The 100 Greatest Stan Lee Stories Ever Told: #6-4

Last month, Stan Lee passed away at the age of 95. Lee was likely the most famous comic book creator in the history of the medium and he was the Editor-in-Chief for Marvel Comics for a remarkable three decades stint from the Golden Age through the launch of the Marvel Age of Comics. Working with iconic creators like Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, John Romita, Joe Maneely, John Buscema, Don Heck, Wallace Wood, Dick Ayers, Gene Colan and many more, Lee either co-plotted and scripted or simply scripted some of the most famous stories in the history of comics. We asked you to vote for your picks for the top comic book stories that Lee either scripted or co-plotted and scripted. Here are the results!

6. “The Eternity Saga” Strange Tales #130-146 (1965-66)

Pretty early on, it was becoming clear that the ten or so pages that Steve Ditko had to work with in every issue of Strange Tales wasn't getting the job done anymore, so he slowly began to take a larger approach to his storytelling, telling more and more serialized works until he finally broke out with his epic 17-part final storyline during his run on Doctor Strange. It was actually during this famous storyline that Stan Lee stopped scripting the series, with Denny O'Neil coming on board for the last few issues. Still, Lee very much put his distinct stamp on the dialogue for a number of major aspects of this epic storyline.

The main gist of the story is that Doctor Strange finds himself stuck against his two greatest enemies, Dormammu and Baron Mordo, teaming up. Sensing that he is screwed, he decides to seek out Eternity itself to help him. This leads to some of the most surreal visual work of the era. This is the sort of thing that made Doctor Strange such a cult classic among college students of the 1960s...

It was the stuff that launched a thousand black light posters. Not only that, though, but Ditko was a master at balancing both the larger narrative while making each snippet of the larger narrative work on its own. It's a remarkable story. I've heard it referred to as an adult Wizard of Oz story, and I think that that works pretty well as a description.

5. "Captain America Joins...the Avengers!" Avengers #4 (1964)

Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and George Roussos brought former star Golden Age character Captain America back into the Marvel Age in a classic tale that is so powerful that it seems to get re-told every other month. The sight of Captain America trapped in ice, the Avengers finding his frozen body, Cap leaping to attention, discovering that his partner Bucky died in the same incident that ended up with Cap being frozen – it’s such an amazing job by Lee and Kirby.

It is fascinating to see how well Cap folded into the Avengers. The “Man out of time” angle was extremely compelling right out of the gate. Lee and Kirby were obviously tempted to introduce Captain America a whole lot earlier in the Marvel Universe, but they held off and it worked out really well.

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