[[quoteright:293:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/stan-lee.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:293:[[CoolOldGuy Don't you wish this man was your grandfather?]]]]
->''"With great power there must also come ... great responsibility!"''
-->-- '''Stan Lee''', ''Amazing Fantasy #15'', Aug. 1962

''[[CatchPhrase Face front, true believers!]]''

Stan "The Man" Lee (born Stanley Martin Lieber on December 28, 1922) is a ComicBook creator, writer, editor, "Chairman Emeritus" of Creator/MarvelComics and creator or co-creator of just about every significant Marvel character who doesn't [[ComicBook/CaptainAmerica carry a shield]], [[ComicBook/ThePunisher wear a skull on his chest]], or [[ComicBook/{{Wolverine}} have metal bones]].

His involvement in regular and active comics writing lasted from the late fifties to the early seventies. It was in that era, as per legend, during a time when Timely Comics was facing dire straits, that he teamed up with Creator/JackKirby and launched the ''ComicBook/FantasticFour'' and pulled the company, and superhero comics in general, BackFromTheBrink, starting a run of creative outpouring that saw Marvel start small, gather steam and eventually become such a major brand that it started outselling Creator/DCComics who until then had enjoyed uncontested monopoly on the superhero genre (especially after Creator/ECComics was driven out of business by the Comics Code). As per his own interviews and biographical anecdotes, while Lee had worked in the comics business since TheForties, his real ambitions was to be a serious writer (writing the UsefulNotes/GreatAmericanNovel in particular) and he largely did see comics as kids stuff and deprecated, in particular, the superhero genre which he described in the captions of ''Amazing Fantasy #15'' introducing Spider-Man as "long-underwear stories". As such in his entire time in the classic Marvel period, both in page and in person, he was insistent on positioning Marvel as being different and better than DC, in a manner not dissimilar from Malcolm [=McLaren=]'s packaging of {{Punk}} and promotion of the Music/SexPistols. This also led him to position and differentiate his characters as apart from DC, which was aided by the GenreBusting sensibilities of Kirby and Ditko, the former had worked in war comics, romance comics, Captain America comics and a bunch of other genres, while Ditko worked in horror comics.

Creator/StanLee was proud to boast for most of TheSixties and TheSeventies that comics were made in the distinctive Marvel Method by which he would describe a basic idea and pitch which it fell on the artists to develop into full plots complete with scene breakdowns, action and character blocking in each panel which they did entirely on their own, while Lee would come in and then fill in the dialogues based on how he interpreted the scene, and at times following the directions his artists left him. This allowed issues to come out at a faster rate and allow him to work on multiple titles at once. And of course artists like Kirby managed to work at [[AttentionDeficitCreatorDisorder his famous rate]] of drawing an entire issue in a week! Bear in mind that in the context of the time, Lee was quite fair and generous to his fellow artists. He was quite open about promoting his colleagues and crew of talented artists (the Marvel Bullpen) in the vein of Creator/ECComics (who started the whole shtick). One thing that gets lost is that [[FairForItsDay Lee was one of the first]] to institute full credits on each and every Marvel issue. Not only did he put the name of the writer, publisher, artist and editor, but also the inker and penciller at a time when DC Comics were notorious about denying the existence of a creative team. These have subsequently become standard issue for all comics ([[MyFriendsAndZoidberg Marvel, DC, and others]]). But at the same time, this has also raised issues, complicated by Lee's bigger public profile and his many interviews over the decades, the extent to which the many comics of the Marvel era were really his creations rather than that of his artist/co-writer collaborators, especially Creator/JackKirby and Creator/SteveDitko. Lee's own interviews in that era[[note]]At a time when such ill-treatment and neglect of artists was taken for granted and Lee believed himself, not without reason, to be fairer than others in the context of the time but which critics see as [[WantsAPrizeForBasicDecency wanting a prize for basic decency]], and take him to task for never really siding with his fellow artists against the management[[/note]] had him remark that at times, he often left plotting entirely to Kirby and Ditko, which as confirmed by the latter two in interviews and also by later collaborators, indicate that many of the in-panel moments, character and costume design and the famous action by which Marvel became proverbial, belongs more properly to his artists than to Lee himself. After Lee's departure, writers played a bigger role, with Creator/GerryConway and Creator/ChrisClaremont insisting on a stronger hand in their collaborations with artists. In any case, Lee was co-creator of many of these characters and few can deny that the general universal quality of Marvel and the coherence and sense of SharedUniverse from that era ("face front true believers", "Excelsior" and much PurpleProse) belongs to Lee and that he played a major part in making Marvel into the sensation that it became.

