Stan Lee is best known as the creator of the classic superheroes—as beloved today as they were back in the '50s when these larger-than-life heroes first donned their capes and swooped in to ensure justice and the American way. Today these super heroes are animated, illustrated, mass produced, and blockbusters at the box office. Born Stanley Lieber, he was a voracious reader who as a teenager dreamed of writing the great American novel. So at age sixteen when he joined Marvel Comics he decided to cut his real name in half, to Stan Lee. He was saving the full name for bigger things than "lowly comic books."
One year later, Stan Lee had already made quite a name for himself by becoming the youngest editor in the comic book industry.
He remained at Marvel Comics for over five decades and helped create a pantheon of heroes that has thrilled generation after generation, including The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Daredevil, the Mighty Thor, Doctor Strange, the Silver Surfer, and many more.
One of the trademarks of Stan Lee's superheroes is the fact that they possess not only super powers, but very human problems and real flaws. While they are not perfect, his characters choose time and again to fight evil in the face of overwhelming obstacles—and win.
To read more about Stan Lee on myhero.com, click here
My hero is Errol Flynn--not the man himself, whom I never met personally, but the actor who created on-screen personas that captured my imagination as a child in ways that both shaped my character as a person and influenced my future as a writer. So, you might say that my hero is both a real-life person and a fictional character.
Errol Flynn's portrayal of heroes is what appealed to me. He played characters who made a difference and did the right thing, who were bigger than life, and were nobler, braver, and more courageous than anybody I had ever known. I still recall how watching his portrayal of Robin Hood made me wish for the opportunity to rescue women and give to the poor.
Almost every role he played was more admirable than the one before. I’ll always remember him as the courageous sheriff of Dodge City and the benevolent pirate, Captain Blood. I had trouble separating the actor from the roles he played when he fought in the Alamo and exhibited the valor in the ring as an idealistic, world-champion prizefighter known as Gentleman Jim Corbett.
In virtually every role, any time there was someone in trouble, you could be sure that Errol Flynn would come to the rescue. I'd be so swept up in those movies that, when leaving the theater, I'd stand looking around the street, hoping to find some girl being threatened by a bully--some damsel in distress--whom I could gallantly rescue.
Despite the fact that he played the most virile characters, he imbued those characters with a modesty and a decency that especially impressed me. In every one of his starring vehicles, Errol Flynn was subtly teaching me to be the virtue of honor. He seemed to personify a man with the most ideal traits: a man of strength and compassion who would never shirk his duty when the need arose.
Anyone who can inspire others to strive to be better human beings is a hero in my book. We normally think of preachers and teachers or even scholars as the sort of role models who lift us up in this way. But sometimes it can be an actor, playing a role, who raises not just our spirit but also our soul.
When I first began writing stories, Errol Flynn and the sort of heroes he portrayed exerted tremendous influence on my work. Just as he made me long to become a heroic figure who would rush to the aid of people in distress, I likewise wanted to make my audience yearn to be like the heroes in my stories.
Page created on 3/7/2009 12:00:00 AM
Last edited 8/28/2018 2:13:55 AM
The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.
Copyright 2005 by The MY HERO Project
MY HERO thanks Stan Lee for contributing this essay to My Hero: Extraordinary People on the Heroes Who Inspire Them.
Thanks to Free Press for reprint rights of the above material.