by Brandon Zicari
I was seven years old when I was introduced to the work of Stan Lee. My father took me to see the first “Spiderman” movie starring Tobey Maguire. My dad had been into the comics growing up so when another adaptation came out he made sure to take me to see it.
I became infatuated with the idea of a superhero. It was that day that I started to get into the Marvel world and read about the characters that Stan Lee had created. I loved reading about all the characters and their powers, wishing that I could have just one. Some of my favorites included Thor, Captain America, and of course Spiderman. It baffled me that one man could create so many stories that all hold the same core values.
Fast forward sixteen years and as a young adult I am still eagerly waiting for the next Marvel movie to be released. Stan Lee made these characters to show that no matter who you are or where you came from, you can be great. That message is what has turned Marvel from almost going bankrupt to one of the most prominent companies in the entertainment world. Lee took the world for what it was and made characters that people can relate to. Each of his character balances their extreme power with human insecurities. For example Spiderman is a high school kid who balances trying to be a kid with being a superhero. He isn’t the most popular kid in school and does what he can to get his love interest to like him.
Lee began writing comics in the 1940’s for Timely Comics. He and his team were able to produce stories that resonated very well with the public. It was here that Lee created famous characters such as the Fantastic Four, The Hulk, and Iron man. As he produced more stories more fame came his way. Partnered with Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, and others they recreated their brand naming it Marvel. They continued to produce quality comics that the public could not get enough of. Lee’s comics had one aspect that made them differ at the time; each character was connected in some way. He had created a giant universe that could all correlate together allowing for cross overs that made stories even better. Readers could buy comics that had a team up between two or more superheroes which allowed for many compelling plot lines.
The idea of cross over stories is one of the main reasons Marvel is still very popular today. In 2009 Disney bought Marvel for $4 billion dollars. This was a huge step for Marvel. With Disney funding the movies they were better than ever. Since the purchase of Marvel there have been twenty movies released all interconnected with each other. This was a huge gamble because it has never been done before but with Lee’s stories Disney was able to do something historic. In 2018 the two highest grossing movies to date are “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Black Panther”. Both of these movies combined made well over two billion and brought in a lot of revenue for Disney. Overall it is easy to see why people enjoy these movies. They are fun, easy to grasp, and appeal to many demographics of people. Stan Lee wanted everyone to be able to enjoy his work. He is a role model and will forever be highly regarded in the entertainment industry.
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. – Stan Lee