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With several artist co-creators, most notably Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, he co-created Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Iron Man, the Hulk, Daredevil, the Silver Surfer, Dr. Strange , and many other characters, introducing complex, naturalistic characters and a thoroughly shared universe into superhero comic books. He subsequently led the expansion of Marvel Comics from a small division of a publishing house to a large multimedia corporation.
Early life and career
Stan "The Man" Lee was born in New York City, New York, in the apartment of his Romanian-born Jewish immigrant parents at the corner of West 98th Street and West End Avenue in Manhattan. His father, trained as a dress cutter, worked only sporadically after the Great Depression, and the family moved further uptown to Fort Washington Avenue,Lewine, Edward, "Sketching Out His Past", The New York Times Key Magazine Slide Show (Sept. 4, 2007), Image 1 in the cheaper Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights. When Lee was nearly 9, his only sibling, brother Larry Lieber, was born. By the time Lee was in his teens, the family was living in a one-bedroom apartment at 1720 University Avenue in The Bronx . Lee described it as "a third-floor apartment facing out back", with he and his brother sharing a bedroom and his parents using a foldout couch.
Lee attended DeWitt Clinton High School in The Bronx.StanLeeWeb.com: Biography where his family had moved next. A voracious reader who enjoyed writing as a teen, he worked such part-time jobs as writing obituaries for a news service and press releases for the National Tuberculosis Center; delivering sandwiches for the Jack May pharmacy to offices in Rockefeller Center; working as an office boy for a trouser manufacturer; ushering at the Rivoli Theater on Broadway; and selling subscriptions to the New York Herald Tribune newspaper. He graduated high school early, at age 16½ in 1939, and joined the WPA Federal Theatre Project.
With the help of his uncle, Robbie Solomon, the brother-in-law of pulp magazine and comic-book publisher Martin Goodman,Per Timely Comics' wartime editor Vincent Fago in interview, Alter Ego vol. 3, #11 (Nov. 2001) Lee became an assistant at the new Timely Comics division of Goodman's company. Timely, by the 1960s, would evolve into Marvel Comics. Lee, whose cousin Jean Lee and Mair, Excelsior, p.22 was Goodman's wife, was formally hired by Timely editor Joe Simon.Lee's account of how he began working for Marvel's predecessor, Timely, has varied. He has said in lectures and elsewhere that he simply answered a newspaper ad seeking a publishing assistant, not knowing it involved comics, let alone his cousin's husband:
"I applied for a job in a publishing company ... I didn't even know they published comics. I was fresh out of high school, and I wanted to get into the publishing business, if I could. There was an ad in the paper that said, "Assistant Wanted in a Publishing House." When I found out that they wanted me to assist in comics, I figured, 'Well, I'll stay here for a little while and get some experience, and then I'll get out into the real world.' ... I just wanted to know, 'What do you do in a publishing company?' How do you write? ... How do you publish? I was an assistant. There were two people there named Joe Simon and Jack Kirby – Joe was sort-of the editor/artist/writer, and Jack was the artist/writer. Joe was the senior member. They were turning out most of the artwork. Then there was the publisher, Martin Goodman... And that was about the only staff that I was involved with. After a while, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby left. I was about 17 years old [sic], and Martin Goodman said to me, 'Do you think you can hold down the job of editor until I can find a real person?' When you're 17, what do you know? I said, 'Sure! I can do it!' I think he forgot about me, because I stayed there ever since".IGN FilmForce (June 26, 2000): Stan Lee interview part 1 of 5
However, in his above-cited, 2002 autobiography, Excelsior! The Amazing Life of Stan Lee, he says:
"My uncle, Robbie Solomon, told me they might be able to use someone at a publishing company where he worked. The idea of being involved in publishing definitely appealed to me. ... So I contacted the man Robbie said did the hiring, Joe Simon, and applied for a job. He took me on and I began working as a gofer for eight dollars a week...."
Joe Simon, in his 1990 autobiography The Comic Book Makers (cited under References, below), gives the account slightly differently:
"One day [Goodman's relative known as] Uncle Robbie came to work with a lanky 17-year-old in tow. 'This is Stanley Lieber, Martin's wife's cousin,' Uncle Robbie said. 'Martin wants you to keep him busy.'"
