My son has been patiently waiting for the screening of the Spider-Man 3. He had the date on his calendar for quite a while. He has been counting the number of weeks before he could finally see the third helping of this movie. Now that it is going to be finally shown, I can’t help but wonder who the creator of this very famous character is. So let’s all meet the real hero of Spider-Man, Stan Lee. Creator and writer of the Spider-Man series of Marvel Comics.
Stan Lee was born Stanley Martin Lieber on December 28, 1922 in New York. His parents were Romanian-Jewish immigrants. Even at a tender age, Stanley was a voracious reader. He also enjoyed writing immensely, and when he was a teenager worked as a a writer for obituaries for the National Tuberculosis Center. He must be quite intelligent and was the kind who wanted to learn a lot. At 16 1/2 years old, he finished high school.
His first published work was a text filler for the Captain America Comics entitled “Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge”. This is where he first used his pseudonym Stan Lee, which he late adopted as his legal name. For his other important works, he actually intended to keep his original name. He showed a lot of promise to his craft that he soon after, he became the comic book division’s editor-in-chief, art director and eventually, publisher.
He joined the US Army in 1942, but he did not neglect his love and interest for writing. He served in the Signal Corp and wrote manuals, training films, slogans, and even occasional cartooning.
He went on to write in the 1950s and his comic works had various themes: romance, Western, humor, science fiction, horror and suspense. At one point, he felt frustrated and dissatisfied with his work that he even considered quitting.
But this must really be his world. Fate led him to create a new team of superheroes. He wanted his heroes strong but flawed. He tried to deviate from the typical superhero image: powerful, near perfection and had no problems. He wanted his characters like normal humans. Despite their abilities, they face regular and daily concerns, like any typical Joe.
In 1962, Stan Lee came up with the brilliant idea of a teenager who becomes a superhero after he is bitten by a radioactive spider. He said his publisher hated his idea. It was his gut, creativity and determination that won. He insisted that his story starring a superhero named Spider-man be published even in the last issue of a dying magazine, Amazing Fantasy. Spider-Man’s debut, on the cover at that, made the magazine the best seller of the month.
Lee’s Spider-Man was a teenager who was beset with personal problems. The teener was named Peter Benjamin Parker, said to be the creator’s alter ego. Lee insisted on a young teener as his hero because he knew that most of his audience were teenagers. He wanted to reach out to them by creating a typical youngster who was insecure about earning their own money, about their love life, and about their future.
When Lee introduced Spider-Man, he was also aware that he had older readers. So he considered his work as fairy tales for grown-ups. He knew that when his readers get engrossed with his writings, they are able to grab “the chance to recapture the joys and fantasies of childhood”.
Spider-Man’s creator has one word of advice for young people who also wish to write and create superheroes: read. He advises them to read myths, history, geography, science and adventure tales. He says that it is a must to broaden the mind, expand the knowledge and then allow the imagination to soar.
So for those fans who would get thrilled to see Spider-Man resorting to web-slinging, wall-crawling, and using his reflexes and spider-sense abilities, don’t forget that it was the genius of Stan Lee who created this superhero who continues to amuse many youngsters and adults alike.