Culture, although defined very broadly, is nothing more than everything we create in a particular place and time. And in a way superheroes have always been the backbone of our culture. They were always there clothed in religion, legends and myths. And It’s quite easy to understand why.
Heroes give us hope. They make us belive there is something more an ordinary man can aspire to be. You can see it today in a way we idolize people like Bill Gates or Elon Musk. We want to have our heroes. We want to have somebody to look up to.
When I was a little kid I used to read books like crazy. Most of them were of fantasy genre full of all sorts of creatures and heroic feats. I was never really into comic books. Chunky pieces of text and scenes from the book playing out in my head was something more my pace.
But now that I think about it, in some parallel universe there’s me consuming comic books relentlessly. I just never stumbled upon them when I was a kid. I watched plenty of cartoons though. That’s how Stan entered my life.
From the very first cameo I’ve seen in last episode of Spiderman The Animated Series I knew this guy is just something else. His energy and enthusiasm made him one of those magnetizing personalities. Somehow even at over 90 years old he energized the room just with his presence.
For Stan whole Marvel Universe was something way more than pictures and floating sentences. He wanted to connect people. He wanted for us to feel like we visit an old friend everytime we open up that colorful book. Along with certain important values, Stanley’s comics often touched on cultural issues. He belived he could change people. And change people He did.
Even today as a young adult I often find myself going back in my head to these simpler days. When I’m solving complex equations for math classes I like to envision myself being like Tony Stark in his workshop. When things get though I think about Peter Parker struggling to find balance in being a hero and ordinary man everytime his life seems to fall apart.
In a way, behind colorful costumes and masks, Stan Lee showed us all our northstars. The best things in us magnified. Those best things that with some considerable effort can triumph over everything life throws at us.
I wish I could thank Him. I wish I could go to the cinema to see another MCU blockbuster and look out for one of his cameos. He’s still with us though. In every rewatch of classic hits. In every recall of favourite cartoon. It’s just that I know world will miss someone like Stan.
Maybe He wasn’t perfect. No one is. But You know what they say. You should never meet your heroes.