On November 12, 2018 the world lost an irreplaceable icon. Stan Lee provided generations of people with a means of escape, adventure, the promise of hope and dreams to be fulfilled. From the time he began writing in 1939 and introduced us to the Marvel Universe he had us enthralled. He could spin a tale like no other and had us eagerly anticipating the next evolution of character.
His work crossed generations and in every character we found a soul mate. His characters became so personal to us that we could see ourselves in them. Whether we saw ourselves as heroes or as villains it did not matter; what mattered is that we could relate and see something in a character so profound that it had an impact on us as human beings. That is a rare gift.
Some of the most memorable characters we have ever known have stepped out from the imagination of Stan Lee; Spiderman, Thor, Wolverine, Black Panther and my personal favorite, Deadpool just to name a few. Some of the top-grossing superhero movies of all time have come from that Marvel Universe. There was not a time in the last decade plus that you could look at a movie listing without seeing a Marvel-inspired character in a leading role. And there are more to come.
So what makes the Marvel Universe so special?
For me the answer is simple. Stan Lee taught us that it was okay to be different; that everyone in this vast universe did not have to look, speak, dress or act alike. He taught us that in moments when we doubted ourselves our greatest strengths shone through. He taught us that even heroes can be admirably flawed and not all villains are what they seem. There were so many layers, so many hidden meanings, and so many messages in his creations yet they seemed to fit with each generation. Lee pushed the boundaries of comics beyond the world of children; he opened the world to adults. He made comics cool for everyone. Stan made comics relevant. The complexities in the characters and the universes in which they lived made us realize that there are many shades of grey in the world. There is no black and white.
Stan Lee was one of a kind. Like many of his famed characters, he too was flawed and plagued by troubles, especially in the last few years of his life. Despite all the headlines and all the gossip that impacted his final years, Lee stood as an immovable force tackling hardships head on. In many ways, he was like a superhero.
For us fans, his legend will live on. For each memory made, each adventure lived and each character beloved, we will remember Stan Lee and the legacy he left behind.
From all your faithful fans: Thank you, sir, for making our childhoods and adulthoods so enjoyable. You will be missed. Rest in Peace.