Greetings from the Odinson,
On Monday November 12th 2018, the world lost a true American Icon.
Stan Lee passed away at the age of 95.
Stan Lee is certainly a man that needs no introduction. His list of accomplishments and contributions speak for themselves. He is the godfather of modern day comics. He is the architect of the Marvel Universe. He is an award-winning writer, highly celebrated editor, incomparable publisher and producer, and a much beloved human being.
He will be sorely missed.
Alongside legends like Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Bill Everett, Don Heck, and his brother, Larry Lieber, Stan Lee created some of the most iconic and enduring super heroes in history, and the worlds they live in. If you are reading this column then you already know all too well the contributions he has made and what this man has meant to popular fiction. In the past week, and in the years to come, Stan Lee’s history and impact on the world has been and will be explored and talked about in great lengths by many.
He has touched so many lives.
So, instead of writing about all of Stan Lee’s accomplishments and history, things many of you already know, or should, the Odinson is going to share four anecdotes of my own personal history with this great man. Four very distinct times in my lifetime that Stan Lee has touched my heart, influenced and guided me, and made my day just a little bit brighter.
1981: “Hello, Spidey-Friends.” – Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends was a staple of early 80s Saturday morning cartoons, and a must see event for a tiny Odinson. To this day, I would definitely give tons of credit to this, forgive me, amazing cartoon for stoking the flames of my fandom. It was here that I was introduced to Spidey’s friends Ice Man and Firestar! Way before Harley Quinn made the leap from animated show to the comics, Firestar did it first.
This show was developed by Stan Lee and made possible because he moved to Hollywood to cultivate Marvel’s presence on TV and in film. Stan Lee narrated the episodes with that very distinct Stan Lee voice of his and with an enthusiasm that was quite infectious. When Stan said, “Hello, Spidey Friends,” it felt like he was talking to me personally. That’s the kind of love and inclusion this man exuded. It’s the same kind of personalization and inclusion he had been practicing his whole career with things like the Merry Marvel Marching Society, Stan’s Soap Box, the Make Mine Marvel slogan, and the always funny No Prize awards. Stan always had a way of making us, the fans, feel like we were part of the family.
To this day, I cannot see a picture of the man without that distinct voice ringing in my head saying, “Hello, Spidey Friends.”
1995: “Brodi, I’d give it all up for just one more day with her.” – It is no secret that the Odinson is a fan of Kevin Smith, and the fact that Smith and Lee were very good friends has always brought a smile to my face. Their friendship began 23 years ago on the set of Smith’s second feature Mallrats. At a pivotal moment in the film, one of the main protagonists is at a crossroads and it is at that moment our hero, Stan Lee, arrives to set Brodi on the right path.
The metaphors of why DoctorDoom wears armor and the dichotomy between the personalities of Bruce Banner and the Incredible Hulk, were not only humorous, but they were exactly what Brodi, and an at that time heart-broken Odinson in his mid-20s, needed to hear. Yes, it is Kevin Smith’s words, but it is Stan’s distinct voice and the way he delivers the lines with such grace, enthusiasm, and heartfelt sincerity that makes that scene truly resonate.
A few years later, in 2002, Kevin Smith sat down with Stan Lee and conducted an absolutely wonderful interview for the DVD Mutants, Monsters, and Marvels. As Smith nodded along, Stan regaled and told how he and his stable of celebrated artists came up with and created all the legendary Marvel Heroes we know and love to this day. It is an absolute must see interview. It’s one of those DVDs the Odinson can pull off the shelf from time to time and it always brings a smile to my face.
2017: The Odinson meets his hero. – A little over a year ago, I got to finally meet one of my All-Time heroes. I am so glad I had that opportunity. I could never possibly put into words the impact this man has had on my life. He was one of the most gracious, nicest, and enjoyable human beings I have ever encountered. I have heard it said before that you should never meet your heroes because they will let you down.
Whoever said that never met STAN LEE.
Why is my pseudonym The Odinson? – The easy answer would be because I am a fan of the character and Walt Simonson’s Thor is one of my All-Time favorite runs in Comics History. While that is true, there is also a much more personal part of the answer that I shall share with thee here. When I was a child reading my Spider-Man and Hulk comics, I would gush about the adventures of my heroes to my parents. My father took notice and shared with me that when he was a kid his favorite hero was the Mighty Thor.
Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby not only introduced me to a magical world of Norse gods, giants, trolls, and elves, but it was also a bonding moment between father and son. That is why I can say, without even a hint of irony, that in the 2011 Thor movie, when Asgard came alive on the Big Screen for the very first time in all its glory, a single tear of pure joy rolled down the Odinson’s cheek. Thus, I am the Odinson to honor the hero Thor, to honor Walt Simonson’s contribution to the mythos, and to honor my father.
And, it all leads back to Stan Lee.
This man – “THE MAN” – Stan Lee did what every single human being all around the world should strive to do every single day. He made the world a better place.
Stan Lee (1922-2018).
This is Odinson with a heavy heart bidding thee farewell