When news of comic books legend Stan Lee passing away came into my purview, I was not particularly overwhelmed with sadness or grief. The man was 95 years old! That’s a full and intense life indeed. We should all be so lucky to simply live that long, much less produce a body of work that inspired multiple generations and will live on as a testament for ages.
Growing up in China, I did not get the pleasure of being exposed to American comic books at an early age. The ruling party probably considered them counter to communist ideals. After my family moved to America, we were not of sound enough financial situation to afford me frivolous comic books to read. My first exposure to the magic of Stan Lee was via television, namely the beloved X-Men: The Animated Series (cue the music). Even then I merely knew the name Stan Lee, and not what he looked like, and that he revolutionized how comics were created.
Like many non comic book junkies, the legend of Stan Lee materialized in his cameos in Marvel movies, beginning with the very first X-Men and the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies. Thanks to the Internet I found out those were special Easter eggs and not just some old guy who keeps showing up briefly in films of Marvel characters. Awaiting to be pleasantly surprised by the Stan Lee cameo became a ritual, more so in the recent decade since the proliferation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Sadly that ritual will come to a close after the next slate of movies. A nice way to button it up would be to have his final cameo be in the fourth Avengers movie. Avengers 4 is the endgame to this current iteration of the MCU, so wouldn’t it be fitting to have Stan Lee’s last appearance on the silver screen be that as well; an end to an era.
How people chose to deal with a person’s death is not by business; cry and be sad if you want. For me, when a person passes away after having lived a long and wonderful life, my only emotion is celebratory. I’m happy and glad someone got to experience life to its fullest measure.
An “Excelsior” to you, Stan.