A shock was felt throughout the world on Monday, November 12th when Stan Lee, industry veteran and for many a dynamic force and the public face of Marvel Comics for many years, passed away. He was 95 years old.
As the news traveled across the world and the Internet that day, people, both celebrities and professionals who knew Stan and worked with him, as well as fans, took to social media to share photos and memories of Stan “The Man” Lee and all he meant to various persons.
To honor Stan and his memory as well as his years of service to the comic book industry, we here at PopCultHQ decided to reach out to various figures in the comics scene. The purpose…to have them share their thoughts and say goodbye to a man who inspired many to the comic book field.
Brian Hess, illustrator of Action Lab Entertainment‘s AWAKE and Webtoons series NIX: “Stan Lee was an inspiration to us all, comic creator or not. His efforts and creativity have inspired generations and will continue for years to come.”
CW Cooke, creator/writer of the recently-acquired Action Lab Entertainment series L.U.C.H.A. and Devil’s Due Publishing‘s SOLITARY: “I never got a chance to meet Stan. I never got to tell him how important his work was to me and how it changed my life. How growing up, comics was my escape from bullies and a life that sometimes didn’t feel worth living. Marvel Comics has kept me alive on more than one occasion. I never got a chance to meet Stan, but his work and his co-creations will stick with me forever, his words etched on my heart until the day I die. With great power comes great responsibility, a seemingly simple phrase but one that will always inform who I am as a person and creator. Goodbye Stan, and Excelsior forever.”
Mike Marts, Editor-in-Chief at AfterShock Comics: “Everything we do today—the comics we make, the creators we work with, the dreams we breathe life into—wouldn’t be possible without the trailblazing efforts of Stan Lee. He is and always will be the brightest visionary in our industry’s history. AfterShock mourns the loss of comics’ greatest pioneer.”
Ben Williams & Jason Sterr, writer of Action Lab: Danger Zone‘s THE CONSULTANT: “This is a sad and regrettable day for all of us True Believers, but a tragic and heartbreaking one for J.C. (Lee) and all those close enough to Mr. Lee lucky enough to call him “Stan”. Know that you all are in our collective thoughts and prayers. Excelsior.”
David Pepose, writer of Action Lab: Danger Zone‘s SPENCER & LOCKE (optioned for film): “To me, Stan Lee was kind of the cool comics grandpa that everybody wished they had — there was something almost conspiratorial about the way he’d lean over to readers, clueing us in with a wink about the exciting secret worlds of Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men. He was like a carnival barker, over-the-top and infectious with his enthusiasm and sense of humor, but it was Stan’s genuine sense of graciousness that felt like both a promise and a secret handshake — that you were now a part of the comics community, a society in which all were welcome. Stan was a legend, a pioneer, and an ambassador to comics, and it’s hard to imagine where the industry would be without him in it.”
Rylend Grant, Hollywood screenwriter and creator/writer of Action Lab: Danger Zone‘s ABERRANT (optioned for tv series): “Every profession has its g.o.a.t. (greatest of all time), that man or woman to whom every great shiny new someone will be compared for the entirety of human existence. The NBA had Jordan. Golf had Niklaus. Tennis has Serena. The comic book community, thankfully, had Stan Lee. Sure, Stan was the father of Spider-Man, Hulk, Iron Man and Thor, but the work he did at Marvel inspired people like me to create our own quirky characters, our own rich worlds… I’m honestly struggling today to find a way to tell David Colbrenner, Nelson Little, and Elliot Rooker (characters from Grant’s Action Lab Entertainment comic book ABERRANT) that their grandfather just passed away. More than anything, Stan Lee taught me that comics weren’t just mindless fun. When I was coming up, it seemed like Marvel comics were always about something. Stan and his liked to get the ills of the world down on a page and beat the piss out of them. Racism, substance abuse, issues of moral ambiguity. Those books made you think. And they made me re-think what a comic book could and should be.”
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Garrett Gunn, creator/writer of GO WEST, THE BOXMASTERS OGN, and Source Point Press‘ FRANKLIN & GHOST: “Stan was a force of nature. He left an impact on anyone I ever met who knew him, had met him, or had simply seen him through the media. It’s impossible to conceive a world where Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and others hadnt existed to bring life to characters that meant so much to the world. The universe is greatly lacking in his absence and I’m sure he’ll still be watching over comic fandom from the back issue bins in the sky.”
David Schrader, creator/writer of Action Lab: Danger Zone‘s BABY BADASS: “Very few people in life attain legendary status. Stan Lee is not only a legend himself, he created and helped create countless other legends. Excelsior forever.”
Mark Roslan, VP of Aspen Comics and writer of BUBBLEGUN and PORTAL BOUND: “It’s painful to hear about Stan Lee’s passing, but wonderful to think of the incredible mark he has left on the world—the stories and characters known all across the world—and the countless lives that will be affected by them. Stan Lee is and will forever be a legend, and the world is a little less special without him.”
Buz Hasson, co-creator/artist for THE LIVING CORPSE: “What can I say about Stan that the entire world isn’t already saying! We were united by Marvel, I know I was. Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s Marvel had the magic…it wasn’t till years later that I’d learn the trials of the legacy in its full glory and detail. I wanted to be apart of it all. Most importantly I saw the potential of the ideas and artform…Stan opened up the gates to us and brought us in. The eye for talent and the infinite drive behind his personality and message will live on…what a life, what a universe…created in the hearts and minds of the readers around the world. Thank you Stan for giving us a place to imagine more and to go on and create our own stories.”
