Stan Lee passed away on Monday, November 12, 2018, at the age of 95. We all knew this would happen someday, but that doesn’t mean we weren’t saddened at the news. Several of the Nerds at Nerdlocker wanted to say one final goodbye to a man who had such a huge impact on our lives.
Growing up in a house with brothers nearly a decade older than me I learned to like what they liked, eat the food they ate, read the books they read. Fortunately, my brother Thomas was into comic books. I remember growing up with Superman, and the Warlord, but nothing captured my attention like Journey into Mystery #102 and the appearance of Lady Sif. She fell into the typical ladies role but she also was capable of fighting alongside Thor. She didn’t need anyone to save her. I would talk about her stories with Thomas and he started having me read other comics (like X-Men and Fantastic Four) and fall in love with these worlds. Kirby. Ditko. Lee. These were the names of my childhood. Saying goodbye to the last of these titans of my youth – the men who gave me strong men and women to look up to and a whole universe to adventure in – has hit me hard. Stan became the face of the MCU and I’m not looking forward to a time where he isn’t in the movies, stealing that moment for himself. I hope he and Joan are together again, having a good laugh. Stay strong, True Believers
What does Stan Lee mean to me?
He means to me the ability to be what I am, to embrace who I am. I am a full-fledged NERD and it’s thanks to people like the immeasurable, larger-than-life Mr. Lee. While I was never the most avid comic book reader I’ve never been delusional enough to think that this man’s influence never carried over into my life. He made it okay to be different, to accept the things that might be seen as silly or insignificant to someone who simply doesn’t get it. I am a movie nerd through and through and because of Stan Lee and those like him I can show myself for the true nerd that I am. He made it not only acceptable but by many accounts he made it cool to be, let’s call it over enthusiastic, about the things that make up pop culture. I may have never been a daily comic reader but I can absolutely admit that one of my favorite characters not just in comic books but from pop culture as a whole, is The Punisher. He approved the name and from there a legendary character of vengeance was born. I originally wrote the question in the past tense: What did Stan Lee mean to me? But as we all know, he’ll outlive us all. So again, not what did he mean to me but…
What does Stan Lee mean to me?
In this community, who’s life hasn’t been effected by Stan Lee? I grew up on the X-Men cartoon. That was roughly my first introduction to the superhero world. I remember watching it with my dad every time a new episode came out. His creations helped shape my childhood. I remember trips to the comic book store were something I constantly looked forward to. As a kid, his creations were fun, and they helped fuel daydreams of fighting crime, and beating the bad guys. The X-Men were a group of people that were attacked because they were different. Spider-Man by day was nerdy guy who couldn’t catch a break. They were relatable for an awkward kid like me. But they showed how just because you’re different it didn’t mean you’re weird. They saved the world, they won the good fight. They were inspiring. Stan Lee showed us that what makes you different is your strength. Not only were these people you looked up to, but it gave you hope that you too could make a difference if you always chose the higher ground. That good beats evil if you’re persistent. By absolute chance I ended up in the same hotel lobby with him at SDCC one year. I remember seeing him, and almost on instinct just bolting in his direction. Like muscle memory. It’s someone you’d know from anywhere but you never actually think you’d meet. I remember walking to the other side of the security guard and all of the sudden I’m face to face with The Man himself. All of the sudden my mind goes blank. What was I even going to say? He smiles and sticks out his hand and says “how are you?” Without thinking I reach to shake his hand and just say “Thank you for everything.” He just laughed, nodded his head and said “Excelsior!” I could’ve died. I had just heard Stan himself say his famous line.
What else do you say to him? He created icons. Characters who have helped people, who stand for much more than just a hero in a comic book. You created stories and characters that have bonded people through generations. Going further that comic books, pop culture would not be what it is today without you. You enjoy the Marvel movies? Stan Lee is responsible for just about every one of those characters you see on that screen. We may never know how far his reach truly extends. In creating legends he has become one himself. So what else do you say to a man like Stan Lee? I said it once, and I’ll say it every time I’m at a midnight showing for a Marvel movie, or every time I go in to pick up my pull box from a comic book store. Thank you for everything Stan. Excelsior!
Stan Lee created almost all the core characters of Marvel Comics. Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor and many more. He has been the main man in charge of Marvel comics since 1941. There will never be another Stan Lee. Stan Lee created hundreds of characters in his 95 years he spent on this earth. I don’t know if I could pick just one that stands out to me the most except for the HULK. I sometimes feel misunderstood and I can get upset and feel angry, but deep inside I’m just a man. The HULK’s backstory as a regular guy who is changed by a science experiment gone wrong, bouncing back and forth between a regular guy and this angry beast. Growing up the HULK was who I felt I was, not so much now as an adult, but I still love that angry green guy more so than any other character Mr. Lee has created.
I Thank you for this Stan Lee.
I grew up in a small town near Cleveland, Ohio. Every Sunday we’d have the Cleveland Plain Dealer delivered to our house. I would have to wait for my dad to peruse the whole paper, but there was always a special moment when he finished. He would fold it up announcing his completion, but not before pulling out the Funnies section. He would hand it to me. With extreme anticipation I would snatch it up and devour the once a week colorized comics. One of my favorite strips was Spider-Man written by Stan Lee. Of course at the time I had no clue how important this man was to the universe I would grow to love.
I’ve read comic books my whole life. It started as a way for my parents to keep me entertained on long family drives and continues through today. No clue why, but I always found myself picking up Marvel comic books when we stopped at the gas stations during those early trips. As I grew older, I began to understand the importance of this man who shaped Marvel Comics. I started to read his columns in the back of the books as well as watched him on television when he introduced cartoons or television specials. Although he looked like an adult, his energy and enthusiasm was on par with what my friends and I felt. It was contagious.
Flash forward to my 40s and I find myself more enamored with the Marvel universe than ever before. Marvel Studios has finally cracked the cinematic world, and their partnership with Netflix has entertained me for hours. And that’s not even counting the original source material the comic books themselves.
Despite all those contributions, one of my favorite Stan Lee creations was his character in Mallrats, which of course was himself. He embodied his own energy, enthusiasm and even naivety to perfection. I have no idea how Kevin Smith convinced Stan Lee to discuss such amazing topics as the Thing’s junk, but I’m grateful he did because it played out beautifully onscreen. This is exactly who I imagine Stan Lee to be, a creative genius willing to discuss any number of comic book topics with any number of strangers that simply showed interest in the medium.
I’m glad his creations are in good hands and have been for years. They have obviously outlived his vision of them to evolve with the changing times over and over again. But without his original brainstorming, cooperation, and perseverance, a lot of the stories I love would never have come to fruition.
As I get older, I will inevitable see more and more of my heroes pass away. I am very grateful that Stan Lee lived and continued to contribute to the Nerd world well into his 90s. But that doesn’t mean I will miss the joy he brought to the world any less. As simple as it sounds, thank you for being you.
Luckily for us, Stan Lee will live on forever in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We couldn’t help ourselves looking back at his many wonderful cameos. We thought you might like remembering them too.
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