I was sorry to hear that Stan Lee, the comic book writer, editor, and publisher of Marvel Comics, passed away today at the age of 95. He was the co-creator – along with artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko – of some of the best-known and successful superhero characters, including Spider-Man, the Hulk, Doctor Strange, the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Black Panther, the X-Men, and more.

There are countless tributes out to Stan Lee today, and you can read some good ones here and here. But some of the little facts that I find interesting are these:

  • His real name was Stanley Lieber, but when he got his start in comics, he didn’t want his real name associated with a career that wasn’t very respected, so he coined the name Stan Lee to use instead.
  • He would often close his column titled “Stan’s Soapbox” – published within the Marvel comic books each month – with the expression “Excelsior!” What did it mean? The word “Excelsior” comes from Latin and means “ever upward.”
  • Lee received a National Medal of Arts in 2008. It is the highest honor specifically given for achievement in the arts and is an award and title created by the United States Congress.

I still have boxes of comics collected when I was a kid … I may have to revisit a few of them and refresh my memory of Stan Lee’s special style.