Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Stan Lee: Charismatic Creator of Clobberin' Comics!!!

I created my own comic book character once. He was called: THE CLOBBERRER!!! His secret identity was Oscar Olson, and he was a middle linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings. His super power was the ability to...umm...clobber things, a power he gained by eating a radioactive Big Mac.

Obviously, I'm no Stan Lee.

(I'm not even sure if it should be spelled "Clobberrer" or "Clobberer.")

Stan Lee passed away this week at the age of 95. He started writing for comic books in 1939. (1939!!! That's a long, long time ago!) Over the years he co-created many of the best known and most loved fictional characters to ever exist, including: Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, the Avengers, Dr. Strange, the Silver Surfer, the Black Panther, the X-Men, Ant-Man, the Wasp, Dr. Doom, Black Widow, and even Paste-Pot Pete. (Okay, so not all of his characters were big hits.)

(And yes, I know Stan Lee didn't create all of these characters, but his influence on them is certain.)
Of course, he didn't create these characters all by himself. He made them up alongside the artists who initially drew them, most notably Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. Still, even with help, the sheer magnitude of Stan Lee's creations is astounding!

You might say that Stan Lee had it easy. He could just put "man" on the end of any word and create a new character: Spider-Man! Iron Man! Ant Man! Iceman! Giant Man! Or, he could rummage through the dictionary to come up with names for characters: Hulk! Abomination! Juggernaut! Beast! By the time I came up with the Clobberer, all the good names had already been taken, mostly by Stan Lee!

But then, if it was so easy, why didn't someone do it before Stan Lee did it? No, there was more to creating these characters than a catchy name. Stan imbued his characters with charisma and personality. They were more than just heroes, they were also people like us. We don't remember them just because they saved the world, we remember them because they made it through their everyday troubles, too. They joked and cried and kept on going, no matter the odds.

Anyone who has ever tried to write knows how hard it can be to create a memorable character. Stan Lee didn't just do that, he created an entire intricate, beloved, memorable universe! There aren't many writers who can even compare, with the possible exceptions of Tolkien or Rowling.

Stan Lee created a legacy that can't ever be stopped! (Not even by the Clobberrer!)

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