We were sad to hear of the passing of comic-book legend Stan Lee at the age of 95 on Monday 12 November. It will come as no surprise to learn that Stan, the mastermind of Marvel comics and the creator of more comic-book characters than any other person, was the owner of multiple Guinness World Records (GWR) certificates.
Primarily, thanks to his position as chief writer then publisher at Marvel, Lee was the Most prolific creator (or co-creator) of comic book characters, introducing more than 340 superheroes and villains to pop culture.
His progeny is a veritable superhero hall of fame: Ant-Man, the Avengers, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Daredevil, Doctor Doom, the Fantastic Four, Hawkeye, Hulk, Iron Man, Silver Surfer, Spider-Man, Thor and the X-Men are just a few of the most successful creations by Lee and his collaborators.
Lee was also responsible for the Largest graphic novel published. Romeo and Juliet: The War (Limited Collector’s Edition), published by 1821 Comics in Los Angeles, USA, on 6 June 2012, measured 63.18 x 83.82 x 5 cm (33 x 24.8 x 2 in). The Shakespearean story was re-imagined by Stan Lee and Terry Dougas, written by Max Work and illustrated by Skan Srisuwan.
As a story creator, Lee smashed records in the world of movies too. His record for Most movies adapted from the work of a comic book creator grew from 15 titles in 2011 to 39 as of this year, and he continues to top a movie box-office chart that includes fellow storytellers J. K. Rowling, J. R. R. Tolkein, George Lucas and John Lasseter, grossing a total of $13,435,117,029 from the movies based on his writings.
His role as Executive Producer on even more movies – 46 in total – is also a record, according to GWR’s movie consultant The-Numbers, grossing an unprecedented $26,409,450,015 at the worldwide box office which makes him the Highest-grossing executive producer.
And then there were Lee’s cameo appearances, which also propelled him to the top of list of Highest-grossing actors at the global box office (cameos).
According to The-Numbers, the 42 movies in which Lee appears as a cameo have grossed a record $26,089,560,405 – or an average of $621,180,010 per film. Having Stan The Man in your movie was a sure sign of box-office success!
Stan was very proud of his Guinness World Records recognition.
"Wouldja believe I actually have three records in the Guinness Book of Records!” he Tweeted in 2012, after receiving his GWR certificates from Editor-in-Chief Craig Glenday at Comic Con San Diego.
"Stan was so excited to receive his certificates,” added Craig. "We had a session at Comic Con that we both missed because he was mobbed by hundreds of fans. It took us an hour to cross from one side of the San Diego Convention Center to the other, so we missed the panel entirely. We ended up doing the 'official' presentation in a restaurant afterwards!
"He was always so passionate and enthusiastic about his record-breaking that he insisted on being awarded the certificates, even if it meant doing it in front of his fellow diners after the Con.
"Stan and his collaborators did more than anyone to propel comic books and superheroes into popular culture. That his characters were humans first, superhumans second, is surely one of the main reasons for their longevity, and for his prolificacy – there’s a superhero for every human foible.
"His legacy is an array of characters, often flawed – or struggling with acne or girlfriend problems – that celebrate the differences between people and embrace diversity. I think this could be why Guinness World Records resonated with him so much. As a champion of minorities, he also preached acceptance and helped young readers learn about the vast and varied world around them.
RIP Stan Lee, a multiple @GWR record holder. Glad we were able to honour him (a few times!) in last year’s Superhero-themed main edition. Had dinner together a couple of times in San Diego. Lovely chap, very enthusiastic about his records. Will have a cocktail in his honour... pic.twitter.com/3jvZuG2ajq— Craig Glenday (@craigglenday) November 12, 2018
"The characters would be the kind of characters I could personally relate to," wrote Lee in Origins of Marvel Comics.
"They’d be flesh and blood, they’d have their faults and foibles, they’d be fallible and feisty and – most important of all – inside their colorful, costumed booties they’d still have feet of clay."
Lee’s lasting influence on popular culture means that the movies based on his characters are sure to continue thrilling audiences – and breaking records. He may no longer be with us but, just like one of his fantastical creations, his superpowers will be felt rippling through time for eternity.
Stan Lee (1922–2018)