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Thank you Stan Lee for shaping how generations of kids imagined

Stan Lee, the man behind some of the most iconic superheroes of all-time, has died at the age of 95. The news is confirmed by The Hollywood Reporter, following up on earlier confirmation, via Lee’s daughter, from TMZ. As you can imagine all of Hollywood was shocked and immediately gave their condolences.

It’s hard to imagine cinema, comics, or life, really, without Marvel and Stan Lee. The comic writer responsible for iconic figures like The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk, did more than create fictional characters, he captured the imagination of a generation.

Lee first got into comics in 1939 when he joined Timely Comics as an office assistant ended up serving as editor-in-chief, publisher, and chairman. Most notably, Stan Lee is given credit for creating the Marvel Universe —  a shared storytelling palette rooted in the real world.

He, along with the help of artists Jack Kirby and Steve Dicko was able to create a continuous storyline that portrayed more original characters by allowing them to interact with each other in a realistic fashion, like fighting or arguing.

This trend continued with a flood of other superhero characters introduced by Marvel Comics during the early 1960s and created a burst between 1961 and 1964 causing Marvel to surpass DC in both sales and fashionableness. In 2009, the Walt Disney Company purchased Marvel Entertainment — the licensing arm of the comic-book brand — for $4 billion.

Among creating the Marvel Universe, Lee was also heralded as a staunch proponent for racial equality. When you think of the comics like Black Panther or X-Men — a story of misfits trying to live in peace as minorities in a world that sees them as different — you’ll see that he always provoked thought on social issues.

It wasn’t all flowers for Lee, however. Near the end of his career, his wife Joan, of 69 years, died in July 2017, he sued executives at POW! Entertainment — a company he founded in 2001 to develop film, TV and video game properties — for $1 billion alleging fraud, then abruptly dropped the suit weeks later.

He also sued his ex-business manager and filed for a restraining order against a man who had been handling his affairs (Lee’s estate is estimated to be worth as much as $70 million). And in April 2018, a massage therapist filed a lawsuit against Lee, accusing him of fondling himself and touching her inappropriately while staying at a hotel during that visit.

Throughout the good and the bad, though, what’s unmistakable is his imprint on American pop culture and comics for the rest of time. Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said in a statement,

“Stan Lee was as extraordinary as the characters he created. A superhero in his own right to Marvel fans around the world, Stan had the power to inspire, to entertain and to connect. The scale of his imagination was only exceeded by the size of his heart.”

If there was ever a time to watch the end credits of a Marvel movie it’s now. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing Lee one last time in some or all of Marvel’s 2019 movies slate: Captain Marvel, the Avengers: Infinity War sequel, and Spider-Man: Far From Home.

At the end of the day, Stan Lee will be remembered as a man who not only forever changed the popular culture but inspired countless kids everywhere to imagine.