Stan Lee spent much of his time trying to interest Hollywood in Marvel projects and playing a role in getting the comics adapted into animated versions and movie versions which generally didn't come out until much later in TheNineties, but he deserves credit for making Marvel into a Multi-Media brand. From very early on, Lee made it a point to appear in TheCameo in many cartoon adaptations, either in a small role or as narrator, which started from comics, went into cartoons, and later games and then movies. Lee's intimate and grandstanding approach built a bond between readers and the company, creating and nurturing a fan culture that made Marvel the "cool" alternative to the staid and remote DC, and played no small part in nurturing and building comics fandom.

To say he's still active today, both in comics and other media, is a mammoth {{understatement}}. Among his recent projects, he hosted the RealityShow ''Series/WhoWantsToBeASuperhero'' and the documentary series ''Stan Lee's Superhumans'', and has a [[CreatorCameo cameo]] in almost every [[Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse Marvel movie adaptation]] which, coincidentally, makes him the highest-grossing actor in history. He has also gotten into the {{anime}} and {{manga}} business, and is now working on two series, ''Manga/KarakuridoujiUltimo'' with ''Manga/ShamanKing'' creator, Hiroyuki Takei, and ''Anime/{{Heroman}}'' with Creator/StudioBONES. He also worked on ''WesternAnimation/TheGovernator'' with Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger.

You might not be entirely aware of it, but he has had a [[https://www.youtube.com/user/worldofheroes YouTube Channel]] for quite some time now, and ''frankly'' you have ''no excuse'' to not check it out.

For an examination of his writing methods, see SoYouWantTo.BeTheNextStanLee.

''[[CatchPhrase EXCELSIOR!!]]''
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!!Notable comic-book characters co-created by Stan Lee:
[[index]]
* ComicBook/BlackPanther (with Creator/JackKirby)
* ComicBook/{{Daredevil}} (with Bill Everett)
* ComicBook/DoctorStrange (with Creator/SteveDitko)
* ComicBook/FantasticFour (with Jack Kirby)
* ComicBook/IronMan (with Jack Kirby, Don Heck and Larry Lieber)
* ComicBook/SpiderMan (with Steve Ditko)
* The ComicBook/IncredibleHulk (with Jack Kirby)
* ComicBook/TheMightyThor (with Jack Kirby and Larry Lieber)
* ComicBook/XMen (with Jack Kirby)
* ComicBook/TheAvengers (with Jack Kirby)
* ComicBook/TheInhumans (with Jack Kirby)
** ComicBook/BlackBolt (with Jack Kirby)
** ComicBook/{{Medusa}} (with Jack Kirby)
[[/index]]

!!Notable ComicBook characters created by others but extensively written Stan Lee:
* Franchise/MyFriendIrma (created for radio by Cy Howard and Marie Wilson; Lee wrote the comic book adaptation.)

!!Notable shows co-created by Stan Lee:
* Series/StanLeesLuckyMan

!!Notable anime/manga co-created by Stan Lee:
* Manga/KarakuridoujiUltimo
* Manga/{{Heroman}}
* Anime/TheReflection

!!Tropes associated with Stan Lee:

