Sitting comfortably here at 35,000 feet above the middle of the country, heading back to Illinois for a long Memorial Day weekend, I settled in to watch this amazing documentary about the career of legendary comic hero creator Stan Lee.
First off, how cool is it actually that I’m able to watch a movie in a silver tube hurdling across the sky, and then type away on my blog when it was over?
Ok, all of that aside, the movie concentrates on the everyman quality of Stan, how he interacts with people, the humble way that he gives credit and support to everyone around him, and the love and devotion he has for his wife and family. He seems to be the most wonderful person in the world, in a “golly gee-whiz” way that is endearing and inspiring. Starting as an editor when he was barely 18, and asked to write the 2 page filler text required for second class mailing classification, Stan moved from publishing family to publishing family creating and writing for iconic characters like Captain America, The Hulk, The Fantastic Four, and later Iron Man, the X-Men, Spiderman, The Silver Surfer, Nick Fury, The Avengers, and countless others.
That’s quite a list.
Something that struck me about the film, is how Stan continued to force himself into the product, to create a sidebar column in his comics where he wrote an editorial called Stan’s Soapbox, where he wrote about the evils of racism, bigotry, and other social injustices. Later, he introduced each Spiderman animated television episode (note: I totally remember those episodes on saturday mornings). He’s been honored with cameo performances in so many of the current Marvel Comics feature films, it’s a highlight to see him in those films.
It makes you wonder, doesn’t it? How does someone with such a simple demeanor, a gentle spirit, a genuine lust for the genre – how does he have such a giant career, and unparalleled success? Did he never compromise his ideals? Did he develop this persona over time? Did he always have this way of motivating, inspiring and uplifting those around him?
There is a teaching moment here, and I’m a willing student. I’m tired of quietly doing my job such that my clients are pleased, audiences are pleased… and when it is all over, I quietly go home and scrub the toilets, and try to have a simple life. I don’t think I’m that simple, and I don’t think I can hold myself back much longer.
I don’t know when or how this will be manifested, but its coming, and I’m not about to stop it. I’m not about to allow myself to age to Stan Lee’s 86 years old and look back thinking that I hadn’t done everything in my power to excel at everything in my power.