Sadly, at the age of 95, we say goodbye to Stan Lee the founder of Marvel comics as he sails off to join artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko in the unknown realms beyond.
I first encountered Stan Lee in the pages of FANTASTIC (UK b&w reprints of Marvel comics) when I was ten years old and he has been involved in my life in some way or another through comics and films ever since. That’s not all though. Like many millions the world over I was strongly influenced by Stan Lee’s humanistic life philosophy and that’s what I think we should recognise most. Stan Lee’s legacy of morality, accountability and good-naturedness that are needed in this modern world of terrorism and cybercrime more than ever before. Stan Lee also realised that no matter how young someone is they have something to offer and that we shouldn’t treat anyo9ne differently because of their age, gender or anything else. You can see this aspect of Stan Lee as early as the first X-Men comic way back in the 1960s where Bobby Drake complains of being treated like a kid compared to the others. Later on the intelligence and skill of a young girl was well-demonstrated by Kitty Pride as she polished off a malevolent alien single-handedly.
We need Stan Lee to help us show the villains in the world that they should wake up and realise that knowledge and power do entail responsibility, that compassion is a great strength, that humanity thrives on differences and that external appearances don’t tell us what is inside. We need to see like Stan Lee did that many different skillsets are required for us to meet the challenges of our ridiculously fast-growing world population (for every 151,000 who die each day a staggering 352,000 are being born!), the pressures invoked by using up limited natural resources and the dangers of an indefinable but clearly possible threat of global human extermination as a result of our abuse of the planet.
If humanity survives the challenges ahead of us well then I think that it will be to some degree or other due to the messages that Stan Lee proclaimed all his life and we should thank him for that. I know I do.