Tuesday , November 24 2020

Stan Lee was a pioneer in a universe of imperfect heroes




In recent years he has tended to dismiss him as the public grandfather of the comic books, an obsolete theme that appeared alongside the most prominent superheroes on earth in Marvel's box-breaking films of the last decade.

But Stan Lee, who died on Monday, was much more than that. It is no exaggeration to say that it helped to redraw the world of American fiction. And he certainly made sure everyone knew.

From the ashes of old magazines and raw radioactive material of post-war uncertainty about science and power, summoned me – not alone, but without parallel or even – a world of nuance and existence of imperfect heroes.

While Adeepik and Cieber did it in the literature, and Kubrick, Lometh Pan in the movies, Marvell's father presented the American comic book – which at the time was particularly interesting for teenage boys – A pantheon of imperfect heroes, who despite their astonishing presence in so many stories, were in many ways like any other people.

These comforters and shortcomings came up with the alarm clock and went out every morning to work, not in the fantasy metropolis or Gotham, but in the real streets of New York and beyond. For them, the struggle was constant – was it the task of saving the world, paying the rent, or trying to make ends meet like a freelance photographer, blind lawyer or stunt biker.

Unlike the iconic heroes of DS Comics, many of them are meant for greatness like the last survivors of Russian planets, Amazonian royalty or legitimate kings of the sea, Spiderman, the Fantastic Four, the Iron Man, the Spectral Rider, and the prestigious Hulk have compiled a catalog of human weaknesses – naive, which due to dissatisfaction or negligence, collided with the movement of the target.

How rich, the working class, all neurotic, were given bad luck or dubious elections. His abilities were at the same time bad luck and blessing. And sometimes it was hard to distinguish between the heroes and the villains. As well as in real life.

It was mainly thanks to Lee, who as Marvell's chief editor wrote many of the books during the early 1960s, with endless energy and a huge variety of voices, injected a personality, ambiguity and narrative into the characters who would become lovers.

"One of the things we are trying to prove in our stories is that no one is good at all or at all bad," wrote me in a column for the Marvel issues of March 1969. "Even a cheap supervillain can be of positive quality, just like any absolute hero can have his madness."

It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of this innovative philosophy in the nation, which has been cast in Hollywood productions since the 1930s, spent three decades putting one-dimensional heroes in their nascent mass culture center. If we add the efforts of the government of the 1950s to demonize comics as a factor in the decline of the minds of American youth and force the editors to limit themselves to the infantile consumption epidemic, we have an idea of ​​what happened to me at the beginning of 60

Suddenly, Tony Stark, a genius inventor with parental problems (and eventually an alcoholic narcissist), who turned his broken heart into the Iron Man, and Peter Parker, a shy high school student, who did not know how to deal with strange abilities and hormonal changes that gave him the sting of a radioactive spider at school. Who knew better about the audience he was addressing.

And Bruce Banner, a military scientist who tried to save someone from one of his test bombs and was swallowed up in the battle with his angry, destructive upper self – hardly a random narrative in an era when psychotherapy and self-help were growing. And Matt Murdoch, dazzled by a terrible accident by projected waste, as he has proved every night with his radar precision, that disability is not necessarily a destination. And X-Men, mutants and foreign aliens whose struggle to find a place in the mainstream on Earth was compared several times with race relations, anti-Semitism and red terrorism.

Even Steve Rogers, whose captain America is the most likeness of the Superman group, were his demons. He was thin and rejected by World War II recruiters, so eager to fight, that he presented himself as a guinea pig to try the "super ladder" that made him the ultimate fighting machine.

Captain America first appeared in the war years, when Marvel was still called Timely Comics, but Lee and his team updated the story of the 1960s and gave Rogers more ghosts: he spent more than two decades frozen after falling into the sea and awoke in a world of great changes , Morally murky, hardly recognized.

There was another less obvious corner where Lee was also a pioneer. As editor of Marvell, in an era that preceded pocket computers, he worked tirelessly to develop a relationship with his audience.

He talked about stuff behind the scenes and put together a studio of half-crazy writers and artists who worked as a team and who would do anything to get good stories. His regular column, Stan's Soap, spoke directly to readers in a way that heralds the type of celebrity approach that Twitter, Facebook and Eastman now offer.

Many felt that Lee had not given enough credit to comics pioneers such as Kirby and Steve Ditko, who worked alongside him in the early years when developing the "Marvel Method" of story development. A very good but ingenious part of me was his ability to become an artist collage.

Like Bob Dylan or Jane Roddenberry, Lee took cultural threads – elements already in place in society – and his plot wove. Although his source text is sometimes derived, what he sewed was something new under the sun.

And in the growing pantheon of tortured white men, Lee was often an avid champion of progressive views on race and sex. The famous Black Panther now appeared for the first time in the Marvel comic book in 1966 and became one of the first conventional African characters, but only in 1973 gave him a prominent role in comics entitled "Jungle Action."

"None of us are so different from the others, we all really want the same things in life," he wrote to me in the pages of Marvel Comics in February 1980. "So why do not we all waste our time hating the other guys, just take a look In the mirror, sir – this other guy is you. "

Marvell is now a huge calibrated commercial, with a world of merchandise that amplifies its stories. It was rejected as a mass production story for the era of mass production. But somehow, Lee manages to leave a lingering feeling-snake oil, perhaps, but with all his might-that in Marvel's stories, still, anything can happen.

Because, as he knew before the earth knew, we still want our unpredictable fantasy heroes to be like us. Or, more prominently, we want to believe we can be like them. And who knows what they will do to win that after all, who really knows what we would do? Maybe we can be heroes, yes, but you still have to pay the rent on the 15th of the month.


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