Stan Lee, one of the most creative minds in the 21st century, and the man behind many of the Marvel heroes and villains we love, died on Monday at the age of 95.
Following years struggling with a number of illnesses, including pneumonia and vision problems, his daughter, Joan Cecila Lee said in a statement to TMZ:
My father loved all of his fans. He was the greatest, most decent man.
The comic book writer, whose characters including Spider-Man, Daredevil and Black Panther cross generational and cultural divides, was a source of entertainment, but also inspiration and comfort.
Over the years, he’s imparted much wisdom, sometimes through anecdotes, other times through interviews.
Here are some of the most important things he has said:
1. On the future
I don’t know where the hell I’ll be in five years. Maybe I’ll be producing movies maybe I’ll be on a corner selling apples. I don’t know, but I’m having a hell of a lot of fun.
- Stan Lee, IGN.com
2. On his motto
You know, my motto is 'Excelsior.' That's an old word that means 'upward and onward to greater glory.' It's on the seal of the state of New York. Keep moving forward, and if it's time to go, it's time. Nothing lasts forever.
- Stan Lee, Playboy
3. On entertainment
I used to be embarrassed because I was just a comic-book writer while other people were building bridges or going on to medical careers. And then I began to realise: entertainment is one of the most important things in people’s lives. Without it they might go off the deep end. I feel that if you’re able to entertain people, you’re doing a good thing.
- Stan Lee, The Washington Post
4. On life
Life is never completely without its challenges.
- Stan Lee, Playboy
5. On diversity
I wanted them to be diverse. The whole underlying principle of the X-Men was to try to be an anti-bigotry story to show there’s good in every person.
- Stan Lee, Comicbook.com.
6. On standing up against bigotry
Bigotry and racism are among the deadliest social ills plaguing the world today, But, unlike a team of costumed super-villains, they can’t be halted with a punch in the snoot, or a zap from a ray gun.
The only way to destroy them is to expose them – to reveal them for the insidious evils they really are.
The bigot is an unreasoning hater – one who hates blindly, fanatically, indiscriminately. If his hang-up is black men, he hates ALL black men.
If a redhead once offended him, he hates ALL redheads. If some foreigner beat him to a job, he’s down on ALL foreigners. He hates people he’s never seen – people he’s never known – with equality intensity – with equal venom.
Now, we’re not trying to say it’s unreasonable for one human being to bug another.
But, although anyone has the right to dislike another individual, it’s totally irrational, patently insane to condemn an entire race – to despise an entire nation – to vilify an entire religion.
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.
For then, and only then, will we be truly worthy of the concept that man was created in the image of God – a God who calls us ALL – His children. Pax et Justitia.
- Stan’s Soapbox, Marvel Comics, 1968
7. And finally, on power
With great power comes great responsibility.
- Stan Lee, Amazing Fantasy, #15, August 1962