In a recent video, Stan Lee reminded us all that he is awesome, while explaining why he thinks that a common profanity is actually a compliment.
I got to shake Stan Lee’s hand once at a comic convention two years ago. Afterwards, I tried to explain to my dad the significance of getting to meet Stan Lee. This is a guy who co-created characters who are going to matter decades from now. He’s arguably more important than most artists alive today.
I’ve discussed his domination of the superhero genre before. Stan Lee has co-created Spider-Man (my favorite fictional character), the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Daredevil, the Hulk, the X-Men, the Silver Surfer, Doctor Strange, many of their greatest enemies and most of the significant members of the supporting cast. When reading silver age comics, I’m often surprised to find yet another character Stan Lee co-created who was a big part of the Marvel Universe, be it doomed Giant-Man Bill Foster, or Agatha Harkness from the Fantastic Four.
I can think of a few people who had dominated genres or mediums to the same degree: perhaps Alfred Hitchcock and the thriller, as well Shigeru Miyamato and video games. The longevity of Stan Lee’s creations has been astounding. His characters have been in many of the most successful movies of all time, including eight of the 100 highest grossing films from three different franchises, a number that is sure to improve with the impending releases of sequels to The Amazing Spider-Man and The Avengers. His impact on pop culture has been enormous.
And then there’s the fact that the stories were pretty good. For a long time, he was the best writer in his medium. And while he may now be a bit lower on the top five thanks to the likes of Alan Moore and Grant Morrison, his work is still a lot of fun. In addition to all of that, he’s essentially served as America’s ambassador to comics, as the highest profile comic book creator in the world. I would argue than this version also counts as one of his best characters. It’s one more thing he has in common with Hitchcock.