Stan Lee and the story behind ‘Excelsior!’

Gelo Lasin

By now, you’ve prob heard that legendary writer and Marvel head honcho Stan Lee has died at the age of 95.

Stan Lee, Stan Lee and the story behind ‘Excelsior!’

The man behind Spider-Man, X-Men and more was an innovator, creating flawed superheroes who dealt with everyday problems in an industry that was once dominated by the pristine and god-like beings of DC.

As such, tons of tributes poured in for the comics icon’s passing, with most notably bearing the word ‘Excelsior’.


‘Excelsior’ has been Stan Lee’s catchphrase for as long as anyone can remember. The Latin word, which means ‘ever upward’, was first used by Lee as his ‘sign-off’ for his monthly column under the Marvel banner in the 60’s.

Stan Lee, Stan Lee and the story behind ‘Excelsior!’

In an interview, he revealed that the word was actually his attempt in finding a trademark motto that his fellow rivals wouldn’t dare to copy.

‘I used to have a lot of expressions that I would end my comic book columns with: Hang Loose, Face Front, ‘Nuff Said, and I found that the competition was always imitating them and using them.

So, I said I’m going to get one expression that they’re not going to know what it means, and they won’t know how to spell it. And that’s where ‘Excelsior’ came from, and they never did take up on it, thank goodness.’

Stan Lee, Stan Lee and the story behind ‘Excelsior!’

But what started as a simple diversionary tactic later became a mantra that the publisher would model his life after.

Stan Lee practically built the foundation that the Marvel is enjoying today, was always eager to meet his fans, and gladly worked well into his later years. He even bagged an award for his graphic novel, ‘Stan Lee’s God Woke’ at age 93.

He was the prime example of someone who did his darnest to craft his life into the best version that it possibly can be – and succeeded.

And really, isn’t that what we all strive for at the end of the day?


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