* AdamWesting:
** Done ''hilariously'' in ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' season 13 episode "I Am Furious (Yellow)", where he plays a somewhat crazy version of himself. He won't leave Comic Book Guy's shop, breaks a toy [[Franchise/{{Batman}} Batmobile]] in an attempt to fit [[ComicBook/FantasticFour The Thing]] inside it, and even believes that he can turn into ComicBook/TheIncredibleHulk.
** He also voiced his animated self in ''[[WebAnimation/HowItShouldHaveEnded How The Amazing Spider-Man Should Have Ended]]'', berating Film/{{the Avengers|2012}} for having destroyed the library in which his ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan'' cameo appeared.
* AddedAlliterativeAppeal: Smilin' Stan ''adores'' alliterations. Which inevitably leads to...
* AlliterativeName:
** Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, Reed Richards, Matt Murdock, Stephen Strange, Susan Storm, Scott Summers, J. Jonah Jameson, Doctor Victor Von Doom (double letter alliterations!), Dr. Otto Octavius, Dr. Curt Connors. This was parodied in an episode of ''Series/TheBigBangTheory''.
** Lee [[JustifiedTrope justified]] it, by saying that he was working on more than a dozen comics at any given time when he created those names, and the alliteration served as a mnemonic device, not only for him but also for readers. (Alliteration as a trope dates back to Siegel and Shuster and their love affair with the initials LL and it was a popular comics convention.) Sometimes it didn't work, which is why the Hulk's full name is "Robert Bruce Banner" (one issue called him "''Bob'' Banner" over and over), and why an early issue of ''Amazing Spider-Man'' listed Peter Parker as "Peter Palmer".
** Lee also averted it of course: Anthony "Tony" Stark (Iron Man), Ant-Man (Hank Pym), the Wasp (Janet van Dyne), Thor (Donald Blake), Professor Charles Xavier, Jean Grey, Bobby Drake (X-Men), Norman Osborn, Gwen Stacy, May Parker, Mary-Jane Watson, Flash Thompson (Spider-Man) and of course Johnny Storm and Benjamin Grimm (Fantastic Four).
** He even had this in real life with his brother Larry Lieber. He also ended up giving his co-workers alliterative nicknames -- in addition to his own "Smilin' Stan," there was "Jazzin' Johnny Romita," "Adorable Artie Simek," and others.
* AuthorAppeal:
** PurpleProse, both in his fiction works, his non-fiction works and his interviews and public persona. And of course lots of alliteration since it serves as a mnemonic device.
** Better known lately, for what he ''doesn't'' like in comic books -- mainly [[NinetiesAntiHero excessive violence]] and teen {{sidekick}}s. This is partly because Lee initially planned to be a novelist and more or less did see comics as kids' stuff. He only came around to it when Archie Goodman made him editor and commissioned a new kind of super-team to counter the appeal of DC, leading to ComicBook/FantasticFour, which allowed him and Creator/JackKirby and later Creator/SteveDitko to position themselves against the establishment of the time, and try and make comics appealing to teenagers and adolescents, which needless to say, succeeded.
** He has said that comics (such as the DC Comics) using fictitious cities for their stories (i.e. Gotham or Metropolis), is a pet peeve of his. He always wonders what's so wrong with using a real city.
* AuthorAvatar:
** In ''Manga/KarakuridoujiUltimo'', the ''BigBad'' looks exactly like him. Even the American ''Magazine/ShonenJump'' lampshades this.
** In ''Manga/{{Heroman}}'', Stan appears as a patron in the restaurant Joey works at who's always drinking coffee.
** He claimed to have originally created [[Characters/SpiderMan J. Jonah Jameson]] so there would be a character he could play in an adaptation, which ended up never happening despite the numerous adaptations featuring him (and hey, J.K. Simmons played such a ''good'' JJJ).
* AwesomeMcCoolname: Let's be honest, his own name actually sounds like a superhero. Of course, he originally intended it as a pseudonym in the hopes that when he finally made it big as a novelist, he would use his real name (Stanley Leiber) for his work as a writer.
* BigApplesauce: He's a native, and it definitely shows. ("Excelsior!" is also the New York State motto.)
* ByNoIMeanYes: When asked if Steve Ditko is the real creator of Spider-Man, Stan always responds in the affirmative, but never leaves out the phrase "in my opinion", which [[StealthInsult makes it sound like the real answer is no]].
* TheCameo:
