Learning With: ‘Stan Lee Is Dead at 95; Superhero of Marvel Comics’

stan lee - dead - marvel

Do you have any favorite Marvel comic books, movies or characters? Chances are that Stan Lee, who died Monday at age 95, had a hand in creating them


Pick one character that Mr. Lee helped create and write about how and why this hero or villain made a lasting impression on you. You can see a list of some of his most popular characters here.

Next, watch the five-minute film above and respond to the following:

• Why was reading so important to Mr. Lee?
• What were some of the books and authors he read as a child?
• How did these books and authors influence his writing and work at Marvel Comics?

Now, read the obituary, “Stan Lee Is Dead at 95; Superhero of Marvel Comics,” and answer the following questions:

1. What role did Mr. Lee play at Marvel Comics?

2. What was his real name? Why did he create a pseudonym, Stan Lee?

3. What kind of writer did Mr. Lee originally want to be? How did he get his start in the comic book industry?

4. Why were comic book sales declining in the 1950s — the decade before Marvel began? What was the role of the Comics Code Authority? How did it come about and how did it influence this decline?

5. Why was Mr. Lee dissatisfied with comics when he and Jack Kirby produced a first comic for Marvel? How did Mr. Lee’s wife influence his creation of the Fantastic Four and the great creative output of characters and comic book titles afterward?

6. In the obituary, Mr. Lee is quoted as saying he wanted to make superheroes “real flesh-and-blood characters with personality.” What are three specific ways he tried to do this? Why was Spider-Man a quintessential Stan Lee superhero? How was he different than comic book characters that had existed before?

7. What was the “Marvel Method?” How did it give a greater freedom and role to the artists and illustrators? Why did some artists later become frustrated with Mr. Lee and leave Marvel?

8. The obituary states that while Mr. Lee “revolutionized the comic book world in the 1960s, which he did, he left as big a stamp — maybe bigger — on the even wider pop culture landscape of today.” Do you agree? Why or why not?

Finally, tell us more about what you think:

Choose one or more of the following prompts to answer:

• What kind of impact have Mr. Lee and Marvel Comics had on you?

• If you could be any Marvel superhero, who would you want to be and why?

• If you could be a new superhero, what superpower would you have? What would your name be? (If you’re feeling inspired, you can create a brief origin story as well.)

• Are comic books art and literature? Should superhero comics and movies be taught in school? Why, or why not?

Related Lesson Plan: From Superheroes to Syrian Refugees: Teaching Comics and Graphic Novels With Resources From The New York Times


by Jeremy Engle – nytimes.com