This is the final page of the main story of the Fantastic Four’s third annual issue, dated 1965. It was written by Stan Lee (1922-2018), drawn by Jack Kirby (1917-1994), inked by Vince Colletta (1923-1991), and lettered by Artie Simek (1916-1975).
You can read about the plot points at marvel.wikia.com. Scroll down for more.
In the early days of their collaboration on the Fantastic Four, Stan and Jack used to humorously inject themselves in a few of the stories. In the final panels, the Fantastic Four creators attempt to “crash” Reed and Sue’s wedding and are shown the door by no less than Nick Fury, the head of SHIELD.
I tried to think of an iconic image worthy of commemorating Stan Lee’s passing yesterday, and this is what I came up with. Really, no single comic book cover, image, or anything else can completely capture his legacy.
He was born Stanley Martin Lieber in New York City on December 28, 1922. Yes, he was Jewish, and for that matter, so was Jack Kirby (born Jacob Kurtzberg).
Stan wasn’t perfect. While largely responsible for the runaway success of the Marvel line of titles in the 1960s, he was also a relentless taskmaster, treating his artists harshly, setting impossible deadlines, and taking credit for what the artists actually created, which many times was both visual, such as artist Wally Wood’s (1927-1981) creation of the iconic red Daredevil costume, and much of the plotting and dialog.
This eventually drove a number of artists away from Marvel, including Kirby himself as well as Steve Ditko (1927-2018) who created Spider-Man and Dr. Strange.
And yet, without Stan Lee, there would be no line of Marvel superheroes, and certainly no MCU film series. For all his faults, including recent allegations of sexually harassing his nurses, as well as accusations (as far as I can tell, there’s no real evidence of this) of racism, homophobia, transphobia, and so on, Stan Lee was largely responsible for spawning world of heroes who inspired children and adults across multiple generations, including me.
Although an imperfect human being, I still commemorate his life and his passing with the following, a line from a Marvel comic book Stan didn’t write.
In issue 2 of “The Invincible Iron Man,” published in 1968, writer Archie Goodwin (1937-1998) summed up Iron Man’s (Tony Stark’s) life and achievements through the lips of a man who was terribly jealous of Stark and who had tried to destroy him by vanquishing Iron Man:
…that no skill could duplicate his most essential powers…a human heart and courage.”
Good-bye, Stan. I’ll never forget you.