** He appears in ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'' as a Xandarian ladies' man. Not a CreatorCameo in this case, as he was not one of the creators of that comic. Though he did create Groot.
** He also bizarrely shows up in ''Literature/ThePrincessDiaries 2,'' years before Disney bought Marvel. He also shows up in a few scenes of the action comedy ''The Ambulance,'' in which the main character is an artist for Marvel. It's more than just a cameo, like he usually does. Like the ''Princess Diaries'' example above, this example is also somewhat bizarre, as ''The Ambulance'' is an original story, and not an adaptation of a Marvel franchise.
* TheCasanova: His Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse persona seems to be one of these: In his ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'' appearance, he has two very lovely ladies with him when he stops to give Coulson crap for being a bad father ([[ItMakesSenseInContext It's part of Coulson's cover]]), in ''Film/IronMan'' he's again got two ladies and is mistaken by Stark for Hugh Hefner, and he's seen hitting on a Xandarian in ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy''.
* {{Catchphrase}}:
** "Excelsior!"
** "Face front, true believers!"
** "'Nuff said!"
* CityOfWeirdos: Stan uses these ''a lot''. If something weird is going on in midtown Manhattan, count on seeing a jaded New Yorker who's certain that it's someone filming a movie or "SomeNuttyPublicityStunt." He even played one of those in ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}''!
* ComesGreatResponsibility: The TropeNamer.
* ComicBookTime: Lee was in charge when Marvel first began to abandon its real-time storytelling in favor of [[FleetingDemographicRule "Marvel time"]] in 1968. The statement that comics do not represent change, but "the illusion of change" is usually attributed to either him or Marv Wolfman.
* CoolOldGuy: So much so that he is the page's image.
* CoolShades: One really can't imagine Stan the man without his dark specs.
* CreatorCameo: Enough to have [[CreatorCameo/StanLee his own page]].
* DeadpanSnarker: Like you wouldn't believe. As shown [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5sQe8bVPIs: here]] and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmJ1nrNAZ2M: here]]. The videos are debates for DC's ''VideoGame/InjusticeGodsAmongUs''. Let's just say that we now know where Spider-Man got it from.
* GrumpyOldMan: Often portrays himself this way [[PlayedForLaughs for humor]], such as in his "Stan's Rants" series.
* HappilyMarried: To his wife Joan, almost to the point of SingleTargetSexuality.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: He actually ''[[InvokedTrope caused]]'' this for another with an [[VerySpecialEpisode anti-drug comic]] (commissioned by the US Government) that UsefulNotes/TheComicsCode Authority refused to approve because they did not permit any portrayal of drugs, whether positive ''or'' negative. [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome He ran it anyway]]. The CCA looked like fools, and very quickly rewrote the Code to allow negative or cautionary portrayals of drug use (among other things), but it was too late; people had already realised how restrictive and unnecessary the code really was. Partly thanks to this, the influence of the Code itself began to wane, and eventually Marvel -- among other companies - abandoned it altogether.
* InCaseYouForgotWhoWroteIt: "Stan Lee Presents" appeared on all Marvel issue titles for decades (because he was Marvel's publisher at that time, though not a writer except for the occasional special project).
* {{Jerkass}}:
** Stan often portrays ''himself'' as a bit of a Jerkass in comics where "Stan Lee" is a character.
Stan has also said (presumably at least somewhat in jest) that he based legendary jerkass J. Jonah Jameson on himself, or at least the way he thought comics readers imagined him. Now of course, as per the Marvel Method, the visual design and look of Jameson and his role on the plot was made by Creator/SteveDitko (while Stan Lee wrote the dialogues, based on Ditko's notes and directions) and Ditko might have based Jameson on [[Literature/TheFountainhead Ellsworth Toohey]] as a strawman demagogic journalist defaming real heroes (like Spider-Man), which is not really Lee's hat at all.
** He was also kind of crusty when he appeared on ''Series/TheBigBangTheory'' (then again, Sheldon did show up at his house and promptly went inside of it without his permission).
** Taken to its logical conclusion where he's the BigBad of ''[[Manga/KarakuridoujiUltimo Ultimo]]''.
** And then there's his role as "principal Stanley" in ''ComicBook/MiniMarvels'', where once Spidey starts angsting -- justifiably -- about his status as a ButtMonkey, causes Stan to look awkward once he mentions "who decided this to happen to me?"
** Ascends in ''Series/XPlay'', where "Roger the Stan Lee Experience" recounts tales of doing Jack Kirby's wife and stealing credit for Kirby's success.
** Also happens in his guest spot on ''Series/{{Chuck}}'' -- where it's implied that his whole career has been some sort of CIA operation.
