In Memory of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

I had a post planned for today, but in light of recent events, I wanted to talk about some of the most influential people to my childhood to have ever lived. Stan Lee, the face of Marvel, and another, lesser known but equally important figure of Marvel, Steve Ditko.

When I was a kid, one of the first movies I ever remember watching in the theater was the first showing of Spider-Man 2. I had already watched Spider-Man 1 in DVD before and was so hyped to finally watch my all-time favorite superhero on a big screen. I am also 90% sure I asked for a Spider-Man costume immediately after,and got my Spider-Man pajamas thanks to it.

Spider-Man was one of the first movies to teach me about how amazing heroes can be. How selfless, how cool, how determined, all of that was thanks to Spider-Man. By extension, it was also thanks to Steve Ditko, his creator, who died June of this year. If I am to be perfectly honest, I barely knew who Steve Ditko was until he passed, but I did know all of his work. If he hadn’t made that loveable webhead, I doubt I’d know what Marvel even was. He was one of the fugureheads for pushing the golden age of comics, with his works in the occult and surreal “Tales to Astonish”, “Doctor Strange” and of course, “Spider-Man”.

And Marvel as it is now has its foundations shaken, as another part of my childhood dies, when Stan Lee, 95 years of age, passed away a few hours ago.

Unlike Ditko and Jack Kirby, who I admit, I only knew about and appreciated when I had already grown a bit older and did my research, Stan Lee was a constant presence in my childhood, because of how much of a presence he had in every Marvel media I consumed. It all started when I was reading my dad’s old X-Men comics which crossed over with, you guessed it, Spider-Man.

They were like volumes of X-Men and Spider-Man crossovers compiled into one book. Before the start of every issue, this guy called Stan Lee would have a little fun editorial talking about the comic, how he and the rest of the artists and writers were doing, and even answering a few questions from the fans sometimes. I liked Stan a lot, because it made me think that every single comic, no matter how silly, were made by people who loved to make comics.

Then Iron Man came out, and even as a kid I thought, “Wow, this could be something amazing”, and I started reading up on everything I could Marvel. Yes, I was totally that kid back then who knew every superhero before it was “cool” (although knowing Marvel was super cool even before the MCU blew up).

My respect for Stan Lee started in comic books, and how hard he pushed so many heroes we know and love today. The world would be a different place if he hadn’t made Marvel the juggernaut it is today and made Juggernaut.

While I am sad he has finally passed, I find myself looking at his life and thinking “he’s already lived thrice over”. I think the man deserves the rest, especially after the passing of his wife 15 months prior. Most men at his age can’t live that long, so it is a miracle that he endured the pain alone for this long.

Rest in Peace, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Thank you for making my childhood what it was, and for making one of the best damn superheroes to have ever existed together.

Excelsior!

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