Our Staff Remembers Stan Lee

Stan Lee appearing at MegaCon. Photo by Briar.

On Monday, November 12 the comic legend Stan Lee passed away at the age of 95. Lee was the creator of beloved comic characters such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, the X-Men and countless others. From comic books, to television shows, and movies, we reflect on how Lee and the heroes he created have touched our lives over the years.

Stan Lee was a legendary human being. I was never able to meet him, but he and his characters have changed my life in numerous ways. My favorite characters of his are Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter. In times such as these, those characters have given me the courage to do what is right instead of what is easy. I often find myself asking “What would Peggy do?” to get myself through a bad situation. This is something for which I will never be able to thank Mr. Lee enough. –Kari

Stan Lee was a champion for the misfits. The ones who didn’t fit a convenient box or label. The ones who wanted to make a difference, but felt limited by a society that promoted sameness rather than distinction. He made every person feel special for the things that made them different from everyone else. He made us believe that anyone could be a superhero, and that there was no limit to what you could do and contribute to the world. Thank you, Stan Lee. Thank you for Captain America, Iron Man, SHIELD, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man and so many other characters and stories and creations. You inspired generations of misfits to tell their stories and reach for their dreams. We stand on the shoulders of a giant. And we will never forget you. –Liz

While I’ve never met him at a con, Stan Lee has had a big influence of my fandom life. One of my first favorite comics and animated shows revolved around Spider-Man. He created and wrote about a lot of my favorite characters in the Marvel universe. His wit, humor and passion for his art make him one of the most important story-tellers of our time. I always looked forward to his little cameos in the movies, on his interviews, insight on characters and most importantly seeing the joy he radiated when he saw people enjoying his stories, his characters. If I had to pick my favorite cameo – it’s definitely the one in Captain America: Civil War. You can’t beat “Tony Stank.” If I had to pick my favorite character created by Stan Lee, it’s probably Peggy Carter because of her strength, sass and power she radiates. Then again, looking at the list of characters that were born from his imagination and picking a favorite is truly impossible. So many stories we love today are in this world because of him. So many friends I made or reconnected with are in my life because of the shared love for his characters and stories. I’m thankful for all of that and there won’t be a single Marvel film I watch that won’t have a Stan-Lee-cameo-shaped hole in it. You will be truly missed. Rest in awesome, Mr. Lee. Excelsior! –Conny

Stan Lee in ‘Captain America: Civil War.’ Courtesy of Marvel Studios

I never had the honor of meeting Stan Lee, but he has always had a part in my life. I remember watching the Spider-Man and X-Men animated series growing up. I would have never guessed just how much his heroes would come to mean to me even as an adult. The first time I saw Stan Lee in a cameo was in  2000 in the first X-Men film and the last time I saw him was in Venom. My favorite cameo is probably in Captain America: The Winter Soldier when we see Mr. Lee as the security guard in the Smithsonian and he discovers Captain America’s suit has been stolen from the display. Whether he was in the movie as a security guard, neighbor, bus driver or delivery man,  his appearances were always one of my favorite ‘Easter eggs’ in the Marvel movies. Watching these films without seeing his familiar face will be hard. Through his characters I’ve learned many lessons: strength, responsibility, and that being different isn’t always a bad thing. His heroes and their adaptations from the page to the big screen gave me a place I felt I belonged. It didn’t matter what we looked like, or where we came from. We were all that little guy from Brooklyn or that nerdy teenager from Queens. Stan Lee created a place where misfits, losers, and outcasts, could be heroes. Thank you for everything, Mr. Lee. –Kayla

It is hard to form into words this immense heartache and sadness. I never had the opportunity or honor of meeting him, but Stan Lee has left an everlasting imprint on many people’s lives, mine included. I would always look forward to his cameos in Marvel movies, as much as I love the characters, I loved seeing their creator grace our screen to make the film official. He created worlds where people were shown just how special they can be, we were given heroes to look up to, and worlds to get lost in. Stan Lee taught us heroism, inclusiveness, strength, and that we have the power and ability to tell the stories we want to see. His work shaped my childhood and adult life, I do not know who I would be without Stan Lee’s influence. From the first X-Men and Fantastic Four comic books I picked up, I was hooked, I was brought into a magical and imaginative place I never wanted to leave. The world was a better and more creative place because of this iconic storytellers and true heroes force. There will never be anyone else like you, you are immortal. Your spirit will live on in your work. Thank you, Rest in Paradise, and one last time, Excelsior! –Sarah

My one opportunity to meet Stan Lee never happened as he had to cancel his appearance at Salt Lake FanX last year. But, his creations and stories have been with me for years. I never used to be into comic books or stories about superheroes and villains. It wasn’t until I reluctantly watched the first Iron Man that I became pulled into that world. While I now watch and enjoy every Marvel film that is released, Iron Man remains one of my favorite characters that Stan Lee created. I loved that he was just a man with no real superpowers, but chooses to better himself and use his intelligence to create something that essentially is used to fight evil. These stories that Lee created have always shown me that even regular people can do good, and that’s what it takes to make the world better. I will miss his cameos and his enthusiasm for the stories he helped create. Thank you, Stan, for making me believe in superheroes. –Natasha

Stan Lee pictured with many of the cast and crew that helped bring his heroes to life. Courtesy of Marvel Studios.

