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PSHE | English | Geography | Art & Design

The superhero whose comics took over the world

What did Stan Lee teach us about life? The mastermind behind Marvel’s success has died aged 95. From Spider-Man to the Hulk, he helped to create many of the world’s most beloved superheroes. When Stan Lee was around 40 years old, he was fed up with writing comics. He had been at the same company for two decades, where he was known as "the ultimate hack", churning out Westerns and horror stories with little nuance or interest. With sales in decline, his wife Joan encouraged him to try writing the kind of characters he really cared about. He agreed. In 1961, that company changed its name to Marvel Comics - and Lee (along with the artist Jack Kirby) launched The Fantastic Four. Unlike previous superhero stories, its characters acted like ordinary people. They were misfits who bickered and doubted themselves, chasing celebrity over secret identities. As Lee put it: they were "flesh and blood", they had "faults and foibles". They also changed the comics industry forever. On Monday, Lee diedSelf-belief does not always make surgeons successful. In the 19th Century, surgeon Robert Liston performed an amputation with a 300% mortality rate. The patient, his assistant and an onlooker all died. aged 95. "We've lost a creative genius," wrote Hugh Jackman (who starred in Marvel's X-Men movies). "He changed the way we look at heroes," tweeted rival publisher DC Comics. Indeed, after the success ofn The Fantastic Four, Lee continued creating new, more relatable characters. Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Thor - he was behind them all. The stories confronted real-world issues at the time, such as racism and then Cold WarA period of diplomatic conflict between blocs led by the USA and the USSR that lasted from 1947 until 1991, when the USSR collapsed.. Not every venture was a success; he became embroiled in copyright issues with artists who felt he had taken credit for their work, and he launched an online business in 1998 that ended with his partner being jailedPolice believe that the gang had more than 400 victims. Their sentences ranged from three to 11 years. for fraud. "I've been very careless with money," he told The New York Times in April. But his stories endured. And in the 2000s, Marvel began making the big-budget, all-star superhero movies that still dominate cinema today. Since Iron Man was released in 2008, the 20 films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have made over 11.5 billion worldwide. "I love working on stories," Lee toldn Rolling Stonen in 2015. "Luckily [...] age doesn't really stop you." What is his enduring message? Stan, a legend The message of all superhero stories, say some, and the message he gave in a cameo at the end of Spider-Man 3: "I guess one person can make a difference." Superheroes remind us that extraordinary people exist, whether they are comic book writers or web-slinging teenagers. The outpouring of grief after his death proves that one life can touch millions. What made his characters shine was their ordinariness, say others. He showed that heroes have problems too, but they try their best anyway. He once defined a hero as "someone who is concerned about other people's well-being and will go out of his or her way to help them [...] who helps others simply because it should or must be done." That could be any of us. KeywordsDied - Self-belief does not always make surgeons successful. In the 19th Century, surgeon Robert Liston performed an amputation with a 300% mortality rate. The patient, his assistant and an onlooker all died.

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