As a fan from the ‘60’s, when Marvel was the underdog upstart, I’ve taken some satisfaction from the way they’ve become a dominant force in pop culture, though at this point things may have gone too far. Still, Marvel was a big part of my youth, and Stan was the guy who really made it happen. He’s taken a lot of criticism for hogging credit from his artistic collaborators, particularly Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, but Stan was the one who coordinated the whole thing, maintained continuity, scripted a prodigious number of books each month, and set the overall tone; no one else did more to give Marvel its particular personality. Quite a legacy for a guy who was pushing 40 when the ball got rolling with the Fantastic Four in 1961, and who was still active into his 90’s. Face Front!
I agree, Stan was Marvel. Kirby had some great concepts for comics but the stuff he did after leaving Marvel showed that he really couldn't write very well. I think The Fantastic Four is Kirby's best book, not for the art but because Kirby and Lee discussed the overall ideas then Stan would go to work on stories and dialogue.