Earlier this week the news broke that Stan Lee, the creator of such beloved characters as Iron Man, Black Panther, and the Avengers had died aged 95.
Now TMZ have revealed that Stan met with his protege Roy William Thomas Jr., the man who replaced Stan as the editor-in-chief at Marvel Comics, just two days before he died.
According to John Cimino, Roy’s Manager, the pair of friends spoke for a good thirty minutes about, what else? Their mutual passion for comicbooks and superheroes.
John also shared with TMZ Stan’s final words to Roy, which were: ‘God bless. Take care of my boy, Roy’.
Of course, those who know Stan know he doesn’t actually have a son, or at least not a biological one. So who’s Stan talking about? Well, at least one person online has a heartbreaking theory about what it might mean.
They believe Stan’s talking about one of his most beloved creations, Marvel’s unofficial mascot, and best selling character, the astonishing Spider-Man.
Spider-Man, who Stan co-created with Steve Ditko, has always had a special place in Stan’s heart and was arguably the comicbook legend’s substitute son.
Stan imbued Spidey with all the qualities a father would want in a son, he was brave, funny and responsible. But more than that he was human and made mistakes, just like we all do.
The character was originally conceived with this idea in mind and as a rejection of the stereotype that teens were always sidekicks.
Stan fought fiercely with Marvel’s publisher at the time, Martin Goodman, who questioned whether a teenager could be a superhero and demanded the character be an adult.
Despite the opposition Stan pushed on with his vision for the character, making his character a teenage anti-hero in the classic sense as well as rejecting the name Spider-Boy in favour of Spider-Man.
Confident that the character would flop, Marvel refused to give Spidey his own book and instead condemned the character to the pages of Amazing Fantasy #15, a book that was set to be cancelled.
As would prove to be the case time and time again though Stan’s instincts were right, Spider-Man was a huge hit and the issue became one of Marvel’s highest-selling comics at the time.
A year after his first outing Spider-Man got his own solo book The Amazing Spider-Man, a series that has been running (in one form or another) for the last 55 years.
Spidey went on to become one of pop culture’s most iconic figures, his solo comic is consistently one of Marvel’s best selling books, and he remains the most profitable superhero in the world.
How profitable? Well in terms of merchandise, Spidey regularly outsells Batman, Superman and the Avengers combined.
So why would Stan want Roy to look after his ‘boy’?
Well it’s hard to say with any certainty. But perhaps Stan on some level knew that his time was up and he wanted to ensure that someone would protect Spider-Man and his spectacular legacy.
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