If any one individual embodies the spirit and imagination of Marvel Comics, it surely has to be industry icon Stan Lee. Other than the fact the 93 year old has been working with Marvel for 75 years – longer than most of us have actually been alive – Lee helped create so many iconic Marvel characters, from Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four to Hulk and the X-Men.
Nowadays of course, Stan Lee’s most widely known contribution to the brand are his often-hilarious movies cameos both in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and in Marvel movies produced by other studios such as the X-Men and Sony-era Spider-Man franchises. You might think that with around thirty of these credits to his name, the joke would’ve worn thin but as his recent turns in Captain America: Civil War (Tony Stank!) and Deadpool (as a strip-club DJ) proved, the novelty has yet to wear off – a reassuring thought, considering director James Gunn has confirmed he already filmed a host of Stan Lee cameos for future MCU projects.
Of course, in 2009 Marvel Entertainment was purchased by Disney in a multi-billion dollar deal and now the Mouse House has decided to find a way pay tribute to Lee’s 75th year with the company. In a post on Stan Lee’s Facebook page, the comics legend uploaded a photo of Disney head-honcho Bob Iger presenting him with a bronze statuette depicting Spider-Man and Micky Mouse.
With Spider-Man arguably Lee’s most widely-recognized character, the award is a fitting gesture to mark the man’s ongoing contribution to the world of superheroes. Spending 75 years with a company is a huge achievement for anyone but in an industry as constantly-changing and often fickle as the world of comic books is, the milestone is perhaps even more impressive.
It may seem a little odd to some that, considering the award marks the last 75 years of Lee’s career, the statuette should feature Micky Mouse instead of another of Lee’s characters; after all Marvel’s association with Disney has only existed over the last seven of those years. The vast majority of the man’s contribution to comic books and even his superhero movie cameos occurred long before the company began flirting with a Marvel union.
However, Stan Lee has previously spoke about his admiration for Disney founder, Walt Disney, and considering how well the partnership between the company and Marvel is currently going – with most recent movie Doctor Strange lighting up the box office – perhaps the award perfectly symbolizes the current relationship between the two iconic brands. Stan certainly seems rather pleased with it anyway.