Stan Lee: These are the characters that made him a Marvel super-writer
Spider-Man. Iron Man. Captain America. Hulk.
The list of superheroes created by Stan Lee is staggering. Let’s take a look back at some of his creations as we remember the iconic writer who died aged 95.
Spider-Man made his debut in the final issue of Amazing Fantasy in 1962. The Amazing Spider-Man series began the next year and helped turn Marvel into the comics giant it is today.
The 2002 film Spider-Man was the first of three franchise attempts to launch the comic book story in cinemas. (Supplied)
The first big budget Spider-Man in 2002 earned an estimated $US821 million. We’ve since seen two more reboots, the most recent of which introduced Spider-Man to the ubiquitous Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The Hulk then
In the first comic book, Bruce Banner transformed into a grey Hulk before the character’s colour was changed to green. (Origins of Marvel Comics)
The original series of the Incredible Hulk was cancelled after just six issues in 1963. But appearances in Fantastic Four and Avengers (as a founding member of that superhero team) soon followed and the self-loathing character went on to become a Marvel icon.
The Hulk now
Eric Bana (2003) and Edward Norton (2008) both had goes at portraying the green giant, but it was Mark Ruffalo who made the role his own in the Avengers films.
The Hulk has featured in a number of Marvel films including the Avengers series and the 2017 movie Thor: Ragnarok. (AP)
Iron Man then
In his comic book debut, millionaire bachelor Anthony Stark made a grey Iron Man suit to escape his captors in the Vietnam jungle. (Twitter: TheRealStanLee)
1963 was a good year for Stan Lee and Marvel. That’s also when Iron Man made his debut in Tales of Suspense as a way of dealing with the global battle between capitalism and communism.
Iron Man now
The Iron Man films not only jumpstarted the Marvel Cinematic Universe but the acting career of Robert Downey Jr. (Facebook: Marvel)
There’s been plenty of breakout stars of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but an argument could be made for putting Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man at the top of the list.
In the original comic story Dr Don Blake became Thor, God of Thunder, by picking up a magic wooden cane. (Origins of Marvel Comics)
Stan Lee took the god of Norse mythology and reinvented him as a Viking-esque, super-strength superhero for the age of comic books. His first appearance was in Journey Into Mystery (1962).
Australian actor Chris Hemsworth in a scene from the 2013 film Thor: The Dark World. (AAP: Disney/Marvel)
Australia’s Chris Hemsworth rose to global stardom as Thor. He’s starred in three films of the same name as well as the Avengers series.
Doctor Strange then
The Dr Strange character developed a cult following among college students, who devoted term papers to the mystical hero’s language. (Twitter: Marvel)
The mind-bending mystical magician first starred in Strange Tales in 1963. The series was renamed after him in 1968 and he’s been a Marvel regular ever since, including as a member of The New Avengers.
Doctor Strange now
Doctor Strange, played by actor Benedict Cumberbatch, opens the Eye of Agamotto. (Facebook: Marvel)
Even the lesser known of Lee’s creations can dominate at the box office. 2016’s Doctor Strange starring Benedict Cumberbatch took in $US678 million globally.
Black Panther then
Black Panther, the first major African superhero, made his debut in an edition of Fantastic Four in 1966 and joined the Avengers in 1968.
Black Panther now
The Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman, first appeared on screen in the 2016 film Captain America: Civil War. (AP: Marvel Studios)
Not to be outdone by Doctor Strange, this lesser-known property made $US1.35 billion worldwide (the best of the solo Marvel films) and was also critically acclaimed with a 97 per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Black Widow then
The name Black Widow for a superhero was first used in Mystic Comics in 1940, but Stan Lee reinvented the character as a Russian spy and enemy of Iron Man in 1964. She went on to join SHIELD and the Avengers.
Black Widow now
The Black Widow, played by actress Scarlett Johansson, in the 2016 film Captain America: Civil War. (Facebook: Marvel)
Scarlett Johansson has portrayed the character in multiple Marvel films starting with Iron Man 2. According to IMDb, a solo Black Widow film is in pre-production.
Ant Man then
Ant-Man’s first appearance was in Tales to Astonish in 1962. Multiple Marvel characters have used that name including Hank Pym, Scott Lang and Eric O’Grady.
Ant Man now
Ant-Man, played by Paul Rudd, got his own film in 2015 before teaming up with the Avengers on screen in Captain America: Civil War. (Facebook: Marvel)
Paul Rudd has starred as Scott Lang in two solo Ant-Man films, bring a bit of comic relief to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.