Monday 10 December 2018
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theguardian - 27 days ago

Why Smilin Stan Lee was the greatest superhero of them all

He started out filling the inkwells at a pulp magazine and ended up spawning an $11bn juggernaut. Our writer salutes a legend – and the musclebound crusaders who lit up his childhoodJust as lowly Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider and humble Bruce Banner was blitzed by gamma rays, so every Stan Lee devotee has an origins story to tell. One minute they’re just another a puny schoolkid. The next – ka blam! – they’ve been singled out. They encounter a comic glowing radioactive on the bottom rack of the newsagent’s, or lurking at the dentist’s waiting room – and from that moment on, their lives are changed. Inside the covers, muscled freaks of nature tackle the galaxy’s biggest problems. And yet, crucially, it always felt as if these costumed titans were not so very different from the humble schoolkids who loved them.Or, to put it another way, for a generation of British fans who grew up in the 1970s and 80s, Marvel was the childhood equivalent of Beatlemania. Marvel cleared the cobwebs with the same insurrectionist force as Twist and Shout or I Wanna Hold Your Hand. It was the shock of the new, an undiluted blast of pop culture that turned the world Technicolor. These days, the Marvel universe extends across merchandise, theme parks and a seemingly endless assemblage of tent-pole Hollywood blockbusters. But back then, the kingdom was largely confined to a weekly roster of superheroes. All of which was entirely fine. We’d been raised on Noddy, Blue Peter and the TV test card. Those characters alone were almost too rich for our palates. Continue reading...

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