RIP Stan Lee: Fans Share Heartfelt Tributes to the Late Comic Book Legend

On Monday, November 12, 2018, the world lost Stan Lee, a man who gave us some of pop culture’s most enduring characters. He died at the age of 95 after being rushed to the hospital from his Los Angeles home. (A cause of death has not yet been released, though he’s had several illnesses recently, including pneumonia.) Through his long life and the expansion of the Marvel Universe, Lee introduced us to an extensive list of comic book superheroes that ignited the imagination of people throughout generations.

While many mourn the loss of the comic book legend and pioneer of geek culture, Lee will forever live on because of his unforgettable contribution to comic book culture and pop culture. He got his start in 1939 when he joined Timely Comics as their office assistant. The company was founded by Lee’s cousin-in-law Martin Goodman, and in 1961 Timely was transformed into Marvel Comics. By then, Lee was an editor. It was during the 60s that he came up with the early superheroes that are still popular today. With Jack Kirby, the creator of Captain America, the two conceived of the Hulk, X-Men, and Spiderman, among others.

Perhaps the greatest of Lee’s contributions was in changing how we fundamentally approach comics. Prior to Lee’s work, comics were intended for a younger audience. However, he saw value in making them for an older demographic, as well as using the stories as a way to explore our humanity.

“I tried to make them the kind of comics that I would want to read if I read comics. And I was just tired of the same old idea that all you needed was a lot of panels of people fighting each other and that would get the readers,” he told NPR in 2010. “I felt it would be fun to learn a little about their private lives, about their personalities and show that they are human as well as super.”

Stan Lee Death

Lee received the 2008 National Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush
Photo: White House by Chris Greenberg [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Eventually, Lee left Marvel to pursue other endeavors, but he was never far from it. Lee had a great relationship with his fans and would regularly appear at comic conventions to pose with them. “You know when they say, ‘Can you take a picture with me,’ or shake my hand or something? It’s a great feeling that people really care that much. It is,” he said in a 2016 interview with CBS News. And the next time you watch a Marvel movie, look for a cameo from Lee—he’s in nearly all of them—much to the delight of his supporters.

Lee’s attorney Tom Lallas, who worked closely with him, released a statement after hearing the news; it captures the essence of the man. “Stan Lee, is forever [and] will be, an American icon. All superhero fans around the world mourn his passing,” he lamented. “There will never be another like him. Since the death of his beloved wife Joan on July 6, 2017, his most fervent desire was to join her. May they [hold] each other in the blissful, warm embrace of their love for eternity.”

Marvel actors, writers, and fans took to social media to celebrate the life and legacy of the comic book legend Stan Lee.

Chris Pratt, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, and more expressed their sadness over his passing.

A post shared by Winston Duke (@winstoncduke) on


Next: Fans express their sadness and share the art Stan Lee’s passing has inspired.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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