Tampa Bay, along with the world, mourns the death of Stan Lee.
As publisher of Marvel Comics, Lee has been credited with creating the comic book as we know it today, drawing renewed attention to exciting and complex characters including Spider-Man, the Hulk and X-Men. Under his watch, Marvel became a global cinematic sensation, with screen hits like Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Tampa Bay is home to a confluence of comic book industry professionals and fans — even a superhero — who were impacted by Lee, who died Monday at 95. Here are their reactions to his death.
The comic writer and illustrator, 57, worked on Marvel titles such as Punisher, Ghost Rider and Daredevil.
I met Stan when I started freelancing at Marvel comics back in 1991, and throughout the years, every time I would see him or host a panel with him, he was the nicest and most generous man I ever knew.
It was surreal and exciting to be asked to host panels at conventions with him for the simple fact that I would get to see the love and joy he brought to all the fans all over the world firsthand.
He was always asked the same few questions, like why was the Hulk green, or where did the Silver Surfer come from and so on, and each and every time he answered, he would always add that extra detail that would make listening to him such a treat.
A sweet and funny thing he would also do was ask me if I needed any work, and if I did he would talk to some people. I always laughed and thanked him, and then reminded him that he was already working me to the bone, which became a big laugh between us over the years.
At the end of the day, Stan loved telling stories, he loves superheroes, and most of all, he loved the fans, which each and every one of us have been since we were kids. He will be missed for sure, but it's also exciting to know he will live on in generations to come with his amazing work.
The comic writer, editor, illustrator and publisher, 65, has Marvel credits including the iteration of Iron Man depicted in the current movies.
I owe my career to the profound effect that several writers had on me as an adolescent.
They were scribes of science fantasy and wonder whose names are the stuff of legends — Edgar Rice Burroughs, Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Robert E. Howard and Frank Herbert, to name a few.
But before I discovered the joy of those literary giants of the printed word, there was another.
A writer of comic books, of all things. This man's stories were so profoundly compelling to me that I devoted my entire adult life to following in his footsteps as a creator of fantastic characters and marvelous worlds.
There will never be another like Stan Lee. And now, he takes his place alongside those other legends.
The comics writer and illustrator, 64, worked on Marvel titles such as Micronauts, Spider-Man and Captain Marvel.
I was a fan of Stan's writing since I was 8. Eleven years later was the first time I was sent to Marvel's office. I ran up and showed Stan my work and he hired me.
It's the sad passing of an icon. There will not be another man like Stan in this industry for quite some time. He was instrumental in the creation of so many of the stories that are used in comics and multimedia. He will be missed. The old guard is nearly gone. It's down to less than a handful of guys who produced the work in the '50s and '60s that still inspires us today.
Clearwater's real-life retired superhero, 50, for decades performed good deeds wearing superhero attire.
Stan Lee enriched the sense of possibility for every little boy who wanted to find his unique potential. Through his characters he showed us that anything is possible. He showed us we could take his escapist fiction and turn it into enhanced fact to better our lives and the lives of those around us.
Hurst, 44, runs the nonprofit MUCH Foundation, which brings the world of comics to life for sick children through nearly 400 costumed visitors.
As adults we have seen his characters and stories take over the movies and populate theme parks all over the world. His doodles and ideas became a multibillion-dollar industry. His energy and drive through his 70s, 80s and even his 90s were inspirational to millions of people.
So, how do we measure the value of a life as amazing as his? Is it the billions of dollars, the movies, theme parks, or his fame? Stan Lee's legacy is far more powerful than those things. His legacy, in my eyes, comes down to this: Children will always find a place of comfort and adventure during the hardest moments of their lives by simply turning the pages of one of his — as he called them — "silly little books filled with doodles."
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