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Stan Lee: Writer, Activist, and Hero

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Stan Lee: Writer, Activist, and Hero

Stan Lee, seen at San Diego Comic Con, talking to a crowd of fans at a Q&A session.

Stan Lee, seen at San Diego Comic Con, talking to a crowd of fans at a Q&A session.

Photo Courtesy of Flickr

Stan Lee, seen at San Diego Comic Con, talking to a crowd of fans at a Q&A session.

Photo Courtesy of Flickr

Photo Courtesy of Flickr

Stan Lee, seen at San Diego Comic Con, talking to a crowd of fans at a Q&A session.

Connor Rose, Inside A&E Editor

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Stan Lee, writer and creator of Marvel Comics’ most famous superheroes, passed away on November 12, 2018. In addition to being a skilled writer, the beloved author was a passionate activist for equal rights and the progressive treatment of minorities.

Creator and writer of characters such as Captain America, Spider-man, Black Panther, and the X-men, Stan Lee had a natural talent for creating relatable characters that could largely impact and comment on current political issues. From the civil rights movement to the treatment of the Jewish community, his characters represented larger themes that affected the world and still do.

Largely working with Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, fellow workers at Marvel comics, Lee created his first team, The Fantastic Four, and moved on to larger, more ambitious projects in his new, shared universe of heroes.

The creation of Captain America signified a political message within his writing. Captain America’s inception was in parallel to the peak of World War II, which  largely influences many young readers with patriotic spirit and the ideals of freedom rather than blind loyalty. Instances of such patriotism can be seen in the creation of DC’s Superman (not created by Stan Lee, however), another figure who fought and stood for the “American way” and the ideals of a free society.

Lee’s passionate support of the civil rights movement was clearly shown in a 1966 editorial on “social ills plaguing the world” where he spoke out against the “venom” of racism and bigotry.

Lee’s hope was to show the world that anyone can make a difference and that if they have the means to do such, they have a moral obligation to do so”

It’s totally irrational, patently insane to condemn an entire race — to despise an entire nation — to vilify an entire religion” Lee said in the editorial. “Sooner or later, we must learn to judge each other on our own merits. Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill our hearts with tolerance.”

The ideals expressed by Lee are also evident in his work on the X-men, a group of mutants discriminated against for their differences and uniquities from everyday society. The characters emphasize the author’s message of tolerance and the idea that “anyone can be a hero” regardless of race, creed, or religion.

This coincides with Stan Lee’s creation of Black Panther in the same year of his now-famous editorial (1966).

Lee’s message is perfectly represented in Spider-man, Marvel’s most successful and popular superhero. Peter Parker, an everyday Joe who gets his powers by chance, is taught the lesson that “with great power comes great responsibility” and learns the importance of sticking up for the little guy. Lee’s hope was to show the world that anyone can make a difference and that if they have the means to do such, they have a moral obligation to do so.

Stan Lee was more than just another comic book writer. His impact and influence have significantly altered or world both politically and socially, influencing young children with the messages taught by his characters and the selfless, altruistic ideals they promoted.

If we are to live up to the messages of Stan Lee, we must come together as a universal people and rise above racism and prejudice, responsibly using the power we have been given.

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About the Writer
Connor Rose, Staff Writer

Connor Rose is a senior at San Juan Hills and this is his first year in newspaper.  He’s beyond excited to be a part of the Express team and is so grateful...

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