What can you say about Stan Lee that hasn’t already been said? The man’s creations have had a huge impact on my life and I’m sure, the lives of many of you. Lee is the James Brown of comics (the hardest working man in comics.), and as co-creator of some of Marvel’s biggest characters changed the way comics were written forever. In fact without Lee comics as you know them wouldn’t exist today. Before Lee superheroes were perfect beings with perfect lives. Lee decided, after taking advice from his wife, that his heroes needed to be flawed. He wrote characters that had drinking problems, faced racism and had hard times as they balanced their time under the mask with trying to get bills paid and graduate school. Without these minor influences the rise of the anti-hero would never had happened.
As a kid I had no idea who Stan Lee was, but I sure knew who Spider-Man, Iron Man and the X-Men were. I’ve mentioned before how as a kid I my family couldn’t afford to buy me comics all the time so my introduction to Marvel was through cartoons, namely the little to no animation cartoons from the 60’s being reran in the 80’s. Seeing these characters opened up a world of imagination for me, and along with the other biggest influence of my childhood, Star Wars (I never miss an opportunity to mention Star Wars.), served to shape me into the proud nerd that I am today. His most popular co-creation, Spider-Man, was the character that drew me in more than anything. Sure the Fantastic Four and all that were great, but here was a hero that looked cool as hell web-slinging through New York, hitting iconic poses as crawled along the side of a building, and of course the coolest factor was that he was just a teen. Here was a kid only 10 years older then me doing all this cool stuff. I can’t say how many times I wished that I could just have an encounter with a radioactive spider as a kid. Not just a ‘wouldn’t it be cool if…’ but a serious ‘where can I find a radioactive spider?’
So today we here at Following The Nerd wish the happiest of birthdays to Stan ‘The Man’ Lee. We can’t honor him any more than he already has been honored across the world for his work, but we can say Happy Birthday Stan Lee, and thank you for everything that you’ve given us in your 90 years. We wish you nothing but the best today and hope that you can make it one for the ages. I do have one other hope though, that at 90 I too can keep up the pace that Lee does to continue to bring joy to every fan out there. Happy Birthday Stan Lee! Excelsior!