Stan Lee is a hero for comic book fans, having played such a crucial role in creating many of the best MCU characters on the page. His creations now dominate the big screen as MCU movies continue to rampage through the box office, and his cameos were often highlights of those superhero movies.
The comics icon passed away in 2018 at the age of 95, but left behind a tremendous legacy and an amazing impact on some of the best movies of recent years.
His impact stretches back decades before any Marvel movies were made, including all the way back to the Second World War. Lee’s career in the comic book world was just firing into life when he was drafted into the Army in 1942.
Military bosses decided that his writing skills shouldn’t be wasted, though, and he was sent to the Training Film Division unit. This put him into the orbit of some very famous names, including the Oscar-winning film director Frank Capra.
Capra had already won his three Best Director Oscars by the time war broke out, with It Happened One Night, Mr Deeds Goes to Town and You Can’t Take It with You all leading him to glory.
Lee’s comrades also included Addams Family creator Charles Addams and a young illustrator named Theodor Geisel. Before too long, he would also be a famous name all over the world when he started publishing children’s stories. His pen name? Dr Seuss.
Reflecting on his wartime work in an interview with Big Issue, Lee said: “I wrote training films, I wrote film scripts, I did posters, I wrote instructional manuals. I was one of the great teachers of our time.”
He added that the team worked together in the same room for a while. “Then later on I was shipped to various camps wherever they needed someone like me. But in the beginning we were all in one place. And I kept saying: ‘Look all you guys, you’ve got to think of your own stories. I’m too busy to help you’.”
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