Photo courtesy of Parade
Story by Sergio Pacheco / Contributing Writer
Stanley Martin Leiber, known as Stan Lee, died Monday, Nov. 13, 2018, at the age of 95 in Los Angeles, California. The world of Marvel Comics, people he worked with, people he influenced and fans have forever changed, but Lee’s work of art will continue to live on for as long as comic books and superheroes exist.
Carley Olejniczak, a journalism student at Middle Tennessee State University, said, “I grew up watching a lot of Marvel movies, and I think that he made a pretty big impact because of the way he was able to portray superheroes and just his creative mind. The expansive universe that he created just really showed me that maybe I could be that creative one day because I did like to write and create those kinds of things. He was also like into social justice if you’ve ever read some of his interviews. He was all about equality and being a real-life superhero to people I guess you could say … just kind of standing up for the right things.”
Lee said, unlike in the superhero universe, you can’t zap bigotry and racism away with a ray gun.
Lee wanted to create characters of minority races as much as he could because he felt there wasn’t enough of that in comics. Lee and Jack Kirby created the first mainstream black superhero, known as Black Panther, who was first introduced in Marvel’s Fantastic Four comic in 1966. Black Panther didn’t get his own comic until 1977, and it wasn’t until 2018 when it became one of the most anticipated blockbusters.
“Stan Lee inspired me in many ways because I grew up watching his films,” said Rayyan Ahmed, a journalism student at MTSU. “All of his movies were mostly about people being true to themselves and finding power within themselves, accepting one another for who they are.”
In 2013, Marvel Comics established Angela, Thor and Loki’s long-lost sister, as an LGBTQ character.
Marvel’s “Avengers: Infinity War,” alone, managed to create more than three-thousand jobs in Atlanta, Georgia, according to Project Casting.
Hunter Gipson, a film and television production student at MTSU, said, “Stan Lee was probably one of the most inspiring creative writers and driven people in the world. He created an entire universe that generated an entire scene of movies that made people like me, who want to become filmmakers, have giant careers and jobs now.”
In 2017, Lee attended the annual Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, Washington, where Sergeant first class Nicholas Jones and Major Milton Campbell of the Seventh Infantry Division inducted him into the Signal Corps Regimental Association, according to Army Times.
Eric Woolworth, a multimedia journalism student at MTSU, said, “I definitely think Stan Lee had an impact – especially in my childhood – because as a little boy growing up, you always try to emulate fatherly figures or just like figures that are inspiring to you. Definitely with Spider-Man and X-Men – anyone of his superheroes – inspired me to want to become a better person and stick up for the smaller person … or just do the right thing. I think that’s a great lesson that a lot of people, especially kids, can learn from. I think he’s had a good lasting impact on, not only my generation but the generations beforehand.”
Lee was the co-creator of many superheroes such as Spider-Man, X-Men, Captain America and many more.
“I would say the heroes that he created were probably my all-time heroes growing up,” said Andrew Moe, an audio production student at MTSU. “I remember seeing a video before he passed where he said something like, ‘We’re all brothers and sisters’ … kind of like in the Marvel world, just like how all the superheroes are tied together.”
There are future plans of adding more diversity to the superhero world, such as changing the race of current heroes in films as well as including LGBT heroes in films as leads. There is also a big risk that this decision could potentially hurt the sales of these future projects and even get the films shut out of key foreign markets.
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