Stan Lee 1922 – 2018

Posted: November 13, 2018 in Conventions, Dragon Con, Entertainment, Fiction, Movies

Stan Lee at Dragon Con

Early in the day on November 12, 2018, the horrible news we all sadly knew was coming finally came. Stan Lee had passed away. 

A young kid from New York, Stanley Martin Lieber, long known to the world as Stan Lee, would grow up and change the world. He would create or co-create some of the most well known and most inspiring characters and stories in all of fiction. And he would do it in a medium he originally only saw as a short-term gig he would one day leave before moving on to more serious writing work. Fortunately, for all of us in fandom, he would never truly leave the world of Marvel Comics behind.

Stan Lee, along with Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, John Romita, Bill Everett, Sal Buscema, and others, would guide into creation and then ongoing stories characters like Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Black Panther, the X-Men, the Mighty Thor, Doctor Strange and many others of both incredibly heroic and diabolically evil natures. These were the characters that would capture the attention and imaginations of children young and old through their four-color adventures, and would then move out beyond their newsprint page boundaries to do the same in as many mediums as they could work their way into. Eventually, as pretty much everyone knows unless they’ve been living on a deserted island for the last twenty years, they would even join the ranks of the undisputed kings of the modern box office.

And there was Stan Lee, smiling, joking, promoting, and making cameos the entire way. 

For generations of fans, Stan Lee was Marvel Comics. Stan’s Soapbox was Marvel’s Editor in Chief talking directly to the kids about the amazing world of the Marvel bullpen and the even more amazing world of Marvel’s fantastic creations. For the Saturday morning cartoon set, Stan became the instantly recognizable voice of Marvel Comics, acting as the narrator for many of their best shows.

For the college set and the adults, Stan was the energetic, enthusiastic promoter of not only reading his comics, but for seeing them as something of more value than just an afternoon’s disposable reading material.  Stan Lee became a fixture on college campuses, talking about a range of topics, and he was the go-to guy that every newspaper, news show, and entertainment program wanted to talk to about comics and their place in the world.

Stan & Spidey

Later on, Stan would become a regular and much-loved fixture on the convention scene. He was an absolute joy to see as he talked about the worlds he helped create and the fans who loved those worlds. Stan showed an energy and enthusiasm for his creations, for the fans, and for life that seemed boundless, endless. The amount of love and energy he showed for the works and for the fans was infectious. He was in his element when with the fans as he often proved he was exactly what many thought he was; the world’s biggest and eventually the world’s oldest comic book fan. 

His energy, his charisma, and his endless promotion of Marvel made many other people comic book fans as well. When many other people wouldn’t talk about comic books as a serious art form of any kind, there was Stan pushing the virtues of the four-color creations of the world and their value to that world. Perhaps more than anyone else out there, Stan was for the longest time the greatest champion of comic books, doing everything he could to get people to give them a look and to treat them as something worthwhile and of value, to make them acceptable in society outside of just the elementary school set. 

Dragon Con

He would become even more popular with fans as the world of Marvel Comics began to take over the big screen. In film after film, sometimes in the most endearingly comical scenes in a film, there was Stan Lee living in the same universe as his creations, interacting with them at times while simply being affected by their presence at other times. No matter how good a film was, you could be sure that one of the topics of conversation on the Monday after the opening weekend was going to be the Stan Lee cameo. 

Something is said very often about many when they pass away. It’s not always true. It is in this case. Truly, the passing of Stan Lee is the passing of a legendary figure and an all-time great in his profession. For decades now, for so very many people, Stan Lee was Marvel Comics. The industry and all around it will never feel the same again.

Many people who actually knew him will speak far better than I can on his passing. Sadly, many others will seek to tear him down as has become trendy in some quarters of fandom. For my part, all I can say is that Stan Lee was in part or in full responsible for so many of the things that I associate with my childhood and have deeply and dearly loved ever since then. For that, I thank him. 

I take this last word from his official Twitter account. It’s the picture they posted as the news of Stan’s passing began to flood through social media. 

1922 - 2018

Jerry Chandler is a lifelong geek who, while enjoying most everything fandom has to offer, finds himself most at home in the horror, dark fantasy, and science fiction genres. He has in the past contributed to websites like Needless Things,  Gruesome Magazine, and others while occasionally remembering to put up the odd musings on his own blog. He’s been a guest on several podcasts from the ESO Network, on Decades of Horror, and on the Nerdy Laser. He is also a regular co-host on The Assignment: Horror Podcast as well as the primary writer for its affiliated blog.

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