On Monday, comic book fans were devastated by the news that Stan Lee, creator of such beloved characters as Iron Man, the Hulk, and the Avengers, had passed away at the age of 95.
As if that isn’t heart wrenching enough, Unilad has now shared Lee’s final words with Roy William Thomas Jr., the man who he replaced himself with as editor-in-chief at Marvel Comics. The pair met for the last time just two days before Lee died, and Thomas’s manager John Cimino says the pair chatted excitedly away like little boys for half an hour about comics and the heroes within their glossy pages.
Cimino also overheard Lee’s last words to Thomas on the way out the door and has now shared them.
“God bless. Take care of my boy, Roy.”
While there is no confirmation as to who Lee was talking about, one Redditor is ready with an answer as to who his boy is: Spider-Man. The teenage superhero was easily Lee’s favorite creation and by far the best-selling character in terms of comic book sales. Lee has long shown his affection for the character, having fought hard to be allowed to create him in the form he is now, and often emulates him in photographs as if to shoot webs from his palms.
Lee certainly created a character he would be proud to call his son: Brave, funny, and responsible, but still human and prone to making mistakes. He also wanted Spidey to be a teenager specifically because it would reject the notion that all teenagers can ever be is a sidekick to someone older and more powerful.
This idea was not welcomed by Martin Goodman, Marvel’s publisher at the time Lee created Spider-Man. Goodman found the idea of a teenage superhero to be ridiculous and insisted the character had to be an adult. But Lee wasn’t giving up on his idea of the perfect Spider-Man without a fight. He pushed for the vision he had and refused to rename the character Spider-Boy.
Marvel refused to give the character his own comic book and instead stuck him in the pages of Amazing Fantasy #15, a book which was headed for the chopping block. Much to their surprise and Lee’s satisfaction, that issue became one of the company’s highest selling comics at the time. Shortly after, The Amazing Spider-Man series was released, which even today, 55 years later, still has new issues released.
Spider-Man is certainly an iconic figure in terms of pop culture and one of the better-known members of the Avengers universe, and given Lee’s attachment to the character from the very beginning, it makes sense that he would want someone he knows and trusts to look after the legacy he and Peter Parker have created.