There was once a little boy. He saw an advert on the television. It was for a new comic launching in the UK. He pestered his parents until they went to the newsagent and bought the comic for him. It was February 1973. The boy couldn’t read, so the job of reading the words in the speech bubbles fell to his parents.
The comic was the UK edition of Spider-Man, or Spider-Man comics weekly to be pedantic. For the next several years this boy was read, and then read himself, the exploits of Spider-Man. Spider-Man was a superhero but he was also puny Peter Parker, a weak science geek, nerd type, who was often the smallest and weakest in the class. This, so often, resonated. And, Spider-Man like so many others, came courtesy of Stan Lee, who died yesterday.
I have always loved fantasy, science fiction and super-hero stories. Anything that has a supernatural element to it will often interest me. Spider-Man, and later the whole Marvel universe, has brought me hours and hours of entertainment since that young boy got his first comic.
The genius of Stan Lee was that he brought reality to these unreal stories. The characters were flawed people just like you and I. Despite their superpowers they couldn’t solve everything or save everyone. I am quite sure that my earliest confrontation with death was when Peter Parker’s girlfriend Gwen Stacey died, with Spider-Man unable to protect her.
So, thank you Stan Lee. You told me that we’re all in this together. You told me that we can all be heroes. You told me that despite being heroes life still hurts and is a struggle. But most of all you brought joy to the lives of many, and that really is a superpower.
Stan Lee 1922-2018
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