Stanley Martin Lieber is born Dec. 28 to Jack and Celia Lieber in New York.
Marvel Comics No. 1 is published by Timely Publications, owned by Lieber’s cousin-in-law Martin Goodman, and features the first appearances of the Human Torch and Sub-Mariner.
Lieber is hired late in the year by Timely as an assistant to editor Joe Simon and meets Simon’s partner, artist Jack Kirby.
Simon and Kirby create Timely’s third hit character, Captain America.
Lieber’s first story, a two-page prose tale, appears in “Captain America Comics” No. 3 under the byline Stan Lee. His first comicbook script, “Headline Hunter, Foreign Correspondent” appears in Captain America Comics No. 5 and runs eight issues.
Simon and Kirby leave Timely late in the year and Goodman puts Lee “temporarily” in charge.
Lee volunteers on Nov. 9 for the Army and serves Stateside writing training manuals and films.
Lee returns to Timely as its editor and chief writer.
Lee meets and marries English hat model Joan Boocock.
Stan and Joan’s daughter, Joan Celia, is born in April.
Comics come under attack for supposedly encouraging criminal and delinquent behavior in children by psychiatrist Fredric Wertham in his book “Seduction of the Innocent.” Fearing government regulation after a U.S. Senate inquiry, comics publishers form the Comics Code Authority, a rating system that banned controversial elements from comicbook stories.
Kirby returns to Timely, now called Atlas, contributing to the company’s line of sci-fi and monster comics.
Artist Steve Ditko works regularly with Lee.
Fantastic Four No. 1, by Lee and Kirby, is published, introducing what would become the Marvel Universe.
Sub-Mariner returns in “Fantastic Four” No. 4.
“The Incredible Hulk” No. 1, by Lee and Kirby, is published; the series runs six issues.
Spider-Man appears in “Amazing Fantasy” No. 15 in an 11-page story by Lee and Ditko.
Thor debuts in a Lee and Kirby story in “Journey Into Mystery” No. 83.
Spidey goes solo in “The Amazing Spider-Man” No. 1 by Lee and Ditko, who also team up to introduce Doctor Strange in “Strange Tales” No. 110.
The line officially adopts the name Marvel Comics Group on its covers.
Lee and Kirby come up for Iron Man, in “Tales of Suspense” No. 39; “Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos” No. 1; “The X-Men” No. 1, “The Avengers” No. 1 and pit the Sub-Mariner against the surface world in “Fantastic Four Annual” No. 1.
Lee and Kirby revive Captain America in “The Avengers” No. 4.
Lee and Bill Everett, the original creator of Sub-Mariner, produce “Daredevil” No. 1
Roy Thomas is hired to assist Lee with writing and editing.
Lee begins to lecture at colleges, a practice he would continue into the 1970s.
“The Marvel Super Heroes,” an animated show, begins airing in syndication.
The Silver Surfer and Galactus first appear in “Fantastic Four” No. 48, the start of a three-part story that marks the high-point of Lee and Kirby’s collaboration.
Ditko resigns from “Amazing Spider-Man” when he disagrees with Lee over the plot. He’s replaced as of No. 39 by John Romita.
Lee and Kirby consult on animated Saturday morning ABC-TV shows featuring the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man.
Martin Goodman sells Marvel to Perfect Film and Chemical Corp., which soon becomes Cadence Industries.
Kirby leaves Marvel and signs a contract to write, draw and edit a series of titles for DC Comics. His last issue of “Fantastic Four” with Lee is No. 102.
Receiving a request from the U.S. government, Stan writes a Spider-Man story that condemns drug use. The Comics Code Authority rejects the issue and Marvel publishes it without the code’s seal as “The Amazing Spider-Man” No. 96-98, with art by Gil Kane. Its success prompts a major revision of the code.
A “Marvel-ous Evening With Stan Lee” is presented Jan. 5 at Carnegie Hall.
Lee announces that he is being promoted to publisher and hands over day-to-day editorial and writing duties to Thomas.
