Stan Lee Reimagined Some of DC’s Most Famous Characters

Stan Lee‘s legacy just continues to grow and grow. As superhero films and their seemingly endless spinoffs continue to perpetuate across the entertainment industry, the number of television shows and films that trace back — indirectly or directly — to Stan Lee’s influence is on an exponential rise. 

Fans may be interested to learn that during Lee’s brief time working for DC, he spent time reimagining some of the comic world’s most famous characters

Stan Lee left behind a stunning legacy 

Stan Lee was with Marvel comics before it was even called Marvel. Lee was born in 1922 to Romanian immigrant parents, according to Biography.com, and he started working for Timely Comics as an office assistant when he was just a teen. By the early 1940s, he had become an interim editor for the company. Eventually, Timely would become Marvel comics, and Lee would find himself tasked with creating a rival series that could compete with DC’s Justice League

Alongside Jack Kirby, Lee created the Fantastic Four, and its success would pave the way for the juggernaut the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become today. It’s no exaggeration to say that Stan Lee may well be the most influential mind of modern day cinema. His impact on the superhero world simply cannot be overstated, and his death in 2018 left a giant hole in fans’ hearts. Luckily, Lee lived long enough to see some of the contemporary spins on his characters, and he even got some heartfelt cameos in the films his work helped spawn. 

Stan Lee briefly worked for DC 

Obviously, Lee’s legacy is braided with Marvel’s, so it might come as a shock to hear that Lee also had a hand in DC Comics. Lee did a few small pieces for DC, but his biggest contribution was between 2001 and 2002 and was — perhaps ironically — rooted heavily in the fame he had gained through Marvel. As CBR explains, “Lee worked with many talented artists on a series of one-shots that reinvented DC’s greatest heroes.” The series was titled Just Imagine and provided Lee with a platform to reconsider how DC’s most famous characters could have been conceived. 

The Indian Express summarizes how Lee’s version of these famous characters changed the story. Batman, for instance, became an African-American named Wayne Williams who is on a quest to avenge his father — a slain police officer. Lee’s reimagined Superman is named Sladen. While he is still a Kryptonian, the Earth he comes to is a much more primitive version, and he’s battling social ills in the form of a corrupt jungle tribal leader. Wonder Woman, meanwhile, is a mortal princess rather than a goddess. Her power is derived from the Incan Sun God and comes amid her environmental activism. 

Fans can buy these reimagined comics

Stan Lee
Stan Lee | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Lee’s work with DC wasn’t just a hypothetical mock-up. The creator actually penned stories telling these alternate versions of the tale, and they’re still available for purchase today. The DC Comics website lists these special edition issues in one convenient place, and these collectible editions are quite affordable. 

For someone who wants to get the entire collection, there’s a hardcover edition that combines them all in one place. This collection — featuring the work of more than a dozen artists — is available for just $75. If you don’t need quite that much of Lee’s DC work in your life, you can also choose to purchase any of the three separate books dedicated to the special series. Each one costs about $20 and will provide plenty of examples of Lee’s unique influence. 

RELATED: Stan Lee Had the Most ‘Depressing’ Job Before He Became Marvel’s Real-Life Superhero