Stan Lee initially broke into comics at just 17 years of age during a time before Marvel was even its own company. Hired by Captain America co-creator Joe Simon, Lee started off as an assistant at Timely Comics, the pulp magazine division of a much larger publishing house owned by mogul Martin Goodman.
Before long — after two years, in fact — Goodman tapped Lee to take over as interim editor and the rest is history. From 1941 on, Lee served in several editorial roles before rising to Editor-in-Chief and eventually succeeding Goodman as publisher of Marvel in 1972.
Along with comic icons like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, Lee helped build and shape the superhero as we know it today.
Throughout his time at Marvel, Lee had his hand in the creation of hundreds of characters. Characters that you’ve come to know and love, characters that will be around on Earth longer than any of us.
From creating the iconic web-slinging Spider-Man alongside Ditko to leaving Earth and exploring the cosmos with the Fantastic Four, Lee helped to create the vast majority of characters a part of the Marvel mythos today.
Below you’ll find a list of over a hundred of his creations, listed in the order they were created. Excelsior!
Slide 1 of 12Spider-ManBy and large one of the most famous characters Lee helped create was none other than Peter Parker/Spider-Man and a good chunk of the web-slinger’s rogues gallery of villains. Spider-Man first swung his way onto the scene within the pages of Amazing Fantasy #15, essentially a one-shot featuring Peter Parker written by Lee with art by the late Steve Ditko. As fate would have it, several other Spidey-supporting characters also made their first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15 including Aunt May, Uncle Ben, Flash Thompson, and Liz Allan.
Other characters a part of the Spider-Man mythos that Lee helped create include:
J. Jonah Jameson (The Amazing Spider-Man #1 – March 1963)
Tinkerer (The Amazing Spider-Man #2 – May 1963)
Vulture (The Amazing Spider-Man #2 – May 1963)
Doctor Octopus (The Amazing Spider-Man #3 – July 1963)
Sandman (The Amazing Spider-Man #4 – September 1963)
Lizard (The Amazing Spider-Man #6 – November 1963)
Electro (The Amazing Spider-Man #9 – February 1964)
Mysterio (The Amazing Spider-Man #13 – June 1964)
Norman Osborn (The Amazing Spider-Man #14 – July 1964)
Kraven the Hunter (The Amazing Spider-Man #15 – August 1964)
Ned Leeds (The Amazing Spider-Man #18 – November 1964)
Scorpion (The Amazing Spider-Man #19 – December 1964)
Jackal (The Amazing Spider-Man #31 – December 1965)
Gwen Stacy (The Amazing Spider-Man #31 – December 1965)
Harry Osborn (The Amazing Spider-Man #31 – December 1965)
Rhino (The Amazing Spider-Man #41 – October 1966)
Mary Jane Watson (The Amazing Spider-Man #42 – 1966)
Shocker (The Amazing Spider-Man #46 – March 1967)
Prowler (The Amazing Spider-Man #78 – November 1969)
Slide 2 of 12X-MenLee and Jack “The King” Kirby teamed up to bring the X-Men into the world in the Fall of 1963. The original five — Beast, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, and Angel — along with Professor X and iconic X-Men archenemy Magneto all debuted in X-Men #1.
Other characters from the X-Men family created with help by Lee:
Blob (X-Men #3 – January 1964)
Toad (X-Men #4 – March 1964)
Quick Silver (X-Men #4 – March 1964)
Scarlet Witch (X-Men #4 – March 1964)
Juggernaut (X-Men #12 – July 1965)
Sentinel (X-Men #14 – November 1965)
Bolivar Trask (X-Men #14 – November 1965)
Slide 3 of 12Fantastic Four(Photo: Marvel)Marvel’s First Family — the Fantastic Four — was Lee and Kirby’s first real big push in other-worldy adventures. After the four — Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm — were introduced in Fantastic Four #1 (November 1961), the iconic comic-creating duo went on to create some of the Fantastic Four’s most iconic villains including Dr. Doom and Galactus.
