Stan Lee, the cultural icon responsible for many of Marvel’s most popular superheroes in comic books and movies, has died at the age of 95.
Born Stanley Martin Lieber, the New York City native co-created Spider-Man, Hulk, the Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Black Panther, Daredevil, Doctor Strange and a host more heroes while working as a writer and then editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics in the 1960s.
From the 1970s (when he became publisher) until the ’90s, Lee was the face of Marvel and a frequent staple at comic and pop-culture conventions, entertaining fans and “true believers” with his stories and signature catchphrase “Excelsior!” He created his own POW! Entertainment in 2001 to develop film, TV and comic properties, but always stayed connected to his original superhero roots as geek culture rose in Hollywood: As an executive producer, Lee had humorous cameos in nearly every Marvel movie going back to Bryan Singer’s “X-Men” in 2000.
While Lee’s infectious enthusiasm for his heroes – and his devotees – lasted late into a legendary life, recent years were marked by ill health and legal wrangling involving those closest to him. Following the death of his wife of 69 years, Joan, in 2017, Lee was hospitalized in February 2018 for an irregular heartbeat and shortness of breath, and also struggled with pneumonia.