If there’s one thing that many of us know from growing up as a kid, its the fact that you had the freedom to let your mind run wild. The possibilities were endless when it comes to the imagination of a child, and if you were lucky, that imagination would carry over into adulthood. For decades mankind has been telling stories that have allowed us to open the door to a new world; a world filled with things that were not from the ordinary, but from the fabric for our own imagination.
When it comes to these kinds of stories we turn to our favorite authors and writers, but one writer in particular has captured and touched the hearts and minds of not just children, but adults as well. Whether you’ve heard of him or not he’s been involved in some part of your childhood (and adolescence), and if you’ve seen any great action movies lately (or have been to the comic book store), then you’re well familiar with his name. Some call him the “Founding Father” of Marvel, and some call him the man who changed the way we look at superheroes.
His name…is Stan Lee.
The legendary creative leader of Marvel Comics is the man behind many of the superheroes that you see on the big screen (and at conventions) today. When it came to creating characters as well as comics, Lee didn’t do it in the conventional way that most writers would have done it; he had a method. During the 60’s and 70’s that method changed the game in terms of how superhero comics were written, and the method that Lee used was deemed “The Marvel Method”. Lee would work with the artist after creating an idea and synopsis, and then a few ‘trades’ later, a story is born.
Lee’s approach to the superhero archetype changed the way that kids and preteens view them as a whole; instead of them being individuals with no flaws or problems at all, Lee introduced a darker and more complex realistic side of their identity that lets us know that even though they have powers, they are also human – in some way. This made the storytelling not just more interesting, but more appealing to the teenage adolescents who were in the angsty years of their youth. I guess you can say that there was a superhero type for everybody, and in this day and age there are superheroes for just about every race; whether your White, African-American, Hispanic, Native-American, Caucasian, or other. Stan Lee along with his partner Jack Kirby had a hand in creating a lot of the wonderful characters and worlds that we come to know in the 20th century.
Lee was also not afraid to push boundaries when it came to his creative works. In 1971 he helped reform the Comics Code; which came in the form of the three-issue subplot of The Amazing Spider-Man #96-98, where Peter Parker’s friend was addicted to prescription drugs. The CCA (Comics Code Authority) refused to grant its seal due to the fact that the issues contained drug use, however Lee published the story without the seal, as he was confident in the request U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare for him to do so. Thus the CCA loosened their restrictions and allowed negative depictions of drug use as well as other freedoms.
If there’s one thing that fans love about Stan Lee, it was the fact that he loved his fans – every single one of them. It didn’t matter if you were a kid or a grown man (or woman), if you were a fan of Lee’s work, then Lee was a fan of you. Although he retired from working with Marvel in the 90’s, he was always connected to his passion in some way. From his charity work to creating various other sources of media for kids as well as aspiring superhero comic book artists, Lee was truly someone who wanted to change the world. There were some who thought that he was wasting his time creating comics for kids and preteens, but truthfully, Stan Lee was an entertainer who wanted to put a smile on the faces on everyone he touched.
So from us to you, we say Excelsior! Stan Lee!!
In loving memory of our favorite real-life superhero…
Stan Lee (1922-2018)