Excelsior - A Tribute to Stan Lee



When I was a young boy, I, like many other kids, collected comic books. The super powered beings in the colourful costumes doing amazing things that regular people could only dream of were so appealing to me. The world of superheroes drew me in as a form of escapism before I even knew what the concept meant.

I didn’t discriminate against any brand when it came to purchasing the newest book on the shelf, whether it be Marvel, DC, Image, or even some of the lesser-known publishing companies. If they had a superhero with an interesting look, I would give it a chance. That isn’t to say that I didn’t have my favourite of course… and that is what brings me to writing this article in the first place.

Marvel comics had one big edge over their competition and his name was Stan Lee. While he didn’t create all my favourite characters, he did have a hand in quite a few of them. His secret was to humanize his characters. No matter how powerful his creations could become, they always had some flaws which humanized them so that they could become more relatable to the reader. Relatable to me.

Photo by Matt Carr, Getty Images

Photo by Matt Carr, Getty Images

I then discovered this wonderful thing which has, if I am to be totally honest, held me under its spell to this very day… Marvel Studios. Okay, technically it wasn’t called Marvel Studios back then but I am talking about their TV and film industries. It started with the Saturday morning cartoons but quickly expanded into live action with reruns of The Incredible Hulk series. It was here that I saw for the first time ever, a Stan Lee cameo.

I was so hooked that I was giving up on my other activities. Baseball? Who needs it? Hockey? Not when they practice on Saturday mornings. Please… I have cartoons to watch.

It was these well told stories and characters that led to me spending many an hour drawing my own versions of the heroes I saw on the page, writing stories and embracing my own creativity. Without them, I doubt you would even be reading this article right now as I would have never developed the confidence to make any of my writing public. That sentiment goes double for my artwork.

As I grew older, my interest never faltered. So intrigued was I, that I was even willing to sit through and secretly enjoy such horrible films as Howard the Duck, the 1970’s Fantastic Four movie by Roger Corman, and even The Punisher starring Dolph Lundgren of all people. It was my dedication to the dream of one day seeing Stan Lee’s true vision on the screen, that kept me watching these laughable flicks.

Now, with the MCU having exploded over the last 20 years (thank you Kevin Feige), never have the heroes of my youth been so prominent in common culture and neither has the most recognizable name behind the scenes… Stan Lee. His cameos have become one of the most anticipated scenes in each new movie that comes out and always brings a deafening cheer in the theatre.

So, I just wanted to take this moment to give my thanks to Stan Lee. He has inspired countless people and, though I did not know him personally, I know he was beloved and will be greatly missed by all.


Art by Lee Weeks, from the cover of Spider-Man Death & Destiny Vol. 2

Art by Lee Weeks, from the cover of Spider-Man Death & Destiny Vol. 2