Today was supposed to be just another day in my mild mannered life…that is until the news of a being beyond comparison to any other in any universe had gone.
To come out of my neurologist appointment and check my phone to see a message from my friend Charles simply stating in 4 words the words many never wanted to read – “Stan Lee Died Today”. I immediately started to tear up for a man I never met but I stopped myself because I was sitting in the lobby of a hospital waiting for my ride home. And why did I start to tear? Because he taught me, and millions of others, to simply be a “True Believers”.
And before you call me a fraud or poser because I dress as The Rolling Riddler for New York Comic Con and that’s DC not Marvel I say slow your roll. While yes The Riddler, particularly the one portrayed by Frank Gorshin, is my favorite villain it was Marvel and the work of Stan Lee that played a part of who I am.
You see for me Spider-Man and X-Men always drew me in. Why? Because a genetic mutation, natural or forced by science, made them outcasts from society. Outcasts that had to prove themselves to society and even to themselves on a daily basis. Break this down to the real world and in my life and the lives of many disabled and that makes us – Mutants! Sure our mutation doesn’t give us super strength or speed, well maybe some speed thanks to my wheelchairs, but still mutants in a way that society sees us as outcasts. Forces us to fight for equality on a daily basis. For us to strive to be our best and show the world our true potential.
As I got older I realized this because we just don’t see these things in our youth. I’m Wolverine when I’m angry on days when my disability slows me down no matter what I try. I’m Beast when I look for the right answers instead of just going head first into things. I’m Spider-Man when I’m there to help my friends when they need me even though I need them more. And yes I’m even Professor Xavier when I am the one people look to for answers or as a leader, just with much more hair.
And that’s just how a man who I never met managed to show ME to just discover who I AM and make it work. To TRULY Believe.
There’s countless stories streaming across the internet, posted on message boards, and told throughout conventions as I typed this on how one man inspired millions and will continue to inspire millions for decades to come to just be a “True Believer” in themselves and their abilities. To that there’s only one thing to say…..EXCELSIOR!