Happy Birthday, Stan Lee! What you mean to us as an artist!

More than a month ago, the world of geek and nerd culture was marred by the passing of the most adorable man to have ever lived, Stan Lee. We all know Stan for creating Marvel Comics and giving us a world featuring his beloved characters such as Iron Man, Thor, the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Doctor Strange, Black Panther and the most recognized of them all, Spider-Man, The wonderful world of his was created for those of us who wanted to leave the pressures of reality and escape to a fantastic place of fantasy and wonder and intrigue and inspiration. There is no doubt that Stan Lee’s influence has won the world over and had inspired other artists over the years. Besides Marvel, he had also collaborated with artists from DC Comics, bringing his genius to his rival’s characters as well. The comics Stan has worked on include DC Comics Presents: Superman #1 (2004), Detective Comics #600 (1989, text piece), and Just Imagine…, the first work for DC Comics by Stan Lee in which he reimagined several DC superheroes including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and The Flash. His artistic influence had inspired his fans as well as those who arrive at comic book conventions dressed as their favorite characters from not just Marvel, but also DC Comics, the world of Japanese anime, video games and other forms of nerd and geek culture. Just the mere mention of his name at a convention brings sparkles to one’s eyes.

This is true for even us here at J1 Studios and for attendees to J1 Con Anime and Gaming Expo. Though the title of our convention says anime, it is not just solely exclusive to Japanese animation. J1 Con welcomes all fans who share the same passion for geek pop culture as we do. Fans off all types come to our convention for one thing – common ground. We are all fans of comics, games and anime. We are all fans of Marvel. We are all fans of Stan Lee.

Jennifer Rodriguez, mother and cosplayer who is also known as “Gamegoddess4ever1”, has meet Stan Lee on one of her many excursions to conventions. She was asked to give her fondest memory of Stan and how he inspired her to cosplay.

Jennifer got the chance to meet Stan Lee in 2016.

“Stan Lee was like another grandfather to me. He literally talks to the audience in his comics through his stories and on his Soap Box. He told us all we could all be superheroes by doing heroic things even by doing the smallest task. We all should give back to the communities and to be a positive influence to someone like a Superhero. It influences me so much in my life that it benefits me and to my son. Whether I am in costume or not, I am a hero to my son. That his words made me become the way I am today.” ~ Jennifer Rodriguez

J1 Con attendee and con goer Dan Riley has made a named for himself as the “Philly Spider-Man”. He has taken several pictures of himself dressed as the web-slinging hero while showing the sights of the City of Brotherly Love.

Dan Riley has taken many pictures around Philadelphia as Spider-Man. Here he is at Swann Memorial Fountain with the Franklin Institute in the background.

“Stan Lee has a major impact my life in many ways, but one important impact Stan has had on my life is the lessons he brought forth and what was attached to his characters. Most recognizable Spider-man! Through this character thousands of people like myself learned, if you have a gift, or the power to do something, those abilities should be used to help not just yourself but the people around you.” ~ Dan Riley

Stan Lee has also been a big inspiration for us here at J1 Studios. This is especially true for the Art Department, the creators of the comics we have that you have seen for sale at J1 Con. As artists and writers, we drew inspiration from Stan Lee and the wonderful characters and stories he has given us over the years.

Kate M. Milo, writer and artist of Lime Rind, was inspired by the works of Mister Lee that led her to create the adventurous main character of her action comedy series. Milo is fan of the X-Men series and its Dark Phoenix Saga which she refers to as her “jam.”

Kate Milo (at right) with fellow J1 Studios staff members Melissa Mooshu (middle) and Danea Richardson (left), wife of founder Jason Richardson.

“I was first exposed to Stan Lee and Marvel characters when “Spider Man” came on as an animated Saturday morning cartoon series (Fox Kids, yo.) I loved the action and the humor. Then came “X-Men,” which I was enthralled by. The Dark Phoenix Saga was my jam. I knew that these had been comic book series, but I was growing up in the middle-of-nowhere-woods; animated cartoons were the closest I was getting to these worlds without a driver’s license. The stories were so character driven with excellent science-fantasy elements that pushed the limits of my own imagination. Eventually, Stan Lee became as much a loved character to me as his creations. As an art student, I learned about how Lee was planning to retire from the comic industry after years of working under others, when he pulled a “what the heck” and started work on his own character cannon and super hero universe. That story has stuck with me. I’m super happy to have walked on the planet at the same time as a great creator like Stan Lee.” ~ Kate K. Milo

Our next contributor hardly needs an introduction but he’s getting one anyway. Jason Richardson, Founder and CEO of J1 Studios and proprietor of J1 Con, is a dedicated fan of Marvel Comics’ poster boy, Spider-Man. If you have met Jason, he is known to have some kind of motif (T-shirt, headband, etc.) referencing the wall-crawling superhero. He is also one of the founding members of the podcast group Black Tribbles and is known by the surname “Spider-Tribble”, in honor of his favorite superhero. Jason Richardson is also the creator of Angel Savior, Mega Ran: Random Lyricism and Super Bounty J1, who is also our official mascot.

Jason Richardson was inspired by Stan Lee to establish J1 Studios. Always a fan, he is known for wearing something referring to his favorite hero, Spider-Man.

“I’ve been a fan since I was 3. My mom decorated my room in Spider-Man everything and she worked at the University of Pennsylvania bookstore and would bring me comics home every week. Because I would hear his voice in the Spider-Man cartoons I grew up on (because he always narrated them), I would hear his voice as I read the narrations in the comics. He was always a staple in my geekdom. I built J1 Studios with the idea of being a tiny version of him, a man who had a world of characters and creations under one roof.” ~ Jason Richardson

And the final contributor is yours truly, Brian Misher, Content Manager for J1 Studios. Like Jason and Kate, I, too, was enthralled by the Marvel cartoons that I grew up on. It is because of the Spider-Man and X-Men cartoons that I was inspired to write my novels and fan fiction, and further my interest in art and writing. Stan Lee created characters who were not perfect. Heroes they are but they have their flaws and can be just as fallible as any normal person. And I try to emulate that with my characters. They’re heroes but they have their faults. And that’s what makes them interesting.

I had the pleasure of meeting voice actress Leah Clark (Blair in Soul Eater) at J1 Con 2017.

Born December 28, 1922, Stan Lee would have been 96 years old today. This article is to pay him tribute and thank him for the inspiration he given us and the continuality of his work that will fuel the imaginations of artists and writers for years to come.

FILE – In this April 16, 2002, file photo, Stan Lee, 79, creator of comic-book franchises such as “Spider-Man,” “The Incredible Hulk” and “X-Men,” smiles during a photo session in his office in Santa Monica, Calif. Comic book genius Lee, the architect of the contemporary comic book, has died. He was 95.
(AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

From your fans here at J1 Studios and the hundreds of fans around the world, Happy Birthday, Stanley Martin Lieber and thank you for being a part of our lives.