It’s with our greatest regret that we must inform our readers that Stan Lee, the co-creator of so many of our favorite Marvel characters, and a personal hero of mine has, passed. Stan Lee and Jack Ruby’s characters were a staple in my childhood that taught me the difference between right and wrong. There wasn't a day that went by that one of his characters wasn't an influence in my life in some way. As I grew up the one thing that never changed was Stan Lee’s influence in my life, even to this day his creations still brings me joy. The following will be a remembrance of how his influence affected me throughout my life.
Some of my earliest memories are playing make believe in my grandparents backyard while pretending a trash can lid was Captain America’s shield and I was Cap. I also have fond memories of toting my Wolverine action figure to friends’ houses so we could have the X-men take down Magneto. My God damn underwear at this time in my life had tiny Marvel Characters on them (later in life as well). The only thing that kept me from fighting crime was the fact that I was a poor, overweight, and didn’t have super powers. The thought of missing the animated X-Men TV series after school was devastating, I would literally sprint off of the bus to not miss the intro because of how much I loved the music. A day didn’t pass in my childhood that i didn’t think of one of Stan’s creations.
In my teenage angst years I latched onto one of Stan’s darker creations, The Punisher. Frank Castle (The Punisher) was an ex Marine whos family was stolen from him by murderous mob members. Mistakenly thinking they killed Frank Castle with his family he swore vengeance on any evil doer that he crosses paths with. He knows killing won’t bring his family back, but as a trained killing machine and access to lots of high caliber weapons he can at least he can make sure no one else has to go through what he has with losing his family. The violence and bloodshed was what drew me to The Punisher in my teenage years, but in my later years it was him being the anti-hero in the Marvel universe that kept my love growing for him. As an adult I later had The Punisher skull tattooed on me as a tribute for the love of the character.
As an adult I got to meet Stan at a con. When I found out he was coming to Texas I had to meet him, plus it was a chance to wander around surrounded by all the geeky things I love so why wouldn’t I go? After purchasing my ticket and waiting in line the first thing I did was go to wait in another line to pay for the photo op opportunity. After that I realized it was only an our and a half til it was time for the photo op so not wanting to wait even longer than I had to I went ahead and waited in line for the op. I was 4th in line and excited as ever, it's not everyday you get to meet one of your heros, but the problem at hand was what would i say to him?
Would I be like the rest of the tools and thank him for what he has done for me, and tell him ’m his biggest fan? Should I tell him how much I love The Punisher? No Joshua you're better than that. Make him laugh, that’s the way to make it enjoyable for him and yourself. So as we were let into the room my mind was racing. Obviously it had to be something related to superheroes but what? That’s when it hit me. I heard an interview with Stan talking about how much he loved working with Kevin Smith and wanted to do another one of his movies with him, and Mallrats happens to be on of my favorite Kevin Smith films. So that does it. I'm going to ask him something profane about a superhero’s genitals.
So now it’s my turn to take a photo, as i walk up I make sure to turn my back to the camera guy as I shake Stan’s hand (so that way he couldn’t take our photo just yet) and ask him “ Mr. Lee, may I ask you a question?”, with an excited voice Stan replied, “Certainly!” So I asked “Can Mr. Fantastic stretch......” At this point I Leaned in closer to Stan and said, “Everywherrrreeeee?” he replied laughing, “ABSOLUUUUUTELY!” I laughed pretty hard as i leaned in for the photo with him and gave a double thumbs up, to my surprise (because for the first 3 people he didn’t say anything to or even get close to them for their photo) he pat me on the back and leaned in doing the double thumbs up with me still chuckling. So after a few hours it was time to pick up my photo and as I went up to the table full of photo I see mine.........It’s amazing! It’s the best one on the whole table! Everyone else’s was smiling, but like that "forced to smile for a yearbook" photo. MIne? He was cheesing! He was legit having a good time. Suck it nerds! I won the Stan Lee photos!
I hope everyone had a chance to meet this man. He was a kind, caring, loving man who will be dearly missed by his fans, friends, and family. Take this day to reflect on how he has affected us positively. Let’s all share memories with each other on what we love about him. I would like to think that’s how he would have wanted it.