On Monday, Nov. 12th 2018, the world bid farewell to the legendary Marvel Comics mastermind Stan Lee. He was 95 years old. Words cannot express the loss, nor the personal and cultural impact of such a revolutionary and creative mind. Stan created something truly amazing in Marvel Comics and helped bring the medium into the forefront of American culture.
He was there in the beginning when comics were still a thing of obscurity, creating characters that would soon become household names throughout the world. He was there when the comics faced public backlash led by Psychiatrist Fredrick Wertham and the Comics Code Authority was implemented.
Through the rise, the hardships, and the success, Stan the Man was there to see it all. In fact, Stan was the reason the cultural phenomenon known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe became a reality. After leaving for Hollywood and spending decades trying to sell the film rights to his characters, his hard work finally paid off in 2008. He changed the world of entertainment forever.
Stan was a visionary. He was a big picture kind of guy. Those who know of his life and work know that he was responsible for the ideas. He was the writer and he gave his artists creative freedom in bringing these ideas to life. This is why his artists are credited as co-creators of many Marvel characters. This Marvel method of comic book creation allowed the company to churn out the supply of books the public demanded in those early days. Today, comic books and superheroes are mainstream and much of that is thanks to Stan Lee.
However, more important than the business he created or the film franchises he went on to start, Stan gave us something greater. He brought us those brief, precious moments of respite in a world full of obligation and expectation. He brought the escape we needed when times were hard. He was a bringer of joy in world that sorely needed it.
When I heard the news of Stan’s passing, I took a moment to scroll through my multiple social media feeds. Everyone was sharing the news. Everyone was talking about how he impacted their lives; what he meant to them and how he helped them. He gave us ideals of justice and what it means to be hero.
Stan Lee touched the lives of countless people and did something most creative minds dream of doing. He made us smile. He made us laugh. He made us cry. Stan Lee’s work made us truly feel alive. My life is irrevocably changed for the better because of him. While I never met him face-to-face, I feel that I could call him a friend. A mentor. He was and will forever be a personal hero to me.
Though he may be gone from this world in body he will live on forever in spirit. In the spirit of his creations. In the spirits of all those he reached. He will never be forgotten. So, try not to mourn too long, my fellow true believers, for there is still work for us to do. It is time we pick up Stan’s torch and follow his example. Let us spread love, hope, and joy to the world. Let us do as he did. Let’s make this world a brighter place. Excelsior!
R.I.P Stan Lee (12/28/1922 – 11/12/2018)