Stan Lee Documentary on Disney Plus This Documentary Inspires Author Alicia McCalla

Stan Lee: A Pioneer Who Gave Me Heroes

As an author who writes about badass Black women superheroes, Stan Lee has been an inspiration to me. Although I grew up reading comics like Golden Legacy Comics, The Archies, and Wonder Woman, Marvel Superheroes were my true love. Characters like Spider-Man, Black Panther, X-Men, and Black Widow sparked my imagination. Stan Lee's storytelling brought these comics to life and gave me heroes to look up to.

Watching the recent Disney Plus documentary on Stan Lee's life, I was reminded of the monumental impact he had on me as a child. While some dismissed comics as juvenile or childish, Stan Lee's work transcended that. He created complex, diverse characters that inspired readers of all backgrounds. Spider-Man showed that superheroes can start out as underdogs. Black Panther envisioned a technologically-advanced Black utopia and tackled issues of racism. X-Men used metaphor to explore themes of discrimination and what it means to be an outsider. Black Widow proved that women could be heroes and spies.

Stan Lee's values of inclusiveness, diversity, and moral complexity have stuck with me. He was creating empowered, diverse heroes well before it was mainstream. As an author, I aspire to do the same in my Afrofuturistic writing. Stan Lee has been an inspiration, not just for his creativity but for the kind of person he was - open-minded, willing to take risks, and never willing to let anyone talk him out of an idea he believed in.

Stan Lee's parting words of wisdom to "do what you want to do" and "give your best shot" will continue motivating me in my craft. Though he is gone, the spirit of imagination and purpose he brought to his work lives on. Thank you, Stan Lee, for being a pioneer, an inspiration, and for bringing complex, empowering heroes like Spider-Man, Black Panther, X-Men, and Black Widow to life through your comics. You sparked something in me that will never go out. Because of you, this Black girl from Detroit could imagine herself as a superhero.

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Alicia McCalla photo credit Dr. Howard McCalla

I’m author Alicia McCalla. Sign-up for my newsletter to get updates, learn about my latest projects and purchase my badass, spunky, and smart Black heroines on Merchandise!