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Heroes, Villains, and Me: What Stan Lee Meant to Me

“Heroes, Villains, and Me” is a periodic article on Geeky KOOL by Larry Litle about the world of comic books and my reaction to it. “Heroes, Villains, and Me” is not a comic book review article. I will write about current events, speculation and rumors, or my own wacky thoughts about the world of comic books and related stuff.

 

Stan “The Man” Lee passed away back on November 12 of this year.  I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss what Stan Lee meant to me personally.  Lee and his characters have had an impact on my life that was much bigger than Mr Lee could have ever known.

There is a certain person who had publicly criticized those of us that are morning the loss of Stan.  He has shown his disdain for comics and their creators.  We aren’t going to talk about him other than acknowledge some don’t share my love for Mr Lee or comics.

I will take a page out of Stan Lee’s play book and stay positive about it  We are all different. Comic books are not an artistic and literary style that everyone appreciates.  It is sad that some have to hate on things they don’t enjoy.  Now onto my thoughts about Mr. Stan Lee.

My life is better today because of Stan Lee.  Stan Lee co-created a ton of characters in the Marvel Universe including Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and the original Avengers.  These characters had personality flaws and real life issues they had to balance out with being a superhero. These were my go to comics as a kid even though my father preferred DC Comics.  They are still my go to comics to read and enjoy.

The character I have always related to is Peter Parker and his superhero side of Spider-Man.  Peter was a poor kid who was not popular in school.  this describes my childhood.  Peter learned many lessons over the years that helped me learn and grow.

Here are some of my life lessons from Peter and Spiderman.

1) “With great power comes great responsibility”.  Most everyone has heard this quote from Uncle Ben during their life and Uncle Ben nailed it.  We need to think beyond ourselves and look at what we can do.  I am responsible for using my gifts for the greater good.

2) Use humor to diffuse and disorient those that come against you.  Just as Peter faced bullies in his life, I have had my share.  I learned the lesson some quick humor can disarm people. It can take them out of their anger.  If I have to fight someone (almost always with words), humor is a winning blow.  Spidey uses it to distract his enemies and I can use the same tactic.

3) Embrace who you are.  Peter tried to be someone else when he first became Spider-Man and that didn’t work out for him.  He went back to the core of who he is and that drives him. He embraced his love for science and created web shooters.  In the later years, he became the scientist that he was destined to become.

4) Never underestimate others.  In the early years, Spidey would often underestimate others.  He was beaten by the Vulture and c Ock because he thought they were older and he could take them.  Probably the person he underestimated the most Flash Thompson.  Flash was the bully that terrorized Peter’s high school years.  Little did Peter know that Flash would change, become a good friend to him, and become a war hero and a hero version of Venom.

I also learned several life lessons from Stan Lee.  Are are a few of them.

1) Don’t be afraid to be who you are.  Embrace who you are. Stan learned to be who he was and the fans embraced him.  He became larger than life because he wasn’t afraid to be Stan Lee, comic creator.

“I used to be embarrassed because I was just a comic-book 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. When you’re seeing how happy the fans are — as they [see up-close] the people who tell the stories, who illustrated them, the TV personalities — I realize: It’s a great thing to entertain people.”

2) Find and do what you love.  I love writing and talking Geeky that is why Geeky KOOL exists. I am working on a novel because I love to write and tell stories.  I am involved in making videos about geekdom.  All things I do because I love them.

“If you enjoy what you do, if you are interested in what you do, I really think that’s the best situation.”

 

3) Use your voice for good.  Speak up for what you know is right.  Every month, I would read Stan’s Soapbox section of Marvel comics.  Stan would speak to the world outside of comics and to fans about what is important in life.  Here is one of his more famous Soapbox’s.

4) Stay positive about the future.  No matter what Stan would face or address, he always kept a positive outlook for the future. He viewed things as getting better than they are over time.  In a world with the political fighting where we see the worst in people, Stan would see the good in people even those he stood against.

“I wanted them to be diverse. The whole underlying principle of the X-Men was to try to be an anti-bigotry story to show there’s good in every person.”

Stan Lee helped revolutionize the world of comics. He helped create much more complex characters which lead to better and more complex stories. He had his human flows. If you ask some of the artists he worked close with, they would have had a list of flaws.  Stan and his characters helped this poor, fat, unpopular kid learn how wonderful and complex life can be.

Thank you, Stanley Martin Lieber, aka Stan the Man Lee, for being the person and example you were for me.  Thank you for your wonderful creations that entertained me and challenged me as a child. Thank you for helping me become the man I am today.

Excelsior My Friends!

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