‘Growing old is no way, to stop being young’
We are all of us the culmination of the people and influences that shaped us.
Those moments brief and bright that taught us either to dream, or not to.
As an introverted kid, writers were always that gateway to that better world for me, what Lincoln called the better Angels of our nature.
There would be Baldwin and Bradbury and Asimov and Poe and Ellison, but the first writer that really lifted the ceiling of this world for me, who really said ‘here be marvels, join us’ was Stan Lee. Not so much as writer, because when I started in this four color hobby, the writers were Giffen and Kraft and and Moench and Claremont; however Stan Lee as Editor, and cheerleader, and Guide, he was very much an Affable, super excited Rod Serling, but rather than introducing you to the bizarre, he was introducing you to the wondrous.
A lot of people in an effort, I’ve said this before, to build up an artist who didn’t perhaps get as much accolades as he could, made a practice of trying to underplay and tear down Stan Lee.
Here’s the thing, Stan Lee doesn’t get enough praise for what he did. He when NO ONE ELSE was championing the creators of these comics, when the publishers barely wanted you to know who created these books and wanted it to be a faceless assembly line process, Stan Lee was the man who championed, and nicknamed, and personalized these creators for us. In so doing he created a family, and invited all his readers to identify, and be excited by the work. Often the books which were okay or good, were made grand just by the share fervor and excitement that Stan imparted to you, the reader.
Growing up in the often unforgiving streets of a major city, it is easy to fall through the cracks, and go the wrong way. Two loving parents helped, a few good friends, crazy siblings, but a lot of what you become, a lot of your value, is defined in the private conversations that define your inner world.
That was defined by quite a few influences of film, music, comedy, writing, but if I am honest, one of the bigger influences is the childish four star values of comics, of right and wrong, and True Believers. The Alliterative, fun, bombastic, no-limits language and vivacity of Stan Lee, leapt off the page and helped by fits and starts to make me a kid who dreamed and smiled and knew no limits.
Decades removed from that kid, the man I am, the good in that man, the poetic and hopeful, owes a debt to quite a few people, and Stan Lee is one of those people.
I consider him a hero. Deserving here in his twilight years of all the fame and adoration and joy, earned in a career bringing joy, first to kids through comics, and then spending his later years pursuing getting these modern myths taken seriously and embraced by cinema and the larger world.
He has done that. Not easily and not alone, but with a lion-share of the work as spokesman for comics, on his shoulder, he has done it.
He has fought the long road culminating in Billion Dollar Marvel movies, and new Disney Superhero Themed Amusement parks, he had a dream, long before anyone believed in it, and he through many setbacks, has manifested that dream.
Here in 2018, should be the happiest of his years, a reward of a singular life, and faith confirmed.
So the Hollywood Reporter article comes as a blow.
My God, that you should go through life, and give, and love, and hope, and endure, only in the final hour, to have it all ripped from you, by the greedy, and the venal, to have it all besmirched. And that the horror should come from those who should ease your days, is an injustice too great to bear. That a man who recently lost the love of his live, should now, if the Hollywood Reporter article is correct, have to endure abuse and the loss of his liberty is evil beyond anything even comics has written about.
I don’t know how this can be made right.
Especially if tales of a Stan Lee that has been systematically isolated from any potential defenders, is true,
It is a horrible article. But too important of an article not too be read:
Stan Lee believed in dreams, not too much removed from the ‘Idea Space’ of Moore or Morrison, a place where good thoughts could make good lives. I’ll ask you, wherever you are reading this, to spare a minute in offering Stan Lee, your best thoughts.
My thought, if thoughts may manifest, would be for the man who believed that ‘with great Power comes Great Responsibility’, and instilled that mantra in generations of kids, is protected by the power of the State of California. That these allegations of abuse and coercion be looked into, and if found true Stan be immediately removed from the suspect situation, or the negative elements removed, and Stan appointed medical and legal and security protection to assist him in seeing after his needs without duress.
For a man who gave so many of us great victories, and helped us believe in heroes, there must be a way to get him his victory, and maybe for once be the hero to the hero-maker.
If you have any thoughts to add, please do.