Stan Lee, the cultural icon who founded Marvel Comics and served as its editor, publisher and writer, has died at 95 years old. Over the course of his 70+ year career, Lee created or co-created numerous unforgettable superhero characters, including Spider-Man, the X-Men, Black Panther, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, the Mighty Thor, the Incredible Hulk, Daredevil and Ant-Man. His work converted Marvel into a comic book juggernaut, and eventually into the multimedia behemoth that has created the highest-grossing superhero movies of all time.
In addition to being a creative visionary whose characters brought entertainment and joy to millions, Lee was also a social justice advocate who strove for inclusion in his work. His X-Men characters were inspired by the civil rights movement, and he also made efforts to bring diversity in to his stable of superheroes, creating characters like Black Panther in 1966, and later introducing Sam Wilson as The Falcon, Captain America’s partner.
In the 70s, as the publisher for Marvel, Lee used his editorial page, ‘Stan’s Soapbox,’ to speak to the comic book reader about issues such as discrimination, intolerance, and prejudice.
One of Lee’s last known projects was reported to be the development of a Latino superhero. In 2017, he announced that the character was in the works at La Conque in Queretaro, the largest comic convention in Latin America. “I wanted this to be a surprise, but I’m personally working on a Latino hero, that you’ll be seeing at the end of the year,” he said at the time, according to AFP. “I want to make him as good as I can, as different as I can.”
While the world did not get to see that character come to life, Lee has left fans with an enduring legacy that brought people from all cultures, races, and religions together. He will be remembered forever through the power and magic of the worlds he created.