My Tribute to Stan Lee

Nov 12, 2018Stories, Video


Creating compelling characters is not about someone being perfect. Even if you're a superhero, you have flaws, right? You've got them because everyone has them. So accept your flaws and use them to propel yourself, not to stop yourself and then share them because if you want people to love you, then they need to know all the parts of you- the good, the bad, and each side of that.

Hey there, happy Monday, it's Monica and it's November twelve, 2018. And actually, I'm pretty sad today because Stan Lee died and Stan Lee, he's affected most everybody's life that I know because he created the marvel universe and it's created so many amazing characters that, I mean, you gotta love at least one of them, right? So, I'm a big fan of the comics and the movies- really the movies. I'm not really a big comic reader, but I think that the movies are incredible. I just love all the characters and one of the things that he taught me was that, creating compelling characters is not about something being perfect, someone being perfect. If you look at all the characters, you know from Ironman, Captain America, just whoever he creates, they have a big flaw. There's something wrong with them- maybe not wrong with them, but maybe about how society perceives them or just something that makes them relatable. Because the thing is, is that we're all flawed. And the more that we accept each others flaws, the better off we are because then we can just move past that and get onto loving each other.

I think that that is just a really important lesson that Stan Lee has just shown, so brilliantly through the years- even if you're a superhero, you have flaws, right? You've got them because everyone has them. So accept your flaws and use them to propel yourself, not to stop yourself and then share them because if you want people to love you, then they need to know all the parts of you- the good, the bad, and each side of that and what's going on.

So that would be the first thing I noticed with all his characters, and I think back when he started doing that, that was pretty revolutionary. Most superheroes were like perfect in every way.

So, just when you're creating stories about yourself or creating stories to tell other people, just don't forget to add the flaws because, we're all flawed. So, and we all want to be loved despite our flaws, so we should add those. And then, the second thing is- I have my notes down here- the second thing is that he created, insider things to draw in like the raving fans even more and these insider things, he would weave stuff through the universes and things like Easter eggs and stuff like that. So, just remembering to keep this big picture in your mind and that you're going to have raving fans one day and when you do, you want to be sure that there's something cool for them that takes them from like just a normal fan to a raving fan. So I think that that's something I've noticed, he's got raving fans and uh, and it's just crazy, right? It's just crazy.

And what's interesting to me as I've been doing a little reading about him, he actually started off writing for his uncle and I think it was his uncle was definitely family, family member, but I'm pretty sure it was his uncle. So this family member, like to imitate, so they would tell Stan to just- hey, westerns were doing good, right? If horror flicks, we're doing good or not flicks, but horror things, horror writing was doing well, he would notate that. And it wasn't until he was about 39 or 40 that he was like, “Hey, you know, I sort of want to do more original things.” And so that's when he created his first original thing that just took off. And so with that, I'm 41. So sometimes I think, “Oh, I'm a little older than most people doing the things I'm trying to do.” but he inspires me because he lived a really long life and we all know and love him and that he not imitated. I would definitely not say he plagiarized or anything, but it's okay to follow the people who are doing well and create stuff and then make it your own right. Because that's what he did, he made it his own and then when he made it his own, it was very special.

And so I just want to encourage you to do that because if you're not sure about what you're doing, emulate what you see until it gets to the point where you are making it your own. Because the truth is, is that if you and I both had the same storyline and the same plot and the same characters, we'd still write a different book. If we were both trying to write, the next X-men, we would write completely different stories because, well, lots of reasons. So just you do what you do and bring ‘you' and your uniqueness to the project that you're working on and it will be amazing.

So, then the last thing, again, I was reading about him and there was this, don't get me wrong, he is, pretty happy but he was not very good at business and he missed out. You know, when Marvel sold to Disney, he did not make any money from that; that part of the sale because he didn't own anything and he turned down points, which are percentages of the box office for a movie. They're called points in Hollywood. He turned down points on several of the Marvel movies and which as we know now, it was a really bad idea. But a couple of things from that- sometimes you don't know what the future's going to hold. So it's hard to turn down money right now for stuff that you may see in the future or may not because that's what points is based on box office. Box office bombs like nobody goes to see the movie, then you don't make any money. So, there's definitely a little bit of a risk there.

But I think that, if you believe in yourself and believe in your work, you should take those kinds of risks and just trust that you will find an audience. And then when you find them, you've got these great flawed characters for them to fall in love with and these little insider things to draw them in, and then you have a huge tribe and then, when you're 93 and sadly on your last day- oh it's gonna make me cry- that you've got tons of people being grateful you were alive.

So that's my tribute to Stanley and I hope you liked it. And, um, I'd love to know who your favorite character is that he's created. I think for me, probably Ironman, I really like Ironman because he's a genius, but he's completely like an idiot at the same time. So, alright, that's it. Okay. I hope you have a great week and we'd love to hear your thoughts on Stanley and I will talk to you tomorrow.