I’m not gonna lie and say that I was a big comic book fan. I admittedly wasn’t. As a kid, I was into many different avenues in the nerdy sphere (video games, movies, TV, etc.), but somehow comic book reading was one of the few things in that sphere that passed me by. I did always have an admiration for the artform, though, and surely heard a great deal about both Marvel and DC comics from friends and family. I’d hear of the magesty, attention to detail and deep stories found in the pages of Marvel and be blown away by both the absurdity and the magnificence of it all.
So, when I talk about the unfortunate passing of Stan Lee this morning, I may not be coming at this from the same place many diehard Marvel fans would. I was never a consumer of his, shall I say, direct work; however, you don’t have to be a comic book reader to feel the weight of this loss today. In fact, if you’re a consumer of pop culture in general, you’d be a fool not to acknowledge the impact that one Stanley Martin Lieber had on entertainment as a whole. I’m not just talking about the Spider-Man movies, Netflix TV shows, X-Men films, or Marvel Cinematic Universe, either. Oh, no. Stan Lee’s influence can be felt in quite a large bit of film, TV, literature and beyond. Just through the vibrant, bold, and complex characters he drew up back in the 60’s he moved the world in a way most artists could only aspire to do themselves.
As a testament to that, take a good look here at how many famous figures are paying tribute to Lee today. And these sentiments aren’t just exclusive to actors, directors, writers, producers, authors, scientists, and playwrights. Take a look around you. No matter who you are, what you’re into, how old, what gender, or what walk of life you come from, you’d be remiss to find a person who hasn’t been touched by his creations. Anyone who ever owned a Spider-Man mask, Hulk hands, Iron Man blaster, Thor hammer, Captain America shield, Wolverine claws, Fantastic Four uniform, Deadpool shirt, Black Panther action figure, Magneto helmet, Starlord jacket, Punisher tattoo, Thanos Infinity Gauntlet, or even a Baymax plush doll is a fellow recipient of Stan Lee’s gift of imagination, character and entertainment.
It’s due to this immense impact on the lives of so many that this news is hitting us all where we live. For some of us, his work has been part of our lives in much more meaningful ways than others, making this blow even more sobering. Fans of Marvel comics, shows, games, and films (it’s no secret that I count myself among this group) will probably find it hard as we witness the first Marvel comic not able to receive Lee’s approval comes to store shelves or the first Avengers film not to feature a cameo from Lee enters theaters.
That’s because he was among those creators that gave 100% of themselves — his time, his energy, his personality, his charm, his passion — to their creations. I may not have ever met the man myself, but in a way I, as no doubt most fans of his do, could feel the person he was through what he put into the world. Something about him exuded humility, sincerity, consideration, humorousness, and kindness. Couple that with how many of those fortunate enough to have met or known the man echo the same sentiment, and it all but confirms that very description of him I just gave.
Lee stood for the innovative and inspiring spirit of a great creator. He may not have done it all by himself, but he certainly contributed a great deal to one of the greatest phenomena in pop culture. If there’s anything I believe we should take away from the legacy of Stan Lee, it’s his demonstration of finding beauty in what we deem different while also finding the humanity in what we consider extraordinary. Through characters like the ones I just mentioned, he showed that the things that make you seem alien to those around you don’t make you lesser. In fact so long as you carry this simple motto in your heart, “With great power comes great responsibility”, you can be considered even greater.
For that and much more, I along with untold billions of fellow true believers salute the man known as Stan Lee. You’ll be missed. 95 years was still way too soon for you to leave us, but so long as your characters survive, so will you. Here’s to watching your legacy be played out from above! Excelsior!
I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!