In an appendix, however, Simon appears to reconcile the two accounts. He relates a 1989 conversation with Lee:
Lee: I've been saying this classified-ad story for years, but apparently it isn't so. And I can't remember because I've said it so long now that I believe it."
Simon: "Your Uncle Robbie brought you into the office one day and he said, 'This is Martin Goodman's wife's nephew.' ... You were seventeen years old."
Lee: "Sixteen and a half!"
Simon: "Well, Stan, you told me seventeen. You were probably trying to be older.... I did hire you."
Young Stanley Lieber's first published work, the text filler "Captain America Foils the Traitor's Revenge" in Captain America Comics #3 (May 1941), used the pseudonym "Stan Lee", which years later he would adopt as his legal name. Lee later explained in his autobiography and numerous other sources that he had intended to save his given name for more literary work. This initial story also introduced Captain America's trademark ricocheting shield-toss, which immediately became one of the character's signatures.Thomas, Roy, Stan Lee's Amazing Marvel Universe (Sterling Publishing, New York, 2006), p. 11. ISBN-10 1-4027-4225-8; ISBN-13 978-1-4027-4225-5
The line reads: "With the speed of thought, he sent his shield spinning through the air to the other end of the tent, where it smacked the knife out of Haines' hand!" It became a convention starting the following issue, in a Simon & Kirby's comics story depict the following: "Captain America's speed of thought and action save Bucky's life — as he hurls his shield across the room".
He graduated from writing filler to actual comics with a backup feature, "'Headline' Hunter, Foreign Correspondent", two issues later. Lee's first superhero co-creation was the Destroyer, in Mystic Comics #6 (Aug. 1941). Other characters he created during this period fans and historians call the Golden Age of Comic Books include Jack Frost, debuting in USA Comics #1 (Aug. 1941), and Father Time, debuting in Captain America Comics #6 (Aug. 1941).Thomas, Stan Lee's Amazing Marvel Universe, pp. 12-13
When Simon and his creative partner Jack Kirby left late in 1941, following a dispute with Goodman, the 30-year-old publisher installed Lee, just under 19 years old, as interim editor. The youngster showed a knack for the business that led him to remain as the comic-book division's editor-in-chief, as well as art director for much of that time, until 1972, when he would succeed Goodman as publisher.
Lee entered the U.S. Army in early 1942 and served stateside in the Signal Corps, writing manuals, training films, and slogans, and occasionally cartooning. His military classification, he says, was "playwright"; he adds that only nine men in the U.S. Army were given that title. Vincent Fago, editor of Timely's "animation comics" section, which put out humor and funny animal comics, filled in until Lee returned from his World War II military service in 1945. From then through 1947, he and his wife, Joan, rented the top floor of a brownstone in the East 90s in Manhattan.Lewine, The New York Times, Image 3 They later bought two-story, three-bedroom home at 1084 West Broadway, in Woodmere, New York, on Long Island, living there from 1949 to 1952.Lewine, The New York Times, Images 4-5 The family, which by this time included daughter Joan Celia, bought a home at 226 Richards Lane in the Long Island town of Hewlett Harbor, New York, living there from 1952 to 1980,Lewine, The New York Times, Images 6-7 including the 1960s period when Lee and his artist collaborators would revolutionize comic books.
In the mid-1950s, by which time the company was now generally known as Atlas Comics, Lee wrote stories in a variety genres including romance, Western , humor, science fiction, medieval adventure, horror and suspense. By the end of the decade, Lee had become dissatisfied with his career and considered quitting the field.
In the late 1950s, DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz revived the superhero genre and experienced a significant success with its updated version of the Flash, and later with super-team the Justice League of America. In response, publisher Martin Goodman assigned Lee to create a new superhero team. Lee's wife urged him to experiment with stories he preferred, since he was planning on changing careers and had nothing to lose. Jack Kirby also suggested creating heroes with flaws, ones whose superpowers would not enable them to overcome personal problems such as relationships and money.
