Like many of the characters he had a part in creating, Stan Lee was a complicated—if not, flawed—individual.
I don’t mean that as an insult; in fact, Lee’s imperfection added a human element to superheroes that had never been seen before.
In all of human history, life has never been easily categorized simply into black and white; taking a deeper look you know that most of us live in a grey area.
As a matter of fact, until Lee came around, comic books did not reflect life as it truly was; to wit, superheroes were too perfect and were not possible to relate to.
On a personal note, my first experience with a Stan Lee creation was the animated Spider-Man TV series from 1967. For that matter, it was my first experience with comics and superheroes.
Whether or not Spider-Man was a hero was dependent on your point of view. This realization was the impetus of a lifelong desire to seek the truth rather than just accept what I was told.
Stan Lee—and his host of co-creators—made me a True Believer. That is to say, a True Believer in that the truth isn’t always obvious and we need to look behind the scenes and read between the lines.
And just so we’re clear, there is no intention to gloss over the fact that Lee wasn’t always the good guy in his own story. Say what you want about him, but he changed the landscape of the comic book industry and he changed people’s lives.