Marvel legend Stan Lee rightfully gets credit when discussing the most important creators at Marvel, alongside Steve Ditko, Joe Simon Jack Kirby, and others. But there's another person who deserves to be in the conversation, even in a smaller capacity: Lee's brother, Larry Lieber.
The average comic book fan might not know Lieber has helped shaped Marvel as we know it today, co-creating characters like Iron Man, Thor, Ant-Man, Loki, and more. Lieber was an illustrator and writer who joined Marvel Comics in the 1950s after serving in the Korean War. Having worked with his brother Stan at Timely Comics beforehand, Lieber would eventually be tasked with writing stories based on Lee's plots, before handing them off to become comic book canon through Jack Kirby's artwork.
Ultimately, Lieber's first superhero title was working on Journey into Mystery #83, the first appearance of Thor. He'd help co-create Iron Man in Tales of Suspense #39, and Ant-Man in Tales to Astonish #35. Lieber also introduced the uru metal that makes up Mjolnir. In an interview with Roy Thomas at TwoMorrows, Lieber said he made up the alter-egos for those characters, while Lee worked on the hero names.
I made up the name Henry Pym, and Don Blake I made up for Thor, and Tony Stark I made up, you know. But the important names, such as Ant-Man, Thor and Iron Man, Stan made up.
In the same interview, Lieber admitted Lee (who was born Stanley Lieber) was critical of his writing and he eventually left the superhero genre and took over Rawhide Kid as an ongoing series, writing what's considered one of the best runs of the character. Lieber and Lee did have a good relationship.
Lieber would work for Marvel and introduce a number of important Thor elements. Later, he would pencil The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #4-5 and work on syndicated comic news strips including The Incredible Hulk and the Amazing Spider-Man - which he penciled until 2018. His fingerprints are all over Marvel's history.
Lieber might not have been instrumental in creating the origins and stories that led to Marvel's Avengers. However, there would be no Tony Stark or Avengers as we know it without him. Who knows how different Thor would be without his input on the series. He helped shape Marvel as we know it today. Lieber is among the plenty of comic book creators that don't get their due credit.
Lieber is now 88 years old and retired from comics, but it's important to acknowledge and celebrate his creations and work while he's still alive. It's about time more people knew who he was, and how he helped build Marvel alongside its most influential creators.