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Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Thor Are All Co-Creations of Which Iconic Writer?


Co-Creations of Which Iconic Write

Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor – these larger-than-life Marvel superheroes have become pop culture icons, starring in blockbuster movies and capturing imaginations for decades. But over half a century ago, they were first introduced in Marvel comic books co-created by the legendary writer Stan Lee along with artists like Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby.

Lee was the visionary who revolutionized superhero storytelling by endowing extraordinary characters with human flaws and foibles. This article explores Lee’s creative journey, analyzing how he co-created several of Marvel Comics’ most beloved and enduring superheroes that now anchor multimedia empires.

From his first writing gig out of high school to reimagining mythic heroes for the atomic era, Lee set into motion Marvel’s destiny as a wellspring of psychologically complex characters facing morally complex worlds.

How did Stan Lee get his start in comics?

When he was just 17 years old in 1939, Stanley Martin Lieber, later known as Stan Lee, began working at Timely Comics as an assistant. Timely Comics was a predecessor of Marvel Comics, which Lee eventually came to lead.

As you can imagine, some of Lee’s first jobs included mundane tasks like refilling inkwells, proofreading, and grabbing lunch orders. But it didn’t take long for ambitious young Lee to move up.

By 1941, 18-year-old Lee was writing filler text for the two-page spreads that appeared in the middle of comic books. The following year he wrote his first actual comic script for Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge in Captain America Comics #3. Using the pen name Stan Lee, he went on to extensively write for Timely/Marvel over the next few decades.

What superheroes did Stan Lee co-create early in his career?

Some of Lee’s most popular co-creations from the 1940s, 50s, and early 60s include:

  • The Destroyer (Mystic Comics #6, 1941): One of Lee’s first co-creations, made with artist Jack Binder. The hero’s alter ego is newspaperman Keen Marlow, who obtains superhuman strength from the temple goddess Tara.
  • Jack Frost (U.S.A. Comics #1, 1941): Created with artist Charles Nicholas Wojtkoski, Jack Frost is the literal incarnation of winter who can control cold and snow, often helping the Allies in WWII.
  • Captain America (Captain America Comics #1, 1941): Though not the original creator, Lee wrote extensively for Captain America Comics starting with issue #3, helping fully realize Cap’s potential.
  • Scarlet Witch (X-Men #4, 1964): This complex mutant character, co-created by Lee and artist Jack Kirby, can manipulate probability, making her a longtime fan favorite.

When did Lee co-create Marvel’s biggest heroes like Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four?

Lee became exceptionally innovative in the early 1960s, co-creating Marvel’s most iconic superheroes such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, and more. Some factors that sparked this wave of creativity include:

  • Marvel’s new distribution deal, expanding their readership nationwide
  • Developing more complex characters with real-world problems
  • Lee’s fruitful creative partnership with legendary artist Jack Kirby

This era revolutionized superhero comics and propelled Marvel to mainstream popularity.

What was the genesis of Spider-Man?

In 1962, feeling burnt out on cookie-cutter superhero tropes, Lee’s wife urged him to create a hero that teens could truly connect with. Brainstorming with artist Steve Ditko and his editor birthed Spider-Man. Some key elements that made Spidey unique:

  • Peter Parker as an ordinary, financially struggling teen behind the mask
  • Battling common problems like girl trouble, not just supervillains
  • Relatable flaws like selfishness and poor judgment
  • A power set stemming from a spider bite
  • The iconic web pattern costume and other original visuals

Spider-Man first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 in August 1962 before headlining his series.

When and how was Iron Man born?

In 1963, Lee collaborated with his brother Larry Lieber and artist Don Heck to create billionaire weapons manufacturer Tony Stark, aka Invincible Iron Man. Stark’s origin established qualities that broke the superhero mold:

  • Futuristic armored suit revolutionizing superhero imagery
  • An industrialist playboy rather than a kid/teen or scientist alter ego
  • Cold War era felt more modern than WWII era heroes
  • Personal flaws include arrogance and alcoholism

Iron Man first appeared in Tales of Suspense #39 in March 1963.

How did Lee and Kirby co-create the god of thunder, Thor?

In 1962, seeking to revive mythological superheroes, Lee worked with artist Jack Kirby to transform disabled doctor Donald Blake into a reincarnation of the Norse god Thor. Some unique elements Lee and Kirby introduced with Thor:

  • Embedding a hero directly into Norse mythology
  • Fish-out-of-water comedy with Thor adjusting to Earth
  • Moral tension between Thor’s arrogance and Blake’s humility
  • Cosmic scope, with mythical realms like Asgard broadening potential stories

Journey Into Mystery #83 featuring Thor’s first appearance hit newsstands in August 1962.

What creative principles defined Stan Lee’s approach?

Lee had a knack for crafting psychologically layered heroes that felt compellingly human. Here are some of the key principles that made his co-creations so relatable and enduringly popular:

  • Flaws: Lee humanized heroes with flaws readers identified with.
  • Visual spectacle: He crafted dynamic concepts playing to artists’ visual strengths.
  • Timeliness: Lee integrated current events into stories, ensuring lasting relevance.
  • Continuity: Writing so extensively, continuity is formed organically.
  • Novelty: Lee constantly created fresh heroic perspectives and power sets.
  • Empathy: Readers are deeply connected with Lee’s affection for each hero.

This ethos ultimately spawned Marvel’s interconnected universe of relatable yet extraordinary heroes.

What is Stan Lee’s legacy?

It’s impossible to overstate Stan Lee’s contributions to comic books and pop culture at large:

  • His 1960s Marvel heroes revived the sagging comics industry.
  • He pioneered layered, psychologically complex superheroes.
  • He proved comics could compellingly tackle pressing social issues.
  • His vision laid the groundwork for today’s multimedia Marvel empire.

Although Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko deserve great credit too, Lee catalyzed the innovations that defined Marvel’s storied, humanistic creative force. Nearly all modern superhero storytelling evolved from Lee’s template.

While Lee passed in 2018, future generations will likely continue building upon the beloved community of extraordinary yet deeply human heroes that Lee introduced to the world back in 1941. His greatest gift was using writing to make readers care deeply about remarkable characters.

Wrap Up

Stan Lee’s legacy permeates worldwide pop culture, as the flawed yet noble superheroes he co-created with a small bullpen of artists in the 1960s now thrive across comics, films, shows, games, merchandising, and more.

Lee lived to see characters he helped birth as a young man, like Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Thor, inspire new generations globally. Though Lee passed in 2018, these heroes and the interconnected, humanistic Marvel Universe he helped foster will undoubtedly endure and evolve for many years still, shaping the imagination of fans yet to come.