Susan Beneville, writer of Action Lab Entertainment‘s AWAKE and co-creator/writer for Webtoons‘ NIX: “As I was weepily reading all the Twitter and Facebook tributes to Stan, it dawned on me that maybe this community – of creators, collectors, fanboys and fangirls – was his greatest creation. That’s what The Bullpen Bulletin and Stan’s Soapbox were all about. Whether it was razzing the “Distinguished Competition” or handing out “No-Prizes” or dishing on the Marvel staff, Stan made readers feel like they were important, part of the team, and in on the joke. Excelsior! True Believers, I could go on about this for days, but I won’t. ‘Nuff said. Thanks Stan.”
Joe Field, owner of Flying Colors Comics & Other Cool Stuff in Concord, CA and Founder of Free Comic Book Day: “I’m sad about this, as are all Stan’s fans. But I am grateful for all he did for me and for the wider world of comics and pop culture. I’m happy to have known him and found him to be a good man, a man of his word and a devoted husband. RIP, Stan. Thank you.”
Nicole D’Andria, Marketing Director/Submissions Editor at Action Lab Entertainment, co-writer of Action Lab: Danger Zone‘s DOLLFACE, and creator/writer of self-published ROAD TRIP TO HELL: “”When I heard about Stan Lee today, I couldn’t help but look at the pair of leggings I’d chosen to wear that day, which were covered with Marvel heroes that Stan created. It was an eery coincidence that made this legendary man’s passing really hit me. I want to thank him for all the amazing, wonderful things he accomplished. including his influence on my own comic book journey, as both a fan and creator in the industry. Excelsior!”
Blair Webb, The Living Corpse Crew member and creator/artist of GHOSTMAN: “Stan was a true inspiration. I am sad that he is gone but all that he helped to create remains and will continue to entertain future generations of true believers. Tonight and from now on every year on this day I will raise a glass to Stan…Excelsior!”
Joe Eisma, co-creator of Image Comics‘ MORNING GLORIES and artist featured at Valiant Entertainment, Archie Comics, BOOM! Studios, and DC Comics‘ THE FLASH: “I think it’s fair to say that Stan Lee is one of the main architects of the modern comics industry. My earliest memories of Stan were when I read How to Draw Comics the Marvel way cover to cover, and his buoyant narration style on Spider-man and his Amazing Friends. His influence can be felt all over. I’m grateful for all he contributed, and it’s great that generations will get to continue to enjoy his legacy.”
Ariela Kristantina, artist for Dark Horse Comics‘ MATA HARI and AfterShock Comics‘ InSEXts: “I got to meet Stan Lee once when I was a student at SCAD (2012), when a small handful of us were invited to talk to him at an art/portfolio review event. His energy and enthusiasm were infectious, and it was clear to see why so many people looked up to him and considered him a role model.”
Joe Pruett, AfterShock Comics Publisher and Chief Creative Officer and writer of BLACK-EYED KIDS on the passing of Stan Lee: “I learned to read because of Stan Lee. Marvel Comics and the creations he helped bring to life MADE me want to read so I could find out what was happening to my favorite characters each month. He filled my childhood with a passion that lead to my adulthood. If it wasn’t for Stan Lee, I’d probably be working in construction doing something I hate instead of working in comics and doing something I love. Thanks, Stan. I owe you one.”
Shawn Gabborin, Editor-in-Chief of Action Lab Entertainment and writer of PUPPET MASTER, DOLLMAN KILLS THE FULL MOON UNIVERSE, and BLACK BETTY: “It’s hard to put into words. So much of what we all love, not only in comics but in pop culture as a whole right now, was co-created or heavily influenced by Stan Lee. Losing that is tough.”
Nate Piekos, letterer featured across numerous publishers/titles: “I have a few amusing stories, about Stan. I seemed to bump into him in odd places during conventions. One of my favorites was the time I was in the Atlanta airport, coming home from DragonCon, and he ended up in line behind me in the food court. We were in line at a deli, but all Stan wanted was a hamburger. The lady behind him spotted a Burger King, and in true Stan the Man fashion, he winked, gave us all the double “finger guns” and was on his way over to get a Whopper. There was also the time he and I were in the Dark Horse booth at NYCC. He was signing some small Marvel statues that Dark Horse had the license to produce. He borrowed my Sharpie, and accidentally walked away with it. I thought about walking after him to get it back, but you know what? He’s Stan Lee. I owed him at least a Sharpie.”
Jarrett Williams, illustrator on Super Pro K.O., Hyper Force Neo, and Rick & Morty: “My introduction to Stan Lee came thanks to his narration on Marvel cartoons on Fox in the early 90s. After scouring many vintage comic bins, I learned that he created most of my favorite heroes and helped build the core Marvel Universe as we know it. I cant thank him enough for inspiring me to follow suit and create original worlds of my own.”
Mel Caylo, Director of Marketing, Valiant Entertainment: “I had the honor and pleasure to interview Stan in 2009. I will never forget that day. It was scheduled to only be a half hour long but it turned into two hours! We were having such a great conversation that he didn’t want to stop talking. He was funny, engaging, and just so well spoken. It was an incredible experience. Sadly, the interview was never used, but I still have the recording of it. I’ll never put it out—I just want it to be my own personal Stan moment.”
Reading all of these stories of meeting Stan, or what he meant personally on a creative level, showcase just how vast and far-reaching his influence traveled.
Stan Lee was a one-of-a-kind man. A brilliant editor, co-creator, publisher, promoter and more. He helped usher in the Marvel Age of Comics, and took to the various forms of media as tools to promote the Marvel Comics brand and comics themselves.
The world feels a bit smaller with Stan gone and laid to rest. Yet we all, as fans, as creatives in the various fields, should take heart. Though the man is gone from this world, his legacy of creativity and making comics more accessible to audiences, as well as showing that comics could be enjoyed by all and there was no shame in reading them, will never be forgotten.
Rest in peace, Stan. You will be missed. Nuff’ said.