“There will never be a world without Stan Lee. He’s the heart of the Marvel Universe.”
We all said goodbye to a true superhero this week and Marvel Studios is paying tribute with a touching video that celebrates the legacy he leaves behind. The tribute — posted on Tuesday from Marvel Entertainment’s official YouTube page — features footage of Lee throughout the years, as well as interviews with those who are part of the Marvel Comics brand.
Lee, who died at age 95 on Monday, co-created some of the most well-known comic heroes in the world and was one of the most influential voices in the comic book industry. Working with various artists, including frequent partner Jack Kirby, Lee co-created characters such as the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and more. As the tribute explains, Lee’s comic creations did more than just introduce exciting characters and storylines to Marvel Comics.
“Stan’s best creation was always Stan,” executive editor Tom Brevoort explains. “Stan . . . was somehow able to tap into his own larger-than-life, self-effacing, and self-aggrandizing at the same time personality.”
It was his capacity to create comics with relatable characters that made his titles stand out among any others. His heroes were brave and strong, but most of all, they were human. One bit of footage from the tribute shows Lee explaining his decision to create characters that were complex and flawed rather than the images of perfection that were previously standard. “Even if they have superpower, they have to be believable,” Lee says. “What they do has to be what any normal person would do in those situations.”
“I wanted [readers] to feel like buying a Marvel book was like visiting an old friend,” Lee explains in another interview.
As Marvel Comics began telling their stories on different mediums, expanding to television and movies, Lee became more of a public figurehead. He went from creating the stories behind the scenes to appearing at conventions, playing active roles in TV adaptations, and eventually being known for his numerous cameos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His work spans several generations and changed how people saw comics and the world.
As Vice President of Content and Character Development Sana Amanat says, “His ideology was very clear, it was very black-and-white: Lean into the light as much as you can, even if there’s darkness all around you.”