Lee acted on that advice, giving his superheroes a flawed humanity, a change from the ideal archetypes that were typically written for pre-teens. His heroes could have bad tempers, melancholy fits, vanity, greed, etc. They bickered amongst themselves, worried about paying their bills and impressing girlfriends, and even were sometimes physically ill. Before him, most superheroes were idealistically perfect people with no serious, lasting problems: Superman was so powerful that nobody could harm him, and Batman was a billionaire in his secret identity.Noted comic-book writer Alan Moore described the significance of this new approach in Comic Book Resources (Jan. 27, 2005): "Chain Reaction": "The DC comics were ... one dimensional characters whose only characteristic was they dressed up in costumes and did good. Whereas Stan Lee had this huge breakthrough of two-dimensional characters. So, they dress up in costumes and do good, but they've got a bad heart. Or a bad leg. I actually did think for a long while that having a bad leg was an actual character trait".
The first superhero group Lee and artist Jack Kirby created was the family of the Fantastic Four. Its immediate popularity led Lee and Marvel's illustrators to produce a cavalcade of new titles. With Kirby, Lee created the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, the Mighty Thor and the X-Men; with Bill Everett, Daredevil; and with Steve Ditko, Doctor Strange and Marvel's most successful character, Spider-Man.
Comics historian Peter Sanderson wrote that in the 1960s, "DC was the equivalent of the big Hollywood studios: After the brilliance of DC's reinvention of the superhero ... in the late 1950s and early 1960s, it had run into a creative drought by the decade's end. There was a new audience for comics now, and it wasn't just the little kids that traditionally had read the books. The Marvel of the 1960s was in its own way the counterpart of the French New Wave.... Marvel was pioneering new methods of comics storytelling and characterization, addressing more serious themes, and in the process keeping and attracting readers in their teens and beyond. Moreover, among this new generation of readers were people who wanted to write or draw comics themselves, within the new style that Marvel had pioneered, and push the creative envelope still further.Sanderson, Peter. IGN.com (Oct. 10, 2003): Comics in Context #14: "Continuity/Discontinuity"}}
Stan Lee's Marvel revolution extended beyond the characters and storylines to the way in which comic books engaged the readership and built a sense of community between fans and creators. Lee introduced the practice of including a credit panel on the splash page of each story, naming not just the writer and penciller but also the inker and letterer. Regular news about Marvel staff members and upcoming storylines was presented on the Bullpen Bulletins page, which (like the letter columns that appeared in each title) was written in a friendly, chatty style.
Throughout the 1960s, Lee scripted, art-directed, and edited most of Marvel's series; moderated the letters pages; wrote a monthly column called "Stan's Soapbox"; and wrote endless promotional copy, often signing off with his trademark phrase, "Excelsior!" (which is also the New York state motto). To maintain his taxing workload yet still meet deadlines, he used a system that was used previously by various comic-book studios, but due to Lee's success with it, became known as the "Marvel Method" or "Marvel style" of comic-book creation. Typically, Lee would brainstorm a story with the artist and then prepare a brief synopsis rather than a full script. Based on the synopsis, the artist would fill the allotted number of pages by determining and drawing the panel-to-panel storytelling. After the artist turned in penciled pages, Lee would write the word balloons and captions, and then oversee the lettering and coloring. In effect, the artists were co-plotters, whose collaborative first drafts Lee built upon.
Because of this system, the exact division of creative credits on Lee's comics has been disputed, especially in cases of comics drawn by Kirby and Ditko. Although Lee has always effusively praised the Marvel artists, some historians argue that their contribution was greater than for which they are given credit. The dispute with Ditko over Spider-Man has sometimes been acrimonious, although he and Lee are formally credited as co-creators in the credits of the 2000s Spider-Man films. Similarly, Lee shares co-creator credit with Kirby on the two Fantastic Four films.
Lee's superheroes captured the imagination of teens and young adults who were part of the population spike known as the post World War II baby boom. Sales soared and Lee realized that he could have a meaningful and successful career in the medium after all.
In 1971, Lee indirectly reformed the Comics Code. The US Department of Health, Education and Welfare asked Lee to write a story about the dangers of drugs and Lee wrote a story in which Spider-Man's best friend becomes addicted to pills. The three-part story was slated to be published in Amazing Spider-Man #96-98, but the Comics Code Authority refused it because it depicted drug use; the story context was considered irrelevant. With his publisher's approval, Lee published the comics without the CCA seal. The comics sold well and Marvel won praise for its socially conscious efforts. The CCA subsequently loosened the Code to permit negative depictions of drugs, among other new freedoms.
