Stan Lee, the father of Marvel Comics, recently passed away – but why are so many people affected? Aside from giving life to some of our favorite superheroes today, Stan Lee has done so much more for lovers of comic books. Rudolph Rabago, a self-confessed lover of superhero comic books, shares that comics were part of his “geek training” growing up.
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“I got my comic book knowledge from the books and not the series or movies,” Rudolph shares. “I’ve always loved the concept of characters going out of their way to save people in need. It resonated so much with me growing up. A lot of my lifelong friends feel the same way. I think that’s why I get along with them so much.”
“In the beginning, there were the ‘gods’, the ‘pantheons.’. These superheroes were really above and beyond the normal human standards. You’d really look up to them and try to emulate them as much as you could, but could never really approximate them,” Rudolph explains.
“The Trinity comes to mind (Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman). Then we also had Captain America, Iron Man and Thor. Literally, gods among mortals. This is all good and all, but were, at some point, very repetitive. I mean, how can you relate to characters who you knew had everything under control all the time? Were on top of the situation all the time? Minor tics, sure, but basically, they were invincible to a fault.”
“Then came this teenager with his radioactive spider who changed the whole playing field. Then came a band of misfits with one guiding professor (though it can be argued that that concept already came earlier, but the stories of these mutants were far more superior). Then came this family of superheroes coping with their abilities to fit in society. This was lightning in a bottle. Suddenly the playing field changed. The impact could be felt across the comic book medium,” he explains.
“These were characters who weren’t perfect. They were the everyday people. They were people with struggles. They didn’t have their act together the entire time, and they actually lost. Sometimes lost convincingly. But, after they’d do, they’d get up and keep going. Because they had to. All the while worrying about where their next paycheck would come from, what people would think about their weird powers, and how they’d relate to society, in general.”
He continues, “These were relatable characters. These were your kid-next-door characters and families across the block. The concept changed how comic books would be done entirely. Suddenly, anybody can be a superhero. Anybody could help people out. You didn’t have to be flawless. You just had to be good. You just had to have the care to help people in spite of your limitations. This was magic. Everything started to change. Even the pantheons became more relatable. The lesson was clear and more people bought into it: regardless of your gifts or limitations, it doesn’t prevent you from being a hero. All you had to do was be willing to do so. That was a powerful message. And this message continues to reverberate till now.”
Because of this, Rudolph and a lot of comic book lovers around the world are thankful for what Stan Lee has brought us. “Thank you, Stan Lee for showing a better way of storytelling,” says Rudolph. “Thank you for showing us that anyone can be a hero so long as you have a desire to do good. You will be sorely missed. Excelsior!”