Rest In Peace, Stan Lee.
Yesterday we learned about the passing of a legend. Stan Lee, known around the world for his hand in creating many of the cornerstones of the Marvel Universe, died on Veterans’ Day at the age of 95.
Honestly, I’m still having a bit of a difficult time putting together words on the subject. Not because I’m especially emotional. Quite the opposite. It’s more of a hollow feeling, really. Of course, I always knew. I was dreading the day I’d actually see or hear the words and they not be a hoax. But I knew. And when the day came, my immediate emotional response was this emptiness.
It’s just how I am, really. But one shouldn’t mistake that for me not caring. Quite the contrary. I cannot overstate the influence this man’s work has had on me. His creativity fed my imagination. In this world, two things inspired me above all else to become a creative. The first was, as everyone knows by now, Pokemon. But the second was the Marvel Universe. I grew up on superhero cartoons – Spider-Man and X-Men in particular – even though I didn’t really understand a lot of the nuances of what was happening in them until later.
The first comic books I ever read were 1963’s Amazing Spider-Man #2 and #3. The original appearances of the Vulture and Doctor Octopus, respectively. They were original floppies from back in the day that my dad bought for me while he was out, somewhere. I dunno if he ever told me where he got them. But it was amazing to me, seeing that the guy in the red and blue tights from the TV was actually from this little book with pictures.
I became fascinated with superheroes, shortly thereafter. The amazing abilities, the bright colors, the larger-than-life personalities, and the incredibly human stories behind so many of them. An element that Stan, himself, pioneered in a big way through his work on everything from The Fantastic Four and Spider-Man to The Hulk and The X-Men. And his influence spreads well beyond just his creations at Marvel. Bemoan the pettiness of the fanbases though I may, I’ve never lost my love of the stories, themselves.
I’ve been reading comics since I was 10 and Stan was a huge part of the reason why. When I learned that all of these characters coexisted, it blew my mind. And when I learned more about the various people behind it, I started to think “I wanna do that.” I’ve always enjoyed seeing people have fun. And more than that, I like being a part of said fun. Of course, the way I do that is by entertaining. To the best of my ability, anyway. And that’s probably the reason I was so drawn to the stories that Stan told.
All the man wanted was to entertain people. And he wound up inspiring them. Myself included. Stan’s legacy is one of creativity, wonder, and humanity. Things that I strive to bring to all that I do. And it’s a legacy that lives on through what he helped create. So thanks, again, for the stories, Stan. And you were right. One person can make a difference.