On Monday, November 12, geekdom lost a legend. Born in Manhattan in the early 1920s, Stanley Martin Lieber was raised with his younger brother in the Bronx. Entertained by Errol Flynn’s swashbuckling roles being shown on the silver screen, Stan Lee was influenced by heroic stories. He began writing obituaries and press releases, as well as working a number of odd jobs. After graduating from high school, he became an assistant at Timely Comics in 1939, and it was the start of an incredibly long career in comics . . . and geekdom!
Lee’s influence has been profound, touching on all facets of popular culture and fandoms. Because of this, Fanbase Press wanted to take a moment to honor and commemorate Lee’s ability to inspire all of us through his stories with a few words of remembrance below. In addition, please check out long-time Fanbase Press Contributor Phillip Kelly’s touching obituary.
“Celebrating fandoms and creating new ones is our motto at Fanbase Press, and Stan Lee spent his entire life doing both of these to the best of his ability. The world was a better place because of Stan Lee and the joy he helped bring to others.”
– Bryant Dillon, Fanbase Press President
“There is something to be said about the tenacity, the generosity, and the enthusiasm that Stan Lee embodied. Meeting him in 2013, he didn’t know me from a hole in the wall, and yet he greeted me like a family friend. That was Stan. He made you feel important. Maybe it’s because of how hard he worked to achieve his dream. Maybe it’s because he understood the fandom of the universe he created. Working for Stan changed my life. I can trace amazing experiences, fast friendships, and self-confidence in my abilities to my time in his company. I’ll end by saying that where there was space for ego, he never showed his. When I hear of the entitlement that often comes with celebrity, I have always held Stan as the litmus test. His mantle is that of Comic Book Legend. And yet if you showed up for him, he showed up for you. Although I may not have known him as long as others, I can truly say to all fans: He absolutely appreciated you. I remember him saying there was never enough time to tell all the stories he wanted to. Rest now with Joanie, Stan. You’ve earned it.”
– Jacqueline Lopez, Fanbase Press Guest Contributor
“We all felt like we knew him. He was mythic, and his legend will live forever.”
– Sebastian Kadlecik, writer/creator of the Eisner-nominated Quince
“Growing up in the ’90s, comic books were not quite my thing (yet), so my exposure to Stan Lee wasn’t quite like other folks. Instead, I’ve been acquainted with the cinematic Stan Lee. My first encounter with learning about Lee was via the Kevin Smith film, Mallrats. In this film, Lee appeared to give sage-like life advice to Jason Lee, which pretty much set the template of how I viewed Lee: an older man, full of wisdom, helping those in need (i.e., a bonafide superhero). Years later when I actually got into comic books, it was the cinematic Lee via his various cameos that I came to appreciate. Lee played a variety of roles in his cameos: a Hugh Heffner-esque playboy, an oblivious janitor in a library, a soda pop drinking bystander, and so on; however, it was his cameo in Fantastic Four that really stuck with me. In this film, Lee plays the Fantastic Four’s lovable mailman Willie Lumpkin. It’s a really quick cameo, but it’s also an unfathomable concept: Lee got to actually portray a character he created on screen. We writers may often escape into our own worlds and write in such a way that we see ourselves as characters, but here is an instance where someone got to live the actual dream! Simply amazing. And that is what Lee is to me, he was able to do the “simply amazing.”
– Nicholas Diak, Fanbase Press Contributor
“Thank goodness his great American novel morphed into stories of the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Iron Man, the X-Men, Spider-Man, and numerous others. His spirit lives on in the complex, memorable characters he created – to entertain, challenge, inspire, and uplift.”
– Michele Brittany, Fanbase Press Editorials Manager