Earlier this 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!
60. "Where Walks the Juggernaut" X-Men #12-13 (1965)
X-Men #12 (by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Alex Toth, one of the few Marvel comic books that Alex Toth ever worked on) is master class on mixing exposition with tension, as the issue opens with Professor X getting his students together and warning them that they have to prepare the X-Mansion for all out war. This, naturally, freaks out the students when they learn that this is all to stop just a single guy!
So the X-Men bunker down with Professor X and wait, while they hear (and feel) the mansion being attacked by an outside force. Professor X then spends this time explaining to him both his own origin but also the origin of his step-brother, Cain Marko, and how they hate each other. This leads to the stunning introduction of the unstoppable Juggernaut at the end of the issue!
The final part of the story, naturally, shows how the X-Men could stop the unstoppable Juggernaut (it involves the help of the Human Torch).
59. "From the Ashes of Defeat" Avengers #23-24 (1965)
When the Avengers first tangled with Kang the Conqueror, they learned that he was a warrior from the future who had grown tired of just how effective he was at waging war in the future and so he decided to travel to the past to take on the legends of the past, such as the Avengers. Well, this two-parter by Stan Lee, Don Heck, John Romita and Dick Ayers turned that whole set-up on its ears. The Avengers are taken to the future, where they are seemingly dwarfed by the sheer power of the armies wielded by Kang in the future, but there is a twist. Kang has fallen in love with the princess of one of the lands where his army is about to conquer and now he has to turn against his own massive army to save his love and her people. The Avengers, naturally, are swayed by such an awesome story that they decide to lend their might to this great underdog in a massive invasion...
The way that you never know where a story will go and which way an adversary will end up turning always made for a thrilling Marvel comic book story.
58. "The Crime-Master Versus the Green Goblin" Amazing Spider-Man #26-27 (1965)
This Stan Lee/Steve Ditko tale was a fascinating two-parter where Spider-Man finds himself in the middle of a war between the mysterious Crime-Master and the Green Goblin. The Crime-Master and the Green Goblin know each other's secret identity, so they are sort of stuck together. However, the Crime-Master turns on the Green Goblin and tries to take control of the New York mob all by himself.
Meanwhile, Spider-Man is sure that Frederick Foswell (the seemingly reformed Daily Bugle reporter who secretly led a double life as a criminal mastermind known as the Big Man) is the Crime-Master, so the whole story is this fascinating game of cat and mouse between the Crime-Master and the Green Goblin and Spider-Man and the Crime-Master and Spider-Man and the Green Goblin and Spider-Man and Foswell (as he tries to no avail to follow Foswell and prove him a crook).
On top of all of that, Spider-Man lost his costume so he has to use a store bought version instead!
This is a thrilling tale by Ditko and Lee with great artwork by Ditko. The highlight of the story is when Ditko and Lee bring the mundane aspects of life right into the middle of a major action sequence, as Spider-Man's storebought costume begins to become an obstacle for the hero at the worst possible moment, after Spider-Man amazingly first fights an entire gang of criminals while literally chained up...
An artistic tour de force by Ditko!