Everyone knows that Stan "The Man" Lee is the creator of just about the whole Marvel Universe along with artists Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko. However, there is a writer/artist that wrote the early adventures of Thor, Iron Man and Ant-Man, including their origins, and came up with their alter ego names (Don Blake, Tony Stark and Hank Pym). That almost forgotten writer/artist is, of course, Larry Lieber.
Lieber, 83, is the younger brother of Stanley Lieber, better known to fanboys around the world as Stan Lee, 92. Lieber began working for Marvel in the early 1950's (then known as Atlas Comics, and before that Timely), doing paste-up work in the magazine department. Going to art school at night, Lieber wanted to be an artist, and was soon drawing fill-in stories for All-True Crime and other Atlas publications.
Despite being Stan's brother, Lieber found getting work as an artist difficult. As Lieber admitted in past interviews, he "was slow", and was given short back-up stories in such books as Journey Into Unknown Worlds, and the various Romance Comics that Atlas was publishing at the time, because of it.
It wasn't until a financial downturn at the company in the mid 1950's, and the laying off of just about everyone, that forced then editor Lee to ask his brother to help him write stories.
"I was not a writer", Lieber said, recounting those days. He wanted to be an artist, but times were tough, and he wasn't going to turn down any work. "Stan gave me the books he didn't want to work on, or didn't have time to write himself. He was churning out the plots", Lieber recalled, "and I would then write the stories and dialogue".
By the 1960's Marvel was created and was breaking-out in the industry. Their first big superhero hit, The Fantastic Four, ushered in the Marvel Age of Comics, and laid the groundwork for what would become the Marvel Universe.
Lee was coming up with superheroes left and right, putting them in their own titles and revamping existing sic-fi and monster titles with superheroes, using them as testing grounds to see which heroes would catch on and which were just b-list players.
It was in those testing ground titles like, Tales to Astonish, Journey Into Mystery and Tales of Suspense, that Lee handed over to Lieber the plots for introducing Thor, Iron Man and Ant-Man. It was Lieber who created the name for Thor's magic hammer (Uru), along with characters such as Odin, Loki and Baldar. He also introduced Bi-Frost, the rainbow bridge that connected Asgard to Midgard (Earth).
Lieber also developed a lot of Ant-Man's cannon, including coming up with Ant-Man's alter ego name, Hank Pym, and his partner, the beautiful Janet Van Dyne, A.K.A. The Wasp.
Eventually Lieber got his wish, returning to his first love, art, when Lee made him penciler (and writer) of the Western series, Rawhide Kid. Lieber worked on the series from 1964 through 1973. After his run on Rawhide Kid, Lieber was assigned Editor duties for Marvel U.K., and wrote stories for Marvel's British character, Captain Britian.
In 1978, Lieber was given penciling chores on The Incredible Hulk Sunday comic strip, and for a time was also drawing the Amazing Spider-Man comic strip as well as writing both from time to time. In fact, Lieber continued to draw the Amazing Spider-Man newspaper strip up till 2014.
You can still see Lieber, from time to time at Comic Con and other Fanboy events around the country.