(CN) — Marvel Comics publisher Stan Lee, who created or co-created Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, the X-Men, the Avengers and a raft of other superheroes has died at 95.
Lee, who entered the comics business in 1939, died Monday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, his family told The Hollywood Reporter.
With longtime collaborators Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, Lee made Marvel the world’s leading publisher of comic books, and sold Marvel Entertainment to Disney in 2009 for $4 billion.
By then, the genre had matured so that the term “graphic novels” was invented, and Art Spiegelman had become the first graphic novelist to win a Pulitzer Prize, for “Maus,” in 1992.
Unlike DC Comics’ Superman, “The Man of Steel,” Lee infused his characters with personality defects and anxieties. Peter Parker, Spider-Man, had a tortured love life and fretted about the use of his powers. The Incredible Hulk was a bundle of neuroses.
The Silver Surfer, created by Kirby, came to life, sort of, in Fantastic Four No. 48 (1966) and gained fame in Southern California, of course, and appeared in movies, as did so many Marvel Comics heroes. The Silver Surfer was, or is, an extraterrestrial exiled on Earth, who lamented not only his own state, but that of Earth.
Stanley Martin Lieber was born on Dec. 28, 1922 in New York City and grew up in Washington Heights, near Yankee Stadium. His father, an immigrant from Romania, was a dress-cutter.
His final years included some unpleasant litigation, involving what had become an enormous entertainment empire, including who created what and who had rights to imaginary whoms, in print or film.
His millions of fans around the world will remember him, no doubt, in sadness mixed with joy, perhaps best expressed by: BIFF! WHAM! BOOM!