Florence "Flo" Steinberg, "the Marvel Comics fixture who served as Stan Lee's secretary during the Silver Age of the 1960s and helped establish the company as a pop-culture powerhouse," died July 23, Entertainment Weekly reported. She was 78. In the early days of Marvel, Steinberg "was the company's only other staffer alongside editor-in-chief Lee, and she was instrumental in managing day-to-day affairs and responding to fan mail." She left in 1968, published the early independent comic book Big Apple Comix in 1975, then returned to Marvel as a proofreader in the 1990s.
"Flo Steinberg was my 1st secretary @ Marvel. To most others it was just a job, to Flo it was her life's work. Her passing is a great loss," Lee tweeted.
In a statement, Marvel said: "We are incredibly saddened to hear of Flo Steinberg's passing and send our deepest condolences to her friends and family. Flo has always been the heart of Marvel and a legend in her own right. She will be forever missed and always loved by all of us here at Marvel."
Marvel's blog celebrated "the contributions of a key member of the original Marvel bullpen," noting that Steinberg "established a unique and profound connection with every member of the Marvel staff fortunate enough to encounter her, in particular the growing ranks of women working in the industry.
"While the likes of Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and more may have been responsible for the unique sensibilities on display within the pages of the House of Ideas' books, Steinberg helped solidify the community that those comics inspired in its readers. With San Diego Comic-Con unfolding at this moment, it takes little imagination to draw a straight line from her attitude and commitment in those early days to the vast network of comic book fans that gather at conventions and online to talk about their love of the characters and stories of Marvel Comics."