By Emma Louise Loffler, LLM Human Rights Law, Conflict and Justice
I wanted to write a personal obituary, because the personal effect that Stan Lee has had on my life is not to be under-stated. Growing up, superheroes were completely outside my realm of being, and it was not until I started raising my own son, that they started to infect my interest.
‘But on top of what he gave me, it’s what he gave millions of little boys (and girls!) through his diversity, representation and alternativism.’
Obviously, I was a Marvel girl. I have unfortunately managed to get dates cancelled over my opinions on Batman. Give me Stan Lee’s creations any day – complex, young and dynamic; his characters reeked naturalism and flaws, and not just a steely complexion. Stan Lee gave me Spider-Man, Black Panther, and the Guardians of the Galaxy, to name but my favourite. But on top of what he gave me, it’s what he gave my son; and hundreds and millions of little boys (and girls!) out there, through his diversity, representation, and alternativism.
Watching Black Panther recently, I had tears streaming down my face; the long-awaited normalisation of black superheroes is no small thing. And Stan Lee was partly responsible for this. Stan Lee was not just a master of stories, but, a master of living; his exuberant cameos, right up to his death, in his 95 years, pay homage to this. However, what I have also discovered, (in the latter stages of my research), is that it also pays tribute to a plethora of sexual assault allegations that were made against him.
As a comic book character creator, Stan Lee infected the world with a residual spirit; a light that grew in the darkness; a creativity that gave rise to hope; an undeniable faith in mankind, in the face of ‘evil’; a dynamism, activism, and resilience; that many a small child, and grown-woman, can look up to. However, was he also part of a generation of old white men, whose normalised power meant that he was entitled beyond measure, and basically thought he could have whatever he wanted?