Lee also supported using comic books to provide some measure of social commentary about the real world, often dealing with racism and bigotry. "Stan's Soapbox," besides promoting an upcoming comic book project, also addressed issues of discrimination, intolerance or prejudice. In addition, Lee took to using sophisticated vocabulary for the stories' dialogue to encourage readers to learn new words. Lee has justified this by saying, "If a kid has to go to a dictionary, that's not the worst thing that could happen."
In later years, Lee became a figurehead and public face for Marvel Comics. He made appearances at comic book conventions around America, lecturing at colleges and participating in panel discussions, and by now owning a vacation home on Cutler Lane in Remsenburg, New YorkLewine, The New York Times, Image 8 and, from 1975 to 1980, a two-bedroom condominium on the 14th floor of 220 East 63rd Street in Manhattan.Lewine, The New York Times, Image 10 He moved to California in 1981 to develop Marvel's TV and movie properties. He has been an executive producer for, and has made cameo appearances in Marvel film adaptations and other movies. He and his wife bought a home in West Hollywood, California previously owned by comedian Jack Benny's radio announcer, Don Wilson.Lewine, The New York Times, Image 11 Lee was briefly president of the entire company, but soon stepped down to become publisher instead, finding that being president was too much about numbers and finance and not enough about the creative process he enjoyed.
Lee befriended a former lawyer named Peter Paul, who supervised the negotiation of a non-exclusive contract with Marvel Comics for the first time in Lee's lifetime employment with Marvel. This enabled Paul and Lee to start a new Internet-based superhero creation, production and marketing studio, Stan Lee Media, in 1998. It grew to 165 people and went public, but near the end of 2000, investigators discovered illegal stock manipulation by Paul and corporate officer Stephan Gordon.SEC Litigation Release No. LR-18828, August 11, 2004. Stan Lee Media filed for bankruptcy in February 2001, and Paul fled to São Paulo, Brazil."Stan Lee Holder Peter Paul Flees to South America, According to Cohort's Affidavit", Inside.com, March 5, 2001"Accusations Against Peter Paul Retracted and Corrected in Court Filing", MarketWatch.com, May 7, 2001 He was extradited back to the U.S., and pled guilty to violating SEC Rule 10b-5 in connection with trading of his stock in Stan Lee Media.United States Attorney's Office, "Peter Paul, co-founder of Stan Lee Media, Inc., pleads guilty to securities fraud; Fraud scheme caused $25 million in losses to investors and financial institutions", press release, March 8, 2005. Lee was never implicated in the scheme.
Some of the Stan Lee Media projects included the animated Web series The 7th Portal where he voiced the character Izayus; The Drifter; and The Accuser. The 7th Portal characters were licensed to an interactive 3-D movie attraction in four Paramount theme parks.
Lee created the risqué animated superhero series Stripperella for Spike TV. In 2004, he announced plans to collaborate with Hugh Hefner on a similar superhero cartoon featuring Playboy Playmates. He also announced a superhero program that would feature Ringo Starr, the former Beatle, as the lead character. Additionally, in August of that year, Lee announced the launch of Stan Lee's Sunday Comics, hosted by Komikwerks.com, where monthly subscribers could read a new, updated comic and "Stan's Soapbox" every Sunday. The column has not been updated since Feb. 15, 2005.
In 2005, Lee, Gill Champion and Arthur Lieberman formed POW! (Purveyors of Wonder) Entertainment to develop film, television and video game properties. The first film produced by POW! was the TV movie Lightspeed (also advertised as Stan Lee's Lightspeed), which aired on the Sci Fi Channel on July 26, 2006.
In 2005, Lee filed a lawsuit against Marvel for his unpaid share of profits from Marvel movies, winning a settlement of more than $10 million.
In 2006, Marvel commemorated Lee's 65 years with the company by publishing a series of one-shot comics starring Lee himself meeting and interacting with many of his creations, including Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, The Thing, Silver Surfer and Dr. Doom. These comics also featured short pieces by such comics creators as Joss Whedon and Fred Hembeck, as well as reprints of classic Lee-written adventures.
In 2007, POW! Entertainment started a series of direct-to-DVD animated films under the Stan Lee Presents banner. Each film focuses on a new superhero, created by Stan Lee for the series. The first two releases were Mosaic and The Condor.
