Tuesday, November 13, 2018

RIP Stan Lee

I would be remiss not to jump in and send out thoughts and prayers to Mr. Lee and his family.  Just as Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings dominated the cultural setting in which my three older boys grew up as children, so Marvel Comics has dominated their teen years, and the world of my youngest. 

I'm not a fan, personally.  I think modern comics sort of fit that modernist notion of 'whatever - if you've painted yourself into a corner, just paint away the corner' attitude that there are no rules, just winning in the end.  I'm usually not given to comics in general, FWIW.

Nonetheless, I can't deny the massive cultural impact that Mr. Lee and his creations, especially when marketed in a new 'Mega-Universe' film model, had on the American public.  Given what is out there, I figured there was much worse that my boys could like.  And since it provided them with the requisite connection to their own peer groups and generation, the service Marvel performed is appreciated.

After all, my boys have, through us, grown up on old movies, old books and literature, and even old TV Shows.  They're as likely to watch Andy Griffith or Casablanca as they are the latest Marvel movie.  The result? In his College Composition class, my 19 year old said that only two others in his class knew who Robert Frost was.  The rest either had never heard of him, or couldn't connect him with anything he wrote. I consider that the result of the household in which my boys were raised.

But Marvel became that link to their own generation.  It's nice that they enjoyed Gone With the Wind, or had read (or tried to read) War and Peace.  It's nice that they prefer old television to the bilge out there today.  But they can't be completely disconnected, and I understand that.  Whether it was Minecraft, or YouTube, or Marvel, I realized they needed to be able to talk the lingo of their peers.  And Marvel was, in the end, a more or less harmless bridge that could connect them, and do so rather nicely.

So thank you Mr. Lee.  You brought enjoyment to endless millions, and seemed able to laugh at yourself in the process. Not a bad character trait.  May God bless you and keep you, and give strength and that peace that passes all understanding. 


  1. *doffs hat in respect*

    I think modern comics sort of fit that modernist notion of 'whatever - if you've painted yourself into a corner, just paint away the corner' attitude that there are no rules, just winning in the end.

    Well to be a bit pedantic, comics now cover multiple generations from their inception to today. To label anything "modern comics" is like making a complaint about "modern novels" - you're talking about a WIDE field that covers a lot.

    Oh I'm not defending them that much, there is plenty of just awful, awful trash out there. But sometimes you can find a real gem. And there's a lot of reprints of classics out there, so like Andy Griffith etc, feel free to go out and pick up a copy of Lee's original work.

    1. As for how good or bad, I can't say because I'm not much of a comics fan anyway. And perhaps in the actual books, it's different. I just noticed that trend in the movie version we see - there simply is no hope that the heroes can be painted into a corner and have to do something based upon the laws of their universe. There seem to be no laws. Just when someone is pinned under a car with enemy fire and a heat seeking missile heading his way, he whips out a pocket instrument never before mentioned that will help him escape. It's that sort of 'no rules, just win in the end' I was meaning. As for the quality, I think we had the same discussion when I mentioned the quality of the movie JAWS. There is always that pyramid of quality with any art in any generation.

    2. OH! Now if it's the movies you want to rant about... heck yeah I could go on about them for awhile. I've been super annoyed about a lot of writing today - but it's not just comic book movies. But you're right, they're probably the most obvious.


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