Excelsior! Today, Stan Lee is 89.

On this day, the Fantastic Four feel a bit more fantastic, Spider-Man is a little more amazing, and even the X-Men break out of their navel-gazing funk to raise a glass, because one of the men instrumental in their creation (and that of Iron Man, Thor, Doctor Strange and others in the Marvel pantheon) has completed another trip around the sun. Happy birthday, Stanley Martin Lieber.

Lieber, better known as Stan Lee, should need no introduction to someone reading this website, but just in case, let it be known that he's one of the legends of the comic book world. Along with artistic titans like Jack Kirby, he gave birth to some of the most iconic characters in comics history and, with his focus on complex, naturalistic personae, helped change the course of writing in the industry. He was also instrumental in reform of the Comics Code and pioneered the use of mainstream superhero books as a platform for social commentary.

In recent years, Lee has become something of a figurehead, perfecting the art of the cameo in Marvel's various movies based on his works and popping up whenever anyone needs to invoke comics cred. It's fun and charming to see him still having a good time with this stuff, but let us never forget that the man and his work changed the course of pop culture as we know it. 'Nuff said.

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