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These Rare Pictures From Stan Lee’s Life Will Put A Tear In Your Eye

“Stan’s voice unified Marvel and lifted them far above and beyond what had been done with the comics medium until that point.”

Posted on November 14, 2018, at 6:31 p.m. ET

Stan and Joan take a joyride with the top down. Things at Marvel were looking ever more secure and the future looked inviting out on the horizon. The Lees gave Taschen access to their family photo archive, allowing for the publication of many personal photos that have never been published before.
Taschen

Stan and Joan take a joyride with the top down. Things at Marvel were looking ever more secure and the future looked inviting out on the horizon. The Lees gave Taschen access to their family photo archive, allowing for the publication of many personal photos that have never been published before.

Legendary comic writer and film producer Stan Lee left behind more than a life’s work of iconic Marvel superheroes — his characters have helped to make the world a more inclusive and understanding place through stories that tap deep into the human condition and continue to inspire generation after generation of dreamers.

Taschen

While most are familiar with the origin stories of his superheroes, the story of Stan Lee himself is often eclipsed by his creations. But a new Taschen book titled The Stan Lee Story explores intricate details of his life, from his work at Timely Comics in the 1940s to the blockbuster superhero movies that dominate today’s box office.

“In the years we worked with Stan on the book, the most gratifying for me was how Stan really began to understand what we were trying to do and really seemed to appreciate it,” Josh Baker, art director of The Stan Lee Story told BuzzFeed News. “He seemed genuinely touched by the fact that we went beyond the usual suspects and tried to find things that were a bit more personal, especially when they predated the Marvel Age.

“Whether he wrote the stories or not, Stan’s voice unified Marvel and lifted them far above and beyond what had been done with the comics medium until that point.

“He had his finger on the pulse of the ’60s, and instinctively knew that comics could reach a whole generation of kids — through high school and even college — with the idea that life is hard. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were some real-life superheroes?”

Here, Taschen shares with BuzzFeed News a selection of rare pictures and comics from The Stan Lee Story that help tell the tale of the man behind the legend.

Left: Long before Lee’s movie appearances became the stuff of legend, the cameo king could often be spotted in the pages of his comics. Millie the Model Annual No. 1, 1962. (Artwork by Stan Goldberg.) Right: The first issue of Lee’s and Jack Kirby’s Fantastic Four hit newsstands in early August of 1961. The Marvel superhero era began with the Fantastic Four, and in the ensuing years grew by Hulk-like leaps and bounds.
Taschen

Left: Long before Lee’s movie appearances became the stuff of legend, the cameo king could often be spotted in the pages of his comics. Millie the Model Annual No. 1, 1962. (Artwork by Stan Goldberg.) Right: The first issue of Lee’s and Jack Kirby’s Fantastic Four hit newsstands in early August of 1961. The Marvel superhero era began with the Fantastic Four, and in the ensuing years grew by Hulk-like leaps and bounds.

Left: Lee’s humble bicycle was, in his mind, a “two wheeled spaceship” that flew him across the universe that was New York City, circa 1930s. Right: Lee lounges on the hood of his 1936 Plymouth sedan, his first car. After enlisting in the US Army in 1942, Lee was tasked with writing instructional manuals, slogans, and scripts for training films as a member of the Signal Corps.
Taschen

Left: Lee’s humble bicycle was, in his mind, a “two wheeled spaceship” that flew him across the universe that was New York City, circa 1930s. Right: Lee lounges on the hood of his 1936 Plymouth sedan, his first car. After enlisting in the US Army in 1942, Lee was tasked with writing instructional manuals, slogans, and scripts for training films as a member of the Signal Corps.

Left: One of the strangest of Lee’s early creations was “The Imp,” running five installments in mid-1942 issues of Captain America Comics. Speaking completely in rhyme, the Imp was a tiny crime fighter inhabiting a fantasy world beautifully illustrated by Chad Grothkopf. Right: The first issue of The X-Men (September 1963), with a cover by Jack Kirby and Sol Brodsky. The initial title for the series, The Mutants, was rejected by publisher Martin Goodman, so Lee went back to the drawing board saying: “...an extra power, extra ability, some extra facet or quality denied a normal man. The word extra was the key. Mutants are, in a sense, people with something extra.” Thus the X-Men were born.
Taschen

Left: One of the strangest of Lee’s early creations was “The Imp,” running five installments in mid-1942 issues of Captain America Comics. Speaking completely in rhyme, the Imp was a tiny crime fighter inhabiting a fantasy world beautifully illustrated by Chad Grothkopf. Right: The first issue of The X-Men (September 1963), with a cover by Jack Kirby and Sol Brodsky. The initial title for the series, The Mutants, was rejected by publisher Martin Goodman, so Lee went back to the drawing board saying: “...an extra power, extra ability, some extra facet or quality denied a normal man. The word extra was the key. Mutants are, in a sense, people with something extra.” Thus the X-Men were born.

