Stanley Martin Lieber was born on December 28, 1922, in New York City to Romanian immigrants Celia and Jack Lieber. Lieber and his younger brother, Larry, watched his parents struggle to make ends meet for the family. He shortened his name to “Lee” as a writer, went on to be hired as an office assistant at Timely Comics in 1939 and became an interim editor for the company in the early 1940s.
Lee attended DeWitt Clinton High School in The Bronx.In his youth, Lee enjoyed writing, and entertained dreams of one day writing The Great American Novel.
Lee became an assistant in 1939 at the new Timely Comics division of pulp magazine and comic-book publisher Martin Goodman’s company. Timely, by the 1960s, would evolve into Marvel Comics. Lee, whose cousin Jeanwas Goodman’s wife, was formally hired by Timely editor Joe Simon.
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.
Lee entered the United States Army in early 1942 and served stateside in the Signal Corps, repairing telegraph poles and other communications equipment.He was later transferred to the Training Film Division, where he worked writing manuals, training films, and slogans, and occasionally cartooning.
He married Joan Clayton Boocock on December 5, 1947,and in 1949, the couple bought a two-story, three-bedroom home at 1084 West Broadway in Woodmere, New York, on Long Island, living there through 1952.
By this time, the couple had daughter Joan Celia “J.C.” Lee, born in 1950; another child, Jan Lee, died three days after delivery in 1953.Lee by this time had bought a home at 226 Richards Lane in the Long Island town of Hewlett Harbour, New York, where he and his family lived from 1952 to 1980,including the 1960s period when Lee and his artist collaborators would revolutionize comic books.
The first superhero group Lee and artist Jack Kirby created was the family 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.
He is also credited along with Kirby with the creation of the Silver Surfer. 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.
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.