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!
40. "In the Clutches of the Kingpin" Amazing Spider-Man #51-52 (1967)
Technically, the Kingpin debuted in Amazing Spider-Man #50, so you could include that issue in this storyline, but come on, we all know why Amazing Spider-Man #50 counts as its own thing, right? In any event, after debuting in #50, the Kingpin really gets his first taste of the action in #51 (by Stan Lee, John Romita and Mike Esposito), where he is paired with Fred Foswell, the former Daily Bugle reporter who was secretly the criminal known as Big Man and was later the undercover operative known as Patch, secretly working to infiltrate the mob after he was released from prison. Foswell was taken in by the Kingpin and his men because no one quite knew where Foswell stood.
Well, after Spider-Man and J. Jonah Jameson are captured by the Kingpin, including the Kingpin taking on Spider-Man by himself...
We soon find out how much of a hero Foswell really is.
39. "Let There Be... Life!" Fantastic Four Annual #6 (1968)
It is amazing to see Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and Joe Sinnott deliver such an amazing over-sized story right smack in the middle of their normal run on Fantastic Four. Sue Richards is about to give birth, but she likely won't survive childbirth unless Reed Richards can find a certain isotope to save her, an isotope that can only be found in...the Negative Zone!
So Reed, Johnny and Ben travel to the Negative Zone where the meet the mysterious Annihilus, who has a powerful control rod that also happens to be the isotope that Reed needs to save Sue! So the heroes have to beat Annihilus and time itself as they race home. Check out how particularly dynamic these Kirby pages are...
And of course, once they've saved the day, we meet Franklin Richards, one of the first children of a major superhero in superhero comics!
38. "Among Us Stalk...The Sentinels!" X-Men #14-15 (1965)
In general, Stan Lee did not really lean too much into the whole prejudice metaphor in the early X-Men issues. The basic idea is there, but he didn't do too much with it. That is why this two-parter (by Lee, Jack Kirby, Werner Roth, Dick Ayers and Vince Colletta) stands out so much, because Lee really WENT for it with this tale of the world supporting literal mutant-hunting robots due to their fear of the unknown...
The Sentinels would obviously go on to have a major impact in X-Men history, but the express use of mutants as a civil rights metaphor would be one that would play a major role in the most famous X-Men stories in the future. Lee was way ahead of his time here.