There is a lot to be thankful for this year. A lot to appreciate and love on this 2018 version of Thanksgiving. The Daily Fandom is thankful for you, our fans, fandom, and of course, the late Stan Lee. In this thankful post, we will have a Stan Lee tribute. Our writers have expressed what Stan Lee meant to them and we have collaborated today in order to celebrate him.

Dear Stan Lee…

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Alec Callahan

Contributor

Other than family and friends, there is nobody I can think of that inspired me more than Stan Lee. I could sit here and talk for days about how Spider-Man was my favorite hero as a kid, and still is to this day. From the age of 8 when I got my first comic, The Amazing Spider-Man #152, to now, having read hundreds upon hundreds of issues of Spider-Man, and all the other heroes created by Stan and the rest of the squad.

Stan Lee
The Amazing Spider-Man #152 (1976); Marvel Comics

If Spider-Man and these characters never existed I can’t imagine how my life would be different. Would I be going to school for creative writing? Would I be looking to become a writer/creator just like Stan was? Who knows. It’s clear how impactful these characters have been to so many different people for years now. From Spider-Man, to Ironman and The Fantastic Four. Stan also created the historic saying;

“With great power there must also come great responsibility.”

Now we all know how much this line impacted Spider-Man, but I’m going to mention 3 other characters that Stan created that I believe exemplify this saying just as well. The Hulk, The Thing, and The Silver Surfer. Now I know, Stan didn’t create Silver Surfer, but his use of the character is relevant. These are three characters who would give anything to not have their powers. They would do anything to have a normal life back. That’s a characteristic that I find beautiful.

The True Hero: Spider-Man

The idea of a superhero who doesn’t want to be a superhero. Who wouldn’t want to be a superhero? Stan took these characters and showed that for heroes it’s not always sunshine and rainbows which I believe continues to be a valuable lesson for everyone. Gave them more depth, and just another way the reader may be able to relate to a character. But despite how they feel of their powers, they still use them for good, because they can, which means they have the responsibility to take action when it is needed.

Stan Lee
Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962); Marvel Comics

I can’t explain enough how thankful I am for Stan and all those brilliant minds back in the day to create these characters and these universes. It helped shaped me into the person I am today. There are no words to describe the feeling I got meeting Stan, or the thought of him no longer being with us. He is so iconic.

Meeting him felt like I was meeting Bugs Bunny or Buzz Lightyear. It just did not feel real or possible. Thank You, Stan Lee, for everything you accomplished in your wonderful life and the lives you created on the pages. You will be missed more than I’m sure you could have possibly imagined.

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Sam Bridgeworth

Contributor

There are few people in today’s world who can boast being the architect of modern pop culture. Stan’s characters number the hundreds; from heroes to villains, monsters, and mutants and have reached billions of people across the world. His focus on the person inside the costume was something that has inspired a whole new generation of writers and artists.

Stan Lee
Amazing Fantasy #54 (1962); Marvel Comics

His characters were real people with relatable problems and motivations. Whether it be a teenager bitten by a radioactive spider or a blind lawyer protecting his neighborhood. His stories provided conflict, both internal and external, forcing the character and the audience to make the right choice. Stan Lee took moral parables and wrapped them in something fun, colorful and exciting. Without Stan Lee, I think a lot of people wouldn’t be as morally intelligent as they are.

The Villains Stan Lee Created Are Modern, Motivated, & Personable

Even his villains had solid motivations. Lizard wants his missing arm back, Doctor Octopus wants to be respected and Magneto wants to protect his people, no matter the cost. His stories and characters will live on for many years to come because Stan loved those characters and loved watching their lives unfold. Nowadays, a new generation is being exposed to Stan through his cameos in the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His omnipotent presence in that universe remind longtime fans, and newbies, that this universe had a creator and he is a hell of a lot of fun.

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I have always loved comic books. The first comic I remember reading was a Spider-Man story. I had no idea that a man called Stan Lee has created him, but I loved that someone my age could become a superhero and save the day. Comics — and the films they are based on — have influenced me since then and pushed me to want to write them professionally. I’m not sure if I’ll ever create a body of work as fun, exciting and human as Stan did, but I know I will always carry his characters and his approach to storytelling with me until the day that I die.

Thanks Stan. Excelsior!

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Diane Dang

Contributor

If there’s anything I can be grateful for, its Stan Lee’s hand in the creation of Matt Murdock, better known as Daredevil or the Man Without Fear tops the list. While his blindness as a form of realistic disability representation is questionable due to his genre, he’s my goal. For someone who is disabled like me, he continues to represent a flawed person with an indomitable will. I’ll never be a lawyer but being successful would be nice. The slight hesitation in those words is the most important aspect.

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The Man Without Fear, Daredevil, Marvel Comics.

A Modern Hero In Matt Murdock (Daredevil)

Matt doesn’t know if he’ll ever succeed in his civilian or his superhero life. He questions if he does make a difference in Hell’s Kitchen or if his use of violence is a coping mechanism for his mental illnesses. His humanity shines as he struggles with the intensity of his guilt. As a result, he makes me feel even more human. Though he doesn’t always win, and he fails a lot across his canons, he wants to be a symbol. He needs to be more than the boundaries others have set for him.

