Opinion

Stan Lee: The Man, The Myth, The Marvel

By AIDAN GARDE
and TRISHA DANG
Staff Writers

After seeing the inaugural post-credit scene in Iron Man, fans left the theatre eager for more. With the 318-million-dollar thank-you Marvel received, fans were granted ten more years of Marvel movies, introducing fan-favorite characters such as Thor and Captain America. Now, every Marvel movie is anticipated months before its release and becomes a hot topic for discussion afterwards. Although Marvel comics have been around since the 1960s, the release of twenty Marvel Cinematic Universe movies (with at least three more scheduled for 2019) has caused Marvel to surpass their competitors as one of the biggest franchises of all time.

Sadly, on November 12, praised comic book writer Stan Lee passed away. Lee was held in the hearts of the millions of his fans. He will be mourned and deeply missed.

Over the past 50 years, the two biggest comic companies, Marvel Comics and DC, have shared an intense rivalry. Generations of nerds have debated over which of the two is superior. In memory of the legendary Stan Lee and his humor, wit, and creativity, here are the reasons why Marvel leaves DC in the dust.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is superior to the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) for many reasons, from the special effects to the actors themselves. On November 3, 2017, Marvel Studios released Thor: Ragnarok, which accrued 854 million dollars in revenue, compared to the film Justice League, DC’s equivalent to the Avengers, which only made 657.9 million dollars in the box office two weeks later. While money isn’t everything, the significant difference in revenue does showcase the gap between the two franchises. The wonder of Marvel movies comes from the closely linked storylines and interwoven plots. For example, the post-credit scene of Captain America: Civil War foreshadowed Black Panther, which in turn, explained the ending of Captain America: Civil War in its own post-credit scene. Perhaps Marvel benefits from the fact that every MCU movie is interconnected within the universe, but to put it simply, Marvel movies just cannot be compared to DCEU movies.

There are some glaring similarities between the two comic-book universes. One example is the resemblance between Batman and Iron Man. While they are both similar in characteristics (they’re both billionaires, playboys, and geniuses), more people tend to resonate with Iron Man than with Batman. Where Bruce Wayne’s personality makes Batman more serious and gloomy, Tony Stark’s humor and sarcasm always shine through the symbolic red armor of Iron Man. In regards to Superman, another main DC hero, the lack of depth is noticeable. Although he is one of the first superhero comic book characters ever created, there is a lack of internal struggle that makes his overall character flat. On the other hand, instead of tacking on yet another Blank-man (Superman, Aquaman, Batman, etc.) to its roster, Marvel spends their time building and developing unique characters that struggle both with the outside world and within themselves. For example, the Hulk’s character shows emotional vulnerability, a struggle to connect with the outside world, and develops throughout the comics. His character is more relatable to people than that of someone like Superman because Marvel doesn’t hide his flaws and humanity. It’s impossible to not notice the difference between Marvel and DC characters, as well as which of the two is superior.

One of Stan Lee’s greatest legacies is the Avengers, proven by its massive fanbase. Fans loved when their favorite superheroes from different storylines united to clash in an epic standoff. The Avengers comic book series is by far Marvel’s longest running series, and the titular team exhibited a functional and united front in their first film. When the original six members found themselves on the streets of New York, each character’s role and contribution to the team was clearly defined. This sense of teamwork is shown even more in the Avengers Comics, coming together to fight all sorts of cosmic villains. Compare this to Justice League, in which Batman spends a third of the movie attempting to assemble a team, only to take on the issue by himself. The characters show little sense of teamwork, and when they do, it is done hastily and sloppily.

Teamwork and cooperation are the fundamental elements that make a team, and frankly, only Marvel movie characters have proven that they understand what it means to be a family. Sorry, DC.

But today, it’s time to honor the man who helped put together these amazing stories. To some, Stan Lee is simply the old guy who cameos in every Marvel movie. However, without him, our fan theories and nerd discussions would have no place. Before he reached his peak at the billion dollar company, Lee worked as an assistant at Timely Comics (later known as Marvel Comics). He quickly moved up the ranks, eventually becoming an editor at age 19. Lee, along with his co-worker Jack Kirby, created Thor, Iron Man, the X-Men, followed by more fan favorites over the next few years. In 1972, Lee stopped producing comics to become publisher of Marvel Comics.

Over the next few decades, Lee would become the face of Marvel Comics. Especially with the release of Marvel films, Stan Lee is a loved and recognized figure that fans appreciate in every release.

Thank you, Stan Lee, for shaping the way we look at heroes and inspiring our lives. Excelsior.

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