In Memory of Stan Lee: Farewell to a Legend

by | Nov 13, 2018 | Awareness

Everyone seems to have a Stan Lee story. He was a cultural force of nature. His work with Jack Kirby created the foundation for the future we live in today. Lee and Marvel are a global brand and an incredible phenomenon. Remember when reading comics was considered “nerdy”? Yeah, we don’t either because Marvel and Lee have, over the course of the last 70 years, made these modern-day mythologies an essential part of who we are culturally. The work that Lee did to achieve this immortality and influence was incredible, and sometimes cutthroat, and he continued to work as an ambassador for the company he co-created even into his 90s. He never rested, living life vivaciously and to its absolute fullest. Over the course of his life he was a son, a husband, and a father while also being a comic-book writer, editor, film executive producer, actor, and publisher. Lee was the editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, and later its publisher and chairman before leaving the company to become its chairman emeritus, as well as a member of the editorial board. He also helped to shepard in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. He was universal, he was ubiquitous –some even claimed he was omnipotent–and he loved his fans as much as they loved him. Which brings us back to opening line: everyone has a Stan Lee story , so here is one that one of our intrepid members of the Galaxy Design Squad had to share.

“I was in Orlando at MegaCon a few years ago. We were celebrating the 30th anniversary of the birth of a very good friend by spending the weekend at this convention. Stan Lee was there, but I had no actual interest in meeting him (specifically my wallet and bank account were in agreement that such a meeting could not happen without some Ocean’s 11 type tomfoolery). On Saturday morning, I found myself wandering alongside the table that showcased all of the pieces that Lee had signed. I was there with two other friends and as I stood there Mr. Lee walked right up to us. He was on his way to his morning signing at the time and had an entire entourage of security with him as he breezed up to us. I use the word breeze because I have never seen a man over the age of 90 move so lithely, and so breeze up to us is exactly what he did. He paused for a brief moment, a moment made longer to me by the full attention of the entourage, and waved at us while saying, “Excelsior, gentlemen.” Then he was gone.

The whole experience felt magical, like seeing a stag in the woods near your home early morning while out for a walk. It was like seeing a whale while piloting a kayak. It was special. In fact, I’d swear the air he left in his wake was several degrees cooler than air in the convention center; a testament to just how unbelievably cool a cat Mr. Lee was. It’s experiences like that, like the fact that he would take even a second out of his incredibly tight schedule to greet a couple of strangers, that made Stan Lee more than one of the most influential people in the history of pop culture. It made him every bit as iconic as the creations he left behind for us to enjoy for decades to come.”

Iconic. That might be the best word to use to describe the man and his legacy: Absolutely and utterly iconic. Here is where, in a traditional obituary, where we’d call for Mr. Lee to rest in peace but we’re not going to do that. Instead we remain confident that whatever is next after this life Stan Lee will find a way to make his mark there as well and so we honor his legacy here. Instead, we shall simply say, “Excelsior, Mr. Lee. Excelsior.”

– Sutter Cane

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