If you were to ask someone who’s never read a comic book in their life to name someone who works in comics there is a very good chance that they will be able to name Stan Lee. “Your Generalissmo”, as he refers to himself on Twitter, has always made a point of being well known and seen whether it be cameos in almost every single Marvel film, having shows like Stan Lee’s Superheroes, or that Who Wants to be a Superhero “reality” competition show he had. To me, it seems like Stan Lee has a hard time saying “No.” Now before I start my rant, I want to just specify that Stan Lee is a self-made god in comics. His contributions are legendary and no one can ever take away what he’s done. He seems like an incredibly nice guy who goes to every comic book convention he’s offered and generally seems to love his fans. As generous and kind as he is though, the poor man has seems to have lost his mind, his skill for writing, and seems to be more in love with himself than any single human in comics ever has. Batman creator Bob Kane is runner up, but would probably be in the lead if he were still alive today.
At 88 years of age, Stan has worked in comics for most of his life as he started as an assistant at Timely Comics when he was still in his teens. Timely would later on become known as Marvel comics. When you’ve been in a business for 60 odd years, it’s hard not to get rusty after awhile. Stan Lee is to comics what Ric Flair is to Pro Wrestling. God you love seeing him, but you get kind of sad when you do because he’s still trying to do what he should’ve stopped doing a long time ago. Lee was an innovator in creating characters like Iron Man, Spider-Man, Thor, the Fantastic Four and more, but today his talent still seems stuck in the 1960’s. The “campy” tone of things he writes is evident and while it can sometimes work up great feelings of nostalgia, it often doesn’t hold up to today’s standards that comic book readers expect. I remember a few years ago while in my local comic shop, the owner commented that there was a Stan Lee written back up story in an issue of (if memory serves) The Hulk. He shook his head said “It was just bad. I don’t know why they let him write it.”
To comic book fans, Stan Lee has somewhat become the lovable Uncle you can’t wait to see but after a few hours you wish he would just go home already. Fans love and respect Stan, but sometimes all his ideas are so outlandish you just wish he’d stop. In 2004, Stan announced he was creating a superhero program featuring Ringo Starr with the former Beatle in the lead role. Yep, your brain can’t fight that mental image. Stan Lee wanted to make Ringo Starr a superhero. In 2010, he created a series of Hockey themed superhero books for all the NHL teams called “Guardians.” Most recently, he announced he was writing a superhero version of Romeo & Juliet entitled “Romeo & Juliet: The War of Mid-2011.” I’m sorry Stan, but it may be time to cut back on your involvement in writing.
Stan Lee is a living legend. So honestly, who am I to judge what he does? No matter how horrible some of his most recent ventures may be they will never tarnish his reputation. (Unlike Ric Flair, who is slowly burying his while he elbow drops the dirt he buried it with.) In 2010, he created the Stan Lee Foundation, a non-profit organization to battle illiteracy through education and the arts. The organization provides people of all ages with access to educational resources as well as promoting diversity, national literacy and the arts. So even if Stan Lee has lost his mind, maybe it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Stan Lee, like I said earlier, is a kind, generous man who through his writing and his foundation is very much trying to give back to the world and make it a better place. Stan Lee is a superhero, just like he’s been writing about for years.
PETER really does view Stan as that Uncle that kind of drives you insane after awhile. But if he actually met Stan Lee, he could probably listen to his stories for hours. I mean, come on! He’s met every major comic book creator since the 60’s and has crazy amounts of stories! He even appears in DC documentaries because he’s such an awesome guy! For a great watch, see “Stan Lee’s Mutants, Monsters & Marvels” with Kevin Smith.