Director, writer, and actor Kevin Smith posted an Instagram tribute to the late Stan Lee, creator of iconic characters such as Black Panther, Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Mighty Thor, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Daredevil, and Ant-Man among others, with a lengthy caption. In it, Smith credits Lee for inspiring him not just creatively, but also morally.
“You dreamed up some of my favorite modern myths and created characters that instilled in me a moral barometer, teaching me right from wrong and showing me it’s always better to be a hero instead of a villain,” read one of the many poignant lines.
Smith recalls revering the legend since he was a little boy, and when Lee agreed to appear in Smith’s 1995 movie Mallrats, he made a “lifelong fan’s dream come true.” In the film, Lee meets the main charater, Brodie, and gives him advice on romance. Lee knows a thing or two about romance — Smith also references in his new upload Lee’s beautiful marriage to model and voice actress Joan Boocock Lee, who passed away last year. As reported in the Inquisitr, Lee proposed to Joan after a mere two weeks of dating, and the two remained married for nearly 70 years up until her death. Smith shared that he wanted a romance like theirs.
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This is how I’ll always see you, @therealstanlee: as our benevolent leader and king, smiling down from your eternal throne on the generations of imaginations you fed and inspired. You were the first creator whose voice I knew before I’d ever actually heard it. You dreamed up some of my favorite modern myths and created characters that instilled in me a moral barometer, teaching me right from wrong and showing me it’s always better to be a hero instead of a villain. Your characters represented us: yes, they had extraordinary, unbelievable abilities, but they were also reflections of a world we knew, where a Spider-Man is really just a boy who wants to help. You showed me how to interact with the audience whenever you stepped onto Stan’s Soapbox to reach out to the readers. You showed me how to advocate for my field beyond the actual art itself whenever you tub thumped for comic books outside of the medium. It was never enough for you to simply make a comic because you were a true salesman at heart. So you not only sold comics, you sold me *on* comics – so much so that I built a life and career around your dreams and ideals. When you did Mallrats with us, you not only made a lifelong fan’s dream come true, you also lent me comic book credibility that I still get to spend today. And whether it was for @comicbookmenamc or @yogahosers, whenever I asked to borrow your heat again, you were always there for me with a smile. Your love story with Joanie and your long, happy marriage always shined as an example of what I wanted for my personal life. I long admired (and emulated) your kindness and patience and sense of humor when dealing with your public. Outside of my parents, you were the one adult who gave me the most useful life skills I still use today. Thank you, Stan, for making me not only the boy I was but also the man I am today. You had great power and you always used it responsibly, fostering billions of dreamers who all know your name – a name written in the stars for all time. You were not just the literary titan of comic books, you were our modern day Mark Twain. I will miss you all my days, my friend and hero. Excelsior forevermore. #KevinSmith #StanLee
According to IGN, Smith showing admiration for the comic-book writer is nothing new. Smith reached out to Lee via a public message on Twitter earlier this year after reports that Lee was a victim of elder abuse after the passing of his wife. Screenrant reported that a former manager of Lee’s, Keya Morgan, was accused of taking advantage of Lee. Morgan also accused Lee’s daughter of physically abusing him. After Morgan filed a false police report claiming he saw people breaking into Lee’s home, the writer was able to obtain a restraining order against him. During this saga, Smith let the superhero legend know he could come live with him.
“This is heartbreaking,” Smith tweeted. “We love you, Stan Lee. You are always welcome to come live with me – or please let us fans buy you a new place to live. We miss you, sir.”
While the issue was eventually resolved, Smith still kept an eye on his idol, whom he says he’ll “miss for all his days.” The Hollywood Reporter says Lee passed away on the morning of November 12 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. With a legendary career spanning decades, Smith is undoubtedly not the only one who considered Lee a hero.