Thoughts on Stan "The Man" Lee's Passing at 95.

No Caption Provided

Stan Lee passed away yesterday at 95. My phone blew up with text notices from friends and family members about it. They know I'm a comic book fan. The notices were from people who are not as deeply devoted to comic books as I am.

Both Mark Waid and Marv Wolfman posted on Facebook that if not for Stan Lee, comic books might have faded away, like the drive-in movie theater, in the '60's. For better or for worse, if Stan had not worked with Steve Ditko creating Spider-Man and Doctor Strange; and Jack Kirby... well, creating pretty much the rest of the Marvel Universe - The Avengers, Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk - low sales would have collapsed comics.

Legend has it that Batman was very close to being cancelled until the television series came along to revive interest.

Stan Lee created the flawed comic book hero. DC Comics have their icons. There are no flaws to Aquaman, The Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Superman or Wonder Woman. They have weaknesses, but not flaws. That's the strength and popularity of the characters. When Ryan Reynolds celebrated his birthday a few weeks back, the thought popped into my head: Captain Kirk with a power ring. There's that scene in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, where Kirk tells his ill-fated Vulcan science officer that he is going into a meeting with Starfleet and he is going to get his ship back. He seems angry. But he is determined. Confident. That's Hal Jordan right there. My best friend growing up was confident to the point he seemed arrogant.

None of us can be Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, J'onn J'onzz, Arthur Curry or Diana Prince. We could be Dick Grayson. A few of us could be Hal Jordan. Realistically, we could be Barry Allen.

In reality, though, each and every one of us is Peter Parker.

There are days, when I see that if it weren't for my bad luck, I wouldn't have any luck at all.

From my near quarter-century in radio, Stan Lee was a showman. He was a ringmaster. A carnival barker. A car salesman. All compliments.

Stan Lee elevated the comic book creator. Comic book creators became something like rock stars. There are people like Bill Finger, Steve Ditko, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster - they let the work stand and speak for itself. Men like Bob Kane and Stan Lee, they were not satisfied with that. Stan Lee became as big as the characters he created.

He made creativity look easy. So easy, in fact, that any body could do what he did.

He didn't just co-create the Marvel Universe. He didn't just revive comic books. He inspired people like you and me to be creative. If Stan Lee could do it, so could you and I.

2 Comments