Updated: Jan 24, 2019
When I heard the news, I had just had a long day, at university, walked home in the rain, and I was cold and tired. I opened Twitter and the next thing I saw was “Stan Lee has died.” The internet makes up fake stories like this all the time, so I didn’t really believe it, but just to check it out I googled Stan Lee. I saw “Born 28 th September 1922 and Died 12th November 2018.” Now I had proof. And yes, we knew it was coming, he was 95, we knew he wasn’t immortal, but it hurts, nonetheless.
I have never ever mourned a celebrity’s death. MJ died, I didn’t bat an eyelid. Paul Walker died, I
continued with my day. But when I read this, the world around me stopped. I was in the process of taking off my jacket and when I read it, I stopped. I sat on the edge of my bed for 30 minutes with a jacket halfway taken off. I have never had to deal with death personally. I have been pained by this for an entire month and I couldn’t even bring myself to write about it.
This man meant so much to so many people, including myself I’d be doing injustice to his legacy if I even tried to explain it. This man was an icon not just because of what he did in terms of comics and Marvel, but as a person he was exemplary.
The year was 1961. Stan Lee was on the precipice of giving up on comic books but thank the Lord that he didn’t because he then created the Fantastic Four alongside Jack Kirby. This was the
beginning of Marvel Comics. In 1961, Stan Lee was 39. 39 years of age, he didn’t give up on his
dream and because of this we have the beauty that is Marvel (and DC) today.
Stan Lee made people that were different feel better about being different. I myself was a socially awkward child that had little to no friends and my escape from this was comic books. I spent 3 years straight researching comic books, learning about heroes and the differences in abilities and learning about this other world. In a science lesson one day, I overheard some people talking about the different types of Green Lanterns which was totally wrong. I interjected. I barely talked to these people but because of my knowledge about this topic, I created a beautiful bond with these people. One of them is even one of my closest friends to this day and this all started because of a conversation about comic books. Does that happen without Stan Lee? No.
Being different isn’t by choice and being different doesn’t mean that you’re any worse or better. This is true regardless of whether you are black, white, gay, straight, Stan Lee understood this. Stan Lee did this with his most popular superhero, Spider-Man. Spider-Man is one of the first fully masked superhero in the time he was created. In an interview Stan Lee stated that “Spider-Man can be anything and anyone. That’s the beauty of him.” He rebuked prejudice through the X-Men and showed people that different does not mean better or worse. He always stated that these issues need to be approached with finesse and intelligence and he did it in a time where issues such as racism were disgustingly prominent. It takes a special type of person to look at a society and speak out about what was wrong.
There will only ever be one Stan Lee and there are millions of people that were fans of him and his work.
Thank you for being you, and you will be missed. You were a real-life superhero.
Written by Joseph "Jigga" Agagwucha for The Nerd Council