#StanLeeForever: Remembering the man who shaped our childhoods. 'Nuff said!
Stan Lee, the globally renowned comic book writer, who helmed the creation of the Marvel Universe giving millions of kids like me, a childhood of hope, fantasy and belief in human potentiality for good, passed away on November 12 at the Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. He was 95. Here is looking at the greatest comic contributions of Stan the Man.
Breaking ground across races
Black Panther was created by Stan Lee in 1966. While its creation has often been linked to the radical Black Panther Party, it was actually created several months before. It expressed Lee's anti-racist stance and sensitivity to socio-cultural needs. The vibranium-rich Wakanda's ruler was the first black superhero. Black Panther continued making spectacular racial commentary, in hands of writers like Christopher Priest, Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Check out Stan Lee's anti-racist stance
Even heroes have the right to bleed
Lee, the man who created universes, made superheroes everyone could relate to. Here comes Daredevil, the first disabled superhero with his own series. Lee created Matt Murdock's character in 1964 and the blind lawyer-by-day, vigilante-by-night became extremely popular. The series was later given noir-like elements by Frank Miller, but Lee was responsible for sending a message to disabled people that everyone could be heroes.
The magic touch of Lee
Lee's influence was such that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a comic series by Mirage Studios, is a parody of Daredevil. The same accident that took Daredevil's eyesight, gave the Turtles their powers. Thus there would be no TMNT without Lee's Daredevil.
We could be heroes, just for one day
Lee understood his readers largely comprised of adolescents. Therefore, he gave us a growing teenager as a character. Moreover, Lee made him nerdy, exploring themes of bullying and handling power. 1962 saw the creation Marvel's most successful and profitable character, Spider-Man. Young Peter Parker's spirit, innocence, and quick wit instantly became a hit among teenagers and Lee delivered Marvel's most recognized hero, till date.
The hair-raising lines from 'Amazing Fantasy #15', first Spider-Man comic
"...aware at last that in this world, with great power there must also come--great responsibility! And so a legend is born and a new name is added to the roster of those who make the world of fantasy the most exciting realm of all!"
The comics of inclusiveness
X-Men became one of the most famous superhero groups to emerge from Marvel's Silver Age of Comics. Lee created mutants (born with powers) and drew parallels to them being minorities. The leaders Professor Xavier and Magneto embodied the ethos of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. The X-Men comics have served to explore socio-political issues like prejudice, racism, making them extremely relevant across ages.
Lee on the politics of comics
Lee said, "A story without a message, however subliminal, is like a man without a soul...most escapist literature of all...contained moral and philosophical points of view...None of us lives in a vacuum... untouched by the everyday events about us... shape our stories...shape our lives."
The start of Marvel comics
Known as the first family of Marvel, the Fantastic Four in 1961 marked the first iconic collaboration between Jack Kirby and Lee. The team of heroes saved Marvel comics from financial troubles and began what was known as the Silver Age of Comics or the age of Marvel comics. Fantastic Four was known for realism and subverting the traditional superhero archetype through flawed characters.
The start of something amazing
Marvel Comics was earlier known as Atlas Comics in the 1950s and started as Timely Publications in 1939. It was in 1961, the year Fantastic Four came out, that Marvel began its branding and under the leadership of Lee, there was no looking back.
Rest in power, Stan Lee, 'nuff said
Lee, through his visionary sensitivity, created some of comics' most memorable characters, making them relatable to everyone across the social spectrum. Notably, Black Widow, Lee's another creation, was one of Marvel's notable woman superheroes. Death, be not proud, for having created universes and defined my childhood to a large extent, Lee has left behind a legacy that shall live on forever. Goodbye Stan. Excelsior!