Jack Kirby illustrated Lee’s inaugural Timely writing effort, the story “Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge,” which appeared in Captain America Comics No. 3.
Taschen

Jack Kirby illustrated Lee’s inaugural Timely writing effort, the story “Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge,” which appeared in Captain America Comics No. 3.

Left: The Marvel Age of promotion had arrived. Lee’s house ad, featuring the lettering skills of Artie Simek, celebrates the growing line of superheroes. The corner cover symbol, along with the Marvel Comics Group logo, was created by Steve Ditko, and became a recognizable mark that fans would seek out on newsstands nationwide. Right: The cover of Amazing Fantasy No. 15 (August 1962) — featuring as iconic an image of Spider-Man as there may ever be — has been paid homage countless times in the several decades since its publication. Artwork by Kirby (penciler) and Ditko (inker), who co-created the much-loved character with Lee.
Taschen

Left: The Marvel Age of promotion had arrived. Lee’s house ad, featuring the lettering skills of Artie Simek, celebrates the growing line of superheroes. The corner cover symbol, along with the Marvel Comics Group logo, was created by Steve Ditko, and became a recognizable mark that fans would seek out on newsstands nationwide. Right: The cover of Amazing Fantasy No. 15 (August 1962) — featuring as iconic an image of Spider-Man as there may ever be — has been paid homage countless times in the several decades since its publication. Artwork by Kirby (penciler) and Ditko (inker), who co-created the much-loved character with Lee.

Lee was a man in demand, appearing on TV shows (The Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder, The Dick Cavett Show, and To Tell the Truth, among others), college campuses, and many radio programs. He had achieved celebrity alongside his creations, and it seemed to agree with him!
Taschen

Lee was a man in demand, appearing on TV shows (The Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder, The Dick Cavett Show, and To Tell the Truth, among others), college campuses, and many radio programs. He had achieved celebrity alongside his creations, and it seemed to agree with him!

In a promotional photo, circa 1968, Lee is surrounded by some of the most popular Marvel comics. The first half of 1968 saw the company expand to an astonishing 19 ongoing titles. Marvel was no longer a comics publisher “on the move”...it had arrived.
Taschen

In a promotional photo, circa 1968, Lee is surrounded by some of the most popular Marvel comics. The first half of 1968 saw the company expand to an astonishing 19 ongoing titles. Marvel was no longer a comics publisher “on the move”...it had arrived.

Left: Stan Lee Meets the Amazing Spider-Man No. 1, November 2006. Back when Lee wrote Amazing Fantasy No. 15 and Fantastic Four No. 1, little could he have realized that these books would commit him to the field for life — and the images would become two of the most famous in all of popular culture. Tributes to the immense contribution of both men are legion, but few express it graphically like the array of homages those covers have inspired. Right: In January 2011, a week after his 88th birthday, Lee received the honor of becoming the 2,428th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Six years later, he returned to add his hand and footprints to the forecourt of the Chinese Theatre — an even more prestigious accolade.
Taschen

Left: Stan Lee Meets the Amazing Spider-Man No. 1, November 2006. Back when Lee wrote Amazing Fantasy No. 15 and Fantastic Four No. 1, little could he have realized that these books would commit him to the field for life — and the images would become two of the most famous in all of popular culture. Tributes to the immense contribution of both men are legion, but few express it graphically like the array of homages those covers have inspired. Right: In January 2011, a week after his 88th birthday, Lee received the honor of becoming the 2,428th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Six years later, he returned to add his hand and footprints to the forecourt of the Chinese Theatre — an even more prestigious accolade.

In the early 1950s, Lee penned a poem to his secretary, Bonnie Hano, to keep up her morale in the face of the formidable Atlas Comics onslaught — the company would later become Marvel Comics. “Some months we were doing 40, 50 books ... My Romance, Her Romance, Their Romance ... Two-Gun Kid, Texas Kid, Rawhide Kid, every other kind of ‘Kid.’ In those days I was just grinding out stuff,” Lee said.
Taschen

In the early 1950s, Lee penned a poem to his secretary, Bonnie Hano, to keep up her morale in the face of the formidable Atlas Comics onslaught — the company would later become Marvel Comics. “Some months we were doing 40, 50 books ... My Romance, Her Romance, Their Romance ... Two-Gun Kid, Texas Kid, Rawhide Kid, every other kind of ‘Kid.’ In those days I was just grinding out stuff,” Lee said.

To learn more about The Stan Lee Story and to pick up your copy, visit Taschen.com.

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