The world knows Stan Lee.
They know him as Stan Lee, the comic book writer.
Stan Lee, the Editor in Chief and Publisher At Marvel Comics.
Even Stan Lee, the actor.
But What about: Stan Lee, the Soldier?
After years of battling health problems, 95-year-old Lee passed away on Monday. Lee is world-renowned for his work in creating Spider-Man, Iron Man, and countless other stories.
Lee was born in New York City in 1922 to a family of Jewish immigrants. His creative streak came out at an early age, and he began working in the comic book industry at the age of 18. His first writing assignment was for Timely Comics in the Captain America Series.
This series was heavily political; the first issue featured the patriotic Captain America punching Hitler in the face. After Captain America creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby exited Timely, Lee was named as top editor.
However, he left this role shortly after in favor of joining the Army in 1942. The United States had just entered the war.
Stan Lee, the Playwright
He was trained in installing telephone lines, but Lee was eventually integrated into the Signal Corps Training Film Division. The Signal Corps is a division that handles communications and informations systems for the Army. Lee’s writing talent landed him the new and unique title of “playwright.”
As a playwright in the military, Lee’s job was to create training films, posters, manuals, and more. He served the purpose of entertainment and instruction of the troops, as well as generating positive publicity for the Army.
He worked with nine other men, including Charles Addams (the creator of the Addams Family), film director Frank Capra, and author Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss).
After the end of World War II, Lee returned to Timely Comics. It turned into Marvel in 1961, where he would remain as editor in chief, and later publisher. Lee was involved in the creation and storylines of many superheroes who fought for social justice. Black Panther and the X-Men both addressed diversity problems in the industry, and Lee had no issue referencing the Vietnam War using his character Spider-Man.
At Emerald City Comic Con in 2017, Lee received a lifetime membership to the Signal Corps Regimental Association as veteran, and an honorary membership to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, stationed at Joint Base Lewis McChord. Watch the induction here:
Lee cited it as one of his proudest moments.
Though he spent most of his life making the superheroes that America recognizes today, Stan Lee himself embodied much of that heroism. What he did, both inside and outside of the military, changed the way that people view other people.
“Although anyone has the right to dislike another individual, it’s totally irrational, patently insane to condemn an entire race—to despise an entire nation—to vilify an entire religion,” Lee said.
“Sooner or later, we must learn to judge each other on our own merits. Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill our hearts with tolerance.”
Trevithick, Joseph. “Stan Lee Fought The Nazis As A U.S. Army Playwright During WWII.” The Drive, 12 Nov. 2018, www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/24869/stan-lee-fought-the-nazis-as-a-us-army-playwright-during-wwii.