stan lee is my myspace friend…
Hello true believers, your blog master here to announce, Stan Lee is my MySpace friend, how fracking cool is that?!
The first comic I bought was Avengers #100. It’s not the first I read, just the first I bought with my own money, a monthly allowance for working on my grandfather’s farm.
I was a DC kid for a long time. My friend Allen and I had long debates over my comic mis-education. Once I became a teen-ager, I fully embraced Marvel and the Lee created and inspired Universe.
I knew where all the really interesting heroes were, New York City. I knew that Spider-Man could sit on top of the Empire State Building any time he damn well wanted. I also knew that 99% of the time he was up there wondering how to pay his rent, or get money to take Gwen Stacey on a date.
I knew where they lived: Spidey in Queens; Daredevil in Hell’s Kitchen; Avengers Mansion was on Fifth Ave. in Manhattan; Ben Grimm grew up on Yancy St. (much to his later torment). Stan’s heroes lived in the real world. Not Metropolis, not Star City, and not the alt universe NYC of Gotham. With the exception of Tony Stark and Reed Richards, his heroes were not wealthy. They lived on the fringe, beset by every variety of physical and psychological affliction, usually smart-assing their way through it. They reacted as any of us would to suddenly gaining super powers, inner conflicts and confusion so overwhelming, many barely functioned or lost themselves in drugs or alcohol. Stan would give all his heroes a moment of redemption or acceptance of their fate. They would all, to varying degrees, come to learn the wisdom of Uncle Ben Parker’s words, “with great power, comes great responsibility.”
Stan raised the bar. Most people who didn’t grow up reading comics, generally imagine them as low brow, poorly written, poorly drawn, testosterone driven shit. Some are. Stan’s books were well written, intricately plotted, inventive, smart, funny and socially relevant. That sensibility ushered in The Marvel Age. The MA brought its own sensibility and vernacular, expressed by characters who developed through their adventures instead of merely bounding over tall buildings in a single leap from one escapade to the next. Even after he stopped writing and editing, he still wrote Stan’s Soapbox and every issue always began with, “Stan Lee proudly presents…”.
Comics encouraged me to read, collect, learn and engage my imagination. A few people in my life have asked how I got such a large vocabulary. I always answer, “reading Marvel comics.” They either laugh or get pissed off, thinking I’m making a joke, blowing off the question. When I read Marvel comics, I always kept a dog-eared dictionary nearby.
This week-end Stan received the New York Comics Legend Award and I congratulate him, thank him and am so unashamedly excited that I’m connected to him, even in such a tenuous, virtual, fan-boy wet dream way of MySpace.