The Watcher is Finally Free

The day we all dreaded finally arrived on 12th November 2018 and took away our very own Stan Lee. The same Stan who made our childhood awesome, who gave us so many superheroes and characters to love, who reshaped pop culture and gave us deep meaningful messages through his comics. He's dead, and the world wasn't ready to take such a huge loss.

The characters he created weren't just heroes. He always made sure they were more human. He made you see that even Hulk was capable enough of falling in love, even after all those superpowers, Peter Parker was always remorseful for his Uncle's death, even after all the success and fame, Tony wished that he should have told his parents how much he loved them. It was not all rainbows and sunshine for them. Stan always made sure that the characters were relatable, and more importantly, human. X-men taught us the most valuable lesson in my opinion: just because someone is different, it doesn't mean they should be treated differently. It was a direct hit on racism and the Civil Rights Movement which took place in America with a goal to normalise the rights for African-Americans. Stan Lee's comics were always about something more than just a superhero fighting a bad villain and saving the day. It wouldn't be completely wrong to say that his comics were shaping the future generation, and they'll keep doing so. No matter how different you feel, there's always gonna be something for you in Stan Lee's lifelong work.

Not just his work, his own life is an inspiration. His 95 years on this planet saw some great highs and lows. He didn't just come out and became the greatest comic book creator of all time. As he wrote once "With great power comes great responsibility," to reach to greater heights, he had to struggle a lot.

Stan Lee always wanted to be a writer, he was passionate about it from the very beginning, but unfortunately, poverty always stopped him in some way to pursue his lifelong dream. He did all kinds of irrelevant jobs which were not even remotely related to his passion for writing and creating comics, until he finally landed the job as an Assistant at the New Timely Comics, a Martin Goodman's company. After the departure of creative partners Jack Kirby and Simon, Stan Lee was appointed as the new Interim Editor, and eventually kept making his way up through the ranks.

Goodman was very keenly observing all the success DC Comics were getting with their "Justice League of America" series. Stan Lee was given the responsibility of making a brand new comic team to rival against DC, and thus marked the birth of "Fantastic Four". No surprises there, it was an instant great hit, and there was no stopping for Stan Lee. He collaborated with Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby and Lieber, co-creating a long range of iconic characters who are still taking the crowd by storm even after 5 decades. As that era marked the birth of The Avengers. They weren't it, we were also introduced to The Hulk, Spider-Man, Thor, Ant-Man, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, The X-Men and The Daredevil and so many more. If my maths is right, that's three cinematic universes right there, and it's hard to believe that there's one single man responsible for all this. The distinctive feature which made Marvel heroes different from DC superheroes is how well they portrayed the human nature of the characters, while most of the DC heroes were practically Gods or God-like.

Even after creating a whole fictional world of his own, Stan Lee always felt incomplete. He always felt that he's just a mere comic book writer while there are people out there trying to make the world a better place, but he finally came to a self-realisation that entertainment is one the best and most important thing in people's lives, and it helps them in ways other things cannot.

I'm just glad I got to exist in a world filled with characters created by Stan Lee. I got to read about them, watch them fight over the big screen, and more importantly learning something from almost every character he's created. X-Men taught me it's perfectly different to be okay, and we should be more accepting of people with every kind, so they don't feel left off and go off the grid. Iron Man, or as we know him, Tony Stark, taught me that all you need is a brave heart and obsession to make something greater out of your life, money is just money and greater things lie beyond it, and how you should never stop trying to make yourself better and learn from your mistakes. Spiderman taught me that life means having to lose things, but it doesn't mean that life stops, we should move on and embrace the past instead of trying to live in it just because it feels comforting, because as much as we hate to admit it, it's already gone. Cap taught me that outer strength doesn't matter if you've strength within you because that's all you need. Thor taught me how just being powerful isn't enough, because you need to be compassionate and treat those who look upto you for protection and guidance with nothing but respect, and you need to be worthy to lift up Mjolnir.

The point is, Stan Lee dedicated his life to his work, and there's something for all of us to learn from it, from every character, every story, no matter what age group you belong to. In the end, I'd like to quote Stan himself, "There must always be those with the fire of rebellion in their blood! There must always be those who dare to fight an unbeatable enemy! Only thus can the race of man remain strong and fearless."

Long live Stan Lee. You were, are, and will always be loved. Your work will never stop aspiring and encouraging people all around the globe, and that is the greatest achievement of your 95 years long journey on this little blue planet which was never enough for you, so you created your own universe which saw no ends.