Mourning An Icon As We Reflect On The Impact of Stan “The Man” Lee

Posted in Blog, Blu-Ray/DVD, Movies, News, Theatrical, TV by - November 16, 2018
Mourning An Icon As We Reflect On The Impact of Stan “The Man” Lee

Our team felt compelled to come together and mourn the loss of an icon, because this week we lost Marvel Comics founder, pop culture magnate and every comic book nerds grandpa, Stan “The Man”.

Here’s what some of our team had to say as we talk from the heart on the impact this man had not only on modern cinema but the pop culture zeitgeist as we know it.

Victor Stiff

There’s a Galactus-sized hole in of our hearts. Stan Lee, the man who defined Marvel Comics, has passed away at 95.

Born Stanley Lieber in 1922, Lee’s run at Marvel Comics redefined the comic book industry and formed the bedrock of today’s biggest pop culture staples. Along with fellow industry luminaries Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Larry Lieber, Lee co-created Spider-Man, Black Panther, Thor, Fantastic Four, and The Hulk, Iron Man, The X-Men, and many more.

If you’re a fan of comic books, whether it’s mainstream series like The Avengers or more obscure titles like The Sandman, it’s impossible not to feel his influence. Lee’s work in the early 60’s flipped the genre on its head. Much like his DC Comics competitors, he told stories of super-powered men and women who wore colourful costumes and battled evil villains. The critical difference, though, is that Marvel characters weren’t flawless all-powerful gods; they were imperfect and relatable human beings. Kids raced through Superman comics looking for the moment that jabroni Clark Kent donned his blue and red tights. Whereas Spider-Man readers were equally invested in Spider-Man and his sad-sack alter ego, Peter Parker. Parker with his bad luck, money problems, and unrequited crushes, gave readers a hero not that unlike them.

In 2018 it’s impossible to envision the mainstream culture’s landscape without Marvel movies. With the 2008 advent of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Lee’s roster of former B-list characters like Iron Man, Captain America, and Doctor Strange – as well as C-listers like Gamora, Loki, and Star-Lord – blossomed into household names. The MCU’s interconnected comic book storytelling style all stems from the foundation Lee laid down beginning in the early 60’s. At the time it was no big deal to see Spidey swing into the panels of a Fantastic Four comic. The MCU’s Thanos-like domination of Hollywood borrowed heavily from those classic comics and forced the industry to change the way it churns out blockbuster entertainment. No shade towards Joss Whedon, but Lee literally wrote the book on The Avengers.

Lee will be remembered for creating one of the most influential legacies in entertainment. Period. Lee curated a Marvel brand that touches tens of millions of people every day. What’s most important is that his work fostered an environment that nurtured creativity and inspired imaginations. And I’m not just talking about the writers and artists within the walls of Marvel Comics. Picture the direct line you can trace between Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings. Imagine how many of today’s action, sci-fi, and fantasy tales wouldn’t exist (or exist as we know them) if not for Lee’s indelible influence? He fed millions of adventure-starved comic book readers hungry appetites every week for decades. How many X-Men and Fantastic Four readers would eventually transition to Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, and J.K. Rowling’s work?

Most importantly, Lee created a pop culture iconography that unites people of every colour, language, and economic background. Pack a theatre full of Clinton and Trump supporters and show them the new Avengers movie and see if they don’t find some common ground to discuss once the film ends. Walk through the streets of Mumbai with an Iron Man t-shirt or travel to Cuba with a Deadpool backpack and someone will at the very least, flash a knowing smile. Thanks to Stan Lee’s Marvel legacy, the first rule of geek club is no longer, don’t talk about geek club.

And for all us nerds who grew up before the comic book movie boom of the early 00’s, we can thank Stan Lee for taking us to the promised land. Walk through the doors of any major Con, and you’ll find 100,000 attendees from all walks of life, overrunning the showroom floor in a state of bliss. Everyone from hip-hoppers to soccer moms are well-versed in Tony Stark, and even the dorkiest physics teacher can drop a mean Magneto reference. There’s no such thing as The Grinch, but if there was, he would have stopped Grinching and gone to see Black Panther.

Alright, ‘Nuff Said! Thank you, Stan, for all the memories. Your spirit carries on in the hearts and minds of all your “true believers.”

Excelsior!

Courtney Small

There is a whole group of young film goers who only associate Stan Lee with the old guy who makes silly cameos in superhero films.  His legacy goes far beyond that though.  He, along with Jack Kirby, helped to foster the imaginations of generations of people regardless of whether they were kids in a school yard, adults looking for escapism, or aspiring filmmakers who wanted to tell grand stories that resonate on a human level.

Through his comic characters he inspired us, entertained us, and united us. One of the fascinating things about Lee’s work is the way it reflected the ills of society back to us.  Regardless of whether he touched on the anti-war sentiments, the fight for civil rights or issues of poverty, Lee reminded us that even in our darkest moments the light of hope always shined through.  Much like the characters he created, Stan Lee became a part of us, an unofficial member of our family who will be greatly missed.

Heidy Marisol

I came to learn about Stan Lee & Marvel from visiting the various comic books stores with my high school bestie, and from Saturday morning cartoons. X-Men was and has been a fave of mine from time! I haven’t read all the comics; I focused on the X-Men series because of their varied characters, and stories. Over the years, I learned more about Stan Lee’s initial years. How he was outspoken against racism… how in his writing, he created characters that were complex, flawed, while also possessing supernatural abilities. These characters became and continue to be influential to a lot of us. Some of us saw aspects of ourselves in the characters… feeling alienated or different, yet somehow there is always a group that we’ll connect with. From the comics’ pages, these super heroes came alive on-screen. Yet, another way for his legacy of characters to evolve. Imagine that… being able to see your life’s work come alive on-screen! Not to mention his cameos… I always enjoyed Lee’s cameos. I am no authority on all things Stan Lee. However, I am thankful I came to know his works and the super heroes he help create for us.

David Voigt

You know when we lost “The Man” a few days ago, it took me a minute to reflect on what he not only meant to me, but to us as a community living in a world that he made better by saying in one way or another that it’s not only OK to be different, but that it’s actually pretty spectacular.

From the iconic comics that filled our days as youngsters, to the cheesy live action shows from the 70’s and 80’s all the way to the modern evolution with the Marvel Cinematic Universe which has quite frankly changed the game on how movies are made…maybe forever and it all started in the mind of this one guy, which when you think about it is where any and all ideas start.

I could rundown the emotional impact that so many of his characters have had on my formative years but I really do think that when I reflect back on his impact for me personally, it’s that he showed me the way to follow my dreams, teaching us all through these comics, TV shows, cartoons and now major motion pictures how to be “True Believers”.

When you really get down to the core value of it all, through everything that he did Stan Lee was successful in providing countless hours of entertainment that spoke to the human condition.  And that opened up possibilities for so many creative souls out there that have made positive impacts on the world today but what resonates with me more than anything is the following.  He embraced the ideals that we all simply need better to one another no matter our differences and now more than ever, that’s something to hold on to.

This post was written by
Comments are closed.