Marvel comics legend Stan Lee brought inclusion, imagination to fans


Illustration by Adrian Gonzalez / Hilltop Views

Lee’s involvement with Marvel comics dates back to 1961 with characters like Spider-Man, The Hulk, Iron Man and more.

Early Monday afternoon, both pop-culture and comic book fans alike worldwide were devastated following news that Stan Lee, co-creator of Marvel comics, had died at age 95.

His innovative imagination produced colorful adventures and exciting storylines, captivating the minds of readers everywhere as his comics books brought unforgettable characters to life.

Lee’s visionary involvement with Marvel comics dates back to 1961, where he helped create lively characters like The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, The Hulk, Iron Man and countless others.

Since their creation, Lee often said that he made sure to include a consistent theme throughout throughout his stories: inclusion and relatability.

“It’s no fun reading about someone that’s perfect. You want to read about someone you can identify with because we’ve all got problems,” Lee said to NBC News. “If you can create and write about a character who is flawed but managed to overcome those ears, then I think that’s pretty good.”

And it certainly showed throughout his beloved characters. Like with Spider-Man, a teenage bookworm who is tasked with the mature responsibility to use his newly granted powers to protect others– often at the expense of his personal life. The X-Men, a group of diverse outcasts looked down upon from society, came together to save people. The Hulk, an individual who has to constantly deal with balancing his emotional status with the rage and destruction, came with his special abilities.

And the list goes on, with each character carefully crafted to reach out to all types of consumers.

“Those stories have room for everyone – regardless of their race, gender, religion or the color of their skin,” Lee said. “We’re all part of one big family: the human family and we all come together in the body of Marvel.”

The success of the comic books stories has translated well to Hollywood as comic book fans’ dreams of seeing iconic superhero team ups were brought to life nearly flawlessly. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has become one of the the world’s most recognizable brands as the franchise has accumulated $16 billion in box office sales.

Moviegoers were also treated with beloved cameos of Lee himself as he has made in nearly 60 short appearances in Marvel shows and movies. Even dating back to the 1980s, far before the massive MCU blockbusters of today that are constantly taking audiences by storm.

Though future MCU projects might feel empty without Lee’s canny presence, Marvel fans are still in for a treat as it has been confirmed that audiences can expect to see his final set cameo in “Captain Marvel” and “Avengers 4.”

Lee’s stories inspired imagination and acceptance among his readers, and his storytelling and art will be deeply missed. But Lee had a clear mission about the values he hoped to get across in his comic books.

“Marvel has always been, and always will be, a reflection of the world right outside our window,” Lee said. “That world may change and evolve. But the one thing that will never change is the way we tell stories of heroism.”