Marvel celebrated its 75th anniversary Saturday at a book signing event led by one of the biggest minds behind its comic book universe, Stan Lee. The signing event held at the Hammer Museum in California, also included a Q&A with Lee where he discussed the origins of some of its most popular characters.
In celebration of its history spanning over seven decades, Lee and his successor at Marvel, Editor-in-Chief Roy Thomas spoke to and answered questions from excited fans. Moderated by filmmaker Kevin Smith, fans got to hear where Lee got his beginnings in writing and illustrating.
Established in 1939, Lee first joined Marvel, then known as Timely Comics, as an office assistant and worked his way to becoming an interim editor in the 1940’s. After Lee served in the Army during World War II as an illustrator and writer, he returned to Marvel where he birthed his first comic.
Along with illustrator and co-creator, Jack Kirby, Lee created the first issue of The Fantastic Four in 1961. The two men went on to create some of the most popular characters in comic book history, including The X-Men, Spider-man and The Hulk.
Stan Lee helped the comic book giant become one of the most popular comic book franchises known throughout the world. Due to he and Kirby’s success, Lee was promoted to editorial director and publisher in 1972.
According to The Huffington Post, when asked if Lee’s most famous characters would ever team up in a major film, Lee says that it probably would not happen due to different production companies owning different Marvel characters.
As Marvel celebrates its 75th anniversary it has spawned newer comic books, films and television shows including Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and Agent Carter. Most recently the company snagged online show content for Netflix which will include Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage, respectively.
After the question and answer portion, Lee and Thomas signed the Marvel anniversary graphic novel, 75 Years of Marvel Comics: From the Golden Age to the Silver Screen. The novel, written by Thomas, depicts and documents the evolution and history of the once small publication.
In the 712-paged narrative it explains the reasons behind some of Marvel’s greatest heroes and also little known and forgotten titles like MENACE Comics, in 1954.
Lee, a New York native, told Biography in an interview that creating a really great comic book story is just as important as writing in any medium.
The comic book and film studio production teams are not the only ones celebrating a birthday – Stan Lee will also celebrate his 92nd birthday on December 28.
As Marvel celebrates its 75th anniversary, Stan Lee also observes his 75 years in the comic book industry working as a writer, creator, producer and illustrator. He also commemorates his importance to the comic book universe having made several cameos in its films. One of Marvel’s first blockbuster’s – and Lee’s first silver screen cameo – was 2002’s Spider-Man, starring Tobey Maguire. Since then the film studio has had a host of films making top dollar at the box office, including the highly anticipated The Avengers: Age of Ultron slated for 2015.
By Keeley Ibrahim
Photo courtesy of Bryan Costin – Flickr License