From The Writers
It’s taken some time for us to really let the news of Stan Lee’s passing sink in. He meant a lot to us here in Word Of The Nerd and really shaped a lot of our passion. So, we’ve taken some time and gathered our thoughts to write about what he meant to us.
Some things for the Stan Lee piece. I really remember Stan Lee being the “narrator” of my childhood. I still remember getting the VHS of “Pride of the X-Men” (the cartoon before X-Men hit it big on Fox earlier the 90’s). Stan Lee’s voice boomed welcoming the “True Believers”. He voice would be instantly recognizable to me from then on as he did voice-overs for many other Marvel cartoons I watched in the 90’s or bought on VHS. I also remember having some CD-ROMs of X-MEN, The Fantastic Four and Spider-man. Which were basically digital comics before digital comics were a thing. Stan Lee would excitedly read Giant Sized X-Men #1 or bring to life the adventures of the Fantastic Four.
His voice had so much enthusiasm and joyfulness it was hard not to get caught up in what was happening on the screen. Later on, I would come to realize who Stan Lee was and his contribution to the Comic Book world. When Marvel started to hit it big in movies with Spider-Man and the X-MEN it was great to see him a cameo on the big screen and now with every MCU movie like everyone else I looked forward to the short glimpse of Stan “The Man” Lee.
I am thankful that back in 2012 my brother bought a ticket for a photo op and signing with Stan Lee at a Wizard World event. The ticket allowed for two people to meet him get an autograph and a picture. Though it was very short I did get to say “thank you for narrating my childhood and his contributions”. Stan’s voice will forever be ingrained in my head as he continues to narrate me through my life.
Stan Lee was a pop culture icon, celebrated by fans of comics, movies, and all nerd culture. So of course hearing about his passing on November 12, 2018, hurt many of his fans and loved ones. Stan Lee was always a champion for comics. He always wanted people to see comics as more than just children’s entertainment. It is because of him that all audiences can appreciate comics.
Before Stan Lee co-created Marvel Comics, comic books at the time featured one-dimensional characters like Superman and Batman. It’s hard to believe now but Batman and Superman were not the complex characters they are today. They were heroes who always did the right thing, always got the girl, and always saved the day. That wasn’t interesting to Stan Lee.
He never wanted to dumb down the reader. He always treated the readers like adults. That is why he told stories with complex characters. His characters would always have a flaw that made them interesting. Spider-Man was a nerdy kid who had money problems, The Hulk was a giant rampaging monster whenever he was angry, Iron Man had shrapnel almost reach his heart, etc. Because of Stan Lee, more comic writers started focusing on the secret identities of heroes as well as the superhero identity.
Stan Lee gave readers an endless world of story and possibilities. He provided his fans with non-stop action, but a great story to go along with it. Lee showcased the real world but always added a dash of the fantastical in there. He inspired many people after to pick up a pencil and start creating. Because of Stan Lee, there are many more comic book creators telling amazing stories with great characters. Stan Lee may be gone, but his characters will live on through all of us.
I met Stan Lee at a comic book convention in Los Angeles. My friend Ryan, the biggest comic book nerd I know, brought three posters for him to sign. And he arranged them so that the poster featuring Silver Surfer was on the bottom. Ryan read that Stan was fond of Silver Surfer and wanted to surprise him. Stan signed the first two posters like normal and when he revealed the Silver Surfer poster he paused. He took a breath, smiled, and said “I remember this guy…” and he shook Ryan’s hand. Everyone else (myself included) got fist bumps. I’ll never forget that. Stan Lee gave all he had and more to his fans and I am grateful to have met him and more importantly, to witness the joy on my friend’s face.
Stan Lee gave me the courage to accept and stand up for creativity. That it’s alright to be different. You won’t matter less just because you chose the creative path.