In June 2007, Walt Disney Studios entered into an exclusive multi-year first look deal with Stan Lee and POW! Entertainment. "It's like the realization of a dream. Ever since I was a young boy, Disney represented the best and most exciting film fare to me. ... I look forward with indescribable enthusiasm to being a part of that world and contributing whatever I can to keep the legend alive and growing," said Lee.
On March 15, 2007, Stan Lee Media's new President Jim Nesfield filed a lawsuit against Marvel Entertainment for $5 billion, claiming that the company is co-owner of the characters that Lee created for Marvel.
On December 5, 1947, Lee married Joan Clayton. Joan Lee gave birth to Stan's two daughters: Joan Celia "J.C." Lee in 1950 and Jan Lee, who died three days after delivery in 1953.
Awards and honors
Lee has received several awards for his work, including being formally inducted into the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1995.
He is among the celebrities scheduled to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2008.
Jack Kirby, during his years of working for DC Comics in the 1970s, created the character Funky Flashman as a possible parody of Stan Lee. With his hyperbolic speech pattern, gaudy toupee, and hip '70s-Manhattan style beard (as Lee sported at the time) this ne'er-do-well charlatan first appeared in the pages of Mister Miracle.
Kirby later portrayed himself, Lee, production executive Sol Brodsky, and Lee's secretary Flo Steinberg as superheroes in What If #11, "What If the Marvel Bullpen Had Become the Fantastic Four?", in which Lee played the part of Mister Fantastic. Lee has also made numerous cameo appearances in many Marvel titles, appearing in audiences and crowds at many characters' ceremonies and parties, and hosting an old-soldiers reunion in Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #100 (July 1972). Lee appeared, unnamed, as the priest at Luke Cage and Jessica Jones' wedding in New Avengers Annual #1. He pays his respects to Karen Page at her funeral in the Daredevil "Guardian Devil" story arc, and appears in The Amazing Spider-Man (June 1977).
In Marvel's 1991 comic book adaptation of game Double Dragon, a character modeled after Stan Lee was specifically created for the comic and is introduced as the father of the protagonists, Billy and Jimmy Lee. The character is only referred by his first name, Stan, although the play on his name is obvious when one considers the Lee brothers' surname.
In X-Play on the cable network G4, the character "Roger, the Stan Lee Experience" - dubbed "the fifth-best-thing next to Stan Lee" - is a foul-mouthed, perverted stand-up comic parody of Lee. Roger's segments normally consist of him describing details of numerous unspeakable adult encounters, usually involving the wife of another Marvel veteran, Jack Kirby, with each encounter somehow leading to the creation of a well-known Marvel character.
In Marvel's July 1997 "Flashback" event, a top-hatted caricature of Lee as a ringmaster ringmaster introduced stories which detailed events in Marvel characters' lives before they became superheroes, in special "-1" editions of many Marvel titles. The "ringmaster" depiction of Lee was originally from Generation X #17 (July 1996), where the character narrated a story set primarily in an abandoned circus. Though the story itself was written by Scott Lobdell, the narration by "Ringmaster Stan" was written by Lee himself, and the character was drawn in that issue by Chris Bachalo. Bachalo's depiction of "Ringmaster Stan" was later used in the heading of a short-lived revival of the "Stan's Soapbox" column, which evolved into a question & answer format.
In his given name of Stanley Lieber, Stan Lee appears briefly in Paul Malmont's 2006 novel "The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril".
Lee and other comics creators are mentioned in Michael Chabon's 2000 novel about the comics industry The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.
Film and television appearances
Marvel film properties
Stan Lee appeared in many (but not all) movies based on Marvel Comic characters he helped create.
- In the TV-movie The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (1989), Lee's first appearance in a Marvel movie or TV project is as jury foreman in the trial of Dr. David Banner.
- Lee has cameo roles in the Fox Broadcasting Company telefilms Generation X (1996) and Nick Fury: Agent of Shield (1998)
- In X-Men (2000), Lee appears as a customer at a hotdog stand on the beach when Senator Kelly emerges naked onshore after escaping from Magneto.
- He narrated the Troma film Citizen Toxic: The Toxic Avenger Part IV (2001) under the pseudonym "Peter Parker".
- In Spider-Man (2002), he appeared during Spider-Man's first battle with the Green Goblin, pulling a little girl away from falling debris.
