Haven't really had much of a chance to really put my thoughts into words that much yesterday, but I'll go ahead and express them here.
On the topic of the death of Stan Lee, I have to admit that I was not particularly surprised to hear it. I was saddened, of course, but not overtly surprised. In fact, I was more taken aback by the fact he had managed to live out as long as he DID.
The second thing I felt, was....
Oh, geeze. How can I word this in a way that won't make me sound like an asshat?
I felt grateful. Not because of his death, perish the thought, no, but because of all the wonderful things he had given us. All of the amazing fantasies of superheroics, of characters larger than life, of lessons that even though they might be fantastic can still be applied to real life.
You don't need to be a web-slingling wall crawler with radioactive blood to learn that having great power also means having great responsibility. There are some certain people holding certain public offices that I could name drop, but won't, who don't see to fully grasp that.
(Make of that what you will. I am not engaging in any discourse on that topic.)
Furthermore, Stan Lee was born in 1922. ...Mind you, he was born on December 28th of 1922, just three days before 1923, but still.
For context, by the time he was born in 1922, US President Warren G Harding introduced the radio to the White House and made the first ever presidential public speech over it, Yankee Stadium had undergone construction, the Lincoln Memorial had been dedicated, the Ottoman Empire had fallen....and two of the original four Golden Girls, Bea Arthur and Betty White, had also been born.
He became a instrument part of the comics industry in 1939, and only after two years was made into an interim editor at a little place called Timely Publications, which would eventually grow to become Atlas Comics and then finally Marvel Comics.
It was because of Lee that we came to know, and enjoy, such heroes as the amazing Spider-Man (co-created with Steve Ditko), the Fantastic Four, Captain America, the Incredible Hulk, the Mighty Thor, Iron Man, Black Widow, the Avengers, among many, many, many more. It was due to his imagination and the scenarios he dreamed up that he--along with several other artists such as Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby--practically made the comics scene what it was today. A lot of the heroes have their origins thanks to this man, their powers, their personalities...their drives and motivations, almost all of it sprang from the mind of this incredible man.
(And whatever DIDN'T certainly came from his equally brilliant and just as celebrated contemporaries.)
With Stan Lee's passing, coupled with Ditko's earlier this year and Kirby's back in 1994....it feels like we've lost the last member of the old guard.
Although, by my own admission, I've never been that much of a huge comic book reader to begin with. I've never been super heavily involved in superhero comics as a young child, nor did I get particularly into Marvel until well into my teenage years.
Still, however, the sense of wonderment for many people is something I cannot deny. Stan Lee forever made a mark--a lasting impact that will be certain to echo through the ages for many, many decades to come.
There will never be another Stan Lee....but I don't think that in and of itself, is something to mourn. He had amazing talent, and I feel that the creator passing gives way for new and upcoming artists not to match, but maybe perhaps one day to surpass him. After all, Stan Lee's catchphrase was "Excelsior!"
The world is a bit less brighter for having lost him, but the fact he shared his dreams and creations with us made the world a far more fantastic place today than it ever would have been without him.
In the end, I suppose I can sum up my thoughts and feelings in a simple phrase that I've seen used several times before:
"Don't cry because it's over.
Smile because it happened."