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That time when Stan Lee worked with DC Comics to reimagine its superheroes

Stan Lee is established as one of the most influential people in the world of comic books. So much so that there was a time when Stan Lee worked with Marvel’s biggest competition: DC Comics.

Three years ago, Stanley Martin Lieber, better known as Stan Leepassed away. His brilliant imagination led to the creation of famous characters, establishing him as one of the most influential people in the world of comic books. So much that there was a time when Stan Lee worked with Marvel’s biggest competition: DC Comics

Just imagine… is a hardcover collection of comic books in which Stan Lee was in charge of reimagining DC’s most iconic superheroes, from Batman to Superman, Wonder Woman, and more. 

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The stories were written by Stan Lee alongside Uslan, and the artwork had the collaboration of well-known comic book artists, such as Jim Lee and John Buscema. 

This comic book line of Stan Lee was first published from 2001 to 2002, releasing a total of 13 issues. He would create three volumes: Just Imagine Stan Lee Creating the DC Universe - Vol. 1, 2, and 3.

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Batman

In this version, Batman’s name is Wayne Williams, a wrestler who wants the avenge the death of his parents and seek justice against that gang leader, Handz, who framed Wayne for a crime he didn’t commit. 

Like Bruce Wayne, Stan Lee’s Batman is an expert in combat skills and has a fortune with which he buys useful tools that imitate a bat’s traits, like night vision lenses and a wing-suit. 

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Yet, this interpretation of the cape crusader is an African-American man who owns a spooky mask that alludes to a bat’s head. He even utilizes his alter ego of Batman as his wrestling alias while earning some money on the fighting ring!   

Superman

Instead of Kal-El, Stan Lee’s Superman is Salden. He was a police officer of Krypton who seemed weak compared with his fellows since the latter ones were genetically enhanced. Nevertheless, Lee’s Superman wouldn’t let these things affect him, so he stood out by his braveness.

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Then, everything would change when the villain Gorrok, one of Krypton’s worst criminals, escaped from prison, killed Salden’s wife, and fled to Earth. Salden pursued the villain and, throughout this quest, he was trapped on a sinking ship that poured a green substance over him. This would grant him superpowers, becoming a blonde Superman who would blend into L.A.’s society while trying to figure out how to get back to him home.  

Oh, and in this story of Stan Lee, Lois Lane is kind of an extremely ambitious reporter. 

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Wonder Woman

How about reading the story of a woman who’s an activist that fights for the protection of an ancient Incan site in Cuzco, Peru? Maria Mendoza, Stan Lee’s Wonder Woman, is a Latin woman whose mission is to stop the greedy CEO Armando Guitez, whose brutal excavation endangers the Incan holy place. 

The CEO’s goal is to obtain some ancient relics that will grant him the power to rule the world. The achieve this, he kills Maria’s father, a local judge that was against Armando’s actions. This would motivate Maria to seek her father’s killer. Once she arrived, they engaged in a fight, each one shattering the runes. Maria broke the one belonging to “the light spirits”. Her actions would lead her to the Sun God of the Incan people, and she would be granted incredible powers and the Sun God’s golden staff.  

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[Image: Warner Bros. Studios]

Green Lantern

Stan Lee’s vision of Green Lantern was the following: Len Lewis is a professor who’s seeking the legendary Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (also known as The Tree of Life). In his storyline, Len finds the mythological tree in Africa, but he encounters the reverend and leader of a power-seeking church. 

Without hesitating, the reverend shoots Lewis, living the professor behind, thinking he was dead. Instead, The Tree saves Lewis and shares the knowledge of a race that existed long before humanity. Later on, Len gained abilities from the tree, earning the title of Green Lantern. 

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The Flash

Rather than being “the fastest man alive”, The Flash would be “the fastest woman girl alive”. Stan Lee decided to assign the superhero’s title to a college girl who has a mortal disease: Mary Maxwell. 

The cool thing about her is the fact that she kind of breaks the fourth wall, for she was already a comic book lover before she turns into a superhero. 

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Like the other characters, Mary’s father is murdered by some enemies from his former life as a scientist. I think there’s a tragic pattern among Stan’s characters, huh? Her dad’s last act before his death was to inject Mary with a hummingbird’s DNA to cure her disease. In doing so, Mary got the ability of super-speed and adopted the name of The Flash.

[Image: Donna]

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Aquaman

Last but not least, we have the king of the seas. Unfortunately, most people considered Aquaman as “a joke” for a long time. Yet, that wouldn’t stop Stan Lee to avoid working with this character. Instead, Stan came up with Ramon Raymond, a marine biologist who turned into a superhero after experimenting with himself to find out a way for humans to live underwater. 

This Aquaman would literary transform into a living water creature, granting him the ability of water control (like Mera). Something to point out about Ramon’s purpose is that, like Arthur Curry, he defends the environment against humans’ actions which have been affecting climate change. 

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In his comics, he once said that “if pollution destroys our planet, crime will be the least of our worries”. 

[Image: Warner Bros. Pictures]

Source: Just Imagine Stan Lee Creating the DC Universe - Vol. 1

Covered photo: Gage Skidmore 

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