“Stan Lee‘s best creation was always Stan.”
Lee is credited with co-creating some of the most popular superheroes of all time, from Spider-Man to the Hulk and the X-Men.
The compilation — which has already been viewed more than 2 million times since it was posted on YouTube, Tuesday — features old footage of Lee, as well as interviews with people who worked with him or whose lives were influenced by him in some capacity.
Marvel’s chief creative officer Joe Quesada recalls telling Lee after shaking his hand at a panel, “Thank you, you saved my life, because the life that I have today — there’s a direct line from that first comic book to here.”
Executive editor Tom Brevoort adds, “Stan’s best creation was always Stan … Stan … was somehow able to tap into his own larger-than-life, self-effacing and self-aggrandizing at the same time personality.”
Then footage from an interview with Lee, himself, reveals the secret to his success.
“Even if they have superpower, they have to be believable,” Lee says of his decision to create heroes that were notably more flawed and complex than super figures of previous decades. “What they do has to be what any normal person would do in those situations.”
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“I wanted [readers] to feel like buying a Marvel book was like visiting an old friend,” Lee explains in another old interview.
Lee didn’t become the public figurehead and face of Marvel Comics until later in life. He often made appearances at comic book conventions and lectured at colleges. Lee continued to play an important role as Marvel transitioned into television during the 1980s, serving as narrator on animated series like Incredible Hulk and X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men, and executive producer on the 1990s animated series Spider-Man.
Lee is memorialized in most of the live-action Marvel films, where he made cameos in 26 movies, beginning with The Trial of the Incredible Hulk in 1989, where he appeared in a courtroom dream sequence, and ending with 2018’s Venom.