Growing up as a child in the rural part of the US, it was not typical to have not read a comic strip by Stan Lee, like Spiderman, X-men, the Incredible Hulk and other characters he created in the 60+ year career as a cartoonist/writer. It was also not typical to have not seen a film or TV-series based on Lee’s characters that created the Marvel Comic universe, regardless of when they were produced. Stan Lee had extraordinary talents that through his work with his characters, attracted everyone, young and old, rich and poor and regardless of what background they had. Stan Lee also brought out the best in those who dreamed of becoming a “pop star” like him because of the philosophy he instilled on his audience: “If you can think it, you can make it.” If one has a great idea on how to change something, even through one’s own writing, the person does it, with dilligence, passion, dedication and love. After all, no character created is alive unless you breath life into it. No idea bears fruit unless you push it through and beyond the limits. And no story is published unless you modify it, scrutinize it and sometimes throw it away and start anew from scratch. This was what many people like myself see from the works of Stan Lee.
Stan Lee was a man who intermingled between the comic world and the real world. He was famous for his cameo-appearances in many of his films, as you can see in the examples below:
He always had a great quote with him, almost all of whom were homemade. Here are my top five quotes:
“The more you read, the better you’re going to become as a storyteller.”- This quote is one that teachers should take notice, as their role in the classroom also includes storytelling.
“Life is never completely without its challenges.” – Think of Rocky Balboa and the Rocky Principle I wrote a while back.
“You know, my motto is ‘Excelsior.’ That’s an old word that means ‘upward and onward to greater glory.’ It’s on the seal of the state of New York. Keep moving forward, and if it’s time to go, it’s time. Nothing lasts forever.”– Especially in the last two sentences one should take notice. You can continue on as long as you wish, but when it’s time to move on, it’s for a reason.
“Most people say, “I can’t wait to retire so I can play golf,” or go yachting or whatever they do. Well, if I was playing golf, I would want that to finish so I could go and dream up a new TV show.” – The secret to Stan Lee’s success was passion. Without that, he would not lived as long as he did. The same applied with Picasso, George Burns, Jimmy Carter and others.
And the last one was part of the Soapbox series, Stan wrote from 1965 to 2001. Each one was found at the back of every comic book; each one dealt with themes that were close to home and to reality. This one, despite it being written in 1968, still holds true today:
It also reached the top of the top five by Inverse Magazine, as they nominated their own top five Soapbox essays written by Stan Lee. The ills of politics and social life mixed in with the themes of Stan’s comics which brought the marriage of fiction and reality. It was through his comics, combined with the on-screen productions that followed that got many to read more and talk about them.
Stan Lee died on 12 November, 2018 at the age of 95. The loss is immense as many people from all aspects are paying tribute to him. And it’s no surprise, as there may never be anyone who can bring fiction and reality together, while producing the best characters for all to read, regardless of which of the 100+ were their favorites. Yet, as we close this tribute to Stan Lee, there is one quote that was made at the end of a TV-episode of The Incredible Hulk in 1978, where the boy mentioned to David Banner (played by Bill Bixby) which led to its ending with its signature melody “The Lonely Man”:
People Never Die As Long as Somebody Remembers Them.
And like Universal Pictures, which ended this in silence, I will do the same except to say this:
Thanks, Stan. For everything you taught us about life from the eyes of a gifted cartoonist…….