I used to think Stan Lee would live forever. After all, his name was such a constant in my life that it’s hard to believe that he would ever die.
My first recollection of his name was from the Amazing Spider-Man newspaper strip that Star2 used to carry in our comic pages. In fact, as a kid, I used to (mistakenly) feel proud that Spider-Man was written by an Asian guy named Lee!
After that, his name just kept popping up everywhere I looked, through my childhood to my adult life. It was in the comic books I used to read at newstands, in the cartoons I used to watch in the weekends, and today, in the Marvel movies I watch in the cinemas, and as part of my job as part of Star2’s Worlds Of Wonder comic book column crew.
While he created hundreds of characters throughout his career (many with the help of the equally legendary artist Jack Kirby), his greatest creations were the ones that were grounded in reality, and proved that anyone could be a hero.
Spider-Man taught us that with great power comes great responsibility.
The Fantastic Four showed us the value of family and that science is great.
Daredevil showed us that even those with physical disabilities can be heroes.
Iron Man and Doctor Strange reckoned that everyone deserves a second chance to redeem themselves.
Ant-Man showed us that even the smallest of us have a role to play.
The X-Men taught us that outcasts or a minorities can make a difference even if society shuns them.
The Hulk showed us that even a giant green monster who only knows how to smash can feel lonely as well.
Thor… ok, he wasn’t really grounded in reality, but hey, he taught us that even Gods need love and friendship too.
The Avengers proved that even the world’s mightiest heroes need to work together sometimes.
It wasn’t just the characters and comic books he created. Lee’s personal story of a young boy from a poor family during the Great Depression who joined Timely Comics (the precursor to Marvel Comics) in 1939 and became its biggest star is an inspiration in itself.
Today, Lee’s legacy can be seen almost everywhere, in every medium imaginable, from books to comics to film and music. He inspired everyone from comic books creators to pop culture geeks, and even scientists and politicians. He created characters we could all believe in, who inspired us and probably many generations to come.
So maybe I was right – Stan Lee WILL live forever after all. Because, just like in the comic books he helped create, real heroes never die.