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Stan Lee: True Inspiration and Heroism

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    During the 1940s, the world had fallen into war and depression. The war had brought loss and misery to America and many countries around the world. Even though this was a horrible time, one man arose from the crowd to bring a new kind of hope to the nation. This man, Stan Lee, would be a huge part in the now massive company named Marvel. Marvel is a company that writes, edits, produces, and publishes writings about fictional characters known as superheroes. The company was founded by Martin Goodman in 1947 in New York City, New York, which was Lee’s hometown. Lee was an editor, producer, creator, and publisher of comic books for Marvel. Lee had joined the company to create characters that many people could relate to and take inspiration from. Lee made these characters as a way to teach important life lessons and to provide role models for many generations to come. From the moment Stan Lee was a part of Marvel, he has inspired many generations and has managed to change American life positively forever.

    Everybody knows that a person’s childhood can shape how that person could behave and feel in the future. In children, there is a sort of innocence and creativeness that surges through their minds. Children can harness the power of imagination and use that power to create a world of liberation and joyfulness. These children dream of flying the highest altitudes, lifting automobiles and buildings with incredible strength, running speeds that can’t be captured with the naked eye. Stan Lee has taken this childhood creativeness and turned it into something all the children in the world can relate to. He has given them a role model for which these children can relate to and feel attached to. These role models in return boost the children’s creativeness and lay their upstanding morals upon them. Stan Lee, through his many writings, has essentially created a new generation of people in America that would go on later in life to shape the world everyone lives in today, just like how their favorite superheroes would do.

    Stan Lee’s creations have influenced many people that are currently big influencers in modern day America. People like Marshall Mathers, otherwise known as Eminem, is a rapper and songwriter that grew up reading comic books and taking inspiration from them. He uses many themes and references from Marvel in his musical works. Stephanie Nnesaga is an organizer of gaming tournaments. Nnesaga told the BBC, “Growing up as a black woman, I often read Marvel comics as an escape.” She uses her platform to eradicate the negative stereotypes often placed on people that enjoy comic books. The comic books themselves try to combat these stereotypes and prejudices, too, through the inclusion of many different characters with different backgrounds.

    America has a long history of prejudice and segregation against African-Americans. This history has had a very negative impact in cultures and in current day politics. One of Lee’s missions was to put an end to these prejudices in America. “America is made of different races and different religions, but we’re all co-travelers on the spaceship Earth and must respect and help each other along the way” (Lee). Lee has combatted this history with the addition of many African-American superheroes. The most prevalent of all the African-American superheroes is Black Panther. In 2018, the movie Black Panther was released in theaters and has had widespread coverage through out all forms of social media. A huge population of moviegoers and critics in America praised it for its great themes and for its interpretation of African culture. The film then went on to win many nominations and awards.

    Black Panther is not the only Marvel character to receive praise. A character such as Spider-man has been one of Stan Lee’s most prominent works. Spider-man is one of the most recognizable characters in history. Spider-man’s real identity in the comics is Peter Parker. Peter is just an average kid who goes through normal day problems with school and life and then gets the gift of being able to go around the city of New York fighting crime. Many people find this character the most relatable. Despite being created over 60 years ago, Spider-Man has only become more popular as time progresses. Like Black Panther, Spider-Man has had a film adaptation that was a major hit in the box office. These films continue to be successful because of the love that modern pop-culture shares for them.

    In present day, Marvel, thanks to Stan Lee, has an enormous presence in American culture and has been able to radically transform it. The popularity only seems to be climbing higher every year. Under the leadership of Lee, Marvel has been able to gross $21 billion in ticket sales for the films alone. The Marvel brand has been everywhere, including, television shows, video games, digital applications, and any other imaginable forms of storytelling (Leibovitz). Lee understands that entertainment is a huge necessity for human life. “I used to be embarrassed because I was just a comic-book writer while other people were building bridges or going on to medical careers. And then I began to realize: Entertainment is one of the most important things in people’s lives. Without it, they might go off the deep end. I feel that if you’re able to entertain people, you’re doing a good thing” (Lee).

    Works Cited

    1. JonesNov, Meghan. “12 Stan Lee Quotes That Are Downright Heroic.” Reader’s Digest, Reader’s Digest, Accessed 25 Feb. 2019.
    2. Leibovitz, Liel. ‘Farewell to Stan Lee.’ Tablet Magazine, 13 Nov. 2018. Religion and Philosophy Collection, u=ft58823&sid=GPS&xid=40e4de25. Accessed 25 Feb. 2019.
    3. Rumble, Taylor-Dior. “How Stan Lee’s Superheroes Helped Change the World.” BBC News, BBC, 13 Nov. 2018, Accessed 25 Feb. 2019.

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