Within the world of comic books, Stan Lee was many things—a god, a behemoth whose presence was enormous and a witty man in charge of everything. Using Lee's own creations, he was Thor, the Hulk and Iron Man all rolled into one.
Lee didn't invent the comic book, far from it, but he hit a flagging industry with a colossal Gamma-ray of creativity in the early 1960s. Working alongside fellow legend Jack Kirby, Lee's first creation for Marvel Comics was the Fantastic Four. Prior to their introduction, superheroes tended to be completely infallible, almost god-like. Lee changed everything by introducing flaws to his characters—bad tempers, self-doubt, worries over real-world problems like paying rent and puberty, etc.—making them infinitely more relatable to readers, particularly preteens.
In the realm of storytelling, this may seem like a very simple concept, but in the world of comic books, it was revolutionary. No matter how lost a teenager may be in their imagination, it's easier to understand Peter Parker trying to deal with his crush on Mary-Jane than Superman's sorrow over the destruction of his distant home planet.
Unless you've been cast away to live among the Frost Giants of Jotunheim, you know Lee's narrative instincts created a revolution. Each hero (or team of heroes) Lee created seemed to be more successful than the last. Much like Brodie did upon meeting his hero in "Mallrats," let's go over the list of characters Lee created, either alone or alongside a collaborator. The Fantastic Four, The Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, The X-Men, Daredevil and Junior Juniper. OK, not all of his creations ended up becoming tent-pole movie franchises, sorry Junior, but the list is truly astounding.
On the anniversary of Lee's passing, we want to get lost in the worlds he created by sharing some of our favorite tattoos. Excelsior!
Fantastic Four (and their villains)