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Stan Lee: Marvel Legend Taught Us That It's OK To Be Different

Tom Wood

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Stan Lee: Marvel Legend Taught Us That It's OK To Be Different

As many of you will know by now, former Marvel Comics editor and all-around comic book legend Stan Lee has died at the age of 95.

Lee changed the world of comic books forever back in 1961 with the release of The Fantastic Four and through his company he went on help tell some of the best-known and most well-loved stories ever committed to the medium.

That includes X-Men, Spider Man, The Avengers, and Daredevil, amongst many others.

Since he died, many celebrities and figures from the world of entertainment have rushed to pay tribute to Lee, with one unifying strand running throughout many of their statements.

Stan Lee made it OK to be different.

In fact, a huge part of the appeal of all Lee's Marvel characters is that not one of them is entirely perfect - something which helped change the world for the better.

Despite their supernatural powers, all of his characters had humanity, and they were flawed. Spider-Man - also known as Peter Parker - an awkward teenager. Wolverine, an experiment that went wrong and never stopped causing him pain.

These characters offered a new dimension for readers, and it was one that they could relate to.

Stan Lee. Credit: PA
Stan Lee. Credit: PA

In an interview in 1979, Gene Simmons of the rock band Kiss said: "His stories taught me that even superheroes like Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk have ego deficiencies and girl problems and do not live in their macho fantasies 24 hours a day.

"Through the honesty of guys like Spider-Man, I learned about the shades of grey in human nature."

There was also a much more important side to Lee's trailblazing attitude to characters.

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Lee also helped to bring to prominence characters representative of different cultures. In 1966 - at the heart of the Civil Rights Movement in the USA - Black Panther (T'Challa) made his first appearance.

In 1975, the first black female character appeared in the pages of The Uncanny X-Men - Storm.

Lee was known for his campaigns against discrimination and prejudice. That shone through his work and must have been a comfort for many who struggled for representation.

Stan also spoke out with his own voice, too. His regular column 'Stan's Soapbox' offered him the opportunity to champion causes important to his heart.

Credit: Marvel Comics
Credit: Marvel Comics

In 1968, Lee proved well ahead of his time when he published: "Racism and bigotry are among the deadliest social ills plaguing the world today,

"But, unlike a team of costumed supervillains, they can't be halted with a punch in the snoot or a zap from a ray gun. The only way to destroy them, is to expose them - to reveal from the insidious evil they really are.

"It's totally irrational and patently insane to condemn an entire race - to despise an entire nation - to vilify an entire religion."

Importantly, Lee didn't specify which race or religion. He believed that it was OK to be whoever you are.

Marvel's Stan Lee. Credit: PA
Marvel's Stan Lee. Credit: PA

We're none of us perfect, but that's OK too.

Thanks for reminding us of that, Stan. Excelsior.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Film, TV and Film, US News, US Entertainment, Marvel, Hollywood

Tom Wood
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