Stan Lee’s Legacy Will Live On



Chayce Wellings and Catherine Wiesehuegel

Comic book legend and writer, Stan Lee, has died at age 95. An ambulance was reportedly called to his home in Hollywood Hills on the morning of Monday, Nov. 12 and rushed him to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he later passed away.

Lee was widely known for his co-creation of dozens of comic book heroes within  the Marvel franchise, which started in 1961 with the publication of The Fantastic Four. His co-creations include Spider-Man, Black Panther, The Incredible Hulk, X-Men, Iron Man, the Avengers, and more. Despite his growing influence and popularity in recent years, things have not always been easy for Lee.

After the death of his wife of 69 years in 2017, he filed a suit against POW! Entertainment worth almost $1 billion for allegedly stealing his identity and trying to make a profit from it. He then dropped the suit two weeks later and filed for a restraining order against the man who handled his affairs. In June 2018, it was revealed there were suspicions of elder abuse against him. Despite his recent struggles, Lee still managed to go multiple comic-cons and meet and greet fans all across the nation. The guy was 95 and still going at it!     

Aside from his undying efforts to please his fans, Lee was one of the most influential men in the entertainment industry. The characters he helped create almost 60 years ago are the focus of movies on the big screen now. His tales of a fantastic space-traveling family of four or a wall-crawling web swinger are staples of fiction in the minds of millions of people throughout the world.

He didn’t just write about big strong men in tights who existed to punch the bad guy in the face and save the girl. Lee’s superheroes are like us; they are real people. Peter Parker struggles to pay rent and comprehend his dating life. The X-Men are a discriminated race of people who do what is best for humans and mutants alike, yet they’re hated anyway. The Fantastic Four’s seemingly whimsical adventures are plagued with constant moral debates of sacrificing their gifts to live a normal life and not worry about their fellow man. Daredevil’s inability to see doesn’t stop him from achieving his goal of making his neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen safer.

Lee’s heroes are fun, but they’re also real. They teach us to do the best we can, even though life can be hard. Lee showed us that even the best of us face the same struggles: friendship, love, loyalty, and knowing how to make the right decisions. After all, the man himself wrote the words, “With great power, comes great responsibility.”  

These characters, human or not, have become a part of American mythology. The Romans had Jupiter and Mars, the Greeks had Poseidon and Hades, and we have the Hulk. The stories Lee helped create are now forging the identities of thousands, providing solace for those who need a break from the daily struggles of life. The origins and histories of his beloved characters are known from self-proclaimed experts to mainstream media consumers worldwide.

The Marvel franchise has become the modern-day equivalent to the Star Wars saga with a wide range of fans, each with their own favorite characters and moments inspired by the works of Lee. The most beloved heroes on the silver screen today wouldn’t exist without Stan Lee.

However, do not let the colorful super-villains who talk too much and the wacky Jack Kirby art fool you. Lee’s stories, American myths if you will, are just tales of human nature at their core. Whether it is living through the everyday struggles of Peter Parker and Matt Murdock, or having the aspirations to explore and help the world at large like the Fantastic Four, X-Men, and The Avengers, Lee’s tales of everyday people who just happen to have superpowers will always be recounted for their ability to inspire us and to be a place of escape.

These stories allow people to escape into a world where the fantastic is embraced and imagination flies off of the page. Whimsical tales of old-school heroics and witty dialogue mixed with the likes of artists such as Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Wally Wood, and John Romita Sr., to forever change the landscape of not just comics, but of pop culture as we know it.

Marvel Superheroes are now everywhere. The constant influx of Marvel movies and television shows (Hollywood aside) is mainly due to how timeless these great characters are. The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, The Silver Surfer, The Hulk, and last but certainly not least, Spider-Man, have and always will be among the most influential fictional characters to grace the pages and the big screen.

These characters should not be taken for granted. Lee’s creations have contributed to so many people’s lives over the years. The pure entertainment factor isn’t enough to muster up to the fact that these characters mean a lot to people. If it weren’t for them, many people’s lives would more than likely be different, although they would probably still be nerds. We are ever thankful for Stan’s hard work and charismatic attitude over the years. He will be deeply missed and his Marvelous creations will live on in the hearts of many. As said by the legend himself, “‘Nuff said and Excelsior!”