I’ve been crying off and on for 30 minutes. Who even am I right now?
I often semi-joke that I’m dead inside. But every once in a while something comes along to show me that I am in fact still human.
Quite unexpectedly I find myself kind of destroyed and I’m pretty sure more tears will come when I least expect them. It was the moment you knew would come eventually, because at some point Death comes for us all, but still. It seems silly to mourn someone you never actually met, but dang, this hurts. Me a grown man in heart-ripping tears over a guy that wrote some funny books. But that’s just it. To me and folks like me, he was so much more, and those funny books go far beyond that. You might not understand but they have affected all of us deep deep deep into the core of who we know ourselves to be.
Growing up, comic books were my refuge. They were my escape and my access to unlock my imagination. They helped me discover my insatiable need to create. They’ve helped build the blocks of so many parts of me that I honestly wouldn’t know who I am if I were to separate them from me. Through them I laughed, I loved, I cheered, I soared. I learned valuable lessons. It gave me a sense to always try to do right even when it wasn’t easy. Because, you know, with great power comes great responsibility.
And right now, because of all of that, I just keep wanting to cry because the co-architect of much of that is gone from us. So much of my world was wrapped up in not just the comics either but also Marvel Movie cameos, ‘Nuff Saids, and Saturday mornings watching the Hulk and Spider-Man with him telling us True Believers to stay tuned. Kirby, Ditko and others fashioned a world we could live in when the real world just wasn’t up to par. And hearing about his death I was unknowingly being confronted with just how much of that world he was. It sat just beyond the edge of my consciousness and lay within the depths of my subconscious so I took it for granted. It wasn’t always direct, but still he was woven in the fabric of our lives in the best of ways.
I have a list of intentions I write to keep me on track with my goals. When it came to writing I’d always felt like I’d missed the boat since I didn’t get a solid start on it in my early 20’s. And I thought it was too late to really get anything done. So might as well just give up and move on and find something else.
But then I was always reminded that Stan Lee didn’t create much of everything that would become my entire world growing up until he was in his 40’s. So, not in your 20s? Your 30’s are quickly fading? Well buck up camper because you still have time. And so a couple of years ago I wrote in my intentions “Angela and the Dark will inspire the minds of children just like Stan Lee did with Spider-man.” I look at those words nearly every day. Because dammit, what he did just inspires me that completely.
I honestly didn’t expect to have this reaction. But considering everything I am, and everything he’s done for us I had no other choice. And the beauty of it all is, he did exactly what many of us strive to do in life. He was far from perfect, but he made an impact on all of us and made us all better for it. It’s what each of us really in the end should long to do. I only hope we can live up to the example set for us.
So here’s to Stan “the Man” Lee. May your journey across the rainbow bridge find you with Joan and may the both of you forever be at rest and peace.
(Photo credit by Gage Skidmore)