How Did Stan Lee Impact You?

Today bore the sad news that Stan Lee, icon and former editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, passed away at age 95.

I had to catch my breath after hearing the news, a reaction I didn’t expect. I think in some way we all knew this was coming. In fact, earlier this year, Stan Lee filmed a number of brief cameos for future Marvel movies–films that haven’t even started production yet. He’ll continue to be a presence in those films for years to come.

So even though it wasn’t unexpected, it still hit hard. I think it’s rare that someone’s body of work can have such a profound, lifelong impact, and that’s the case with Stan Lee.

When I was young, I occasionally spent my meager allowance on Marvel comic books and comic book cards. They were truly a window into another world. My friends and I spent hours discussing the implications of various storylines and hypothetical situations involving superheroes and supervillains.

As an adult, I’ve been consistently more excited about Marvel movies than any other franchise. In fact, I had such an incredible experience watching the first Iron Man movie that I came home and put on this outfit (much to the embarrassment, chagrin, and delight of my girlfriend at the time). I make board games for a living now, yet I don’t think that comes close to capturing the childish wonder and glee I felt when seeing Stan Lee’s creations come to life on the big screen.

Thank you, Mr. Lee, for a lifetime of stories, characters, hope, escapism, imagination, and joy. As this article says very eloquently, I know you didn’t do it alone, but that doesn’t take away from you as a creative force. While your passing is a great loss, I hope you know that you’ve inspired me–and thousands of others–to tell our stories too.