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Things We Learned About Stan Lee (Thanks To Fans)

December 17, 2020 3.6k votes 424 voters 9.5k views15 items

List RulesVote up the most marvelous facts about Stan 'The Man' Lee.

Stan "The Man" Lee was one of the most famous figures in comic book history. Everywhere he went, there was an eager fan waiting to shake his hand, snap a photo, or get his autograph. He appeared in just about every Marvel project since the Incredible Hulk went to court, and he became something of a cultural icon and a legend in the industry.

Lee's massive army of devoted fans read his books and listened to what he had to say, and as a result, the details of his life became relatively well-known. If you're a fan of the Man, you probably know a lot about him. Still, it's likely you don't know everything, and that's what this list is all about - learning everything there is to know about Stan Lee!

This list highlights the most interesting details fans uncovered about Stan Lee's amazing and influential life. Take a look, and if you see something you didn't already know, be sure to give it an upvote to see which one rises to the top!

  • 1

    He Was Concerned About Offending Blind People With Daredevil

    When Stan Lee co-created Daredevil with Bill Everett, he had some concerns about how the character might be offensive to the blind. This was due to the fact that Matt Murdock's other senses were highly advanced, well beyond the minor improvements the blind have in real life.

    Fortunately, it didn't take long before his concerns were assuaged, as letters came pouring into the House of Ideas indicating the exact opposite. Lee explained his concerns and what took them away in an interview with Alter Ego in 2011:

    The one thing that worried me about Daredevil - I wondered if blind people would be offended, because we were exaggerating so much what a blind person can do, and they might have felt that we're making it ridiculous. But I was so pleased - after the books were published, we started getting letters from charities for blind people, like the Lighthouse for the Blind in New York. Letters saying, "We've been reading these stories to the people here, and they love them, and they're so pleased you have a super-hero who is sightless." And, oh boy, that made me feel great!

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  • Photo: Luigi Novi / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

    He Received $1 Million Per Year Just For Being Himself

    Stan Lee was a big part of what made Marvel successful, but while he worked there for a long time, he hadn't been employed by the company for decades prior to his passing. Still, he was strongly associated with the classic Silver Age characters that ultimately saved the company and was very much the public face of Marvel.

    Consequently, the company paid him a salary of $1 million each year for life. The reason for his salary revolved around his status as the public face of the company, which he continued to promote for the entirety of his life - long after leaving Marvel's employ.

    Stan Lee's Marvel salary was essentially given to him for only one thing: being Stan Lee. Just being Stan Lee in public amounted to amazingly cost-effective publicity. Stan got paid a million bucks a year to be Stan, and by most accounts, he deserved it.

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  • 3

    He And His Wife Had A Whirlwind Romance

    Stanley Lieber and Joan Boocock were married for 71 years, and the way their relationship began was something out of a storybook... or even a comic book! Joan was a hat model in her native England, where she became a war bride to Sanford Dorf Weiss. Once WWII came to an end, she left England and moved to the States, where she began working at a modeling agency.

    Stan was set up on a blind date by his cousin with a model at the same agency, but Joan answered the door, and both their lives were forever changed:

    When I first went to meet her, a stunning, drop-dead beautiful redhead opened the door. When she spoke, her soft, Geordie accent ran up and down my spine. When that door opened, I was looking at the girl I had been drawing all those years.

    Within two weeks, Lee proposed, so they went to Reno, NV, to annul her marriage to Weiss. Once that was done, they went into the office next door, and the same judge officiated their wedding.

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  • 4

    He Created Iron Man As A Challenge For Himself

    Iron Man, or rather, Tony Stark, isn't a typical superhero. Back when Stan Lee created him in 1963, that was especially true, and it's all due to Stark's personality. He's a staunch capitalist, a weapons designer/seller, and has serious personality problems. He's also an alcoholic and womanizer, so he was hardly the typical superhero back in the '60s.

    Lee wanted to create someone who was antithetical to the typical superhero. He said in an interview:

    I think I gave myself a dare. It was the height of the Cold War. The readers, the young readers, if there was one thing they hated, it was war, it was the military... So I got a hero who represented that to the hundredth degree. He was a weapons manufacturer, he was providing weapons for the Army, he was rich, he was an industrialist... I thought it would be fun to take the kind of character that nobody would like, none of our readers would like, and shove him down their throats and make them like him... And he became very popular.

    Casting Robert Downey Jr. to play Tony Stark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe somewhat parallels the character's origins. At the time, Downey wasn't a particularly "liked" actor. He had some serious personal problems, including issues with substance use. In the end, he managed to get the fans on his side, a parallel to how the comic book character grew in popularity.

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