The Legacy of Stan Lee and the Marvel Characters That Inspire Us

Stan Lee, the patriarch of Marvel Comics, died this week at 95. Lee created hundreds of characters including Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk,  X-Men, the Avengers, Fantastic Four, Black Panther, Daredevil and Iron Man just to name a few. Lee has been credited with revitalizing the comic book industry beginning in the 1950s, and helped usher in a new age of silver screen comic book heroes — brought to life in mega-budget movies.

It wasn’t just the larger than life physiques and powerful abilities that made Lee’s characters so special in the hearts and minds of his fans. It was also the way he infused the human element into their super-human personas. They were at once fearless and mighty — and at the same time vulnerable, in some way or another. This duality afforded these superheroes some real emotional connections to their lives — some even experiencing everyday dilemmas such as how they would pay the bills. Lee was often able to weave a thread of humanistic emotional intelligence into his comic-book heroes, and was once quoted as saying, “America is made of different races and different religions, but we’re all co-travelers on the spaceship Earth and must respect and help each other along the way.”

Within Lee’s super-human realms of fantasy tinged with realism, he was able to break barriers, tackling off-limits subjects such as diversity, equality and other taboo issues of the day — but entertainment was his constant objective. He has been quoted as saying, “And then I began to realize: entertainment is one of the most important things in people’s lives. Without it, they might go off the deep end. I feel that if you’re able to entertain people, you’re doing a good thing.”

Rest in peace, Mr. Lee, you will never be forgotten.

Here are some quotes inspired by Lee’s vision that are sure to live on in perpetuity:

“Just because someone stumbles and loses their path, doesn’t mean they can’t be saved.” — Professor Charles Xavier, X-men

“A true Defender never raises arms against an innocent, no matter how they threaten you.” — Doctor Strange

“Whatever life holds in store for me, I will never forget these words: ‘With great power, comes great responsibility.’ This is my gift, my curse.” — Spiderman.

“The failures of my generation are the opportunities of yours.” — Franklin Storm, The Fantastic Four

“We can’t change the past but we can change the future.” — Sue Storm, The Fantastic Four

“Heroes are made by the path they choose, not the powers they are graced with.” — Iron Man

“Something is coming your way — something big.” — Bruce Banner, The Hulk

“Just because something works doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.” —  Princess Shuri, Black Panther

“You’ve got to feel what’s not there as much as what is.” — Daredevil

“Intelligence is a privilege, and it needs to be used for the greater good of the people.” —  Doctor Octopus

“When you decide not to be afraid, you can find friends in super unexpected places.” — Ms. Marvel

“The door is more than it appears. It separates who you are from who you can be. You do not have to walk through it… You can run.” — Franklin Richards, The Fantastic Four

“All we can do is our best, and sometimes the best we can do is start over.” — Agent Carter, Captain America

“In times of crisis, the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.” — T’Challa, Black Panther

 “This is saying our generation will never matter. But we have to matter. If we don’t, there is no future worth saving.” — Ms. Marvel