On November 12, Stanley Martin Lieber suddenly and sadly passed away. From being an iconic comic-book writer and working in the military to founding media production company POW! Entertainment, Stan Lee became and forever will remain one of the most important figures in entertainment history.
Growing up in Brooklyn during the Great Depression, Lee was a talented writer in high school. After jumping from job to job, he eventually became an editor at Timely Comics in 1941. At the publication, he contributed to producing various Captain America issues and storylines. But soon he was called to serve in the army during World War Two, where he wrote scripts and manuals for training films. Lee returned to Timely Comics in 1945, but after 20 years realised that he was not producing the stories and content he wanted and was instead working on the ideas and concepts of others. Receiving advice from his wife, he then began writing his own stories alongside artists and writers like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. The rest is history.
From a universe centring on humans with mutant powers to a king from the advanced African country of Wakanda, Lee was responsible for creating some of the most beloved and iconic characters in history. What separated his from the others was that these characters were ultimately real people with real problems. Growing up, I loved reading about a high school kid who was bitten by a spider, and his struggles in balancing saving New York and graduating high school. Spiderman felt personal and real.
His ideas and creations were a reflection of his unique personality and perceptions on society. As shown in his 1968 essay, Lee was heavily resistant towards the “insidious evils” of racism, sexism and discrimination. This shows how he was ahead of his time while allowing many people of different genders, sexualities and ethnicities to be attracted towards the inclusive nature of his amazing creations and him as a person.
But just like his art, Lee’s rise to fame is an inspiration to many. Lee was initially at a dead-end job, but suddenly decided to switch it up at nearly 40 years old. He pursued what he was truly passionate about. He influenced billions by sharing his ideas with the world, while also emphasising the importance of poets, writers and artists. It just goes to show that, no matter who you are and where you are from, it is never too late to chase your dreams.