You could make a drinking game out of Stan Lee’s cameos, but today we’ll be drinking a toast instead. We’ve lost a star, a game-changer, a man who literally created an entire subset of people.
Stan was 95 years old, which means we all knew his time was coming, but we hoped it never would.
This was a man who literally personified the American Dream, or whatever you want to call it. He was born to immigrant parents, living hand to mouth during his early years. He worked a number of odd jobs, and worked his way to the top.
Stan Lee had the midas touch, or better yet, the Marvel touch.
This man’s body of work is staggering. He co-created multiple universes, with complex inter-relations, immersive storylines and well-rounded characters.
He introduced overarching themes in comics at a time when most stories and characters were cliched black and white tropes.
The X-Men’s fight against the system was symbolic of the fight for civil rights. Black Panther was brought in as the first mainstream African-American superhero.
All of this at a time when there was a lot less tolerance in the world, and plenty of people on his desk were fuming.
The qualities of a superhero first and foremost are – integrity, passion, and a desire for betterment. Stan The Man embodied all of these, and then some.
And that’s why his characters came out so great, because he imbued them with the same vigour he lived his own life with (plus lasers and super-strength and stuff).
Back in the day, before the entire movie franchise became what it is, a special edition Wolverine comic was what did the trick. You’d relish every page, and keep it safer than your most valuable possessions. You could lose yourself in the worlds he created, and despite his absence now, his world lives on. This man is pretty much responsible for almost all of our favourite superheroes.
His comics were a familiar universe you could always go back into. You could find comfort, adventure, and maybe even a cartoon Stan in the midst.
You could learn about life, about diversity, and all throughout, you’d know exactly where it’s coming from – the heart and soul of this smiling, white-haired comic overlord. Goodbye, Stan, and thanks for being the man.