Marvel - Stan Lee
For most, Stan Lee needs no introduction. A brilliant comic book writer, editor, publisher, executive producer and former Marvel Comics President and Chairman, Lee is the Godfather of the modern comic – a genius who, alongside Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, was largely responsible for redefining the genre and co-creating the now canonical Marvel Universe. He was instrumental in the expansion of Marvel Comics into the multimedia empire it is today and the creation of countless household names including Spiderman, The Fantastic Four, Iron Man, The Hulk, X-Men, The Avengers, Thor and The Silver Surfer. From humble beginnings growing up in the Bronx, New York, Lee worked several part-time jobs before coming on as an assistant for pulp magazine ‘Timely Comics’, (later to develop into Marvel Comics). Starting from the bottom filling inkwells and erasing pencil marks from finished pages, Stan Lee landed his first big break in 1941 publishing his debut work on Captain America Comics #3, attaining the role of interim editor at the age of 19, and later editor-in-chief and art director until 1972, eventually becoming chairman emeritus. At a time when comic book heroes were portrayed as largely one-sided, stereotypical American heroes, Lee fought against the grain of the conservative establishment and the Comic Code Authority to introduce diverse characters that were much more human and relatable, commenting on social issues of the time, including bigotry, injustice and discrimination, which eventually culminated in a change to the CCA’s policies and revolutionised the industry. In 1984, Stan Lee was awarded The National Medal of Arts by the United States Congress, the highest honour awarded to an individual artist in the United States. In 1994 he was inducted into the comic book industry's Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1995. Lee received a National Medal of Arts in 2008, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2011 and on 16 July 2017, was entered into a hall of fame programme and named a ‘Disney Legend’ for his contribution to characters that are now part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe following the acquisition by Disney in 2009. He also founded The Stan Lee Foundation in 2010 with the aim of focusing on support programmes for access to literacy, as well as supporting education, culture and the arts. Lee currently escapes from retirement to attend various comic conventions, lecturing in colleges around America and making cameo appearances in the latest Marvel cinematic releases, including Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War.