Cosmic Rock



Ghastly Greetings True Believers,


This week we have a very special edition of revelations for you. I’ve been asked to provide some thoughts on the passing of the legendary face of Marvel comics, Stan Lee. You will certainly see Stan eulogized all over the place this week and many of said reflections will be expressed much more eloquently and from people more qualified to talk about comics and people who knew him much better than I did. I didn’t know him at all. I’d never even formally met him though I did once brush shoulders with him in a cramped hotel hallway at DragonCon and he was extremely polite even though I was acting like a blubbering idiot and I saw him from a distance at Heroescon in Charlotte a few years later. I either always rationalized that the price tag was too high or the line was too long to get that picture, though now I certainly wish I had.

Stan Lee was a world builder. He was a special type of creative force that comes around only once in a while.


I suppose this is an appropriate time to discuss his collaborators. Stan Lee’s success was no doubt in part due to being smart enough to surround himself with the best of the best. People like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko were every bit as instrumental in making Marvel Comics what it became. Why does Stan Lee get most of the credit? Well beyond the persona of Stan Lee who’s part carny barker part “aww shucks” everyman schtick was crucial in building the Marvel brand, Stanley Lieber (Stan’s real name) could see the big picture. It takes that type of visionary to lead a creative charge. The same could be said of Walt Disney, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, JK Rowling, etc. All of those people are known as the sole creators of their beloved properties but none of those amazing creations were brought to life single handedly. They all worked with trusted collaborators at some level. Sure, there is a great discussion to be had about credit and who deserves what (this is not that time nor the place.) but having that type of “big picture” vision and then being able to find the RIGHT people to execute it are talents only held by an elite few and you can bet your merry marvel marching society membership card that Stan Lee was one of those few. The creations of the aforementioned geniuses will live on eternally, years after they are dead and buried. THAT my friends is the kind of impact we should all strive to leave on the world.



But why am I qualified, in any way to eulogize Stan Lee? I’m just a fan. I can say that Stan Lee’s influence has been felt in all of my various creations, and some of his ideals helped build my moral compass. “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” anyone? Comic books are something that have been a crucial part of my life going back to the same crucial years all young people are shaped by the fantasies and prospects of a world much more colorful and imaginative and just than the one they will come to know, and for me around 8 years old was when the fever hit. While I am, after all a doer and I will generally take my fandom of anything to obsessive levels. There becomes a point where just learning about it and participating in it is no longer satisfying, I have to try to do it.  That’s how I got into the wrestling business, that’s how I learned instruments and started bands, it is how I started podcasting, and that’s how I started One Good Scare productions. Surprisingly, I never really took my love of comics to that extreme with any consistency. I for the most part remained strictly on the fan side of the fence. I have come up with a few story ideas here or there, sure. I publish some web comics under the OGS banner partnering with great creators but I’m mainly just giving these talented people a forum and brand to release their material and glad to be involved and that is where Stan’s influence can be seen most outwardly in my current work. It doesn’t hurt that our main comic book artist Todd Johnston may be the world’s biggest fan of Spiderman stories and continuity, and I know a LOT of Spiderman fans.




My Marvel drug of choice was always the X-Men, however. The team of outcasts who were hated and feared by a society that they are trying to protect spoke deeply to me and that was the Stan Lee creation that had the most profound impact on my life. I’’ve always been a pretty big Spiderman fan as well, and who doesn’t love The Avengers? Hell I’d argue that is one amazing piece of legacy to leave in and of itself. Look around at the miserable state of the world. We can’t talk about what flavor of ice cream we like without it turning into a heated political debate anymore, but 9 out of 10 people any day of the week will agree that they love the Marvel superhero movies. Stan Lee’s creations are bringing people together in the midst of one of the most turbulent social climates in history. What a life he lived too. 95 years and from all accounts he tried to enjoy every second of it. We should all be as lucky to make it to 95 with our faculties and a continuing lust for life as Stan did. Beyond his wife passing before him and some of the unpleasantness and uncertainty about his senior care and elder abuse claims, he pretty much lived out the best case scenario. He lived to see himself become a legend in his own time and be appreciated for his contributions and creations.


So yes Bill Maher, comic books ARE important for many reasons. Stories of all kinds are. They are our modern mythology, they show us examples of how to live, how to love, how to overcome adversity, make difficult choices and in many cases show us what not to do. They give us something to relate to in this human experience and show us the flawed people can still do great things. Thanks Stan Lee, for giving us the gift of your brilliance.




 - "Devilish" Dan