Mt. Writemore

mtrushmorecomplete

My Mt. Writemore is now complete. Joining Robert E. Howard, J.R.R. Tolkien, and E. Gary Gygax on that holy cliffside is “The Man” himself — Stanley Martin Lieber, or as he was professionally and lovingly known, Stan Lee.

So what is Mt. Writemore? Well, I like to think there are four writers in an author’s life that shaped them, molding them into the creatives they are, or at least, aspire to be.

For the sake of this exercise, my rules are simple: these authors must have influenced you in your pre-teen years and they must have shuffled off their mortal coil.

So here we are, with my sacred mount complete. The last face to join those in imaginary stone was instrumental in my development as a storyteller. Stan Lee willed the Marvel Universe into existence. With his words, he made the adventures of Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Mighty Thor, and Doctor Strange (just to name a few) come to life in a way that no other comic book company had done before (and rarely since).

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His heroes were fallible. Flawed. They had real world problems.

One of my favorite quotes attributed to Stan, and I’m paraphrasing here, related to Thor, but I always felt a kinship to them on a whole other level. Essentially Stan said, Thor can have all the adventures in Asgard he likes, but every once in a while has to come back down to Earth and take his lumps from the Absorbing Man.

Stan understood that the audience needs to relate to the characters in these stories, that no matter how fanciful or whimsical the tale, they needed to be grounded.

Stan Lee co-created hundreds of characters at Marvel Comics and shepherded the company brilliantly, creating a larger-than-life persona along the way.

 

He never talked down to his readers, never shied away from “big words” or big ideas.

He was a huge part of my childhood and probably the single greatest influence on me. I lived and breathed Marvel Comics for the better part of my life and cherish the memories of reading comics as a small boy. Stan was the architect of that love and the passions he ignited in a farm kid growing up in the sticks of Indiana still burn today.

Godspeed, Stan Lee, and farewell…

Excelsior!

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