FILE - In this April 16, 2002, file photo, Stan Lee, 79, creator of comic-book franchises such as "Spider-Man," "The Incredible Hulk" and "X-Men," smiles during a photo session in his office in Santa Monica, Calif. Comic book genius Lee, the architect of the contemporary comic book, has died. He was 95.
(AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)
As a staff, we wanted to compile some of our thoughts on the legacy and unparalleled influence of Stan Lee and his works’ lasting impact on our lives:
I have always had a particularly special place in my heart for comics and, although most of my treasured characters fall into the realm of DC, the X-Men have always been profoundly meaningful to me. Without Stan Lee and his inimitable imagination and brilliance, I wouldn’t have some of the absolutely exceptional, comforting and important characters in my life. I have adored the X-Men for much of my 18 years on this Earth, and I don’t have any plans to abandon them soon. Betsy Braddock, Emma Frost, Ororo Munroe, and Laura Kinney have always been most precious to me. Laura perhaps most of all. A young girl who seems older than her years and has endured more than any one person should have to, Laura has been a source of strength and inspiration for me for a long time, and I find solace every time I let myself dive back into her stories. I am so grateful to Stan Lee for giving me a vehicle through which I was able to learn how to accept and understand myself in the form of such beautiful characters and stories.
When I was a child I knew I wanted to be a writer because of Stan Lee. Like Lee, I wanted to write novels. I wanted to be taken seriously, but if there’s one thing time and perspective do, it’s the realization that any story can be powerful. Lee—along with talented artists like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko—transformed a genre thought to be shallow and for children into something more. His formation of the Marvel Universe changed how everyone approached lowbrow fiction. Why are these heroes dominating our entertainment landscape? Why are we obsessed with simple CGI morality plays? Shouldn’t we be tired of characters that do nothing but fight for good? Because when a writer with as much talent as Stan Lee is at the helm, he can take any character and make it more than what’s on the page. Spider-Man struggles with making girlfriends happy and paying rent. The Incredible Hulk shows the delicate balance of emotions and the devastation raw fury can bring. The Fantastic Four were a conflicted space age family that went on adventures that broke the rules of creativity and collaboration. We are captivated because he made the impossible, human.
Stan Lee was the man that could take a book meant for children and make it the Great American Novel he wanted to make in his youth. Stan Lee is the writer I most admire.
If you look at his extensive list of characters he was responsible for, you’ll realize how much impact he had on us. Five hundred years from now, people will still be true believers. Because of him.
For as long as I can remember, Stan Lee and his creations have been a major part of my life. Being raised in the ’90s, the Fox Kids TV shows and trips to the comic book store were reasons to live. As these characters of the Marvel Universe grew in my mind,
I quickly began to realize this wasn’t a childhood infatuation that would fade away, but rather a love for the vibrant creativity and otherworldly yet relatable stories on the page and on screen that would stick with me for the rest of my life. This world view would only become more enhanced with the release of X-Men in 2000 and Spider-Man in 2002. This was around the time I became aware of Stan Lee himself as well, as he had his first two notable Marvel movie cameos in these films and he was heavily featured in the special features on their DVDs, talking about the creation of the characters in the 1960s. I was fascinated not only with the characters and their stories, but the history of them and their legendary place in our culture.
The more I think about it, the more I think I am the perfect age for someone to have been brought up on Stan Lee’s vast catalog of artistic influence. With my first years being captivated by Marvel Comics both on animated television and on the page, followed by being awestruck with them coming to life in the movie theater and then now fully realized and streamlined in their modern form with the MCU which began with Iron Man when I was sixteen years old, I guess you could say the Marvel brand is something that has grown with me. It will always be within me. Stan Lee lives on within me, within all of us.
How do you give thanks and show admiration to a man you have never met, but has inspired your wildest imaginations?
It is hard to believe that Stan Lee helped create some of the most well known fictional characters across the globe. These characters are directly responsible for shaping some of my values and inspiring me to be a better person. The one character Stan Lee created that inspires me till this very day is the Black Panther. Stan Lee has passed away, but with his death, he leaves behind a legacy that will outlast many. He was a pioneer that shaped the lives of millions through his creations and influence. R.I.P