Tributes have been flowing in across the cinema and publishing world to the late, great and truly unique Stan Lee, who died on Monday, aged 95.
Born in his beloved Manhattan, the kid who grew up in a struggling family during The Great Depression would go on to be the driving force behind a global brand that would make a vast amount of money – Marvel-related films from the past 10 years have made $17.6bn at the box office alone.
However, Stan’s true value lies far from the box office, with the charismatic, avuncular writer creating, and co-creating, a staggering amount of characters, worlds and plots that have influenced pop culture for decades, becoming more popular than ever recently.
Such was his singular influence, it’s possible to link a great many projects across cinema, television and gaming directly back to his fabulously fertile mind alone, ensuring a media legacy that will far outlive the late, great man himself.
A roll call of just some of his iconic characters – Spider-Man, Thor, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, and the X-Men, to name but a few – has characters any writer would kill to have on their resume, but for Stan, they were all just one of his many, many treasured children.
His career wasn’t without plenty of bumps – his well-publicised legal tussles with artists such as Jack Kirby over who created what, exactly, hinted at some of the behind-the-scenes bickering that’s often found when huge success strikes.
However, for many years now Stan was feted internationally, with his success relatively late in life drawing warm praise and critical acclaim.
It’s fair to say that he played a unique role in lifting comic characters and worlds from the realm of pulp fiction and kids’ publishing into a format that, today, draws critical analysis, mass appeal and respect without a second’s thought.
Truly, we won’t see his like again …