Later, in a different part of New York, a nerdy teen got chewed on by a radioactive spider. Even with the “strength of ten men”, being able to walk up walls, and being able to shoot super strong web, Peter still got screwed. He wanted to get friendly with the girls, but was either too shy or some web-slinging situation gummed things up. It was a minor league Shakespearean tragedy put into a comic book. Rather than innumerate all the comic book characters, it’s more interesting to note what they did for me. Or rather, did for us.
Stan (“the man”) Lee, the creator and co-creator (along with Jack “king” Kirby) of a new type of superhero, just died November of 2018. He was responsible for far more than imagination and insight. He turned out to be our entertainer and inspiration for what good behavior was supposed to be. For an hour or two, we would be transported to an amazing world of good versus evil. Science fiction that was both written and drawn, with strong undercurrents of behaviors we subconsciously admired. I doubt Stan Lee ever intended on creating something that would never be duplicated: the true Golden Age of comics. Many years later, as comic popularity waned, the comics tried to mirror what the writers thought the young public wanted: very little story or character development, lots of graphic violence, fewer drawn panels, and lots of huge breasts. Sheesh. Sometimes we long for new inspirations, not money-grubbing ass kissing. They reversed Marvel comics’ order of priorities: create stuff the teens will love and relate to, and the money will follow. If you do it just for the moola, the stories will predictably suck.
Ask any former comic loving baby boomer for a comic story. Silver Surfer turning on his master Galactus to save humanity? Professor X (X-Men), a chrome-dome wheelchair bound guy who’s more powerful than all his X-Men he’s training? Reed Richards (Fantastic Four) risking his life to go back into the deadly Negative Zone to get something to save the life of his wife and unborn child? And just think, we haven’t even talked about the incredible array of ultra-powerful villains.
So Stan Lee, I thank you for introducing me to the world of reading for entertainment. You introduced me to great people I wanted to be like. You made my younger years better and more important than had you not been there. So later on this evening, I may go out back and fire up a stogy (or cheroot, depending on which character is inspiring me). And if I see a stupid squirrel trying to break into my attic again, the neighbors may hear me yell, “It’s clobberin’ time!”