|Stan Lee made countless cameos in comic books, as well as in animated cartoons and live-action motion pictures based on his characters. He can be seen on the cover of this book wearing a white shirt. (Jack Kirby also appears, in a yellow shirt).|
That's how I felt today, when I learned from Mark Trail cartoonist James Allen that Stan Lee has passed away at the age of 95.
Stan Lee is a giant in the world of comics. He is known for being the
I confess I'm not intimately familiar with his works, having become a bona fide comics fan only about three years ago. But I can't help but have tremendous respect for such a prolific creator.
I do have fond memories of reading an anthology of his Silver Surfer books, which I would highly recommend for their emphasis on the importance of, on the individual level, living a virtuous life and, on a collective level, a strong national defense. Plus, John Buscema's artwork in this book is clearly something to behold... truly out of this world. (Sorry for the lame joke. I couldn't help myself).
For a while, I followed Lee's newspaper comic strip, The Amazing Spider-Man. I tried hard to like it, but, to be brutally honest, I just couldn't. To be sure, the artwork is great, reminiscent of the great Marvel Silver Age comics. But I found the stories to be, well, another story. I thought their pace was maddeningly slow, even by newspaper comic strip standards.
I think I'll give the strip another try, in honor of Stan Lee.
I don't have much else to say about Lee, but I eagerly await comic book writer Mark Evanier's full obituary of the man. Being very familiar with Evanier as a blogger, I can confidently predict that it will blow all other Stan Lee obituaries out of the water, in terms of the sheer amount of information provided and of an honest, fair-minded appraisal of Lee's life, work, and legacy. When he posts it, I'll link to it.
Until then, I invite you to read this obituary from The Hollywood Reporter, and to watch this amazing 2007 BBC documentary on the other co-creator of Spider-Man, Steve Ditko, who curiously also passed away this year. Naturally, the documentary focuses on Ditko, but it also contains a lot of information on Lee. In fact, Lee arguably has a greater presence in the documentary than Ditko, owing to Ditko's reclusive nature. If you watch no other part of the documentary, at least watch the last five minutes for two invaluable life lessons: one from Ditko on how to gracefully stand your ground, and the other from the documentary host on how, sometimes, perseverance and sheer chutzpah pay off.
Rest in peace, Steve Ditko and Stan Lee, and...