Top of page

Celebrating Comics’ Champion Stan Lee

Share this post:

Whether you are a comics fan or not, chances are you have heard of Stan Lee. His larger than life personality and dedication to the fans are some of the many things that people are remembering in the wake of his passing this week at age 95. Lee, Marvel’s “Chairman Emeritus,” unofficial ambassador, and alliteration admirer, was a staunch champion of the power of comic books over his nearly 70 year career in the comics industry.

Stan Lee’s earliest work. “Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge,” p. 1. Captain America no. 3 (May 1941) © 2018 MARVEL
Stan Lee’s earliest work. “Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge,” p. 2. Captain America no. 3 (May 1941) © 2018 MARVEL















He was best known for co-creating such legendary characters and series as the Avengers, Black Panther, Dr. Strange, the Falcon, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Thor, the X-Men (I could go on).

Covers for Fantastic Four no. 1 (Nov. 1961); Amazing Fantasy no. 15 (Aug. 1962); X-Men no. 1 (Sept. 1963).© 2018 MARVEL


Covers for Daredevil no. 1 (Apr. 1964); Fantastic Four no. 52 (July 1966); Captain America no. 117 (Sept. 1969). © 2018 MARVEL

His decades long career, much of it as Editor-in-Chief and later Publisher at Marvel, meant that he also touched nearly every character and series to come out, from the well-known to the more obscure – everything from westerns to romances. I loved being able to look through our comic book collection to find some of these stimulating samples of Stan’s stories:

 ”Gandy” signed “SL-291” – likely Stan Lee. Mighty Mouse no. 4 (Spring 1947)
“Millie. Stan Lee Managing Editor/Director of Art.” Millie the Model no. 7 (Aug. 1947) © 2018 MARVEL















“They Called Her a Witch” by Stan Lee. Mystic no. 10 (July 1952) © 2018 MARVEL
“The Rawhide Kid. The Gunmen of Sundown City.” Signed Stan Lee. Mighty Marvel Western no. 13 (May 1971) © 2018 MARVEL















We are also fortunate here at the Library of Congress to have two original storyboards that Stan Lee co-created:  the ‘birth certificate’ of Spider-Man with Steve Ditko, as well as a page from Captain America no. 147 (February 1972).

“Spider-Man!” Amazing Fantasy no. 15 (Aug. 1962) © 2018 MARVEL
“Captain America and the Falcon. Mission: Destroy the Femme Force.” Captain America no. 146 (Feb. 1972) © 2018 MARVEL















Steve Ditko, with whom Stan co-created Spider-Man and Dr. Strange as well as villains Doc Ock and Sandman (among others), also passed away this year in June 2018. Sara W. Duke, Curator of Popular and Applied Graphic Art in the Prints & Photographs Division (where the original art lives here at the Library) says “What’s great about the Spider-Man art, is that there was a real dialogue between Stan and Steve. The hand-writing underneath the balloons on the splash-page, is the same in the marginalia [on page 9]…. The Marvel method was one of collaboration, and while he [Lee] famously took a lot of credit he also generously promoted people who were skilled at their craft.”

Partially erased handwritten note to Steve [Ditko] in the margin. Amazing Fantasy n. 15, page 9 (Aug. 1962)© 2018 MARVEL
“Dr. Strange Master of Black Magic.” Story: Stan Lee; Art: Steve Ditko. Strange Tales no. 110 (July 1963)© 2018 MARVEL
Cover introducing Dr. Octopus. Amazing Spider-Man no. 3 (July 1963)© 2018 MARVEL















Duke also said “There is a pronounced sense of loss of several greats in the comic book community this year, and of course Stan Lee was the most famous because of the work he did to promote Marvel, create compelling superheroes with whom Americans could connect on a personal level and [he] reinvigorated the superhero genre.”

“Marvel Bullpen Bulletins” and “Stan’s Soapbox.” Fantastic Four no. 63 (June 1967) © 2018 MARVEL
Letters to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. “Fantastic 4 Fan Page.” Fantastic Four no. 13 (Apr. 1963) © 2018 MARVEL










Comments (2)

  1. Stan lee is best

  2. Hi. I’m wondering if the LoC has any copies of Stan Lee’s army finance training comic? Seems impossible to find. Thanks

Add a Comment

This blog is governed by the general rules of respectful civil discourse. You are fully responsible for everything that you post. The content of all comments is released into the public domain unless clearly stated otherwise. The Library of Congress does not control the content posted. Nevertheless, the Library of Congress may monitor any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove content for any reason whatever, without consent. Gratuitous links to sites are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on the Library site. Read our Comment and Posting Policy.

Required fields are indicated with an * asterisk.