The Legacy of Stan Lee and The Small Way In Which He Changed My Life
The world lost a great one. On November 12, 2018, Stan Lee took his final breaths inside a medical facility in California.
He was 95.
Although I will try, I can’t possibly put into words what the legacy of Stan Lee is or how he shaped my life.
I remember when I was just a few years young. I remember being exposed to my first comic book. It was a Marvel comic. I was born in 1983 and although many of the greatest X-Men stories (my bread and butter growing up) came out of the 1980’s, the 80’s weren’t my first exposure. My first exposure came in the form of Sleepwalker, Daredevil, and Moon Knight.
Every couple of weekends my family would load up the car and drive down to the beach. For a kid, the forty minute drive seemed to take forever. Now much older and with kids of my own, I think it felt longer for my parents than it did for me. I’m sure if you are a parent, you can relate.
“Are we there yet? How much longer?”
I loved going to the beach. It wasn’t because of the water or the sand. Nor was it because of the hordes of sunscreen I’d have to slather on my skin. I loved the beach because I knew that on the way back my family would stop at the local convenience store. I’ll never forget it.
From the moment I left the car, ran to the store, and heard the bell ring indicating that someone had just walked in, I had only one thing on my mind. Comic books. Which comic book was I going to beg my parents to buy for me?
The legacy of Stan Lee
Those days have lived with me since they happened and my love of comics hasn’t hindered over the years. It’s only grown. Now with kids of my own and to the chagrin of my wife, I channel my love of comics through them. I watch with glee as they dress as Spider-Man for Halloween or tell their mother about the Incredible Hulk and Captain America.
Comic books have and are just one of a few things that give my life purpose. Each time I sit down to craft an article for this site, a video for the YouTube channel, or send comic books overseas as a part of my non-profit, I remember how lucky I was to be exposed to something so young and so amazing.
Stan Lee was responsible for this.
He pioneered an industry that almost fell on top of itself. He created some of the most well-known characters of all-time and did so during a time that hadn’t quite accepted superheroes.
- Mr. Fantastic
- Invisible Woman
- Moon Knight
- Jean Grey
- Black Panther
And nearly every other hero imaginable.
Forever in debt
Stan Lee showed me the way.
My non-profit, Comics For Cause aims to “feed imagination one comic book at a time”. This means that we send comic books all over the world to children in orphanages and hospitals. We do this as a means for them to escape their own realities, even if just for a moment.
This feeling of escape is the same feeling that Stan Lee gave me oh so many years ago. He made me believe that no matter how hard times get superheroes do exist. Superheroes are there to show us the way when we are lost. They are there to give us light when there is none. Superheroes teach us to be kind when the world isn’t. They teach us lessons of how to be better people. And superheroes showed us how to accept one another no matter our differences. This wisdom is something that has followed me for 30 years and I now strive to pass it along.
Words cannot accurately describe how Stan Lee changed my life.
Even though the world mourns his loss, it’s important to remember what he did for generation after generation of children. Though he is gone, he was a true believer and as such, the legacy of Stan Lee will live on forever.
May you find peace.