Translating the Work of a Real-Life Superhero - Remembering Stan Lee

Published on March 18, 2019

By Kali Faulwetter

Stan Lee
December 28, 1922 – November 12, 2018

"Stan Lee was as extraordinary as the characters he created [...] A superhero in his own right to Marvel fans around the world, Stan had the power to inspire, to entertain and to connect. The scale of his imagination was only exceeded by the size of his heart."
    - Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger

The marvelous Stan Lee was a comic book writer, artist, and publisher. As editor-in-chief and chairman emeritus of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee was the face behind the booming superhero industry for decades until his death on November 12, 2018, in Los Angeles, California. Marvel Comics is widely considered as being one of two giants in the superhero franchise. Its parent company, Marvel Entertainment, is an owned subsidiary by the Disney Company. Marvel Comics and Marvel Entertainment have revolutionized the entertainment industry, but have also affected global cultural sensibilities. With the idea that any ordinary person can be a superhero, Lee gave hope to new generations for a better life. Lee’s creations allowed the comic book industry to move from a fringe sub-culture to a widely consumed global phenomenon. Headquartered in New York City, Marvel is no stranger to global fame, and with that comes lots and lots of need for translation.

  • Created in 1961, the Marvel universe was launched with The Fantastic Four and began to grow across the globe, demanding comic books by commissioned artists Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. With its first release, readers were introduced for the first time to a world of superheroes interacting with current global affairs. Characters with incredible supernatural abilities were able to interact with each other in a realistic, true to life fashion, allowing fans to connect to powerful stories like never before.

  • Comic book culture has been profoundly influenced by translation around the world. The two defining moments solidifying this cultural shift in written entertainment being the “golden age” of North American comics in the 1930s, and the height of the Japanese manga craze in the 1990s.

  • Storyline organized into brief moments shown in panels across a page may have started with the major influence from the United States, but the expansion of this cultural form worldwide has had an undeniable effect.

  • Lee had a hand in the evolution of comic book language as well. Reinventing bland declarations of plot into sensational, jazzy dialogue allowed readers to read directly and fluidly; Lee’s re-invention of the way the books were written allowed the story to happen to the reader, just like it was happening to the characters in the story itself.

  • The books instilled powerful feelings of belonging in fans, and shortly the trend continued with a boom of fresh new characters flooding the early 1960s - Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, and The X-Men. The Majority of these books were written by Lee during that time, illustrated by Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko.

  • “The Marvel Method” was Stan Lee’s way of brainstorming a new story with an artist; the artist would draw up some story panels, and Lee would fill-in word balloons with captions. A style that became well known as quintessentially comic.
Stan Lee is considered by many of his fans to be the single most significant author of the super-hero pop-craze that has inflicted the 21st Century and is considered to be the sole creator of the said universe. Giving birth to dozens of Marvel titles between 1961 and 1972 is not only his crowning achievement, but the cultural implications of his stories allow everyone to feel like their own superhero.

Stan Lee in numbers:

100+
Number of character Stan Lee created, including Iron Man and Black Panther.

4+
Marvel Comics will team up with Italian publisher Panini Comics to translate its most popular material into French, German, and Italian. Titles include Deadpool, Civil War, Avengers, and Ms. Marvel, with new titles released each month.

11+
With translations now available in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, French, Russian, Hindi, German, Italian, Portuguese and Hebrew, Marvel’s creations will now be even more widely accessible to fans around the globe.

For more comic and graphic novel translation, click here.
Create your own Marvel Comics here.


About MotaWord
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About This Article
Famous Translators is a MotaWord segment showcasing notable professional translated works and famous linguists from history to the present. We will be researching, compiling and sharing stories that matter to every translator on our blog.
You, too can be published right here on the MotaWord blog site. To help us make this segment more tailored to our community, contribute any comments, ideas for articles, or share your story. Please contact kali@motaword.com.

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Citations: ComicBook, ResearchGate, Britannica, IMDb, HollywoodReporter, TED, LanguageMagazine, MultiversityComics
Vulture

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