Stan Lee has died aged 95, taking up his final role in the imaginations of a billion grateful comic book fans whose lives have been immeasurably enriched by his creations.
Lee, who was responsible for co-creating Spider-Man, Hulk, Black Panther, X-Men and many many others, gave flight to the imaginations of a billion teenagers around the world over the last fifty years.
He made those who thought of themselves as a little different feel like they had kindred spirits in the pages of his comics, and he gave them the confidence to be themselves.
“With great power, comes great responsibility”, as he once wrote – and his power was always used to better the lives he touched through the pages of the comic book adventures he gave us.
He served in the US Army in the second world war and was also a staunch defender of civil rights, famously speaking out against racism and bigotry in 1960’s America where such views were still far from mainstream and could have threatened his livelihood.
He was a real-life hero long before we all enjoyed the many adventures of the heroes he created for us.
Despite a career spent giving life to superheroes with the most incredible powers in the Marvel catalogue, the greatest super-power of all was unmistakably his own, with his God-given ability to transport fans of his work to another universe.
The first story this writer ever committed to paper as a young child starred one of his creations, and for that inspiration, and the direction in which it eventually took me, I will be eternally grateful.