Stan Lee, a name that relates to most superhero comic readers and rightly so. He was the former head of Marvel Comics, the hub that led to the creation of the widely known characters including “Spider-Man” whose movies have been created and recreated multiple times, “Iron Man” who is known as the sassiest character of the Marvel world, and the humongous “Hulk”, all of these were made through the creativity of one man, Stan Lee. Over the span of his long career, Stan Lee has earned a great fortune and made himself a man of great net worth.
Born on December 28, 1922, in Manhattan, New York, Stanley Martin Lieber always wanted to be a writer of the Great American Novel. His parents were Romanian and Jewish with his father, Jack Lieber, working as a dress cutter. Lee has one younger brother Larry Lieber. The Australian-born actor Errol Flynn was his biggest inspiration during his childhood and became the basis of his curiosity in movies and writing. For his education, Lee attended DeWitt Clinton High School in his teenage life.
How Stan Lee Started His Writing Career
Following his unshakeable passion for writing, Lee joined Timely Comics as an office assistant in 1939 after graduating high school. This was also the time when he chose to change his last name from Lieber to “Lee”. In 1942, Lee was promoted to the position of editor. Subsequently in the 1940s and 1950s, the firm was renamed Atlas as it financially struggled. Lee came up with new comic-book series like “The Witness”, “The Destroyer”, “Jack Frost”, “Whizzer”, and “Black Marvel”. What’s more, is he also went on to serve the army during World War 2.
Lee’s “Marvel Method”
It was in the early 1960s when Lee, along with artist Jack Kirby, created “The Fantastic Four” which led to a breakthrough for Atlas, now known as Marvel, and Lee in the comic world. The following year, Lee joined artist Steve Ditko to create Spider-Man. The three of them, Lee, Kirby, and Ditko, worked in collaboration and their work came to be known as the “Marvel Method”. The technique turned out to work efficiently and the company kept launching a series of successful comics. Another series that took the readers by storm was “The X-Men” in 1963. As the firm continued to prosper, Lee came to the position of publisher and editorial director in 1972.
Taking His Characters From Mere Paper To The Big Screen
As the comic characters gained more attraction and started to get converted into movies, Lee moved to the West Coast to get more engaged in the making of the Marvel movies. After working for Marvel for a long 60-years, he founded Stan Lee Media in 1999 which was an internet entertainment company revolving around his comic characters.
At the same time, he reached the position of chairman emeritus in Marvel. As for his own company, Stan Lee Media, the first project, “7th Portal”, that involved aliens, was a success. However, following the initial victory, the company couldn’t move forward as it got setback with a number of lawsuits and corruption charges leading the company to file bankruptcy in 2001. Another firm, Pow Entertainment, was created in 2004 for Lee’s characters and franchises.
As for the film adaptations of the comics, all of them earned massively at the box office. As the characters came to life through the big screen, they captured an outstanding amount of audience, making billions of dollars. “X-Men” in 2000 and “Spider-Man” in 2002, were the initial blockbuster franchises, followed by “Daredevil”, “Hulk”, and “Iron Man”.
Stan Lee’s Movie Cameos & YouTube Channel
Stan Lee appeared in cameo roles in the movies even after Marvel was purchased by Disney in 2009. An unending series of movies followed including, “Thor”, “The Avengers”, and “Ant-Man”. He made cameo appearances in both Marvel and non-Marvel movies. It’s very likely that you must have seen him whether you realize it or not.
For the Marvel movies alone, he has made 35 cameo appearances, five of which were released during the year he died. He also appeared in “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies” which is surprisingly from the D.C universe. According to IMDB, Lee has 121 actor credits in movies and TV shows while he has a phenomenal 217 credits as a writer.
In 2012, Lee co-wrote The New York Times bestseller, Romeo and Juliet. He also set up a YouTube channel, “Stan Lee’s World of Heroes”, now known as “MarvelousTV”, that features clips of his characters.
A Fragment of His Personal Life
Stan Lee got married to Joan Lee on December 5, 1947. They stayed together for as long as 70 years, something that is hard to dream of for couples nowadays. The couple had two daughters, one of whom unfortunately passed away soon after her birth. Lee’s wife, Joan, died in 2017, just a year before Lee himself would depart.
The most popular comics writer passed away on November 12th, 2018 when he was rushed to hospital where he eventually passed away. The reason for his death was cardiac arrest with respiratory failure and congestive heart failure. During the year he died, fans noticed how exhausted and overworked he looked during the Silicon Valley Comic Con.
Lee received two awards that he so rightly deserved: The Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1994 and 1995, respectively.
Stan Lee’s Net Worth & How He Earned It
Despite being the greatest comics writer of all time, Lee started out by earning as low as $8 per week at Timely Publications. Even though he became known worldwide for his comics, Stan Lee himself admitted in 2016 that he should have been greedier. The fact that Marvel was bought and sold several times, eventually being bought by Disney for $4 billion in 2009, Lee never got his hands on any of the cash, since he was never the owner.
In 1998, he had signed a contract with Marvel that promised to pay him a share of profits for the movies and TV shows created around his characters, however, things turned out to be quite the opposite. Lee eventually had to sue Marvel in 2002, claiming that he was not being paid a proper share of the profits. Consequently, he received a 10% share of the profits from movies like “Spider-Man”. Moreover, being the chairman emeritus of Marvel, he was paid an annual salary of $1 million.
The way Stan Lee linked the power of superheroes with human emotions really captured the reader’s attention. As the comics turned into movies, his following of fans increased. He had been in-demand by millions of fans at comic conventions who were willing to pay anything just to meet him and get a selfie or an autograph from him. This generated a steady source of income for him as each of his autographs charged around $50 in 2010 and doubling in 2016 to $100, eventually rocketing to $130.
As for his property, the writer bought several of them in the Los Angeles real estate market. In 2006, he bought a 2,500 square-foot home in the Hollywood Hills for $3.6 million and sold it back for $3.75 million in 2014. He owned another home in the same neighborhood which he also put up for sale for $5 million in 2015.
The reason he was selling his property was that he had bought another one in Hollywood Hills West in 2015 for $4.4 million. The house was based on 5,000 square feet, featuring four bedrooms and seven bathrooms.
At the time of his death, his estimated net worth was $50 million.
Stan Lee was an innovator that made people believe in superpowers. Now, even though he himself is gone, he has left a great number of superheroes behind that would keep on living and reminding people of the great legend who created them from his imagination.
Disclaimer: All of the information mentioned above has been gathered from the sources mentioned below: