Even after his passing, Stan Lee lives as the eternal face of Marvel Comics and possibly the entire superhero industry. His creations, stories, and commentaries on life are still some of the most popular and influential ideas in modern popular culture. Over the years, many have speculated who his favorite character is. Long-time comic enthusiasts might remember that Stan Lee did confirm a character as his favorite, and it isn’t who more regular fans might expect.

Although he worked in the comics industry from a young age, Stan always aspired to pursue a career as an author and write about his takes on life. When creators at Marvel brought “human problems” to characters in the 1960s, Stan decided to introduce his ideologies into comics. His philosophical lessons elevated the industry as a whole during the 60s. For instance, the quote from Spider-Man’s first appearance (Amazing Fantasy #15): “with great power there must also come — great responsibility,” remains an important philosophy in comics even outside of Spider-Man.

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Despite the critical success while voicing his philosophy in Amazing Fantasy, Stan Lee’s favorite character wasn’t Spider-Man. It wasn’t even a character he created himself. Stan Lee’s favorite character was actually Jack Kirby’s Silver Surfer. At first, Jack Kirby created Norrin Radd as a miscellaneous cosmic figure beside the giant Galactus in Fantastic Four #48. Eventually, with Jack Kirby’s help, Lee turned Silver Surfer into a herald for the Devourer of Worlds. The Sentinel of the Spaceways eventually encounters the Fantastic Four and discovers the wonder of humanity. Even though Silver Surfer packs a powerful punch in cosmic battles, Stan Lee preferred to interpret the character as a “philosophical observer” more than a superhero.

In an interview with Web of Stories, Stan went on to say, “[Silver Surfer] became my mouthpiece for how I feel about a lot of things. I told Jack, ‘I want to use this character a lot.'” Norrin Radd eventually became the character that resembled Stan Lee’s opinions on the world. Stan continued, “[Silver Surfer] would talk about the fact that we live in the greatest planet we could ever want. It has everything: It has clean, fresh air. It has sunlight/moonlight. It has all the water we could need; most of the planet has water. It has beautiful growing things, all the food we could want. Room for everybody. Why do we fight each other; why do we hate each other? What’s the matter with us; are we insane?” 

In the 1970s, Stan Lee became the Publisher of Marvel. He would visit colleges to lecture about Marvel Comics and life’s philosophies; according to Stan, he did this at least once a week between 1972 to the 1980s. Stan states that students would ask him about Silver Surfer at least once during every lecture. “The kids loved him,” he said. Although Stan eventually stepped down as the publisher in 1996, he recorded a series of videos called Stan’s Rants on his YouTube channel: Stan Lee’s World of Heroes. It still exists today as MarvelousTV. In every video featuring Stan’s office, a gigantic Silver Surfer canvas is visible right behind his desk.

Norrin Radd still stands as one of Marvel Comics‘ most interesting cosmic characters, and his tales are some of the most engaging narratives Stan Lee ever orchestrated. Even if Spider-Man, Hulk, and the X-Men are more popular creations than the Sentinel of the Spaceways, the Silver Surfer’s philosophical adventures definitely deserve closer attention. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Stan Lee‘s voice still endures in Silver Surfer‘s dialogue.

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Source: YouTube—Web of Stories

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