A tribute to Stan Lee

What did Stan Lee mean to me? 

When I heard that Stan Lee died, I was shocked and hurt. I said to my friends and siblings "Losing Stan Lee is like losing a relative" which is weird because I didn't know him personally but I felt like I did.

As cliche as it sounds, Stan Lee's work heavily impacted my life and I wouldn't be the person I am today without it.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love comic books, especially Marvel comics (even though I don't have a preference when asked if I prefer Marvel or DC, it really depends on my mood) the comics have a special place in my heart.

The superheroes Stan Lee co-created are real people with real problems, that's why I love them so much and reacted to them so positively. Peter Parker is a kid who has this immense power but is still a kid. As much as I'm tired of hearing it, "With great power comes great responsibility" is a lesson that everyone should carry with them regardless of their age.

You also have heroes like Tony Stark and Stephen Strange who have to learn about humility after losing everything. Tony Stark is a playboy and an alcoholic. He's able to overcome his shortcomings and become something more than himself.  You look at characters like the X-Men who were ridiculed for being different, and even though I didn't understand it at the time it showed that it was okay to be different and those differences are what make you unique. (Another cliche message but one I needed to learn nonetheless)

From a young age, I saw myself in these heroes. They felt and still feel like real people that I would want to talk to and hang out with.

I started reading comic books and watching movies and TV shows in the early 2000s and they weren't as popular as they are now and because of that Stan Lee has been a part my life for as long as I can remember. And the older I grew the more constant he became, the more Marvel movies came out, the more Stan Lee cameos there would be. I remember looking forward to his interviews at Comic-Con and at movie premiers. Looking for his cameos became as fun as watching the movies themselves.

His work was something that I could bond with people over. I've lost count over the number of times I've talked about Marvel properties with my siblings, be it comics, movies, TV shows, video games and even Funko Pops. That's our thing, it's something we all collectively love. Some of my closest friends are Marvel fans, I even spent 30 hours watching all the MCU movies with my friend Saff in 2016 (and some of our other friends who joined sporadically) and we bonded over it.
 From internet friends to real people, I know that there are people I can talk to about Marvel who would understand the love I have for these stories and characters because they share the same love.
And for that, I will always be grateful to him.

Stan Lee's impact on cinema.

Without Stan Lee, today's cinematic landscape would be very different. Looking at the highest grossing movies this year, 5 of them are based on Marvel characters and 3 of them are MCU movies. Safe to say that comic movies dominate the box and that's not directly because of Stan Lee but that success can be traced back to him.

Cinema today is dominated by cinematic universes and big franchise movies and although the MCU isn't the first, it's certainly the most popular and lucrative having grossed over $17 billion. Without the characters that Stan Lee co-created, the MCU wouldn't exist and we would have movies like The Avengers, Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Black Panther.

The MCU has opened so many doors in terms of the kind of superhero movies are made as well as watched. The stories he created had social commentary which gives the movies room to either tackle important issues or just be a fun comic book movie. (e.g Ant-Man or Deadpool)

Even though Stan Lee didn't write or direct any of the movies, he's always been a presence where Marvel is concerned whether the movies are being made by Marvel Studios, Sony or Fox. Stan Lee was the constant.

When you think of Marvel, you think of him, interesting because he joined Marvel (then known as Timely Comics) in 1939 as a general office assistant before becoming interim editor of the comics line, a publisher and then becoming the figurehead and public face of Marvel.

Without the success of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man, Bryan Singer's X-Men and Jon Favreau's Iron Man we wouldn't have the comic book renaissance we have now. (Special mention to the Batman movies but they aren't Marvel properties)
Even people who aren't comic book fans have grown to love the characters that he created. The movies have broken boundaries, you no longer have to be a comic book fan to enjoy these movies. I have friends who loved Black Panther,  the first Avengers movie and even Guardians of the Galaxy who have never read a comic book before.
Stan Lee was a lot of things but I think Marvel  described him best

Stan Lee was and always will be a legend. That being said, I also have to give credit to the amazing and talented writers he worked with and co-created his iconic characters with, like Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby who we tend to forget when thinking about the Marvel greats.
RIP Stan Lee.
I'll leave you to enjoy all of his iconic cameos.