** Likewise his cameos on ''WesternAnimation/RobotChicken''. Let's not forget, that as nice as Stan Lee is, the characters he helped to create and wrote for had very, very, very bad things happen to them.
** Incidentally, Creator/JackKirby when he went to DC modeled the character Funky Flashman in the ComicBook/NewGods on Lee.
* KidSidekick: He doesn't like the trope and has likened it to endangerment of minors, it also didn't suit his designs to target teenagers and adolescents, while the earlier trope targeted small children who still formed the bulk of the superhero reading audience in TheFifties. In some ways, Lee updated this, by including teenagers like [[ComicBook/FantasticFour Johnny Storm]] and Bobby Drake in ComicBook/XMen as a RebelliousRebel in the mode of Creator/JamesDean, but rather than being sidekick and TheWatson to TheHero, they were merely the junior partner of a team and group, giving them ambitions of proving themselves to the rest and adding much tension (and TestosteronePoisoning) to the group dynamic that became a hallmark of Marvel's team comics. Likewise, ComicBook/SpiderMan became the first lone teen superhero of his kind who was neither a sidekick, nor had an elderly father figure to look up to, and more or less had to navigate both his teenage and adult worlds on his own. One exception is Rick Jones, who was sidekick to The Hulk and later to The Avengers.
* LaserGuidedKarma: The foundation of several of his superheroes' origins.
* LargeHam: His public persona.
* ManChild: One of his appearances on ''WesternAnimation/RobotChicken'' portrayed him as this. [[SelfDeprecation With him providing the voice]], no less.
* {{Narrator}}: Given half a chance.
* TheNicknamer: Responsible for nicknaming the majority of the Marvel Bullpen and characters. And of course, for the readers and all the fans, Marvelites who were part of the Merry Marvel Marching Society.
* PurpleProse: A peerlessly pounding pantheon of pulse-poundingly purple prose! Nobody does it better, true believers!
* RunningGag: Whenever he writes a letter to the letters page of a Marvel Comic, the traditional reply by the editor is always, "Stan ''who''??"
* SelfDeprecation: Many times. See {{Jerkass}} above. He also appeared in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', where he acts like a CloudCuckoolander:
-->'''Bart:''' Stan Lee came back?\\
'''Comic Book Guy:''' Stan Lee ''never left''. I am starting to suspect his mind is no longer in mint condition.\\
''[then, after seeing Homer go on a minor rampage where he coincidentally got green paint all over him...]''\\
'''Stan:''' He's not the Incredible Hulk! ''I'M'' the Incredible Hulk! ''[yells and tries to Hulk Out]'' C'mon change dammit! Grrr, I did it once before!\\
'''Comic Book Guy:''' Oh, please; you couldn't turn into Bill Bixby...\\
''[Stan yells and tries to Hulk Out again]''\\
'''Comic Book Guy:''' [[SarcasmMode You almost had it that time]].
* TakeThat:
** In his ''[[ComicBook/JustImagineStanLeeCreatingTheDCUniverse Just Imagine]]'' series, he makes [[Characters/{{Batman}} Robin]] a bad guy. Knowing how he hates {{sidekick}}s, doing that to the character that popularized comic book sidekicks would seem more like this than just trying to make him a complex character.
** In his recent collab with WebAnimation/HowItShouldHaveEnded, he gave his views on how certain films should've ended. He then shows three more, each showing him interrupt Creator/GeorgeLucas while he's writing each of the Star Wars prequels, then tossing the script of each into the fireplace.
** He's also usually on the receiving end of this whenever it comes to who "created" the main Marvel characters. Perhaps Jim Henson (via ''WebVideo/EpicRapBattlesOfHistory'') put it best:
--->'''Henson:''' Let me mention I'm impressed by all the vision that it took for you to sign your name on all of ''Jack Kirby's comic books!''
* VillainDecay: While his heroes and writing style are still iconic today, his storytelling style is also somewhat infamous for really introducing a lot of this to Marvel villains -- he'd have them say things like "'''This''' time my '''brilliant plan''' will '''destroy''' those '''''[[LargeHam meddling heroes!!!]]'''''" without any sense of irony, even after the villain ''listed all the times they'd already gotten stomped.'' In the early 1960s, it still kind of worked; by 1969 or so, [[{{Narm}} not so much.]] Much of his own later work -- not to mention a great deal of comicry, that followed in his footsteps -- had to spend time fighting [[TropeCodifier the villainous clichés]] he himself constructed.
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->''"[[CatchPhrase ...Nuff said!]]"''
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