For the Crawlspace, I wrote a piece on what Spider-Man writers were up to before they worked on that title. Covered writers included Gerry Conway, Len Wein, Brian Michael Bendis, JM Dematteis, Roger Stern, Tom Defalco, J. Michael Straczynski and-of couse-Stan Lee.
He’s told the story often about how he decided to create the Marvel Universe, when disappointed with the quality of the comics on the market in the 1950s.
I wanted to quit at that time. I was really so bored and really too old to be doing these stupid comic books; I wanted to quit. I was also frustrated because I wanted to do comic books that were—even though this seems like a contradiction in terms—I wanted to do a more realistic fantasy. Martin wouldn’t let me and had wanted the stories done the way they had always been done, with very young children in mind. That was it.
My wife Joan said to me, “You know, Stan, if they asked you to do a new book about a new group of super-heroes, why don’t you do ’em the way that you feel you’d like to do a book? If you want to quit anyway, the worst that could happen is that he’ll fire you, and so what? You want to quit.” I figured, hey, maybe she’s right. That’s why I didn’t want to do the Torch and the Sub-Mariner; I wanted to create a new group and do them the way I had always wanted to do a comic book. That’s what happened.
But at that point he had been in the industry for over two decades, starting with a small text piece in CAPTAIN AMERICA #3. He first got a job at Marvel because his cousin Jean was married to publisher Martin Goodman. So, he was that guy who got the job because of familial connections. If this makes him seem less impressive, he made up for it a few years later by convincing a model to leave her husband for him.
More at the link.