By Marc W. Polite
Good evening, everyone. Well, this has been a rough start to the week. As I’m sure many of you have heard by now, the legendary comic book creator Stan Lee passed today. When I first heard the news, I thought it was one of those fraudulent stories that tend to circulate. But alas, it is true.
From what I’ve been reading online, many fans are devastated. The tributes have already started. The works of Stan Lee inspired millions of people, so it’s only right.
To many critics, comic books and the various other formats that these stories find iterations in are considered a waste of time. In a world of harsh reality, there is room for escapist fiction. Who is to say that a 7 year old kid can’t be more inspired by bravery in a work of fiction in a world where it’s in short supply in real life?
Whether it’s the die hard fans who visit their local comic shop on a weekly basis to collect these publications, or its outer core of fandom who knows the work of Stan Lee through the Saturday morning adaptations of Xmen and Spiderman, this material resonates with people for a reason. Allegorical references to prejudice and racism and how we should evolve out of it, and the dangers of looking the other way are just two powerful lessons to draw from Lee’s aforementioned works. Lessons that we may need at a time like this even more so.
In the last 20 years, the work of Marvel has been familiarized with mainstream audiences due to the salvo of superhero movies. While people sometimes crack on fanboys for seeing years and decades worth of films, audiences return to these stories for a reason. We want to be entertained, but there also should be a point to it as well.
Stan Lee was the conscious behind the comics, and didn’t run away from addressing controversial matters under the cover of escapist fiction. Lee lived a long life, and made a real impact on generations of comic book fans.