Stan Lee, a hero and creator of heroes in the Marvel Universe, passed away on 12 November 2018. Whether you are a fan or not, there is no doubt that he’s made a lasting impression on our society and left behind a strong legacy. Harry King pays tribute to the legend he was.  

Lee as a wedding Crasher in Fantastic Four rise of the silver surfer - Marvel:20th Century Fox
Stan Lee in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer © Marvel Studios/20th Century Fox

By now I’m sure all of you out there have heard the tragic news regarding Stan Lee – he passed away the other week on 12 November 2018 at the age of 95 after a constant battle with pneumonia for the past year. We thought the only rightful tribute to Lee would be by celebrating his long and successful life, as he has impacted so many lives around the world with his work, charm and personality.

Only wonderful things have been said about Stan Lee which proves that not only was he a humble character but a smart, generous and extremely talented artist. His work has inspired countless people to get involved in the film industry and comic scene and has created a community that people are proud to be part of. He was responsible of creating and co-creating many iconic characters and storylines, from Spider-Man and X-Men to The Avengers and Black Panther, and so many, many more.

Stars that have played Lee’s characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) took to Twitter not long after he had passed to pay their respects. Robert Downey Jr. said, “I owe it all to you…Rest In Peace” with a touching photo of the two of them together. The head of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige said, “No one has had more of an impact on my career and everything we do at Marvel Studios than Stan Lee. Stan leaves an extraordinary legacy that will outlive us all. Our thoughts are with his daughter, his family and his millions of fans.” I could go on about all the great things that were said about Lee but I would be here for years.

Stan Lee worked on plenty of characters in the MCU and it’s hard to think of one where he wasn’t involved in or had some sort of input in. Behind each character there is a purpose to their existence and a reason they have powers, not just for their world but for ours too. Lee created with care and with a social awareness which shows what kind of man Lee was and what impact he had on society. . Let’s take the X-men as an example. In X-Men there are hundreds of characters that come and go, all with different and unique special abilities created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Although the films lately haven’t been overly successful, you can’t deny the brilliance resonating through each creation of that universe, and the reason behind it is even more spectacular. Lee once said,I wanted them to be diverse. The whole underlying principle of the X-Men was to try to be an anti-bigotry story to show there’s good in every person. Lee had a vision for our world, for mankind and knew what kind of people we have to become to save our planet, super powers or not.

His work has changed the way we think and his aim for righteousness and peace in a world of social media and consumerism has inspired many of us. He might not be with us anymore, but his powerful comics will never be forgotten.

If you are a true Marvel fan, you know about Lee’s epic cameos in each of the films (check them out here!). And if you are like me, you have a favourite. Everyone has, whether that’s from the MCU or any animation from Marvel; for example, Ultimate Spider-Man (2012) where he plays Stan the Janitor or the 1989 film The Trial of the Incredible Hulk. I simply can’t pick just one of them, so I’ll have to give you my two favourites.

The first one is from The Amazing Spider-Man (2012). Dr. Conners has fully formed himself to the villain The Lizard, and has a massive fight with Spider-Man which leads into a library. A man is sitting in this library listening to classical music through his headphones. The man is of course Stan Lee. The fight in the background goes on whilst we can only hear the music. Lee then walks out of the room nodding along to the music as if he hasn’t noticed the fight. Once Lee is out of the room the fight continues.

The second cameo comes from Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). Near the beginning of the film Tony Stark throws a party at the Avengers Tower to which Stan Lee’s character, a military veteran, goes and drinks – however it turns out he has a little too much. Thor and Captain America start to drink with veterans who say they can handle any drink even against Thor’s warning, “It’s not meant for mortal men.” Having downed a drink that had been “Aged for 1000 years” Lee is then carried away saying his famous line, “Excelsior”.

We’ll always have the memories of him popping up in previous Marvel films, but unfortunately the chance of that happening in the future is less than likely (unless they use CGI to convert his image onto screen). However, one thing is for sure, we will see him one last time on the big screen as he filmed his cameo for the upcoming Avengers 4 film before he passed away. And there is no doubt that there will be something at the end of the film to celebrate his life, his dedication to the film industry and his passion for creating superheroes.

Stan Lee has created numerous characters both heroes and villains, one even right before he passed in collaboration with his daughter. He was still creating stories and characters right until the very end because he loved his job. However, I think we can all agree that there is only one true hero in the world – Stan Lee himself.

Stan Lee, you are my hero.

Words by Harry King
Featured Image: Stan Lee in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer © Marvel Studios/20th Century Fox

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