I know I’m late for this, but life happens.
So, Stan Lee, one of the greatest if not THE greatest comic creator ever, has died. Now, I’m not going to reminisce about how great a person Stan Lee was because I never knew the guy personally. I wanted to meet him at a convention but never got the chance. Instead, I’m going to talk about how his work influenced an industry and in some ways me.
I understand how this subject has been touched on many times, but once you think about it, WHAT did Lee do to influence and for some say change the comics industry? Simple, he made characters that were human. Think about this for a minute: Before X-Men, Spider-Man and anything Lee made, comic characters were, well, characters. Their personalities were dependent on what their title was. There really was no complexity to any of the characters. Hell, Superman was just some super strong alien who punched people and smiled a lot. And played baseball. Yes, that actually happened.
So Stan Lee decided “hey, let’s give characters some kind of scope and depth.” Thus, X-men was made. Let’s not forget Spider-man, Blade, Black Panther and The Punisher. Yes, these are superheroes, but they all have realistic “in a way,” shortcomings and weaknesses that aren’t some space rock. Hell, Spiderman’s weakness is that being Peter Parker sucks. Spider-man=fame, fighting bad guys and hanging out with Iron Man. Peter Parker=dead uncle, dead-end job and dead girlfriends.
This guy has influenced guys like Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and way too many indie comic artists to name. This guy said you can make a superhero that has real-world problems and still fight baddies, why? Because that’s what real-superheroes would be like. Yes, people have taken it a bit too far and just create characters that are nothing more than Watchmen ripoffs times 10 or Frank “Sex Sells” Miller clones.
As for me, well, I’m going to be real with you and say not much. I was never really a fan of Marvel/DC but I have seen the 90s X-Men cartoon, Spider-man carton and the Marvel movies. I’m more of a manga guy and whatever American comics I do read come mainly from Dark Horse.
However, I can see the influence in the comics I do read and they do form in my mind that comics are literature and that Lee has had a major hand in it. Granted, I’m not that saddened by his death because I’m not a Marvel/DC fan, but I do know what his work has done for the industry and how well respected he is.
So, Rest in Peace Stan Lee and Excelsior. Your many contributions and cameos will never be forgotten and there probably never will be another comic creator like you.