Last week the comic book legend and real-life superhero Stan Lee passed away. He was 95 years old, and he had been in and out of the hospital with pneumonia. He lived a long and amazingly successful life. He created universes that enraptured thousands of people. The loss of Stan has been deeply felt by so many of his faithful fans, and in this sad time, it is a comfort to remember all of the important lessons he has taught us.
1. Read all you can.
"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."
2. Have friends, and make friends with the right people.
"I've been the luckiest man in the world because I've had friends, and to have the right friends is everything: people you can depend on, people who tell you the truth if you ask something."
3. Regular people can do amazing things.
"Well, the biggest thing I like about [Spider-Man] is that he seems to be so successful. Everybody else seems to like him. Basically, the thing that always intrigued me, what I always wanted to produce was a character that the average reader could identify with. He's not the strongest man in the world. And in his normal identity as Peter Parker, he's not as handsome as Brad Pitt, he's not a great athlete. He's just a regular guy like most guys. And I think that has helped to create the popularity that he has because so many readers can just identify with him."
4. Laughter is so important.
"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."
5. It is okay to be vulnerable and have weaknesses.
"If you're writing about a character, if he's a powerful character, unless you give him vulnerability I don't think he'll be as interesting to the reader."
"Achilles, without his heel, you wouldn't even know his name today."
6. The best super power is compassion.
"Another definition of a hero is someone who is concerned about other people's well-being and will go out of his or her way to help them — even if there is no chance of a reward. That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is the right thing to do, is indeed without a doubt, a real superhero."
7. Do what you love.
"I am very lucky because everything that I do is exciting to me. It's always new."
"If you are interested in what you do, that keeps you going!"
8. Always keep reaching beyond.
Stan Lee was a pillar of a man. He created heroes that were legendary and unforgettable. Spiderman is my personal favorite superhero, but Stan Lee was a hero for me too. Just like he was a hero for so many others. It is important that we learn from his life and go on with all of the characters and lessons that he left for us. Keep growing, be everyday heroes, do what brings you joy, and never give up. Stan Lee, you will be missed sorely. Excelsior!