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Remembering Stan Lee and All That He Gave Us

From Spider-Man to the Hulk and more of our favorite Marvel characters, we thank you.

stan lee

On November 12th, 2018, Stan Lee passed away at the age of 95. A man who helped to create some of our favorite superheroes, Lee has shown us over and over again what it means to be a superhero. With his passing, I thought about all the characters that Stan Lee created (and some of the characters that he helped keep alive through his work).

Marvel Comics is a mix of creators and thinkers, but Stan Lee has been the face of Marvel for quite some time. His cameos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are highlights for fans, and we are forever grateful for what his work has done for us and taught us.

So today, here are our thoughts on what Stan Lee meant to us.

Rachel Leishman

Growing up, the first midnight premiere I ever went to was for Spider-Man, starring Tobey Maguire. My brother took me because I loved superheroes, and my love of Spider-Man had never been the same after that. Seeing Peter Parker go from this kid in Queens to our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man was incredible, and with each new vision of the character, we were reminded of why he was among our favorites.

To be quite honest, the only version of Spider-Man that I feel like really captured the essence of the Peter Parker that Stan Lee was going for is Tom Holland’s MCU Spidey. I believe that he’s just a young kid who has this responsibility that he doesn’t know how to handle. He has the weight of the world on his shoulders, but he never stops fighting because he wants to do what’s right.

That’s what’s so incredible about Stan Lee’s characters. They always want to do the right thing. Whether through working with Jack Kirby characters like Captain America, or even some of Lee’s more interesting creations, like the Hulk, they all have this sense of duty to the world. Even Tony Stark went from being a millionaire playboy to a hero because he felt a need to help those around him.

That lesson, the idea that we should all aim to help those around us and be better people, is what we should take out of Stan Lee’s work. Peter Parker is always aiming to do the right thing and we should do that too. Thank you, Stan Lee. You gave us a world to look up to, characters to believe in, and we owe you so much.

Kate Gardener

Marvel gave me hope at one of my lowest points and gave me the courage I needed to go forward. Thank you, Stan.

Chelsea Steiner

I think what makes Stan Lee’s characters so iconic and so enduring is their inherent humanity. His superheroes functioned as metaphors for a variety of issues: prejudice, addiction, jealousy. They’re relatable because they are amplified versions of emotions and struggles we all face.

One of my favorites has always been Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk, because he’s so accessible. Anger turns men into monsters, even the nerdy science-minded ones. Lee never forgot about the human behind the hero, leaving us with a legacy of art that still manages to inspire us.

Princess Weekes

Despite the criticisms I may have about the X-Men sometimes dipping their toes into race and LBGT issues half-cocked, it doesn’t erase the immense importance the team had for me, in seeing heroes and villains that were having the same philosophical debates I’d seen people of color having. In the end, X-Men is about conflict among humanity—our fear of the other, of each other, and the ways that we must always find an enemy to combat.

In the character of Magneto, I found a rage I recognized, and while he was certainly an extremist at times, I still understood him. It also helped that, being written and created by two Jewish creators of immigrant descent, Magneto was imbued with nuance that others may have missed. There was true desire to tell stories that would ask you to think, and even though we still deal with a lot of the issues, we have worked to make both the world of the X-Men and our own more diverse, meaningful, and powerful.

(image: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

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She/Her. A writer who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.