RIP Stan Lee. The legendary creator or co-creator of Marvel’s Black Panther, Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Mighty Thor, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Daredevil and Ant-Man, has died at the age of 95.
“Stan Lee was as extraordinary as the characters he created. A super hero in his own right to Marvel fans around the world, Stan had the power to inspire, to entertain, and to connect. The scale of his imagination was only exceeded by the size of his heart,” said Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger.
The actors who played his characters were also quick to offer tributes and post Stan Lee quotes:
“We’ve lost a creative genius,” Hugh Jackman, who played Wolverine, wrote on Twitter. “Stan Lee was a pioneering force in the superhero universe. I’m proud to have been a small part of his legacy and …. to have helped bring one of his characters to life.”
Lee was known for creating multi-dimensional, flawed characters. While most comic and film fans are familiar with Lee and his work, what you may not know is that he didn’t begin creating his most iconic characters until he was 39 years old. So if you need to start a new chapter in your creative life, no matter how old you are, Lee is the perfect person to inspire you.
We’ve compiled 20 great Stan Lee quotes from over the years to get you started:
“[A hero is] someone who, when he or she needs to help someone, difficult or dangerous it may be, they do not walk away.”
“Tastes change, but certain things remain basic. People like stories with characters that they can identify with. Even if they’re fantasy characters from another planet or dimension. People like stories that have surprises, so they don’t feel they’ve seen this 100 times before. But the surprises have to make sense. They can’t just be thrown in to fool the reader.” (LA Times)
“I have always included minority characters in my stories, often as heroes. We live in a diverse society – in fact, a diverse world, and we must learn to live in peace and with respect for each other.” (The Guardian)
“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 realize: 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.” (Marvel)
“That’s the nice thing about being a writer. I can be God.” (Investors)
“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.” (Esquire)
“I am my own biggest fan.” (Investors)
“I don’t have inspiration. I only have ideas. Ideas and deadlines.” (The Guardian)
“My theory about why people like superheroes is that when we were kids, we all loved to read fairy tales. Fairy tales are all about things bigger than life: giants, witches, trolls, dinosaurs and dragons and all sorts of imaginative things. Then you get a little bit older and you stop reading fairy tales, but you don’t ever outgrow your love of them.” (The Guardian)
“To enjoy what I was writing, I needed a superhero story as realistic as I could make it. I never tried to write for other people. I liked people who had problems I might have, because we all have insecurities, regrets. I like heroes who were not 100-percent perfect, who things to take care of.” (Chicago Tribune)
“I don’t analyze things too closely. I find the more you analyze, the more you get away from spontaneity. I have only one rule: I just want to write a story that would interest me – that’s the only criterion I have. Am I eager to see how it ends? If these characters really existed, would I want to see what happens to them? … If I like something, there are bound to be millions of people who like it, too. And if they don’t, shame on them.” (The Guardian)
“I’ve been saying this for years: People love fantasy.” (LA Times)
“[Being a ‘geek’] has become a badge of honor. It’s geeks who really make or break a TV show or movie or video game. They’re the ones who are passionate about these things and who collect [the paraphernalia] and talk about them. A geek is really somebody interested in communication and entertainment and [finding] the best way to avail himself or herself to it..” (The Washington Post)
“I don’t like too much violence. To me there’s a great difference between an action-packed story and a violent story, and I don’t like to do things that I don’t feel I could say to any parent, honestly, ‘Your child could read that.'” (LA Times)
“I read a lot of Jules Verne and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain and Edgar Allan Poe. Anything I could lay my hands on that was interesting. Edgar Rice Burroughs. I liked things that were a little bit bigger than life, or that were very clever. Like Sherlock Holmes, I loved Sherlock Holmes. And I read legends — I read The Odyssey. Anything, as I say, that was bigger than life and high concept.” (AMC)
“The more you read, the better you’re going to become as a storyteller.” (IGN)
“There’s really nothing wrong with the comic book format. If Michelangelo and Shakespeare were alive today and decided to do a comic strip together, who’s to say that it wouldn’t be the most worthwhile, valid, viable form of literature that you could find.” (LA Times)
“I was always looking at people who were doing better than I was and wishing I could do what they were doing—Steven Spielberg or a writer like Harlan Ellison, or even Hugh Hefner. Part of me always felt I hadn’t quite made it yet.” (Playboy)
“Life is never completely without its challenges.” (Playboy)
“The people in the audience may feel they learn something from me, at least I hope they do, but I learn so much more from them,” he said. “It gives you a chance to be out there and actually talk to the people you’re trying to reach.” (LA Times)
Which Stan Lee quotes and characters are your favorites? Let us know in the comments!