The big news this week is that Stan Lee, Marvel mastermind and general imagination advocate, passed away on Monday at the age of 95. By now, we’ve all heard about it, and most people appear to be responding in the same way.
All this week, I’ve had people come up to me or message me asking what I think. I’ve had a lot of people telling me how the news ruined their day or generally bummed them out. People on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit have been sharing stories and pictures of Stan Lee. A myriad of artists have posted tribute pieces to Stan the Man. There has been a massive, collective vigil across the comics community and it’s impressive to see. Honestly, it’s a testimony to the effect he had on the world.
I think what’s important when a celebrity passes is to focus on their achievements. Focus on the fact that they were able to put something into the world and watch it grow. They were able to cultivate so much love and admiration simply out of their talents and determination. Look at them for inspiration and drive forward. If they truly touched your heart or inspired you in some way, then make them proud. Focus that grieving energy on living the life THEY would want you to lead.
In the case of Stan Lee, we have a man who was actively working and creating all the way up to his passing. While his last year may have seen him slowing a bit as he dealt with pneumonia and some conflict with people close to him, he still continued to interact with fans and do what he can to inspire people. Stan Lee passes having left behind a massive legacy that he got to watch rise, nearly fall, and come back even stronger. He got to see the birth of a whole new way of telling the stories he had helped cultivate. He got to expand and refine his abilities, dipping into everything from Manga to poetry to video games. This man was an absolute power house of imagination and passion. It’s really no surprise so many feel the way they do right now.
Hell, I want that. The truth of the world is that we all have to go sometime, and honestly that right there is the perfect way to go out: still passionate, still creating, still watching your legacy thrive. Going out on top. Being a superhero all the way to the end.
So let’s all try to live our lives the way Stan did. Let’s all find our passion and spend every waking hour with it. Let’s give back into the world and expect only happiness in return. Let’s challenge ourselves and break out of our comfort zones from time to time in the name of extending our reach. Let’s build legacies that touch as many people as we can. Not for us, but for them. Let’s use our talents to give people something to look toward or escape to or find comfort in.
We all, each and every one of us, has the power to bring joy to others.
We just have to find the responsibility.