1922 - 2018
No, of course, ‘nuff can likely never be said about this man and the body of work he’s left behind for us.
It's been a rough couple days for comic fans. I must admit, I've been a bit of a wreck every time I think about it.
He's known now as the cameo guy in all the Marvel movies these days, but Stan was the writer and co-creator of the Marvel characters, starting with Fantastic Four #1, released in 1961. He was also the editor and publisher of Marvel in its formative years. He and his collaborators created the Marvel Universe, the biggest and greatest thing in comics, and now the dominant movie phenomenon in the world.
The Hulk was my favorite character in my early comic-reading days, along with the original X-Men. I loved the characters, with the iconic costumes by Jack Kirby, but I really loved the dialogue. There was a great sense of fun and silliness to the dialogue. And a lot of it was quite verbose.
Those comics expanded my vocabulary … voluminously.
I remember him from his essays in my monthly comics - Stan's soapbox. He was funny and warm in his writing - the same way he came across live.
He was also the voice of the animated shows I watched as a kid - he introduced episodes of ‘Spider Man and his Amazing Friends’ and ‘The Incredible Hulk’ (“his skin is green and man, he's mean!”)
Stan is also credited with changing the approach to superhero characters: he gave them human foibles, angst, and internal struggles. The Fantastic Four bickered and fought among themselves. Spider Man had money problems, dating problems, and struggled with reconciling his normal life with his costumed one. Thor and Iron Man and the Hulk - they pretty much ALL had internal struggles as well as fights with bad guys. It changed the comic industry completely and permanently.
He became the Ambassador for Marvel - and for comics in general, really. His presence in the Marvel movies gave them legitimacy with the fans. Very smart of the filmmakers and producers to bring Stan on board! He was the ultimate salesman, and I mean that in the best way.
His favorite character was Spider Man, and actually when the first big budget Spidey movie was being made by Sam Raimi, Stan lobbied to play the gruff J. Johah Jameson (I think the character was actually based on Stan). He didn't get to play Jonah, But did cameo, of course, in all the Marvel movies (at least I think he's in all of them).
You know, we use big adjectives too freely I think. Genius. Legend. Icon. There are very few who reach the level of Stan Lee, though. We need a new word for people of that stature. This is a guy on the level of Walt Disney. And for me, Stan is the greater.
He had an extraordinary run, as far as longevity and especially in the body of work and legacy he gave the world. Marvel comics were a defining part of my childhood and teenagehood - and with the Marvel movies now the biggest cultural mainstream force there is - well, Stan the Man will live on for many many years.
In tribute to this great man, I'm going to read some comics. And then watch one of the Marvel movies that owe their existence to Stan Lee.
There are a LOT to choose from.
It's a massive loss to the comics world - let's face it, it's the biggest loss there is.
Stan - rest in peace.
And thank you!
Banes at 12:00AM, Nov. 15, 2018
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