Writer/editor Stan Lee (1922-2018) made comic-book history together with Jack Kirby in 1961 with Fantastic Four #1. The monumental popularity of its new style inspired Lee to develop similarly themed characters — including the Hulk and X-Men with Kirby, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange with Steve Ditko, and Daredevil with Bill Everett. After shepherding his creations through dozens of issues — in some cases a hundred or more — Lee allowed other writers to take over, but he maintained steady editorial control. Eventually, he helped expand Marvel into a multimedia empire. In recent years, his frequent cameo appearances in Marvel’s films established Lee as one of the world’s most famous faces.
As both writer and artist, Archie Goodwin (d. 1998) got his start in comic strips and cartoons before moving to Warren Publishing’s Vampirella — and from there to Marvel, where he eventually succeeded Gerry Conway as editor in chief. He has been credited with saving Marvel from financial ruin, with Roy Thomas, by securing adaptation rights to the legendary Star Wars franchise, perceiving its potential long before later merchandisers. He also wrote comic-book adaptations of Alien, Blade Runner and other hit films. He created both Marvel’s Graphic Novel line and its Epic Comics imprint — where, as editor, he occasionally appeared in caricature as alien, elf or other. He also edited early English translations of the Akira series and the works of Moebius. At DC Comics, he guided the destinies of Batman and Starman; one of his most memorable bodies of work was his collaboration with Walter Simonson on the “Manhunter” backup feature in Detective Comics, which won five Shazam Awards.
The unique, shadowy style of Gene Colan (1926-2011) most memorably appeared in long stints on Captain America and Daredevil, and all 70 issues of Tomb of Dracula — among the dozens of other Marvel titles he has drawn. His DC work on Detective Comics and Night Force is equally well remembered. During the Golden Age, he drew multiple war stories for Marvel and DC alike. Colan has earned several Eagle Awards and had professional art showings in New York City. His work on Ed Brubaker’s Captain America at the age of 82 drew well-deserved raves.
One of the Golden Age’s earliest talents, George Tuska (1916-2009) created characters for Fiction House, Harvey Comics and Fawcett Comics’ Captain Marvel Adventures, among many others. He helped launch one of the most popular post-war genres in Lev Gleason’s Crime Does Not Pay. He eventually provided multi-genre art for Atlas Comics, to which he returned following its transformation into Marvel. Tuska penciled Ghost Rider, Luke Cage: Power Man and Sub-Mariner, as well as a 10-year Iron Man stint. At DC, he illustrated Challengers of the Unknown and Superman, among others. As a comic-strip artist, Tuska drew Buck Rogers, Scorchy Smith and DC’s World’s Greatest Superheroes. His final industry work was cover art for Masquerade, part of Dynamite’s Golden Age character revival, bringing him full circle.