Fantastic Four, The Uncanny X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, The Spectacular Spider-Man…the imagination of Stan Lee

I used to be embarrassed because I was just a writer while other people were building bridges or going on to medical careers. And then I began to realize: entertainment is one of the most important things in people’s lives. Without it they might go off the deep end. I feel that if you’re able to entertain people, you’re doing a good thing.Click To Tweet
This week we lost a legend, an amazing storyteller who taught us a thing or two about thinking outside the box. Stan Lee was the father of Marvel Comics, he personified a superhero for many burgeoning writers and inspired us to look for greatness within. Even though he created superheroes, he made them flawed so humans could relate to them. Granted that part of his success was due to the amazing artists that collaborated with him in making this universe come to life, he brought it upon himself to create these well-rounded characters with personality traits, original dialogue, dreams, and frustrations.
Decades ago, these comic books or graphic novels appealed to the loners, the introverts, to the outcasts, people who seemed to have lost their purpose in life…and Stan Lee taught us to search for our inner strength and to use it for the greater good.
In a pre-recorded interview with Forbes magazine published shortly after his death, Stan Lee discussed his life and career. He mentioned how reading was a detrimental factor in his life and how his mother was a mentor.

My mother used to say, when I was having lunch or dinner at home, if I didn’t have a book to read, I’d be reading the label on the Ketchup bottle. In fact, one of the gifts that I got for Christmas, my mother bought me a little metal stand that you could put a book on, so while you’re eating you could be reading the book…

So Stanley Martin Lieber, also known as Stan Lee grew up reading the All-American classics such as the Hardy Boys, Don Sturdy, and the adventures of Tom Swift.
For him, Emile Zola, Charles Dickens, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle greatly impressed him and his writing. He was amazed at how distinct each character was and how each one had a voice that was easily recognizable just from reading the dialogue. That leaked into his way of writing, creating characters who were filled with angst or turmoil, breaking away from stereotypes and emphasizing values such as honor, loyalty, justice, and bravery in the midst of it all.
In the end, Stan Lee created characters that reached their peak in this technology-driven age, where everyone feels like an outcast or an introvert. He reminded the readers and viewers to be the hero of their own story and that message has reverberated on to a lot of youths in recent times that have been able to appreciate his creations under a new light, Marvel Studios, in the big screen.
While comic books were frowned upon when he was growing up, he ventured into that world and struck gold creating a universe that appealed to the masses.
Nowadays, in this fast-paced, ever-changing, mobile ecosystem, people are quick to judge others who aren’t mainstream, who don’t follow the norms or play by the rules: some try to degrade a hobby for lack of understanding; a lot of people are dismissive of comic books because they’re not suitable for “adults”; and many people overlook the power that adjectives, and to that end, words, can have. Stan Lee made sure his superheroes were flawed, but that didn’t stop them from being great. He even made it a case in point to include adjectives in their title that would reinforce what made them stand out, what made them unique.
The world can be an ugly place if you look at it half empty, and without imagination, it’s even gloomier than expected. We may have lost a great storyteller but his legacy continues. If there’s one thing that we can learn from Stan Lee its to pursue our passion, regardless of what anyone has to say about it. Whatever makes us stand out from the rest, be it a skill, a trait, a hobby, it’s what makes us special, and if we put our heart into it, along with our mind and taking into account the greater good, we should be alright. Let’s encourage children to think outside the box, and to lead by example by being the best original version of ourselves we can be!