Yesterday, legendary comic book writer Stan Lee died at the age of 95.
He was beloved by millions, having created such characters as Spider-Man, Hulk, Black Panther, Fantastic Four, The X-Men and more, and while his works were loved for their fantastical elements, even in the 60s, he used his platform to try and combat issues like racism and homophobia.
Lee’s writing was profound and beautiful at times, which comes as no surprise when you consider that he coined the phrase “With great power there must also come great responsibility”.
But above all else, he was one for pioneering good will, and in the column that he had in old Marvel comics, ‘Stan’s Soapbox’, he tackled the issue of bigotry perfectly.
“Let’s lay it right on the line. Bigotry and racism are among the deadliest social ills plaguing the world today. But, unlike a team of costumed super-villains, they can’t be halted with a punch in the snoot, or a zap from a ray gun. The only way to destroy them is to expose them — to reveal them for the insidious evils they really are. The bigot is an unreasoning hater — one who hates blindly, fanatically, indiscriminately. If his hang-up is black men, he hates ALL black men. If a redhead once offended him, he hates ALL redheads. If some foreigner beat him to a job, he’s down on ALL foreigners. He hates people he’s never seen — people he’s never known — with equal intensity — with equal venom.
Now, we’re not trying to say it’s unreasonable for one human being to bug another. But, although anyone has the right to dislike another individual, it’s totally irrational, patently insane to condemn an entire race — to despise an entire nation — to vilify an entire religion. Sooner or later, we must learn to judge each other on our own merits. Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill out hearts with tolerance. For then, and only then, will we be truly worthy of the concept that man was created in the image of God – a God who calls us ALL — His children.
Pax et Justitia, Stan
The sentiment of this piece is also painfully relevant today, with racism remaining a huge issue that we can only hope is resolved as soon as possible.
Stan Lee was a profoundly talented and wise man whose legacy will outlive most of us, and whose death has left a vacuum that humanity will struggle to ever fill.
Images via Getty