There’s no creative talent who fits the above better than Stan Lee. So many of my friends and peers keep saying he saved their lives. My own experience was different.
I’m getting personal in this post to talk about the effect his work had on me. It’s not what I expected when I started writing about it.
Stan Lee’s work didn’t save my life. I grew up in a community where “girls can’t read comics” so his stories didn’t reach me until I was an adult and had fled that swamp. I was taught to use everything and everyone to my own advantage, look for the next best person or thing and grab it, no matter who might get hurt. And I was starting to get worse.
I’d just gotten power over the direction of my own life. Where I’m from, you either stand up by stepping on people or take whatever you can grab and then run. I knew nothing at all of responsibility. And then I picked up a Marvel comic.
Stan Lee didn’t save my life. He saved the people who walked into it. His work showed me another way to be. That there’s always a choice, that people who grew up surrounded by cruelty, pain, and loss can choose to do good instead of harm.
Cycles can be broken. Anyone can be a hero. Kindness is a form of strength. We’re stronger together. Keep going, even if the way seems impossible.
Those ideas come naturally to so many people. I wasn’t one of them until I got help. That wouldn’t have happened without Stan Lee’s worlds and characters opening my mind to empathy. Even a kid raised to be cruel and indifferent can choose a different path later in life.
What impact did Marvel Comics have for you?