The life of comic book legend Stan Lee, who created or co-created characters that have become enduring figures in popular culture, will be celebrated in a prime-time special that will air on ABC.

The Dec. 20 special will be hosted by Clark Gregg of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Among those who will share memories of Lee, who died in 2018, are Tom Hiddleston, Paul Bettany, Mark Hamill, Cobie Smulders, Bob Iger, Jimmy Kimmel, Method Man, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Saquon Barkley, Ming-Na Wen, Charlie Cox, Kevin Smith, Lauren Ridloff, Deborah Ann Woll, Seth Green, Todd McFarlane, Gerry Conway, Joe Quesada, Kevin Feige and CB Cebulski.

Parts of “Celebrating Marvel’s Stan Lee” were filmed in front of a live audience at the New Amsterdam Theater in New York City. According to a news release announcing the special, it will take viewers on an action-packed journey throughout the life of Lee and across the Marvel Universe with never-before-seen interviews and archive footage of Lee from the Marvel and ABC News archives.

Said the release: “In his more than seven decades in the comic book industry, Lee dreamed up an endless number of new characters and worlds, and brought readers an all-star roster of heroes and villains. As the co-creator of many of Marvel’s iconic comic book characters, including Spider-Man, Ant-Man, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, the X-Men and Black Panther, Lee is credited with making an unprecedented impact on the world of pop culture. He was a visionary and true pioneer whose work lives on in everything from blockbuster films, television series and comic books to video games and consumer products.”

Superhero characters had fallen out of favor in the comic book industry in the 1950s as readers turned to other genres. Lee brought them roaring back to the forefront in the 1960s with a stable of Marvel Comics characters who were flawed and battled real-life problems, in addition to dealing with bad guys. Lee was a game-changer, and his characters were introduced to larger audiences by way of television projects and blockbuster films.

“As a young man, Stan ‘The Man’ Lee always dreamed of writing, going on to create some of the greatest heroes of our modern times,” said Quesada, Marvel Entertainment’s executive vice president and creative director. “Stan showed each of us how to be a hero in our everyday lives, and the stories he wrote will go on to influence generations of fans for decades to come. We can’t wait for all you True Believers out there to see this special to honor and celebrate Stan’s incredible life and all the lives he has touched.”

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Jimmie is a pop culture and feature writer at the Tulsa World. A former Oklahoma sports writer of the year, he has written books about former Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer and former Oklahoma State football coach Pat Jones. Phone: 918-581-8389