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Lee, Stan

LEE, STAN

LEE, STAN (1922– ), U.S. cartoonist. Born in New York City to Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, Lee (Stanley Martin Lieber) began working in comic books at 17, as an assistant to Martin Goodman, who was married to his cousin and was publisher of Timely Comics, which would become Marvel Comics. Lee's first published work appeared in a Captain America comic book in 1941, shortly before the United States entered World War ii. Lee worked with several co-creators, including Jack *Kirby, introducing superheroes to fight the Nazi menace. After the war, comics came under attack in the United States when a psychiatrist and a United States senator blamed comic books for corrupting young readers with images of violence and sexuality. Comic book companies responded by implementing strict guidelines. Lee then wrote comics in various genres, such as romance, Westerns, and light science fiction. In the late 1950s dc Comics revived the superhero genre and beginning in 1961 Lee, as part of the Marvel group, helped produce Spider Man, Thor, The Hulk, Daredevil, and Iron Man. Lee's scripts, created in collaboration with such artists as Kirby and Steve Ditko, depicted characters endowed with superhuman abilities yet with human failings and emotions the reader could identify with. In 1972 Lee became publisher and editorial director of Marvel Comics. He also wrote Origins of Marvel Comics (1974). Lee and his studios came into the limelight when two Spider Man movies and a Hulk film achieved great success. During the dot.com boom, in 1999, Lee teamed with a Hollywood entrepreneur, Peter Paul, to create an online animation and superhero creation studio. Stan Lee Media went public and in February 2000 had a market value twice that of Marvel. The studio grew to 165 people and produced flash animation on the Internet, winning the 2000 Web Award as the best entertainment portal on the World Wide Web, Stanlee.net. Eventually, after Paul was accused of campaign finance fraud during the New York State election campaign of Hilary Clinton for senator, Stan Lee Media went out of business. However, as a result of a contract that Paul helped negotiate for Lee with Marvel in 1998, Lee recovered a settlement of more than $10 million from Marvel for the profits from Marvel's blockbuster movies.

[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]

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