Like millions around the world, when the news that Stan Lee passed away yesterday I was devastated. It has been tough to put into words what Stan Lee meant to me. But in seeing how everyone talks about Stan Lee, from tributes to experiences meeting him, I am even more amazed at the impact he has left on the world. In thinking about the experiences I have had as a kid and adult reading about his creations and how they’ve helped so many people connect with one another I can’t help but smile at the incredible legacy Stan Lee leaves us with.
Without a doubt Stan Lee is an immortal legend. He is someone that through his dedication and imagination brought a wealth of happiness to people worldwide. The way people talked and will continue to speak about him shows that he left a mark that will never be forgotten.
In remembering his impact it is incredible to think how Stan Lee, in collaboration with Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby and many others, created worlds and characters we can all invest in. He saw that superheroes did not need to be perfect. Whether alien or human, no matter how powerful they are, superheroes, supporting characters and villains are people with strengths and weaknesses. He brought that out of every character he created.
Even more amazing is that Stan Lee wasn’t afraid to explore various types of characters. He dared to make the reader care about every character and world he created. Whether it was a teenager in Spider-Man who struggled to catch a break as Peter Parker but never forgot the responsibility that came with his great power. Along with that he presented us with a rich billionaire in Tony Stark who went from a war profiteer to transforming himself into a superhero that did heroic things while facing all his flaws with his second chance at life.
Through Spider-Man, Iron Man and countless other creations Stan Lee taught us that it is never too late to evolve as people or a society. We can all rise up, no matter our upbringing, race, beliefs or career path, to be better and be good to one another. No matter how difficult he showed us that we have the potential to overcome any obstacle put in our way.
Stan Lee also brought life to his creations in a way in which the reader can feel personally connected to the characters and worlds. While we can’t relate to Spider-Man lifting an entire building over his head we can understand the sense of responsibility that drives him to overcome his limits. The same goes for how we see the sense of exploration the Fantastic Four’s have during their adventures or X-Men standing up to people who want to be their oppressors. They all had a relatable quality that made us more invested in the fantastical stories we were reading and seeing play out. This made the moments when our favorite characters overcame villains or obstacles feel more impactful because of the connection Stan Lee was able to create.
And no matter his age Stan Lee was the best champion and hype man fans could hope for. He was always out there championing not just his creations but comic books in general. He knew how special the medium was and was not afraid to show it. His energy was just infectious. There was no way you couldn’t smile when seeing him in public or in pictures. Whether it was at red carpets, comic cons and so many other places. We couldn’t ask for a better person to show why the comic books can be fun and layered with character growth.
I could go on and on about Stan Lee but what I want to end with this: Thank You Stan Lee. Through your dedication, imagination and passion you gave us misfits a place to belong. You opened doors for us all to make lifelong connections with friends and family members through your creations. As well as providing us with hours and years of conversation topics. So while you may be gone you’ll never forgotten. May you rest in peace Stan Lee. EXCELSIOR!