in 2008, Iron Man inaugurate on the famous big screen "Marvel Cinematic Universe" which will put the world office box upside down. Since then, Lee will make a systematic appearance in all films produced in-house by the group, but also in the X-Men franchise, The Fantastic Four (Fox studio) and Spider-Man (Sony). He is still traveling, this year, in production Marvel Avengers: Infinity War and Ant-Man and wasps.
Admired by all of Hollywood, as famous as Walt Disney during his lifetime, Lee certainly knows how to explore the era and multiply interactions with his fans on Twitter, through his @ therealstanlee account. He looks eternal and invincible, always emphasizing the way out of his favorite mysterious interruptions ("excelsior!") But, obviously, even Stan Lee is not a superhero. The news of his death has caused a deep shock in the world of pop culture, which we haven't finished seeing dizzy in the coming weeks. Exegetes and historians will be responsible, for posterity, for precisely determining Stan Lee's contribution to the fantastic bestiary Marvel. But today, all readers who have been trembling, crying, laughing, happy to turn the pages of Spider-Man's adventure have only a few words to add: thank you, Mr. Lee.