Other Fantastic Four characters created or co-created by Lee:
Mole Man (Fantastic Four #1 – November 1961)
Doctor Doom (Fantastic Four #5 – July 1962)
Uatu (Fantastic Four #13 – April 1963)
Super-Skull (Fantastic Four #18 – September 1963)
Kang the Conqueror (As Rama-Tut, Fantastic Four #19 – October 1963; As Kang, The Avengers #8 – September 1964)
Galactus (Fantastic Four #48 – March 1966)
Silver Surfer (Fantastic Four #48 – March 1966)
Blastaar (Fantastic Four #62 – May 1967)
Ronan the Accuser (Fantastic Four #65 – August 1967)
Supreme Intelligence (Fantastic Four #65 – August 1967)
Annihilus (Fantastic Four Annual #6 – November 1968)
Franklin Richards (Fantastic Four Annual #6 – November 1968)
Slide 4 of 12Hulk(Photo: Marvel Entertainment)When The Incredible Hulk #1 hit the shelves in May 1962, it introduced the gamma-infused Bruce Banner to the world. Alongside the not-so-jolly green giant, life-ling Hulk friend Rick Jones, love interest Betty Ross, and angry father-in-law Thunderbolt Ross were all introduced in the initial Hulk issue.
The Incredible Hulk’s archnemesis — Abomination — was created by Lee and artist Gil Kane and debuted in Tales to Astonish #90 (April 1967) while Lee teamed up John Buscema to create Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk in Savage She-Hulk #1 (February 1980).
Slide 5 of 12DaredevilThe Man without Fear swooped onto newsstands in April 1964 after first appearing in Daredevil #1, a new title by Lee and Bill Everett. Alongside Matt Murdock’s Daredevil, Foggy Nelson and Karen Page also saw their first appearances in the introductory Daredevil issue. Matt’s father — Battlin’ Jack Murdock — appeared in a flashback.
On the other side of the aisle, classic Daredevil villain Wilson Fisk — a.k.a. Kingpin — was introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man #50 as created by Lee and John Romita Sr.
Other characters in the Daredevil family Lee helped create include:
Owl (Daredevil #3 – August 1964)
Purple Man (Daredevil #4 – October 1964)
Stilt-Man (Daredevil #8 – June 1965)
Gladiator (Melvin Potter) (Daredevil #18 – July 1966)
Vanessa Fisk (The Amazing Spider-Man #70 – March 1969)
Slide 6 of 12Iron Man(Photo: Marvel Studios)One of the original Avengers, Lee up with Kirby to introduce Tony Stark’s Iron Man in Tales of Suspense #39 in March 1963.
Other characters in the Iron Man family created and co-created by Lee include:
Happy Hogan (Tales of Suspense #45 – September 1963)
Pepper Potts (Tales of Suspense #45 – September 1963)
Mandarin (Tales of Suspense #50 – February 1964)
Edwin Jarvis (Tales of Suspense #59 – November 1964)
Madame Masque (Tales of Suspense #98 – February 1968)
Whiplash (Tales of Suspense #97 – January 1968)
Slide 7 of 12Thor(Photo: Marvel Studios)Another original Avengers, Lee and Kirby teamed up again to introduce several characters from Norse mythology into the Marvel comics mythos. Thor Odinson debuted in Journey Into Mystery #83 (August 1962) while Jane Foster first appeared in the next issue the very next month.
A plethora of supporting characters — including Balder, Heimdall, Loki, Odin, and Tyr — made their Marvel comics debut in Journey Into Mystery #85 (October 1962).
Other characters in the Thor family created and co-created by Lee:
Frigga (Journey Into Mystery #92 – May 1963)
Surtur (Journey Into Mystery #99 – December 1963)
Hela (Journey Into Mystery #102 – March 1964)
Sif (Journey Into Mystery #102 – March 1964)
Absorbing Man (Journey Into Mystery #114 – March 1965)
Fenris Wolf (Journey Into Mystery #11 – March 1965)
Destroyer (Journey Into Mystery #118 – July 1965)
Fandril (Journey Into Mystery #119 – August 1965)
Hogun (Journey Into Mystery #119 – August 1965)
Volstagg (Journey Into Mystery #119 – August 1965)
Mangog (The Mighty Thor #154 – July 1968)
Slide 8 of 12Doctor Strange(Photo: Twitter / @Matt Ferguson)Lee explored the cosmos with the Fantastic Four — but what about mind-bending travel between alternate dimensions? Lee partnered with the late Steve Ditko to bring many of Marvel’s mystical characters to life.
