Excelsior! Just hearing that word fills me with so many emotions. This week the world lost a legend. Stan Lee passed away Monday at the age of 95. People will so often use the phrase “it’s the end of an era,” but this actually feels like it, doesn’t it?
When news broke Monday morning I was immediately overwhelmed by sadness. Stan Lee was supposed to be immortal. He was supposed to cameo in every Marvel movie from now until infinity. But then it got me thinking about what it means to be a creator. For those of you who don’t know me, I am an artist and illustrator with the ultimate goal of becoming a comic book creator.
As a creator, I want to build something that lasts. Something that makes a difference. Something immortal. Stan Lee did this time and time again. With perennial characters such as the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, The Avengers, The X-Men, and so many more, he immortalized himself. He put a piece of himself in every superhero he imagined.
He lives on through all the people he influenced. One of the first things that led to my passion for comics was Spider-Man the Animated Series (1994). I was only five when it came out, but I fell in love with the characters. I fell in love with storytelling. I fell in love with the superhero. I wouldn’t be the man I am today without Stan Lee.
Stan Lee’s legacy goes so much deeper than the comics he created. He helped people who feel different realize they are special. He gave people hope and a sense of belonging. He continuously fought against the injustices of his day.
Everywhere you look you can find the influence of Stan Lee. Every day artists are rising up simply because of the world he brought us into.
Thank you, Stan Lee, for giving my five-year-old self a multiverse to be a part of. Thank you for inspiring me and countless others to create. Thank you for living an extraordinary life. The worlds you built will last forever: on the page, on the screen, and in the hearts of your countless fans.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Captain America himself, Chris Evans, which perfectly sums up the life of Stan Lee, “There will never be another Stan Lee. For decades he provided both young and old with adventure, escape, comfort, confidence, inspiration, strength, friendship and joy. He exuded love and kindness and will leave an indelible mark on so, so, so many lives. Excelsior!!”