The patriarch of Marvel Comics, who helped usher a new era of comic books and entertainment, Stan Lee was just announced deceased, a year after his beloved wife Joan B. Lee.
Stan Lee’s influence stretches past his colorful and witty comic books, his work influenced a new revolution of movie franchises and helped evolve comic characters into multi-layered and flawed beings. His work has left a huge imprint on today’s pop culture, where his characters have now become household names even to those who don’t read comics.
Not only was Stan Lee a brilliant comic book writer, he was a leader who led Marvel Comics into a new era where flawed, more relatable, superheroes were the main focus, bringing the comic book company into a new level.
He tried “to make them real flesh-and-blood characters with personality,” he told The Washington Post in 1992. “That’s what any story should have, but comics didn’t have [that] until that point…They were all cardboard figures.”
A storyteller and a leader, Stan Lee’s effect on entertainment, business, pop culture and the legitimacy of comic books can be felt so long after his young start in 1939.
In honor of the storyteller, here are Stan Lee’s best quotes on life and success.
1 – “To have an idea is the easiest thing in the world. Everybody has ideas. But you have to take that idea and make it into something people will respond to – that’s hard“
2 – “I used to be embarrassed because I was just a comic-book writer while other people were building bridges or going on to medical careers. And then I began to realize: Entertainment is one of the most important things in people’s lives. Without it, they might go off the deep end.
I feel that if you’re able to entertain people, you’re doing a good thing. When you’re seeing how happy the fans are — as they [see up-close] the people who tell the stories, who illustrated them, the TV personalities — I realize: It’s a great thing to entertain people”
3 – “I have always included minority characters in my stories, often as heroes. We live in a diverse society — in fact, a diverse world, and we must learn to live in peace and with respect for each other”
4 – “I don’t have inspiration. I only have ideas. Ideas and deadlines”
5 – “It’s fun doing something that hasn’t been done before”
6 – “When you work with people whom you like and you admire because they’re so good at what they do, it doesn’t feel like work. It’s like you’re playing”
7 – “Life is never completely without its challenges”
8 – “I try not to do anything that’s too close to what I’ve done before. And the nice thing is we have a big universe here. It’s filled with new ideas. All you have to do is grab them”
9 – “You know, my motto is ‘Excelsior.’ That’s an old word that means ‘upward and onward to greater glory.’ It’s on the seal of the state of New York. Keep moving forward, and if it’s time to go, it’s time. Nothing lasts forever”
10 – “The pleasure of reading a story and wondering what will come next for the hero is a pleasure that has lasted for centuries and, I think, will always be with us”
11 – “If there are people who like the work you’ve done, because of that, they like you and want your autograph and to take a photo, that’s really gratifying. You have to be appreciative”
12 – “Technology isn’t a villain. Technology should help, but if you just use the technology for the sake of technology, then you’re cheating your audience. You’re not giving them the best story and the best direction and so forth”
13 – “I don’t really see a need to retire as long as I am having fun”
14 – “If you wanna be an artist carry sketch pad with you, and sketch everything you see. Get so you can draw anything and it looks like what it’s supposed to be. It’s a lot of work, but if you really have it in you, it’s not like work. It becomes fun”
15 – “The only advice anybody can give is, if you wanna be a writer, keep writing. And read all you can, read everything”
16 – “To tell you the truth, I never thought of myself as much of a success”