Stan Lee: A True Marvel

Jackson Filosa and Jason Finkst

On Monday, November 12th, Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee was found dead in his home. He was 95 years old, and the cause of death was later determined to be heart failure. It was a devastating loss as so many people have been influenced by Stan Lee and his creations. Stan Lee revolutionized the comic book industry and is the brilliant mind behind most of today’s superheroes that dominate the movie box office. He was an inspiration and proved that you can make a difference in the world no matter what you do. As he said himself: “I used to be embarrassed because I was just a comic book writer while other people were building bridges or going on to medical careers. And then I began to realize: entertainment is one of the most important things in people’s lives. Without it, they might go off the deep end. I feel that if you’re able to entertain, you’re doing a good thing.”

Born Stanley Martin Lieber, Lee grew up in Manhattan and began working in the comic book industry as an assistant at Timely Comics. He worked his way up through the ranks to eventually become a writer. As he evolved, so did the company, changing its name to Atlas Comics and eventually Marvel Comics. One of Stan Lee’s greatest contributions was the heroes that he created during his time as a writer on the Marvel creative team. He co-created Thor, Iron Man, Spiderman, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, the Hulk, and more. One of his key strategies was to humanize his heroes and make it so that his readers could relate to them. As he put it, he wanted to make them “real flesh-and-blood characters with personality.”

Besides making heroes who his readers could empathize with, Stan Lee also made his readers feel appreciated. He created “Stan’s Soapbox,” a section at the end of his comic books where readers could write in and have their letters published, along with a response from Lee. In no time, all the readers felt as if they were close friends. As his fame and celebrity increased, he never stopped being kind and genuine with his fans. One of his fans said after he met Lee in person: “Stan Lee understood that while it’s nice to be important, it’s more important to be nice.”

The influence of Stan Lee can clearly be seen within the halls of Ipswich High School, for students and teachers alike. Ipswich High School band director Mr. Lee (no relation) said that Marvel comics were a huge part of his life growing up: “There’s always been Marvel,” he said. “I spent a good majority of my time growing up playing with action figures and other Marvel based stuff. Spiderman especially was really big… I had the legos and everything; I was set.” Mr. Lee also brought up another one of Stan Lee’s achievements, which was inclusivity in the comic book industry. “He designed a lot of characters, and he was also very inclusive when it came to integration… He created female superheroes, African-American superheroes; I think he really bridged the gap for stuff like that,” he said.

Ipswich High School senior, Jacob Eliopoulos, also added “[Stan Lee] has had a great influence on my life because I spend a lot of time watching Marvel movies and seeing the stories he’s created. The movies give me something to do with my friends and provide a nice break from sports and homework. ” The Marvel Cinematic Universe has brought in over 17 billion dollars at the box office and consistently produces highly rated and highly grossing movies. Jacob concluded by saying, “Stan Lee is responsible for a lot of great entertainment.”

In conclusion, the world lost a visionary creator when Stan Lee passed away. His revolutionary role in the comic book industry, on the big screen, and in the hearts of all his adoring fans will forever be remembered. Whether it was his inclusivity, friendliness, or his hilarious cameos in the Marvel movies, he brought a lot of joy into the world. True to Lee’s nature, he was a creator until the end. As Marvel Comics current top writer Brian Michael Bendis said: “He still wanted to create, all he had done and it wasn’t enough.” Stan Lee may be gone, but through his movies, characters, and stories, his legacy lives on.