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The 100 Greatest Stan Lee Stories Ever Told: #25-21

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!

25. "The Black Panther!" Fantastic Four #52-53 (1966)

Originally, the Black Panther was going to debut in his own comic book series, but Marvel Owner and Publisher Martin Goodman ended up squelching those plans and so, instead, the Panther debuted as the capper of one of the most extraordinary string of comic book stories in the history of superhero comics. Imagine introducing the Inhumans, Silver Surfer, Galactus and then "This Man, This Monster" and then follow it up with the introduction of the first black superhero at Marvel Comics!

That's just what Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and Joe Sinnott did in this two-parter, which opens with the king of Wakanda, T'Challa, inviting the Fantastic Four to his kingdom, where he proceeded to beat them up for most of the issue, before revealing the truth of his attack...

The next issue saw the FF help Black Panther defeat Klaw.

24. "The Inhumans Saga" Fantastic Four #44-48 (1965-66)

Like Black Panther, the Inhumans were originally going to debut in their own comic book series, and a result of them instead being folded into the pages of the Fantastic Four, Jack Kirby had come up with such developed back stories for everyone that the introduction of the Inhumans was filled with an astonishing amount of plot development for brand new characters. Medusa had fought the Fantastic Four as a villain, but then we learned that she had amnesia. This is just in time for her cousin, Gorgon, to show up to bring her home to the secret abode of the Inhumans. Her long lost love, Black Bolt, had temporarily given up his throne to his brother, the mad Maximus, while Medusa was missing, but with her back, Black Bolt was ready to take his throne back...

How amazing is that sequence where Maximus debates what to do, going from instant anger to "nah, I'll get him later instead." Jack Kirby was a genius. This storyline also introduced the Romeo and Juliet-esque relationship of Crystal and Human Torch, with the star-crossed lovers stuck between his world with the humans and hers with the, well, you know. This marked the debut of the classic Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and Joe Sinnott creative team. Sinnott would ink Kirby for the rest of Kirby's time on the Fantastic Four.

23. "The Strange Death of Captain America" Captain America #110-111,113 (1969)

In this three-part epic by Stan Lee, Jim Steranko and Joe Sinnott, Captain America ran afoul of Hydra and their leader, Madame Hydra, who kidnap Rick Jones to draw in Captain America in one of the most stunning sequences of ANY comic, but especially a comic forty plus years ago!!

This leads to Cap's seeming death and when he returns - oh my goodness -

Lee and Steranko fit about twenty-five issues of coolness into just these three issues (although, to be fair, it was SO much coolness that Steranko was late with the final part, resulting in an extremely rushed Jack Kirby fill-in issue for Captain America #112).

Page 2: See #22-21

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