Stan Lee is dead at 95; superhero of Marvel Comics (nytimes.com).
Mr. Lee was for many the embodiment of Marvel, if not comic books in general, and oversaw his company’s emergence as an international media behemoth. A writer, editor, publisher, Hollywood executive and tireless promoter (of Marvel and of himself), he played a critical role in what comics fans call the medium’s silver age.
The Silver Age of comics being the period following publishers introduction of the Comics Code Authority in the mid-50s to avoid government regulation following controversy over alleged links between comic and juvenile delinquency which saw the reintroduction of superheros and the creation of new ones such as Lee and Kirby’s the Fantastic Four in 1961.
Mr. Lee was a central player in the creation of Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor and the many other superheroes who, as properties of Marvel Comics, now occupy vast swaths of the pop culture landscape in movies and on television.
And humanised his superheros with the same flaws, insecurities and self-doubts of the average reader along with an awareness of topical social causes and a sense of humour that has endured. Lee saw no income from the Marvel movies and TV series until a court fight with Marvel Enterprises in 2005 leading to an undisclosed settlement, although some had accused him of shortchanged the artists with whom he co-created which had saw he and Kirby in court before reaching a a settlement for both to receive credit for the numerous screen productions based on their work.
In Mr. Lee’s final years, after the death of his wife, the circumstances of his business affairs and contentious financial relationship with his surviving daughter attracted attention in the news media.
With accounts of “fierce infighting among Mr. Lee’s daughter, household staff and business advisers” and The Hollywood Reporter using the term “elder abuse” and in February this year Lee declaring that a lawyer, a caretaker of Mr. Lee’s and a dealer in memorabilia had involved themselves with his daughter to gain control over his assets, although the claim was later withdrawn but an assistant, an accountant and a housekeeper were dismissed or limited in future contact with him with Lee declaring in April in the New York Times:
“I’m the luckiest guy in the world,” adding that “my daughter has been a great help to me” and that “life is pretty good”—although he admitted in that same interview, “I’ve been very careless with money.”
Robert Downey Jr has paid tribute to Stan Lee, admitting he “owes it all to” the Marvel legend, who helped him to not only get his career back on track but become a movie star.
Updated 14th May 2019
And that caretaker and dealer in memorabilia likely to get his comeuppance, although not quite in the Hulk squashing his ballbag many fans would have liked:
Stan Lee’s business manager charged with elder abuse of Marvel creator (theguardian.com).
The Los Angeles superior court has issued an arrest warrant against Keya Morgan, a New York memorabilia dealer who became a close companion to Lee, for charges including false imprisonment, forgery and fraud. These date back to June 2018, when Lee’s attorney first applied for a restraining order against Morgan following an incident that May in which police and a social worker were called to Lee’s home in Los Angeles to perform a welfare check.
With Morgan accused of “isolating Lee from friends and family, and exploiting their relationship in order to embezzle artwork, cash and other assets”.