As a kid, I was a big comics fan, and specifically Marvel. I grew up with The Avengers, Iron Man, and Captain America, among others.
Spider-Man was my favorite, though. He had powers, but wasn’t the most powerful. He was strong and fast, and for a good reason: He had the proportionate strength and speed of a spider. Sticking to walls, shooting webs from his wrists, and even his danger-sense all fell under a unifying theme. It was all so cool.
But what made the stories so compelling was how he dealt with fear. Whether he was Spider-Man or Peter Parker, the character always had a Charlie Brown hard-luck vibe to him. Being misunderstood despite good intentions, never quite getting the girl, constantly short on money to pay the bills, he would never seem to catch a break. But through it all, he always tried. Even when the odds were long, Spider-Man remained true to his principles and gave his best effort.
Stan Lee was largely responsible for the Marvel Universe that was part of my childhood. Perhaps he received more credit than he deserved, but then again, perhaps not. I remember wanting to do my biography report on him in high school, but the teacher nixed that idea because he didn’t feel there wasn’t enough source material. I never got to write my tribute to Stan Lee until now.
Thanks, Stan, for adding a little magic and wonder into my life.