Lee narrates a segment of friend Alain Resnais’ film “L’An 01.”
“Origins of Marvel Comics,” first in a line of books reprinting classic Marvel stories with reminiscences by Lee, is published by Simon and Schuster.
Lee and Kirby reunite for a Silver Surfer graphic novel, published in book form by Simon and Schuster.
Lee and artist John Buscema publish “How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way.”
Lee begins writing a Spider-Man comic strip, which still runs in newspapers.
Marvel hits the small screen. A live-action “Spider-Man” series is short-lived, though “The Incredible Hulk,” starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno, runs five seasons. TV movies featuring “Captain America” and “Doctor Strange” also are made.
Lee and his wife move to Los Angeles so he can represent Marvel projects to Hollywood.
A “Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends” animated series, with Lee narrating, appears on NBC Saturday mornings. It is joined shortly by a “Hulk” cartoon.
Marvel’s first major film, “Howard the Duck,” based on a satirical 1970s cult comic written by Steve Gerber, is a B.O. and critical flop.
New World Pictures buys Marvel from Cadence.
Lee presides at Spider-Man and Mary Jane’s wedding before a New York Mets game June 5 in Shea Stadium to celebrate the characters’ marriage in the newspaper strip and comicbooks.
Lee and French artist Jean “Moebius” Giraud collaborate on two issues of Silver Surfer.
Lee exec produces New World’s film of “The Punisher,” starring Dolph Lundgren, which goes straight to video. He also narrates a pilot for an “X-Men” animated TV pilot.
New World sells Marvel to financier Ron Perelman.
Lee exec produces a “Captain America” film for New Line, starring Matt Salinger; it also goes direct to video.
Marvel stock is offered for the first time on the New York Stock Exchange.
An “X-Men” animated TV series launches on Fox, kicking off a number of new Marvel animated skeins through the 1990s including “Spider-Man,” “Fantastic Four,” “Iron Man” and “Hulk.”
A low-budget “Fantastic Four” feature is produced by Roger Corman, but is never officially released.
Kirby dies of heart failure at 76.
Lee appears as himself in Kevin Smith’s “Mallrats.”
Marvel, burdened with debt from overexpansion and declining comicbook sales, enters Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
David Hasselhoff stars in a TV movie version of “Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
“Blade,” based on a supporting character from Marvel’s 1970s “Tomb of Dracula” comicbook series, rakes in $70 million at the domestic B.O.
Marvel emerges from bankruptcy through a merger with Toy Biz.
Marvel signs a new contract with Lee, declaring him chairman emeritus and freeing him from his exclusivity with the company.
Stan Lee Media, an Internet entertainment company, is formed.
“X-Men,” directed by Bryan Singer, debuts with a $57 million opening weekend and final domestic gross of $157.3 million.
Stan Lee Media ceases operations Dec. 15 after a rapid stock value decline.
The Securities and Exchange Commission investigating Stan Lee Media’s collapse indicts executives Peter Paul and Stephen Gordon; Lee is exonerated from any wrongdoing.
DC Comics begins a 12-issue comics series titled “Just Imagine Stan Lee Creating …” that features Lee’s take on DC characters such as Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman with top comic artists.
“Spider-Man” feature is released to good reviews and earns $403 million at the domestic box office.
Lee files what he calls “the friendliest lawsuit in the world” against Marvel over differing interpretations of how much of Marvel’s film and TV profits he is to be paid.
Lee and two partners form POW! Entertainment, an entertainment company independent of Marvel.
Animated series “Stan Lee’s Stripperella” airs on Spike TV, with Pam Anderson voicing the lead role.
Marvel swarms the box office with “Daredevil,” “X2: X-Men United” and “Hulk,” all exec produced by Lee. The combined domestic B.O. of the three films is $449.6 million.
“The Punisher” is released in April, grossing $33.6 million domestically.
“Spider-Man 2” opens June 30, taking in a record $180 million its first six days in release.
IDT buys an interest in POW!