Stan Lee, 94, is one whacky dude. Anyone who has caught a glimpse of the legendary comic-book writer and publisher in any one of his countless Marvel cameos can attest to his sense of humor. I mean, just look at that picture. The dude is the GOAT, no doubt about it.
Obviously, Marvel movies are kind of a big deal these days. But what people seem to forget is that the roots of all of these blockbuster movies stretch way back to Lee in the 1960s. Without him, none of you would be laughing at the wisecracks of Star Lord, Iron Man and Spidey.
With that in mind, how much money has Lee made over all these years? We’re glad you asked.
Stan Lee’s Net Worth as of 2017: $100 Million
Though Lee himself has tried poo-poo his net worth in public comments, it’s clear that the guy has made some serious cash in his day. Let’s take a look at how he did it.
In the 1960s, the comic book industry was suffering. Characters were growing stale and sales were down. Way down. As a result, Lee was preparing to make a career change to support his wife and family. Shortly before he made the decision final, publisher Martin Goodman tasked him with creating a new superhero team. As Lee already had one foot out the door, his wife pushed him to experiment with stories and characters that interested him, rather than create the same cookie-cutter fluff that was common at the time.
We all owe Ms. Lee a debt of gratitude as her advice led to the creation of the Fantastic Four. Lee and illustrator Jack Kirby gave his superheroes character flaws and vulnerabilities, a stark departure from the Boy Scout perfection of Superman and other heroes of yesteryear. That proved effective as the Fantastic Four became an immediate best seller for the company and opened the doors for Lee professionally.
Over the next decade, Lee would have a hand in creating some of the most beloved and iconic characters in comic book history: Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, the X-Men, Daredevil, Doctor Strange and Marvel’s most successful character in history, Spider-Man. Lee and Kirby than cobbled many of these characters together to form The Avengers team.
Namedrop city for this guy.
In the ensuing years, Lee would go on to revolutionize the comic book industry. His “Marvel Method” of production – in which the artists are used as co-plotters for the story and the script came after the images – became the assembly line system of comic book production. He infused Marvel with a friendly tone that ingrained fans and readers to the company far more than their arm’s-length rivals.
In this time, Lee also pushed the boundaries of comic book content. His stories touched on relevant social and political issues such as the Vietnam war, current elections, student activism and drug use. These more serious and grounded stories – along with Marvel’s emphasis on character focus – earned widespread praise from the industry.
During this time, Lee introduced a series of new characters including the Inhumans, Black Panther and comics’ first African-American superhero in the Flacon.
In 1972, Lee stopped writing monthly comic books and assumed the role of publisher.
1980s – 1990s
In 1981, Lee moved to California to California to develop Marvel’s TV and movie properties and expand the company’s brand.
During this time, Lee was credited as a producer on 13 different projects ranging from animated TV shows to live-actions films. The list includes: Pryde of the X-Men (1989), Captain America (1990), Fantastic Four (1994 – 1995), Iron Man (1994 – 1996), Generation X (1996), X-Men (1992 – 1997), Biker Mice from Mars (1993 – 1996), Spider-Man (1994 – 1998), The Incredible Hulk (1996 – 1997), Silver Surfer (1998), Nick Fury: Agent of Shield (1998), and Blade (1998).
It was around this time that Lee transitioned into more of a figurehead role with Marvel, though his influence and would be credited as one of the driving forced behind the superhero boom that was about to take place.
2000 – Present
In 2000, 20th Century Fox released the well received X-Men, which arguably helped to kick off the superhero craze entertainment fans currently find themselves in. In the last 17 years alone, Lee has earned a staggering 120 production credits with countless more writing credits and popular cameos in nearly every major Marvel movie.
Though Lee doesn’t have much to do with the publishing side of Marvel or the company’s growing media empire, he does receive a minimum $1 million a year from the company.