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Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee dies at 95

by Nina Gee, Staff Illustrator

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Lee redefined the idea of All-American for the public. “That’s the other thing that I do know about Stan Lee is he was way ahead of his time. He used his power to diversify to media…because only someone of that cache could create those comics and get those published,” Miller said.

Superheroes. The people who inspire us to do the unimaginable, who give us hope in the world. People we don’t usually, if ever, come across in real life. It’s not often that we see these kinds of people, but when we do, we cherish them.

On Monday, Stan Lee, the creator of such iconic characters such as Spider-Man, the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and many others, passed away at the age of 95.

A veteran himself, Stan Lee, born Stanley Martin Lieber, died on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, a fittingly poetic ending to the tale of a real life superhero.

As he once said in “Spiderman 3”, “You know, I guess one person can make a difference. ‘Nuff said.”

For many, that person was Stan Lee, the creative mastermind behind many of the All-American superheroes we like to call ours today.

“He’s such a prominent figure in the world of comics,” said teacher Brigid Miller, who teaches the Graphic Narrative senior elective at the upper school. “Every author we read was first influenced by those, what’s called the Golden Age of comics, which was Superman, Batman, Spiderman, the sort of classics that were mass market, right? And from there our authors were influenced to write their own [comics].”

As a young Jewish boy growing up in Manhattan, Lee found a passion in writing and creating stories like the ones in books and films that he consumed so voraciously. Jumping from job to job, he soon found himself a young assistant at Timely Comics, which would later go on to become the household name of Marvel Comics.

As editor in chief of Marvel Comics, Lee made his voice apparent throughout the various stories he spearheaded for the comic company, creating some of the most iconic characters and worlds in the industry to this day.

“I respect him for doing…all the artwork, because he was an artist and a writer, right?” said Marvel fan Hanoom Lee (11). “So I have to really pay respect to that, because not a lot of people can do that.”

Lee redefined the idea of All-American for the public. For many, he was a champion for the underrepresented and the marginalized. He did not hesitate to create discourse on controversial issues such as discrimination, drugs and intolerance. With characters like Black Panther, he showed young African American nerds that they had a place in this world. He empowered people with the “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man,” giving young readers reason to believe that superheroes weren’t all that different to them. His activism further includes an anti-drug storyline in the 1971 issue of “The Amazing Spider-Man,” a story-arc which would later go on to become extremely popular. Superheroes like the blind Daredevil or the Hulk showed people that they could prevail over their flaws or disabilities.

“[He] diversified the media, right?” Miller said. “That’s the other thing that I do know about Stan Lee is he was way ahead of his time. He used his power to diversify to media…because only someone of that cache could create those comics and get those published.”

Lee’s characters have graced the page for nearly 60 years and the screens for upwards of 18 years. His story can be further read about in friend, fellow comic writer and new Marvel Editor-in-Chief Roy Thomas’s book, “The Stan Lee Story.”

Thomas himself had talked to Lee about the new book just 48 hours before Lee’s death.

“I think he was ready to go,” Thomas said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter’s Aaron Couch. “But he was still talking about doing more cameos. As long as he had the energy for it and didn’t have to travel, Stan was always up to do some more cameos. He got a kick out of those more than anything else.”

We will always remember Stan Lee for the galaxy of characters he so boldly folded into our realities.

“Final words?” Hanoom ponders at the end of his interview. Then, in the words of Stan Lee himself, exclaims “Excelsior!”

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Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee dies at 95