It’s hard to believe that this day has finally come. Despite being 95 years old, he still had so much life left in him. Stan Lee has been a big part of my life, especially during my childhood. So rather then mourn his death, I want to celebrate his life by talking a bit about some of the characters that had such an impact on the world.
After serving in the U.S. army from 1942 to 1945, Lee went on to work with other writers at Marvel Comics such as Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and even his brother Larry Lieber. He was the co-creator of the Fantastic Four, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Daredevil,, Ant Man, The Incredible Hulk, X-Men, and of course my favorite super hero ever, Spider-Man.
Between Marvel and DC, I’ve always preferred the former. Aside from Batman, who I like a lot, most of the DC characters really didn’t click with me. To me they were too idealistically perfect and invincible. It was Stan Lee who came up with the idea that superheroes could be flawed people. Along with vanity issues, depression, and money problems to name a few, they felt more human rather than gods. Even having super powers weren’t always shown in a positive light. They usually caused more problems or came from tragedies.
If you were a kid in the 90’s then you’ll remember that it was a great time for superhero shows. X-Men was arguably the most popular thanks to great writing, smart social commentary, and of course that awesome opening theme tune.
You have people that posses special abilities of a wide variety. Most of society shun these people, who are labeled mutants. This hatred towards people that are different is of course a play on civil rights for people of color in our world. Professor X was clearly based on Martin Luther King Jr. It focused on people who felt like outcasts, even within the mutant community. Not every mutant had what you’d call an exciting power. In fact for some they made life very difficult. One of the members of the X-Men, Rogue, is unable to come into physical contact with anyone. Her ability drains a persons life force, which of course means death. I think it was very bold to cover topics like this in a kids show.
Now there were two shows that defined my childhood in the 90’s; Pokemon and Spider-Man. Every day I’d race home after school to watch them. Spider-Man was the very first superhero I ever saw.
What hooked me immediately was his personality. He loved to talk a lot of shit, much to the annoyance of his enemies. But when he went back to being Peter Parker he reminded me of myself. He wasn’t popular in school, he struggled with relationships, and worried if he’d be able to pay his rent. As a kid I wasn’t popular in school either, in fact, until I started college I hated school because I had a hard time fitting in. As an adult I worry about getting a job, making money for a place of my own, and to pay for car repairs. No other comic book character has been closer to me then Spider-Man.
At the end of the series, after all the hardships he’d been through, Spider-Man was given the gift of meeting his creator. It was a moment that I’m sure touched a lot of fans at the time. At around 7 years old, this was the first time I’d ever seen Stan Lee.
Not only was he a great writer, Stan Lee was also a huge personality within the public. Even after retiring from Marvel he continued to be the face of the company. When you watch him in interviews he’s always sincere when talking about his career. He was always honest and never took credit away from others. Of course his most popular appearances are within the Marvel movies. Even though they were just cameos, it’s going to feel weird watching future movies without him in them. The last time I saw him was in the recent Spider-Man video game.
I know that it’s natural to be sad when loosing a loved one. But I don’t think it’s something that we should linger on. Death is something that everyone go’s through eventually. Ultimately, this man lived a great life. He did so much and left seeing his creations done right on the big screen. Nobody knows when they’ll leave this world and fewer get to go on such a high note. So while I was sad that this man, who brought so much joy finally go, I’m ultimately happy for that same reason. And I know that his memory will live on for years to come.