Stan Lee, the co-creator of such fantastic Marvel Comics superheroes as Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, and The Avengers passed away today at age 95. He was involved with Marvel Comics, originally called Timely Comics, for decades as a writer, editor and publisher. His comics brought great joy to me in what was otherwise a very tumultuous childhood. They helped keep me sane by giving me a fantasy world to hide in when the real world became too much to bear.
I’ve collected and loved comic books for most of my 5 decades on Earth, and Stan Lee’s characters and style of writing them is the reason why. There would be no multi-billion dollar Marvel movies today if not for Stan Lee. His reinvention of the super hero genre in 1961, with the release of The Fantastic Four, injected a sense of realism into comics by placing the characters in the “real” world and giving them real world problems. Spider-Man worried about how to pay his rent and how to date girls and be a web-slinging super hero at the same time. The Fantastic Four fought and bickered with each other just like real families do. He made his characters relatable to me and millions of other readers across the world. He made comic books mainstream. And he made them fun.
I’ve met many comic book creators and writers during the years when I attended comic book conventions on a regular basis but never got to meet Stan. Even so, he’s been a part of my life for so long, I feel as if I know him, and today I feel that a dear personal friend has died. Thanks, Stan for bringing so much joy into my life, in many ways you helped save it. Rest well. You will be missed. Excelsior!