It’s powerful to see a hero who fights as much as he does to keep the piece of their identity together. I’m thankful because he doesn’t break, as he makes difficult choices. I owe a part of my drive to his determination to persevere. Even when his motivations stem from trauma, he understands the desire to be better doesn’t have to come from a perfect trajectory. In his own words, to the mother who had to leave him because doctors didn’t know how to treat postpartum depression when she had him,

“Oh. Failing. Right. You mean by pulling yourself up out of a suicidal depression by faith and sheer force of will to become a force for good on this planet? We should all fail so tragically.”

In short, I love Matt Murdock and Stan Lee helped to make him and that makes him great.

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Sayge Kortenber

Contributor

I have always had a dream and that was to meet the great Stan Lee. I never got to meet him. But it gives me a little bit of assurance that he still lives on in his greatest work: Marvel. Even though I did not get to meet Stan, I feel like I know him pretty well just by reading his works all of these years. Stan is the reason I want to be a comic book writer and I hope one day I can share a character he created and do it justice.

I have so much to thank Stan for, but there is someone in particular that he created that means so much to me and that is Jean Grey. Jean first appeared in X-men #1 but back then she was known as Marvel Girl. She was the only female character in the X-Men at that point. Jean has the mutant ability of telekinesis and telepathy having those powers blew my 7-year-old mind. Jean is strong, powerful, smart, and beautiful.

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The ‘Jean Grey’ in X-Men, Marvel Studios.

When I first saw Jean it was in the movie X-Men, I went on to obsess over the X-Men for years to come. She was always kind and caring, Jean was and still is a good role model for young women. It was a rare occurrence to see such a strong woman on the big screen at the time, let alone comics in 1963. I have Stan to thank for my role model as a little girl and now as an adult. Stan not only made cool and powerful men but also women.

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Stan Lee Created Countless Characters We Know & Love

Jean is not the only powerful women he created. He also created She-Hulk, Peggy Carter, Black Widow, Marvel’s Enchantress, and many more. Stan Lee has made such an impact on today’s pop culture because of the characters he made. You can not go to the store without seeing a Spider-Man doll on the shelves or a Marvel movie on the rack. As of now, we are all impatiently waiting on Infinity War part 2 which he has credit for making most of the characters on the screen. Stan Lee is an important part of my life and many others. Stan left behind a legacy, he achieved more than anybody I know. I am proud that he is my role model now and always will be.

“You know, my motto is ‘Excelsior.’ That’s an old word that means ‘upward and onward to greater glory.’ It’s on the seal of the state of New York. Keep moving forward, and if it’s time to go, it’s time. Nothing lasts forever.”

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Brandon Daniels

Culture Section Head+ Contributor

When I was in 8th grade, my mom bought me my first, substantial comic book – a collection of the first Spider-man comics from the 60s.  She knew I liked the 90s animated cartoon and probably hoped this would get me to do a more general reading. I did end up reading more…comics, that is.  But ultimately, my first foray into comic literature was the work of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Stan Lee is one of those people who kept popping up in my life, and probably yours too. He had a knack for that. Prior to me receiving my Spider-man omnibus, the guy made an astonishing cameo at the end of the 90s Spider-Man series I followed, at which time I had little to no context for.  Then, while I was enjoying my lovely 2005 Fantastic Four movie, the fellow shows up again. It wasn’t until I did a book report in 5th grade on this mythical Stanley Lieber (*Stan Lee’s birth name) that I truly understood the story of the man behind my favorite stories.

Stan Lee
Marvel’s 2005, Fantastic Four.

Truly, the scope of Stan Lee’s contributions to not only pop culture but culture, in general, cannot be overstated. I certainly wasn’t the only kid inspired by characters like Iron Man, the X-men, and the Fantastic Four. However, what’s important to note is how Stan Lee’s stories were multidimensional for generations of people.

Stan Lee Will Always Be Around…

As a kid, most of us wanted to be superheroes, and for some of us, we dared to do everything we could to make that world of marvels a reality.  We dared to ask: Why can’t a man shoot a high-density muon beam from a robotic suit? Why can’t a woman refract light around her body, rendering it invisible? Why can’t a man use van der Waals forces to stick to walls like a spider?  One friend of mine in high school told me the reason he was going to college to study biomedical engineering was to try to create an Iron Man suit. He, and others like him, are what Stan use to call “true believer.”

Stan Lee

We also dared to ask: If that psychic girl can make it on a team of all men, why can’t I? If that blind guy can be a hero, why can’t I? If that kid who lost his parents and uncle can still do what’s right, why can’t I? People inspired in this way are what Stan use to call “true believers.”

We will undoubtedly be recognizing Stan Lee’s contributions to the world and missing his absence here for years to come. Still, I am thankful for the time we had with him, and I find solace in the fact that as long as we keep living what he taught us — instilled in us — his legacy never dies.  

I’m grateful my first comic was from Stan “The Man” Lee because he was no less a marvel than the heroes he created, and ultimately, I’m grateful he used his powers to give us all something to truly believe in.

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