JOHANNESBURG - Iconic comic book titan, Stan Lee, passed away at the age of 95 on Monday.
Lee was arguably the most famous comic book writer of all time, however, not much was known about his wealth.
According to reports, Lee’s net worth was often estimated to be between $50m (R718 million ) to $80m (R 114 million).
Lee himself said that he had made many unwise business decisions over the years which resulted in him leaving lots of money on the table.
Lee is credited for creating many of the characters in the popular Marvel universe movies, which grossed over $24 billion at the box office.
As a writer and editor, Lee was key to the ascension of Marvel into the comic book titan it became in the 1960s.
Lee, in collaboration with artists such as Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, created superheroes who would enthrall generations of young readers.
HE EVOLVED CHARACTERS
Lee was widely credited with adding a new layer of complexity and humanity to superheroes.
His characters were not made of stone - even if they appeared to have been chiseled from granite.
They had love and money worries and endured tragic flaws or feelings of insecurity.
Lee, as a hired hand at Marvel, received limited payback on the windfall from his characters.
In a 1998 contract, he wrestled a clause for 10 percent of profits from movies and TV shows with Marvel characters.
In 2002, he sued to claim his share, months after "Spider-Man" conquered movie theatres. In a legal settlement three years later, he received a $10 million one-time payment.
Hollywood studios made superheroes the cornerstone of their strategy of producing fewer films and relying on big profits from blockbusters. Some people assumed that, as a result, Lee's wealth had soared. He disputed that.
"I don't have $200 million. I don't have $150 million. I don't have $100 million or anywhere near that," Lee told Playboy magazine in 2014. Having grown up in the Great Depression, Lee added that he was "happy enough to get a nice paycheck and be treated well."
In 2008, Lee was awarded the National Medal of Arts, the highest government award for creative artists.
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BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE / REUTERS