Like most red-blooded American kids, I read comic books growing up. However, my comics were more geared towards Archie, Mickey Mouse, and Duck Tales. Every now and again, I’d check out the comics featuring superheroes. I was mostly drawn to the movies and TV shows they starred in. So it’s no surprise that I didn’t learn of Stan Lee’s existence until I was 15 years old. I was watching the movie Mallrats (I think my sister and I are the only people that actually like that film), and true to form, Stan made a cameo. That was my first introduction to the legend.
Don’t get me wrong, I was a fan of The Incredible Hulk and Spiderman as a child (Spiderman especially), but I never thought about the man behind the stories; the creator himself. Stan Lee was greatly responsible for bringing us so much of the entertainment that helped shape our lives and give us so much enjoyment today. Just think about it: a lot of my posts are about Marvel films. I just wrote one last month about my top 10 movies in the MCU. It’s thanks to Stan Lee that I was able to fall in love with Thor (and yes, I realize Thor was a mythical Nordic God, but it was Stan who gave him mainstream appeal), rush to the movie theatre to see the next Avengers film, and enjoy reruns of “The Incredible Hulk” TV series.
Stan was also an extremely forward-thinking man, seeing as he helped create the characters of T’Challa and Luke Cage during an extremely turbulent time in America (more so than the present day, believe it or not). He also modeled the X-Men storyline from the Civil Rights Era, and based Professor X and Magneto on Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, respectively (although Malcolm X was no where near as murderous as Magneto). Let’s not forget the now legendary edition of “Stan’s Soapbox” that he printed in 1968 where he blasted the practice of racism and bigotry:
Stan was truly one of a kind, and although I’ll miss him—especially his hilarious cameos in ALL his Marvel films—I can’t be too upset that he passed on. Mr. Lee lived a wonderful life. He created a universe that will be revered for generations to come. He was active and in his right mind right up until his last days. He lived to be 95 years old. When people think of Marvel, they automatically think of Stan Lee. Those are brillant accomplishments that we all wish we could aspire to. Rest in power, Stan.
Stanley Martin Lieber aka Stan Lee: December 28, 1922 – November 12, 2018
—Written by Nadiya