17 iconic characters that exist because of Stan Lee

MarvelStan Lee is one of the creators behind the Incredible Hulk.

Legendary comic book writer, editor, and publisher Stan Lee died on Monday.

The former president and chairman of Marvel comics has left behind many incredible creations and legacies and he was instrumental in helping to change the comic book world. Throughout his career, Lee was known for coming up with superheroes who were human, flawed, and relatable.

If it weren’t for Lee’s work, many of the superhero stories, characters, and movies that you know and love today probably wouldn’t be around.

Here are just 17 of the many iconic Marvel franchises and characters that Stan Lee contributed to.

The Fantastic Four debuted in 1961.

MarvelA rendition of the Fantastic Four.

The Fantastic Four was Lee’s first creation with artist Jack Kirby. After their debut in 1961, the characters broke out of the superhero stereotype and were portrayed with a lot of humanity- as individuals who dealt with real problems and sometimes made mistakes.

Often called “Marvel’s First Family,” the Fantastic Four have appeared in animated series, multiple live-action films, and ongoing volumes of comics.

Spider-Man is one of Marvel’s most successful characters.

Chuck Zlotnick/Sony Pictures EntertainmentTom Holland in ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming.’

Lee was the one who was behind Spider-Man, one of Marvel’s most successful characters of all time and the most profitable comic book character ever since his debut in 1962.

Lee created Spider-Man with artist Steve Ditko because they wanted a unique hero people could relate to. Ditko died earlier this year.

Spider-Man was created when a nervous photographer named Peter Parker got bitten by a radioactive spider. He then found himself with a whole host of superhero powers. The story has inspired many films, comics, and television series.

Read More: 14 of the most iconic superhero suits of all time

The Incredible Hulk has appeared in multiple movies and shows.

MarvelHulk in ‘The Avengers: Infinity War.’

Lee also created the Hulk with Kirby. First appearing in 1962, the Incredible Hulk’s alter ego is Dr. Bruce Banner, a physically weak and quiet person.

After being exposed to gamma rays during the detonation of an experimental bomb, Banner transforms into a giant, angry green humanoid with incredible physical strength whenever he is going through emotional stress.

The Incredible Hulk has been a live-action series and the star of many films, as well as part of the Avengers.

Iron Man is another famous Marvel character.

MarvelRobert Downey Jr. as Iron Man.

Iron Man was created by Lee, developed by scripter Larry Lieber, and designed by artists Don Heck and Kirby. The character was originally more reserved than Robert Downey Jr.’s popular version of him, and Lee initially created him as a way to explore Cold War themes.

Iron Man’s alter ego is Tony Stark, a wealthy American business magnate and scientist who suffers a chest injury during a kidnapping, then builds a suit of armour to save himself, He later creates Stark Industries in an attempt to save the world.

He also created a Marvel version of the Norse deity Thor.

via Marvel PicturesChris Hemsworth as Thor.

While Lee didn’t create Thor, he did help to create the Marvel version of the superhero alongside Leiber and Kirby. The Marvel hero is based on the Norse mythological deity from the 2nd century.

Thor is the Asgardian god of thunder and uses the enchanted hammer Mjolnir, something that gives him the ability to fly and manipulate weather, among many other things.

Thor would go on to become one of the founding members of the Avengers.

Loki has been causing mischief for years.

MarvelLoki in ‘Thor: Ragnarok.’

The Marvel version of Loki was created by Lee, Kirby, and Lieber. Like Thor, the character is inspired by Norse mythology.

First appearing in 1962, Loki is Thor’s brother and the God of Mischief. This Prince of Asgard is known for causing chaos.

The X-Men are legendary.

Eliza Morse/Fox‘The Gifted,’ a Marvel series including the X-Men.

Created by Lee and Kirby, the X-Men are widely popular. Made up of a group of mutants, a subspecies of humans who were born with superhuman abilities thanks to the X Gene, they are led by Charles Xavier (Professor X), another powerful mutant. The X-Men fight against Magneto, another mutant who is on the more evil side.

They consist of popular mutants like Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Angel, and Icemen, along with many more. The comic has resulted in multiple live-action films.

Daredevil is one of the first blind superheroes to star in a series.

Patrick Harbron/Netflix‘Daredevil’ on Netflix.