- In Daredevil (2003), as a child, Matt Murdock, stops Lee from crossing the street and getting hit by a car.
- In Hulk (2003), he appears walking alongside former TV-series Hulk Lou Ferrigno in an early scene, both as security guards at Bruce Banner's lab. It was his first speaking role in a film based on one of his characters.
- In Spider-Man 2 (2004), Lee again pulls an innocent person away from danger during Spider-Man's first battle with Doctor Octopus.
- In Fantastic Four (2005), Lee appears for the first time as a character from the comics, in a role credited as Willie Lumpkin, the mail carrier who greets the Fantastic Four as they enter the Baxter Building.
- In X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), Lee and Chris Claremont appear as two of Jean Grey's neighbors in the opening scenes set 20 years ago. Lee, credited as "Waterhose man," is watering the lawn when Jean telekinetically redirects the water from the hose into the air.
- In Spider-Man 3 (2007), Lee appears in a credited role as "Man in Times Square". He stands next to Peter Parker, both of them reading a news bulletin, and commenting to Peter that, "You know, I guess one person can make a difference". He then says his well-known phrase, "'Nuff said".
- In Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), Lee appears at Reed Richards and Susan Storm's first wedding as a guest who is turned away by the security guard because he isn't on the guest list. In Fantastic Four Annual #3 (1965), in which the couple married, Lee and Jack Kirby are similarly turned away for not having invitations.
- In the original broadcast airing of the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Apokolips... Now! Part 2", an animated Stan Lee was planned to be visible mourning the death of Daniel "Terrible" Turpin, a character based on Lee's collaborator Jack Kirby. The scene would also have included such Marvel characters as the Fantastic Four, Nick Fury, and Peter Parker, as well as such Kirby DC characters as Big Barda, Scott Free, and Orion. This shot does not appear in the completed episode.The original sketches for this scene appear in the book The Krypton Companion (TwoMorrows Publishing)
Other film, TV and video
- Lee appears with director Kevin Smith and 2000s Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada in the DVD program "Marvel Then & Now: An Evening with Stan Lee and Joe Quesada, hosted by Kevin Smith".
- One of Lee's earliest contributions to animation based on Marvel properties was narrating the 1980s Incredible Hulk animated series, always beginning his narration with a self-introduction and ending with "This is Stan Lee saying, Excelsior!" Lee had previously narrated the "Seven Little Superheroes" episode of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, which the Hulk series was paired with for broadcast.
- Lee was executive producer of a 1990s animated TV series, titled Spider-Man: The Animated Series. He appeared, as animated character (and with his voice), in the series finale episode titled "Farewell, Spider-Man". Spider-Man was teleported into the "real" world where he is a comic book hero. He swings Stan Lee around and drops him off on top of a building. Realizing he is stuck on a roof, Lee muses "Maybe the Fantastic Four will pop up and get me down."
- He also voices the character "Frank Elson" in an episode of Spider-Man: The New Animated Series series, broadcasted by MTV in 2003, and titled "Mind Games" (Parts 1 & 2, originally aired in Aug. 15 & 22, 2003).
- Lee has an extensive cameo in the Kevin Smith film Mallrats. He, once again, plays himself, this time visiting "the" mall to sign books at a comic store. Later, he takes on the role of a sage-like character, giving Jason Lee's character, Brodie Bruce (a longtime fan of Lee's), advice on his love life. He also recorded interviews with Smith for the non-fiction video Stan Lee's Mutants, Monsters, and Marvels (2002).
- Lee appeared as himself in an extended self-parodying sketch on the episode "Tapping a Hero" of Robot Chicken
- Lee appears as himself in writer-director Larry Cohen's The Ambulance (1990), in which Eric Roberts plays an aspiring comics artist.
- In The Simpsons episode "I Am Furious Yellow" (April 28, 2002), Lee voices the animated Stan Lee, who is a prolonged visitor to Comic Book Guy's store ("Stan Lee came back?" "Stan Lee never left. I am starting to think his mind is no longer in mint condition.") He asks if Comic Book Guy is the stalker of Lynda Carter - the star of the 70s show Wonder Woman - and shows signs of dementia, such as breaking a customer's toy Batmobile by trying to cram a The Thing action figure into it (claiming that he "made it better"), hiding DC comics behind Marvel comics, and believing that he is the Hulk (and fails trying to become the Hulk, while Comic Book Guy comments he couldn't even change into Bill Bixby). In a later episode, Lee's picture is seen next to several others on the wall behind the register, under the heading "Banned for life".
