The Legacy of Stanley "Stan Lee" Lieber.


I had intended to start this article talking about Marvel’s 1977 Godzilla series, written by Doug Moench and drawn by Herb Trimpe, or maybe all the giant monster comics Stan made with Jack Kirby in the early years of their partnership. However, even after clearing my cats off of my writing space and making some of my favorite sappy-time tea, I just….had nothing.

The nothing persisted until I saw Into the Spider-verse last weekend (it's great by the way). In what turned out to be one of his final cameos, Lee plays a shopkeep who rings Miles Morales up for a cheap spiderman costume. Miles has had his powers for maybe 24 hours. Untested, unsure, and uneasy, he asks somewhat gingerly, “Can I bring it back if it doesn’t fit?”

Stan just smiles and says,

“It always fits, eventually.”

If I can be uncharacteristically open with y’all, it always takes me forever to write these articles. I sit and bang my head against the solid concrete writers block, and inevitably have these moments of near panic wherein I’m positive that I shouldn’t be writing, I can’t write, I should give up forever, etc. I like to clickety-clack on my keyboard and post things that I think are funny/stupid (usually the latter), but boy howdy, does the imposter syndrome get me right in my guts.

It feels like wearing a costume. An ill-fitting, cheaply made costume. Like I’m calling myself a writer, an author, a wordsmith, but I just don’t have the chops, and the best thing to do is give up, and put the costume away.

I was still thinking that going into the movie. And somehow, Stan said exactly what I needed to hear. I don’t want to quit. I’m going to keep bashing my head against the wall until I have the absolute funniest way to describe Baragon (pomme de terror) because I want too. Because even if the costume doesn’t fit, it will. Eventually.

And that’s the legacy Lee leaves behind. His work told tales of misfits, brimming with potential and totally unsure of what to do with it, and through them he told us that it was ok to be confused with who we were. He told us that we all had this incredible power in us, and we would find out what we’re supposed to do with it.

Its ok to feel bogged down, lost, maybe a little worthless. Just try to keep in mind that Stan the man knew you were incredible, fantastic, and amazing. Your costume will fit. Eventually.