Birthday of Stan Lee, 1922
On This Day in Jewish History: December 28, 1922
On this date in 1922, Stanley Lieber was born in New York City. He would become known to the world as Stan Lee and be one of the most influential figures in American popular culture. Lee’s parents were Romanian Jews and he joined a generation of Jewish artists responsible for creating many of the most popular comic book superheroes, including Joe Shuster and Jerome Siegel (Superman), Will Eisner (Wonder Woman) Bob Kane and Bill Finger (Batman), and Jack Kirby (Captain America and Hulk). Lee was just 19 when he became editor at Timely Comics and as that company evolved into Atlas and, in 1961, Marvel Comics, he would serve as editor-in-chief and art director until 1972. In competition with DC Comics, Lee shaped the Marvel profile by creating superheroes with flaws, and in the process, expanded the comics readership well beyond the teenage market. Collaborating with Kirby, Lee created the Fantastic Four, Hulk, Iron Man and Thor, several of whom would team up to form The Avengers. With Bill Everett, he created Daredevil and with Steve Ditko, he created Spiderman. In 1981, Lee left New York for Hollywood where he would help develop Marvel properties for the movies and television and introduce its many superheroes to a new generation through the moving image. The impact on American popular cinema would be profound. More than any of his contemporaries, Stan Lee became a recognizable face and personality, serving as the de facto comics ambassador to the world. He appears as himself in many cameo film roles and participated at many comics conventions until his death in 2018 at the age of 96. Along with William Gaines at Mad and Max Gaines at EC, Stan Lee established comics art as adult culture, shepherding in the next generation of comix writers like Art Speigelman and Harvey Pekar. Among his many honors is the National Medal of Arts, awarded to Lee in 2008.