Stan Lee: The man behind the mask

Stan-Lee-Dead-Dies-Marvel

He later gained notoriety with a whole new generation through his cameos in each blockbusting Marvel movie, as well as appearances on hit shows like The Big Bang Theory.

Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr posted a photo on Instagram of himself with Lee and an image of a love heart.

Josh Brolin, who plays Thanos in the Avengers films, said Lee ranked alongside authors Dr Seuss and Ray Bradbury.

"I felt someday I'd write the "Great American Novel" and I didn't want to use my real name on these silly little comics", he once said, explaining why he had forsaken his given name, Stanley Lieber.

Lee also wrote: "Sooner or later, we must learn to judge each other on our own merits".

"Awww man, heartbreaking. R.I.P.to a true pioneer and legend", tweeted Australian filmmaker James Wan, who directed numerous "Saw" and "Insidious" movies as well as helming "Aquaman", an upcoming superhero film based on the character by Marvel rival DC Comics.

British actor and Spider-Man star Tom Holland said on Instagram: "How many millions of us are indebted to this guy, none more so than me". "Thank you for such an incredible legacy and for giving us so many icons that will continue to live on long after you are gone".

During a 1971 interview with Rolling Stone, Lee said: "I think the only message I have ever tried to get across is for Christsake, don't be bigoted".

While Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds simply wrote: "Thanks for everything, Stan".

It added: "Marvel and the entire The Walt Disney Company salute the life and career of Stan Lee and offer their undying gratitude for his unmatchable accomplishments within their halls".

A prolific writer, Lee transformed Marvel Comics in the 1960s into a cultural phenomenon, creating stories that were socially relevant.

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As Jackman noted, Lee was a "pioneering force" in the comics business.

"Sad, sad day. Rest In Power, Uncle Stan".

Many left flowers while a Spider-Man comic book was also placed on the ground.

Comic book genius Stan Lee, the architect of the contemporary comic book, has died. "We'll be forever richer having him with us".

NY governor Andrew Cuomo called Stan Lee a "true New Yorker". "He paved the road for me and other creators for more than half a century", said DC chief creative officer and publisher Jim Lee.

He was responsible for some of the most popular superhero characters in history including Spider-Man, X Men, the Incredible Hulk and Iron Man.

In recent years the Marvel brand expanded into Hollywood, creating a multi billion-dollar film franchise.

Lee spent a lifetime condemning racism, most prominently via the heroes in his comic books.

The cause of Lee's death is not known, but earlier this year it was revealed that he was fighting a bout of pneumonia.

Lee's wife and partner in almost everything, Joan Lee, died on July 6, 2017, leaving a void that made her husband, by then in mental and physical decline, vulnerable to hangers-on who began to surround him.

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