The news of Stan Lee‘s  passing would be another one of those I easily surmised to be the reason why I found him trending on Twitter when I woke this morning. This isn’t because I tend to the morbid, rather because I knew he was old, and he wasn’t one for getting up to no good, for which notable personalities quite often tend to trend these days. I have never met the man, but I credit him for a considerable part of my grooming as a child, even growing into adulthood. I was one of those kids that practically grew up in front of the TV. The only reason I had to be nice to my parents and siblings at some point, back in day was to avoid punishments, or alterations that may affect my being able to watch TV once transmission started by 5pm, Mondays to Thursdays, and 4pm on Fridays. Transmission started in the morning on weekends, though I was only able to watch that early on Sundays, as being Jews we couldn’t watch TV on Sabbath Days. On the occasions where by my actions and inactions, I find myself banned from watching TV on “the children’s belt“, I made do by watching same programmes from the window of Leke’s mother’s living room, where I can easily bolt from should I sight my mum or siblings looking for me.

In those days, TV channels were as indicated on the tuning knobs. Nigerian Television Authority, NTA 2 Channel 5 was noted for showing animated series like Voltron, G-Force, Thundersub, Superted and the likes. Before that was SPEED THE RACER, Atom Ant, Godzilla etc. NTA Channel 10 focused on Educational Programmes, starting with SESAME STREET, amongst others that didn’t necessarily appeal to me, unless my siblings insisted in the presence of my parents. However, none of these captured my imagination as Spider Man on Lagos Television, LTV8, on UHF 35. I would see Spiderman, then go on to dream about it with myself as Peter Parker, as a kid in the eighties. Everything about Spiderman ministered to me, from the old theme song,

to the personality of Peter Parker. He had no airs about him, just about your everyday ordinary guy, the underdog, the photojournalist that could never impress his boss, who had his fears and doubts (unlike other megalomaniacal superheroes) expressed in his thoughts as he made to confront villains he went on to subdue per episode. I framed my life as a kid in the image of Spiderman, most importantly Peter Parkers’, and till date I always try to make myself as inconspicuous as possible, which is very easy considering that it could easily be said that I haven’t amounted to much just by my mere looks, mien and outlook.

It was much later that I discovered the man behind The Amazing Spiderman. Not on any Spiderman cartoon, but in the Iron Man cartoon, where he’d do a kind of foreword before the show kicked in. Interestingly, though I’d always wanted for the series to start in earnest, I hardly spent the few minutes Stan Lee devoted to motivational talks to ease myself or distract myself with other things without listening to what he had to say. He probably also knew that some of his listeners could be suffering from attention deficit disorders, and be easily distracted that he always opted for very short speeches, focusing more on key words, that I sometimes use to console or strengthen myself in the days when I had bully issues while in primary school.

Apart from TV, I had a second addiction. Comics, which of course later developed to love of books, from fiction to non-fiction, which would become my forte. Archie, Adventures of Tin-Tin & Spiderman were my favourites. Even when I grew older than the earlier two, and eventually the third, it hasn’t stopped me from having a go at them when I needed to, this time online and no longer on paper. I made friends sometimes based on the fact that the person had loads of comics, and Asunkun who had siblings ship them in bountifuls easily comes to mind. Many times he forgot to ask me for them, and I took such opportunities to conveniently forget to return such, that happen to be in my possession at the time. I read those comics voraciously, and then tried my hand at making some of my own, in a way to tell my stories, to which I was quite very unsuccessful.

When the movie adaptations of Stan Lee’s efforts in the superheroes genre became a thing, I almost was going to pick a side in his favour for Marvel Comics superheroes over their DC Comics counterparts, but luckily it was no biggie at the time, but you could tell that I was partial in favour of Stan Lee’s Marvel, and most especially the Spiderman Franchise. Each time there was a case of matchmaking strengths of a Marvel comic superhero, with that of DC’s, I always staked my claim with Marvel’s except for when Superman was concerned, that was a no-brainer. Another factor that made Marvel Comic’s movie adaptations something to look up to was Stan Lee’s cameos, most of which

take just a few seconds long in the superhero movies he appears in, with his characteristic short but impactful statements or comments, or the very loud silence that he leads to occasion in heralding a significant event in the movie, to absentminded calmness in the midst of chaos, to actively rescuing someone, as superheroes engage themselves in fights that leave destruction in their wake.

Stan Lee it is, that I owe my Peter “Panness” to. But for him, I’d have been a hundred and fifty two today, but just less than a week to my year and two scores on terra firma, I remain so very young at heart, and I can imagine that same can be said to be true of Stan Lee, even though he lived to the ripe age of ninety-five. Lovers of Stan Lee will take solace in the fact that they aren’t alone in their grief,  as this isn’t a familial or national loss, but an intercontinental and international one, maybe even galactical. It goes to show that one hardly needs to be President, or the strongest man in the world to leave ones imprints on the sands of time. For now, I can’t wait to see what Mr. Lee will have to say in his cameo for the upcoming AVENGERS 4.




Published by m'khail madukovich