12th November 2018
Jon Meakin mourns the passing of a pop culture icon.
I was deeply saddened today to learn of the passing of Stan ‘The Man’ Lee, founder of Marvel Comics and creator of such iconic figures as Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk and The X-Men. Lee was 95 years old, so his death was probably not a shock to anyone, but it nevertheless affected me greatly, since his work was a major part of my childhood and – it turns out – had a major influence on my career.
Growing up, I was never the sporty one. I was more comfortable with books than boots, with stories than sports. And comic books were a major part of that. Specifically, Marvel Comics. I was what Lee called a 'True Believer', heading to the newsagent each week to pick up my reserved copy of the latest Spider-Man or Fantastic Four publication, and losing myself in their pages. I loved the characters, the fantastical storylines, the artwork… everything. And 40 years later, a whole new generation is as hooked as I was, with those same characters now comprising one of the most successful movie franchises in history and spawning an endless array of merchandise.
But reflecting on Stan Lee’s legacy, I realize that reading those comic books had a much greater impact on my life than I previously appreciated. You see, I have built my career in a profession that is all about storytelling – and Stan was the consummate storyteller. It’s fair to say that everything I know about storytelling, I learned from Stan Lee:
So while I pour one out for Stan Lee, I’ll also be thanking him for keeping me entertained, and for what he taught me along the way.
Jon Meakin is Grayling’s global head of strategic services.
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