Stan Lee, the Marvel

The man. The myth. The legend.

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Yesterday, it snowed in my town. Normally, I despise snow, and even as I texted my husband how horrible it had been to be snowing so soon, I kept finding myself periodically looking out the window. It was so white, a pure blanket covering all it touched. Fluffy pieces of heaven falling from the sky. Down from the wings of the angels.

And the angels came and visited us yesterday.

“You know, my motto is “Excelsior.’ That’s an old word that means ‘upward and onward to greater glory.’ […] Keep moving forward, and if it’s time to go, it’s time. Nothing lasts forever.”

Stan Lee

The snow I hate provided an unusual solace I didn’t know I needed until my husband came home. It was then I learned Stan Lee had been taken from us at the great age of ninety five. It was a day we’ve been expecting for some time, but a day we hate to have lived through. It was a time where we put aside our differentiating ideas on comics, movies, TV shows and stood together, hand in hand, to mourn the loss of our greatest hero.

Even if you’re not a die-hard comic reader or a super nerd who catches all the Easter eggs in the countless movies, there’s a good chance Stan Lee impacted your life in one way or another. The many characters he created/co-created bring hope, wonder, and courage to kids of all ages. He gave us vessels to dream through. He gave us bodies to live vicariously through. Gave us role models and encouragement when the world couldn’t. Showed us heroes could come in all shapes, nationalities, backgrounds, mental capacities, and even planets.

“I don’t think you ever outgrow your love for things that are bigger than life and more colorful than average life. And somehow I feel that these comic book stories are like fairy tales for older people, because they have the same qualities.”

Stan Lee

He didn’t always enjoy comics at first, taking up his first position as merely a temp job just to earn some cash. He even once claimed it was the stupidest job on the face of the planet. But he never denied the love that grew within him. He brought joy through sketches, ink, and text. Demonstrated that someone like alcoholic, self-absorbed Tony Stark could become selfless like patriotic, war veteran Steve Rogers. He warned us that with great power comes great responsibility. And that having a dream is easy, but turning it into a reality where people enjoy said dream is hard. He also taught us to never give up.

We’ve all looked up to a comic book superhero, whether we’ve wanted to admit it or not. We’ve all wanted to be a superhero. Dreamed of having super powers of some kind. We’ve cheered for our favorite heroes, rallied against our most-hated villains, and fallen in love with both. We found ourselves relating to fictional characters who showed us it’s okay to not always end up saving the day.

Stan Lee wasn’t the only pioneer in the comic book industry, but he’s long been a legend. We wanted to believe he would be one of those people who would just stick around forever, but unfortunately, it couldn’t be so. But he will live on. In our hearts, in our cosplays, in his cameos that will never fail to make us tear up. It’s his turn, now. His turn to live vicariously through us.

Excelsior!

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Day 6: Game of Thrones

Obviously, this dragon isn’t from Game of Thrones. I know I’m probably going to get a lot of crap for this, but I hate Game of Thrones. It’s not just the show; I find George R. R. Martin to be a very despicable man. If you like the show, that’s fine. I’m not going to argue about it. So instead of doing a dragon from Game of Thrones (they’re wyverns, by the way), I chose to do Maleficent in dragon form. I always loved her since I was a child. And, I can’t lie, it was mostly because of her green fire.

This Old Man

This old man
Once had a plan
To build a home with his bare hands
To start his own family clan
Until his country declared demands
And from his enemies he ran
The time came for him to make a stand
Still he received great reprimand
Upon his sleeve he wore a brand
Failing his traitorous homeland
Alcohol became his only friend
Surrounding himself with endless cans
Then his country called again
They claimed a chance at redemption
A chance to lift the unholy ban
While he exercised needed caution
He accepted role of government minion
Climbed an imposing mountain
His grit his only supporting fan
Guiding him to an enduring orphan
Where blossoming relationships began
He signed for teary adoption
A child to fill his remaining lifespan
His final years more special than
What he could ever imagine
Until passing on under skies cyan
His survived child relaying
The requisite salvation
Of this old man

Crooked (Flash Fiction)

I had always been told that the Devil smiles with a crooked grin. It seemed to be more of a warning than a statement. But I usually passed it on as some superstitious mumbo-jumbo. If the Devil would ever appear to me, I was certain I didn’t need to identify him by a grin. I mean, the Devil does have his generic, assumed looks. A grin wouldn’t be the only thing that would make him known.

But the Devil didn’t reveal himself to me with his presumed appearance. He didn’t have red skin. Nor did he have horns or a spaded tail. He didn’t even have a pitchfork. No, he made himself known as a well-dressed man sporting a sharp suit, striped tie. And…a smile made of a crooked grin.

He came to me not too long after I found out my grandmother had been diagnosed with an incurable disease. I prayed to any and every being that she would be spared. That a miracle would happen. My grandmother and I had forever been close. She raised me, after all. On that fateful night, I was devastated, vulnerable. Walking down the dark and dreary streets to our apartment.

It was then that the Devil approached. Pushed himself off the wall of a building. Flashing that infamous grin I had been forewarned about. But I was too lost in my sorrows to notice. “It’s a rather nice night, isn’t it?” he asked with a suave tone.

I immediately stoned my expression. Being a blonde, I was used to such encounters. Especially when the sun went down. “I’m not selling my body. I have more respect for myself than that. Buzz off before I call the cops.”

“I don’t want your body, Amy.” He stepped forward. I could’ve sworn I saw smoke dance in his dark eyes. “I want your soul.”

My lips curled in disgust. “I mean it, creep. Get back.” Then I blanked. “How do you know my name?”

He chuckled in a manner I did not care for. “Oh, I know all about you. Your father was never a presence in your life. Your mother died while you were a baby. Now, your grandmother lies in a hospital bed, terminally ill. And you’ve cried out numerous times that you will do anything to save her.” His tongue ran over teeth that suddenly seemed to be turned to points. “Will you? Will you really do anything to save her?”

I took a couple steps back. My unease about this man ever increasing. There was something about him that was not right, and I had a feeling it was something more than him just being a creep. “Wha-what do you want?”

“I’ve already told you. Your soul. Yours for hers. You’ll still get to live with her, of course. But, when you die, your soul is mine. Which shouldn’t be that big of a deal, anyway. I’ve heard a lot of you mortals claim your souls don’t go anywhere once you die. So what’s the risk, huh?”

“You–” I cut myself off, rubbing my eyes with the heels of my palms. This man was a lunatic, thinking he could collect people’s souls. It wasn’t like humans had supernatural powers or anything. I almost flipped out when he stepped even closer. Eyes widening, I waved my arms in a spiral motion in attempt to seem as crazy as him. “You know what, fine. If that’s what it takes for you to leave me in peace, fine. Yes, I agree to your stupid soul thing. Now get the heck away from me.”

But he didn’t leave. Nope. Instead, he smiled with that crooked grin. Approached me even closer. Both of his whole eyes swirled to black, and he transformed into a thick cloud of black fog. Which then swallowed me whole.

My Golden Eagle

He was wild
Completely untamable
Wanting to go in all directions
Going in every direction
Back and forth
Never tiring
Blazing his own trails
Bowing not to another
Friend only to earth and sky
Riding forever on the wind
Tied only by gravity
Barely touching ground
No permanent name
No history
Freedom at its best
Passion for life
Facing every fear
Laughing at every foe
Defying destiny
A phantom
A drifter
A loner
An extraordinary man
One I loved to refer to as
My Golden Eagle