Stan. Wow. I’m at a loss of words. He created a world that people dove into and he created heroes that we cling to. His characters helped us escape the world we live in and we admire those characters with all our hearts. Personally, I love Iron Man, Captain America, Black Panther, and so many others. He made the impossible, possible and so many of his fans admired his mind and creativeness. He had an impact on so many of us, including myself, because he made a lovable and real franchise that many of us have been changed, forever. I never got to meet him but if I did, I would thank him. He made heroes in comics and movies but in real life, he was the hero. I will miss his cameos in the Marvel movies and his class and coolness anywhere he went. To me, Stan was powerful in his way of relating his characters to his audience, whether we loved or hated them, they represented a part of us. I am heartbroken that your story here on Earth has ended but I can’t wait to see what you have up your sleeve in Heaven. Rest In Peace, sweet Stan. We will miss you here. –Kailey

I learned who Stan Lee was when I was 24 from watching X-Men at the theater with some friends.  I wasn’t a Marvel fan but I had a huge crush on Hugh Jackman (who didn’t). By the time the movie was over, I had a newly formed love for Stan Lee, and this world he’d created where a battle raged to prove that everyone belonged.  In a society that looks so heavily on difference as a negative, Stan Lee stood up for diversity in a way that was palatable to the masses. I’ve been a fan ever since, through all of the X-Men movies, and into the Marvel Universe with Cap and the rest of the Avengers even when so many of them dissolved into dust in Infinity War. I wasn’t happy, but I’ll forgive you. Mostly. Logan, however, was the film that broke me. The cynicism and pain that Wolverine was in after years of battling just to exist along with the rest of humanity was palpable and mirrored the sentiment of the most marginalized in society today.  Stan Lee cut right to our hearts with action and education. I’ll always be grateful for his ability to hold a mirror up to the world in a way that reaches those that aren’t looking. –Ali

It took a while for me to really be a “Marvel fan,” but I always grew up knowing I had a special connection with Marvel. Jack Kirby, brother Larry Leiber, and Stan Lee were all Jewish and this greatly influenced their work. Most notably were the X-Men, a nearly direct metaphor for the treatment of Jews by the government. As a gay Jewish woman, I rarely see myself at all in media and popular culture, let alone as a superhero. Whether through Magneto or Captain Marvel, Stan Lee brought these idols and inspirations not just to life, but to the spotlight. I will forever be grateful for that. I trust that Marvel is in good hands, but the heart and soul of the company passed away today. Mr. Lee, you will be missed, and thank you for your service to the country and to the world of superheroes. –Emily

I was not lucky enough to meet Stan Lee in his lifetime, but nonetheless his legacy left a lasting impression on my life as a whole. Stumbling into the world of comics taught me more about myself than I could ever anticipate, as I had finally found something that truly made me feel comfortable in my own skin. I latched on to Marvel comics, engrossed in the characters, many of which had been brought to life by the genius that was Stan Lee (with Hawkeye and Loki being two of my favorites, although my list could go on and on). I will forever miss looking forward to seeing his subtle yet epic cameos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are so many to choose from, but I’m particular to his scene in Captain America: Civil War. When the words, “Tony Stank,” came from his mouth, I was sitting in the middle of the movie theater crying in laughter. Stan Lee may not have invented comic books, but he certainly revolutionized the world of comics for the better. –Lindsey

I never got the chance to meet Stan Lee, yet he will always have a huge part of my nerdy, fandom life.  My intro to the comic world was Marvel. So many of the characters I read about are influenced by the iconic creator. He shaped so many of the characters and worlds we see on the page and on screen, and so much of the comic industry itself. I jumped quickly to take the course “The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact On Pop Culture” through edX when I realized I would be learning from Stan Lee himself. To hear about the history of comics and its impact straight from him was a unique experience. His videos throughout the course were my favorite part and I always looked forward to them. Stan Lee will be truly missed. His cameos, his comics, his characters, and his love of superheroes will live on through so many of us who will continue to cherish them. –Melanie

I’ve been reading comics for a very long time. My dad and I used to watch The Incredible Hulk on television, and when I wanted to know more about superheroes, he took me to a local comic book store and introduced me to something that has changed my life. My first comics were Iron Man and The Amazing Spider Man, and both of those characters were created by Stan Lee. When I needed to step away from my life, and not feel bad for being different, I would turn to those superheroes and let myself get completely drawn into their stories. The first time I saw Stan Lee in a movie was Mallrats in 1996. There was the man who had created all these wonderful characters and who had helped to change my life. I wish I could say that I met him then, but it wasn’t until 2002 that I got to actually meet Mr. Lee in person. He was funny and I remember him telling me that he couldn’t believe that all these people still cared about comic books. He asked me what my super power was, and I told him that people had always said it was my brain but I didn’t think I was that smart. He then told me that “with great power must come great responsibility” and if my intelligence was my super power then I was responsible for using it to its utmost potential. I like to think that I’ve succeeded in that much at least. Thank you Stan Lee, thank you for everything. I will never forget you. Excelsior! –Nicole

Kayla

Kayla has been with Nerds and Beyond since 2016 when she decided to combine her love of fandoms and writing. She enjoys all things Marvel, Supernatural, reading, traveling, going to conventions and concerts. When not writing, she can usually be found in front of the tv enjoying her favorite shows and trying to make a dent in her every growing 'to watch list', behind a camera lens, or on Twitter yelling about her love for Bucky Barnes.

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