Stan Lee is no longer with us, which is sad, but the stories of his impact are amazing. Everyone’s relationship with Stan is different, and today we’ve gotten a chance to see that relationship from all sides. Scrolling through Facebook, I stumbled upon one such story that needs to reach a broader audience.
Thank you, Andrew, for sharing your thoughts with Monkeys Fighting Robots.
I’ve been writing this all day. I generally mock people who write sentimental posts. I have a specific memory teasing my friend when James Gandolfini died, and I perpetually jab at my Dad. But here I am.
I was a fat sensitive kid more interested in SciFi, pink Polos, and Broadway musicals than professional sports, roughhousing, and other little boy pastimes. It was a time when nerd culture wasn’t cool. I was teased. I was bullied. Sometimes I was sad. But, I could always take refuge in characters and stories where differences were exalted or accepted, or where the persecuted rose above the discrimination to serve the greater good. Comics were an essential part of my ethical education.
A lot of those comics sprung from the minds of two Jewish World War II veterans, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. They created a rainbow ensemble of heroes and villains who engaged in bank robberies and philosophical discussions about the nature of mankind. The world lost the King before I could truly appreciate his contribution. Now Stan “The Man” Lee has died, and it’s difficult to find the right words.
Stan’s voice echoed through my childhood. “Greetings true believers” was more than just a hello to the fandom. Stan’s ideas about justice and equality ring in my ears to this day. Ben Grimm was a four-fingered rock covered monster who celebrated Hanukkah. Johnny was always breaking his balls, but that comes standard with an East Coast Jewish family. It’s a relationship I understand. It demonstrated the feelings I had. But the “ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing” was loved and supported regardless of his appearance, how he felt about himself, or what he believed. His actions, concern for others, and willingness to sacrifice for others known and unknown, defined his persona.
We live in divided, upsetting, depressing, scary, infuriating times. Now more than ever everyone should aspire to the sentiment that “with great power, there must also come great responsibility.”
I strive to live by the ideals Stan Lee wrote.
My wife is much smarter than me. She had the right words immediately, “Thanks for being a nerdy Jewish kid with a dream.” – Andrew Schwartz
How will you remember Stan Lee? Comment below with your thoughts.