Strange Tales #110 (July 1963) is a big issue for fans of mysticism as Dr. Stephen Strange, Wong, Nightmare, and the Ancient One were all introduce. Dr. Strange archenemy Baron Mordo debut the following month in Strange Tales #111.
Other magical characters created with help from Lee:
Clea (Strange Tales #126 – November 1964)
Dormammu (Strange Tales #126 – November 1964)
Count Nefaria (The Avengers #13 – February 1965)
Kaecilius (Strange Tales #130 – March 1965)
Enchantress (Strange Adventures #187 – April 1966)
Mephisto (The Silver Surfer #3 – December 1968)
Brother Voodoo (Strange Tales #169 – September 1973)
Slide 9 of 12Black PantherBlack Panther is the highest-earning superhero movie to hit the United States box and guess what? T’Challa, the king of Wakanda, was another creation from the minds of Lee and Kirby. T’Challa first debuted in Fantastic Four #52 (July 1966) while his father T’Chaka and Black Panther nemesis Ulysses Klaw first appeared in Fantastic Four #53.
Slide 10 of 12Inhumans(Photo: Jae Lee, Avalon Studios, Marvel Entertainment)One of the few creations of Stan Lee that has yet to find it’s way to the silver screen is that of the Inhumans. Lee and Kirby are co-creators of each member of the Royal Family of Attilan, including Queen Medusa, King Black Bolt, Gorgon, Triton, Karnak, Crystal, and Lockjaw.
The first appearances of the Inhuman Royal family are as follows:
Medusa (Fantastic Four #36 – March 1965)
Gorgon (Fantastic Four #44 – November 1965)
Black Bolt (Fantastic Four #45 – December 1965)
Crystal (Fantastic Four #45 – December 1965)
Karnak (Fantastic Four #45 – December 1965)
Lockjaw (Fantastic Four #45 – December 1965)
Triton (Fantastic Four #45 – December 1965)
Maximus (Fantastic Four #47 – February 1966)
Slide 11 of 12Ant-ManThere’s arguably no person in comics that have picked up as many mantles as Hank Pym and Lee was the driving force behind most of Pym’s names. While Pym himself was introduced in Tales to Astonish #27 (January 1962) as created by Lee and Kirby, his various superhero identities were introduced through the remainder of the 1960s.
The complete of insect-themed characters created by Lee and company:
Hank Pym (Tales to Astonish #27 – January 1962)
Ant-Man (Hank Pym; Tales to Astonish #35 – September 1962)
Egghead (Tales to Astonish #38 – December 1962)
Wasp (Tales to Astonish #44 – June 1963)
Giant-Man (Hank Pym; Tales to Astonish #49 – November 1963)
Goliath (Hank Pym; The Avengers #28 – May 1966)
Bill Foster (The Avengers #2 – September 1966)
Slide 12 of 12Miscellaneous(Photo: Marvel Studios)From the most-beloved Avenger in Clint Barton’s Hawkeye to the oldest member of the Guardians of the Galaxy in Groot, Stan Lee put his print on every single corner of the Marvel universe.
He helped to create characters like a super spy in Baron Zemo to a flying alien dragon like Fin Fang Foom. Here are some additional characters Lee helped create:
Groot (Tales to Astonish #13 – November 1960)
Fin Fang Foom (Strange Tales #89 – October 1961)
Nick Fury (Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #1 – May 1963)
Baron Zemo (The Avengers #6 – July 1964)
Hawkeye (Tales of Suspense #56 – September 1964)
Wonder Man (The Avengers #9 – October 1964)
Eternity (Strange Tales #138 – November 1965)
Hercules (Journey Into Mystery Annual #1 – 1965)
Batroc (Tales of Suspense #75 – March 1966)
Sharon Carter (Tales of Suspense #75 – March 1966)
Peggy Carter (Tales of Suspense #77 – May 1966)
The Collector (The Avengers #28 – May 1966)
Ares (Thor #129 – June 1966)
Living Tribunal (Strange Tales #157 – June 1967)
Forbush Man (Not Brand Echh #1 – August 1967)
Adam Warlock (Fantastic Four #66 – September 1967)
MODOK (Tales of Suspense #94 – October 1967)
Black Knight (The Avengers #47 – December 1967)
Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell; Marvel Super-Heroes #12 – December 1967)
Falcon (Captain America #117 – September 1969)
Man-Thing (Savage Tales #1 – May 1971)