The world of entertainment has poured their hearts out in a series of glowing tributes to the late Marvel creator and comic book icon Stan Lee, who passed away at Cedar-Sinai Medical Centre at the age of 95.
A leading pioneer in the comic book genre, Lee, along with co-creators Jack Kirby and artist Steve Ditko, would create some of the world's best-known superhero characters under their esteemed entertainment and media company, Marvel Universe. These included X-Men, the Incredible Hulk, Black Panther, and perhaps most famously of all, Spiderman, all of which have been adapted into lucrative films.
While Lee made a series of famous cameos in Marvel's adaptations, the legendary comic book writer valued his privacy, and in his later years, became somewhat of a recluse. Despite his increasing anonymity, Lee's impact on the entertainment world only grew, as reflected in the glowing tributes by fellow entertainers, many of whom worked on the Marvel movies.
Hugh Jackman, who was one of Marvel's earliest cinematic stars- appearing in Wolverine and the various follow-ups- waxed lyrical of Lee's 'creative genius' in a heartfelt tweet.
"We’ve lost a creative genius. Stan Lee was a pioneering force in the superhero universe. I’m proud to have been a small part of his legacy and .... to have helped bring one of his characters to life. #StanLee #Wolverine," he wrote.
Chris Evans, another Marvel star, who appeared in Captain America, Avengers, and Fantastic Four used one of Lee's famous catchphrases 'Excelsior!' ( Lee would use the word as a sign-off to his 'Stan's Soapbox' columns in the famous comics) in a tweet loaded with emotion.
There will never be another Stan Lee," Evans tweeted. "For decades he provided both young and old with adventure, escape, comfort, confidence, inspiration, strength, friendship and joy. He exuded love and kindness and will leave an indelible mark on so, so, so many lives. Excelsior!!
But it wasn't only those in the world of entertainment who admired Lee. Millions grew up reading the escapist, phantasmagorical, yet incredibly relatable stories of nerdy heroes and grief-stricken teens fighting against a world that they often didn't feel part of. Unlike the unrelatable, handsome, billionaire superhero tycoons of DC's world, Marvel's characters spoke to the demographic of their reader, which was typically teen and male.
Another prominent figure who admired Lee's brilliance was Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Regularly described by media outlets as the real Tony Stark, (Iron Man was another of Lee's creations) for his visionary, billion-dollar companies and playboy ways, Musk tweeted, "Rest in peace, Stan Lee. The many worlds of imagination & delight you created for humanity will last forever."
Those on the opposing team were equally as heartfelt. Jim Lee, the Chief Creative Officer at DC Entertainment, tweeted, "RIP @TheRealStanLee He made everyone feel like a kid in his presence no matter what your age."
Disney CEO and Chairman Bob Iger, who acquired Marvel in 2009, released a statement which read, "Stan Lee was as extraordinary as the characters he created,"
"A superhero in his own right to Marvel fans around the world, Stan had the power to inspire, to entertain and to connect. The scale of his imagination was only exceeded by the size of his heart."
Iger was right. Lee's imagination spawned many superheroes, but it was the brilliance of his mind that was the real superhero.
As Lee would say, Excelsior.