(Photo: Stan Lee’s high school yearbook)(Text from the forthcoming MARVEL COMICS: THE UNTOLD STORY;
Stanley Lieber’s consistent jauntiness belied an upbringing that hadn’t been easy. His father, Jack, a dress-cutter, had been unemployed most of Stan’s childhood, and Stan’s earliest memories were of Jack poring over the want ads and fighting with Celia. Stan slept in the living room of their cramped Bronx apartment. It would be easy to say that his voracious reading and moviegoing were the classic escapism of a hard childhood—except that rather than withdraw into fantasy, Stan was always jovial and outgoing, as interested in learning about public speaking as he was in entering essay contests. Years later, he would often recall being inspired in high school by a visiting newspaper subscription salesman who entranced a class with his pitch. He’d learned to do that job himself, selling for a rival newspaper.