What will be your legacy? I think this topic has been addressed before, but think about it, seriously. The Marvel universe recently lost a cornerstone to the entire franchise, Stan Lee. He passed away earlier this week at the solid age of 95. It appeared that he lived a fulfilling life, being featured in countless Marvel movies from the first Iron Man to the latest Thor movie, Thor: Ragnarok. It was always fun listening to him speak about the importance of heroes. His energy and enthusiasm never lacked luster. He made you feel like a kid again, speaking on the elements of Spiderman and the boundless feats of the Incredible Hulk. Losing him left a dent in many of our hearts because of his reputation with Marvel comics and all films associated. Nothing beats the person connected to a feeling that gives you joy when you see the latest Avengers movies or a trailer for something due out in theaters the following summer. Stan was indeed the man, but his legacy was greater.

What you do now sets the tone for the reputation that follows. The interactions that you create between yourself and others determines the trajectory of your purpose. Pay attention to your words, what’s being communicated and how you deliver them. It makes a world of difference to everyone else. Many of us offer a sense of warmth that welcomes a person’s experience or point of view, even when it vastly differs from our own. Stan Lee had a way of bringing everyone together to fight for a greater cause: the just condition of every human being. Life is precious and heroes prove they will do anything to preserve it. What’s vital to you? Is it your music, your writing, your paintings, or your photographs? Is it the people who are inspired by it?  I’m certain it’s all inclusive. I expressed a while back that art is a product of reality. Art is a child of life. It allows us to make something beautiful out of the ugliest situations. That gives people hope. That’s what Stan “The Man” did for us.

Make your cameos in as many opportunities as possible. Attend shows where you are not performing. Work with other artists to create a massive piece that speaks to the human experience. Sit with your parents and ask questions. I’m certain they wouldn’t mind being candid, especially now that you both are older and wiser. Get hip to what the iGeneration is viewing on YouTube and Instagram. If they are your target audience, learn their language. Don’t be afraid to wear a cape and tights (figuratively speaking). Your services are needed. If they weren’t, the need wouldn’t be so great. We needed Stan Lee, writers and graphic artists to bring our heroic imaginations to life.

I’m certain a statue will be made in his honor. Thousands, if not millions, will be mourning, wishing they were able to pay respects to the man who made being a geek feel cool. Imagine the effect you’ll have on someone who consumes your art. You might move them like earthquakes or a song to which you can’t sit down (que Justin Timberlake’s “CAN’T STOP THE FEELING!”) Leaving behind anything is a morbid thought, I know. No one really wants to die. Living forever would be nice if we could maintain the prime of our youth, but at some point, we have to make room for the next generation. They will be responsible for maintaining the foundation that we are building. Like Stan Lee, let’s leave something everyone can enjoy.

- Calvin Pennywell, Jr