Stan Lee inspired thousands of comic writers and artists to follow their dreams and make their mark on an industry he helped shape. Some of these creators went on to become household names in their own right, inspiring a new generation of visionaries.
Among these is writer Mark Millar, known beyond comics circles for Kingsman, Wanted, and Kick-Ass. Paying tribute to Lee, who passed away Monday at age 95, Millar revealed the comics legend not only inspired him as a child, but also played a hand in his decision to start Millarworld and write the 2003 miniseries Wanted.
"Stan Lee changed my life not once but twice," Millar wrote on Twitter. "First when I was a kid and realised the superheroes I loved in comic-books and on TV could actually be a job. Then he did it again when I was working at Marvel and he convinced to start my Millarworld company. I told him I was loving writing all his old characters and he told me pop-culture stagnates unless new ones are created. He convinced me I had it in me and I started Wanted next day."
I told him I was loving writing all his old characters and he told me pop-culture stagnates unless new ones are created. He convinced me I had it in me and I started Wanted next day.— Mark Millar (@mrmarkmillar) November 12, 2018
Illustrated by J.G. Jones, the 2003 sleeper hit was loosely adapted by director Timur Bekmambetov as an action thriller starring James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman.
"Without Stan's advice, I'd never have written Wanted, Kick-Ass, Kingsman or all my other franchises," Millar continued. "There would have been no big Netflix deal last year. Without his stories when I was wee I doubt I'd have even picked up a pen."
When the adaptation for Kick-Ass hit theaters in 2010, Lee commended Millar on his success. "Over the years, his name popping up in my Inbox has been my biggest professional thrill," Millar recalled. "He sent me a note saying how proud he was when Kick-Ass became a movie and he tweeted me a few months back inviting me for a lemonade next time I was in LA."
Millar dubbed Lee the world's "biggest brand" — the Walt Disney, Calvin Klein and Henry Ford of the last three generations. "I've mistakenly been called The New Stan Lee many times, but there can only ever be one," he tweeted. "We all came later and never surpassed what he achieved. He was and always will be The Man."