Lee, Kirby, and artist Bill Everett created Daredevil and the character first appeared in comics in 1964. Daredevil’s alter ego is Matt Murdock, a New Yorker who had been blinded by a radioactive substance that fell from a truck after he pushed a man to safety and saved his life.

The substance heightens his other senses in a superhuman way. When his father is murdered, he seeks revenge as Daredevil to fight his father’s enemies. Daredevil is one of the first blind superheroes to carry a series.

Nick Fury has been around since 1963.

MarvelA rendition of Nick Fury.

You probably think of Nick Fury as the man who assembled the Avengers. In some movies, he has been played by Samuel L. Jackson.

Fury has actually been around since 1963 and he started off with his own series. Fury has been in dozens of comic book series, video games, and animated series.

Fury had his own feature film where he was played by David Hasselhoff.

Scarlet Witch has been in multiple films.

MarvelElizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch.

Scarlet Witch, also known as Wanda Maximoff, first appeared as a supervillain alongside her twin brother Pietro, also known as Quicksilver, as a founding member of the Brotherhood of Mutants.

She was originally depicted as a mutant who had the ability to alter reality, although she was later depicted as a member of the Avengers superhero team.

She’s had two self-titled limited series of her own and has appeared in animated films, television series, and video games.

Black Panther was one of the first black superheroes created by Marvel.

Walt Disney Studios Motion PicturesThe hero’s real name is T’Challa.

Black Panther became one of the first black superheroes created by Lee and Kirby. He first appeared in a Fantastic Four comic in 1966.

His alter-ego name is T’Challa, and he’s the king and protector of Wakanda, a fictional African nation. He has superhuman abilities along with physical strength and combat skills.

Black Panther has been a successful character who has made appearances in many television shows, animated films, and video games, as well as the 2018 film “Black Panther.”

Read More: Everything we know about the sequel to ‘Black Panther’

Hawkeye has an interesting history.

MarvelJeremy Renner as Hawkeye.

Hawkeye was created by Lee and Heck. He first appeared as a reluctant villain in 1964, but later joined the Avengers in 1965. His alter ego is Clint Barton, an orphan who became Swordsman’s assistant, only to become a master archer.

When Swordsman turned on Clint, Clint was so skilled that he became known as Hawkeye. He was inspired by Iron Man and wanted to become a superhero.

He’s recently been portrayed by Jeremy Renner in the Marvel universe.

Doctor Strange used to be a surgeon.

Walt Disney Studios Motion PicturesBenedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange.

The character of Doctor Strange was created by Lee and Ditko. His origin story shows that he was once an egotistical surgeon who got in a car accident that left him unable to perform surgery.

He searched the world for a way to repair his hands and stumbled upon on the Ancient One, who made him a student of the mythical arts and martial arts. His suit, the Cloak of Levitation and the Eye of Agamotto, gave him added powers. He later took the title of Sorcerer Supreme to help defend the world.

Although he was never quite as popular as some of Lee’s other superheroes, he still appeared in various comics and films.

Ant-Man wasn’t meant to be a hero.

MarvelPaul Rudd as Ant-Man.

Ant-Man, created by Lee, Leiber, and Kirby, first appeared in 1962. He gets his abilities from his Ant-Man suit, which has been worn by different alter egos throughout the years.

The original Ant-Man was Hank Pym, who invented the suit and “Pym Particles,” which allow their user to alter their size.

Ant-Man originally was not supposed to be a superhero, but his story was so successful that he became one.

The Wasp was also a Lee creation.

Stephanie Hans/MarvelA rendition of the Wasp.

Created by Lee, Kirby, and Ernie Hart, the Wasp is another popular Marvel heroine.

Like Ant-Man, her abilities are powered by Pym Particles. She first made her debut in 1963.

He’s one of the people behind Groot.

Marvel StudiosHe’s not human.

This loveable Marvel character was created by Lee, Lieber, Kirby and Dick Ayers. The sentient alien has recently appeared in “Guardians of the Galaxy” to help protect the universe.

The character first appeared in 1960 as an alien invader who wanted to capture humans.

Black Widow first appeared in 1964.

Marvel / ParamountScarlett Johansson as Black Widow.

Black Widow, also known as Natalia “Natasha” Romanova, first appeared in 1964. She was a Russian spy and enemy of Iron Man who later defected to the US and joined S.H.I.E.L.D. She’s also a frequent member of the Avengers group.

For more great stories head toINSIDER’s homepage.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.