“The world has always been a comic book world to me.” — Stan Lee
Timely Comics, the company that would later be known as Marvel, was founded on this day in 1939. Stan Lee, creator of famous superheroes like Spider-Man and Iron Man, laid the groundwork for the Marvel Cinematic Universe — the highest-grossing film series of all time. After serving in the United States Army for three years, Lee’s gift for drawing and illustration landed him at the publishing label that evolved into Marvel Comics. Collaborating with co-writers and artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, the trio put Marvel on the map, creating internationally-known superheroes like Spider-Man, Iron Man and The Fantastic Four. Lee served as Marvel’s primary creative director for two decades until his retirement in the 1990s, though Lee would remain a public figurehead for the company, performing a cameo in every single Marvel Studios movie until his tragic passing in November 2018.