- Lee also appears as himself in the Mark Hamill-directed Comic Book: The Movie (2004), a direct-to-video mockumentary primarily filmed at the 2002 San Diego Comic-Con. He appeared in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004) as the "Three Stooges Wedding Guest", a Spaniard who learns English from watching Three Stooges shorts.
- Stan Lee narrates the 2000 video game Spider-Man and the 2001 sequel Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro.
- Lee is producer and host of the reality-TV show Who Wants to Be a Superhero?, which premiered on the Sci Fi Channel July 27, 2006, and had its second season in summer, 2007.
- Lee has made two appearances as a subject on To Tell the Truth: first in 1970, and again in 2001.
- Lee also made an appearance on December 21, 2006, on the NBC game show Identity.
- Lee voices characters in POW! Entertainment's direct-to-DVD "Stan Lee Presents" line of animated features. In Mosaic he voices the security guard Stanley at Interpol, and in The Condor he voices a candy-store owner whose granddaughter the Condor saves.
- In the TV science fiction drama Heroes (2006), in the 16th episode "Unexpected", Lee appears as a bus driver kindly greeting Hiro Nakamura.
- Lee recorded a public service announcement for Deejay Ra's "Hip-Hop Literacy" campaign
At the 2007 Comic-Con International, Marvel Legends introduced a Stan Lee action figure. The body beneath the figure's removable cloth wardrobe is re-used from the mold of a previously released Spider-Man action figure, with only minor changes.OAFE - ML: Stan Lee exclusive review
Comics that Stan Lee has written or co-written include:
- The Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1): #1-100, 105-110, 116-118
- The Avengers (Vol. 1): #1-34
- Captain America (Vol. 1) #100-109, 112, 114-141
- Daredevil (Vol. 1): #1-9, 11-50, 53, 81
- Fantastic Four (Vol. 1): #1-115, 120-125, 154, 180, 189, 236, 296
- Journey into Mystery (Vol. 1): #1, 3, 55, 62, 64, 71-79, 83-125
- Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos: #1-28
- Silver Surfer (Vol. 1): #1-18
- Strange Tales (Vol. 1): #1, 9, 11, 67, 73-74, 78-86, 88-89, 91-95, 97-98, 100-147, 150-157, 174, 182-188
- Tales to Astonish (Vol. 1): #1, 6, 12-13, 15-17, 24-33, 35-101
- Tales of Suspense (Vol. 1): #7, 9, 16, 22, 27, 29-30, 39-99
- The Mighty Thor (Vol. 1): #126-194, 200, 254, 385, 432, 450
- X-Men (Vol. 1): #1-21
- Lee, Stan, Origins of Marvel Comics (Simon and Schuster, 1974; Marvel Entertainment Group, 1997 reissue,)
- Lee, Stan, and Mair, George. Excelsior!: The Amazing Life of Stan Lee (Fireside, 2002)
- Ro, Ronin. Tales to Astonish: Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, and the American Comic Book Revolution (Bloomsbury USA, 2005 reissue)
- Raphael, Jordan, and Spurgeon, Tom. Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book (Chicago Review Press, 2003)
- The Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators
- POW! Entertainment (official site)
- Stan Lee Web (fan site)
- Stan Lee Does He Deserve Marvel's Wrath
- Stan Lee Books
- Stan Lee Finding Aid at the University of Wyoming
- Framingham, Mass., Daily News (May 5, 2002): "Myth and the Hero's Journey: Big Screen Blockbusters - Star Wars, Spider-Man Tell Timeless Tales", by Chris Bergeron
- Newsday (April 1, 2007): "Fast Chat: Stan Lee"
- Stan Lee: Conversations (University Press of Mississippi)
- Audio of Merry Marvel Marching Society record, including voice of Stan Lee
- Chris Comer Radio Interviews: "Stan Lee", April 1, 2005
- Comic Geek Speak: Episode 83 - Stan Lee interview podcast, December 12, 2005
- Mahalo Daily with Veronica Belmont: "MD044 - Stan Lee Interview", January 28, 2008