Today we lost a true icon. A man who gave us so much. He built a whole world that has gone on to inspire each and every one of us in one form or another. Not since William Shakespeare have we seen someone who created such a wide range of characters that speak so powerfully to the human condition. Characters like Spider-Man, while possessing amazing abilities, is one of the most human characters put to page. He deals with ups and downs, wins and losses. Just as each and everyone of us goes through in our lives. He is a reflection of us.
That is what Stan Lee did. He created real world situations and hid them inside of fantastical stories. Much in the same way that Gene Roddenberry did with Star Trek. It let us reflect not only on our lives, but the state of the world without having to address it head on. That is the mark of a great writer, and you would be hard pressed to find anyone with the talent he possessed.
If that was all he had going for him that would have been enough, but he was not only a great writer, but a great man. He was one of the nicest people that I have ever had the good fortune of meeting. He made you feel special, like what you said had importance, even when you were just some 13 year old kid.
A large part of who I am today I learned from not only his stories, but also from the old Stan Soapboxes. He had a platform that he built in an industry that was looked down upon and mocked and he used it to speak about issues that were important. He knew that with great power must come great responsibility and in acting on that knowledge he passed that mindset onto so many young people who would grow up to be better people because of his messages.
The older I get, the more jaded I become. You see so often what an ugly place this world can be, but when I look at the picture I was lucky enough to get with him, it always reminds me that there are people in this world who are good. Who do care. That power and influence doesn't always corrupt us. That maybe there is hope for mankind.
Thank you for everything Stan "The Man" Lee!
Jonathan Gutheinz vents about everything under the sun.