Stan Lee RIP — Where Are Today’s Superheroes?

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(Illustration: Clarion Project)

Does the death of Stan Lee, creator of Marvel Comic’s superheroes, signal the end of an era? An era where morality and its compassionate barometer — the ability to be nuanced — reigned.

Upon hearing of Lee’s death, Chris Evans, who played Marvel’s Captain America, tweeted, “There will never be another Stan Lee. For decades he provided both young and old with adventure, escape, comfort, confidence, inspiration, strength, friendship and joy. He exuded love and kindness and will leave an indelible mark on so, so, so many lives. Excelsior!!”

The question is, will there “never be another Stan Lee” because of Lee’s tremendous talent or because, in our political climate, social justice warriors now hold sway over morality and have managed to stand our ideas of right and wrong on their heads?

Stan Lee with some of his Marvel Comic characters (Photo: Getty Images)
Stan Lee with some of his Marvel Comic characters (Photo: Getty Images)

Captain America introduced himself to the world on the cover of his maiden comic book with a punch knocking over Adolf Hitler. One can only imagine the outcry that cover would spark today: Violence! Nationalism! Colonialism! Ethnocentricity!

Consider how such misplaced considerations and warped moral values have influenced the world in the fight against radical Islam, where one would think the issues were fairly black and white:

  • The UK recently announced it would deny asylum to Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who spent 10 years in a hell-hole of a Pakistani prison on charges of blasphemy against Islam until she was finally acquitted. Bibi and her family will quite possibly be killed by rioting Islamist extremists who are out for blood and have demanded her death. The UK said it was denying Bibi entry because it would prompt “unrest” in the UK (read: it didn’t want to offend the presumably many extremist elements of its Muslim community) and was afraid of attacks on its embassies worldwide.
  • At the same time, the UK allowed entrance to Muslim Brotherhood member and extremist Jordanian MP Dima Tahboub to address an event marking the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the UK — an event held at the House of Commons. Among those Tahboub supports is Ahmad Daqamseh, the Jordan soldier who opened fired and killed seven Israeli school girls in 1997 who were visiting a park on the Jordanian-Israeli border ironically called the Island of Peace. Tahboub celebrated Daqamesh’s release from prison calling the school girls “enemies” of Jordan.
  • Meanwhile, the European Court of Human Rights recently became the enforcer of Islamic blasphemy laws. In a ruling, the court declared that defaming the Islamic prophet Mohammed was prohibited and exceeds the permissible limits of free speech in Europe. (This is in contrast to a ruling by the same court which allowed the insulting of Christianity in the case of the Pussy Riot band which staged an impromptu performance in Moscow’s Christ the Savior cathedral in 2012.)
  • Canada’s Prime Minster Justin Trudeau passed legislation which allows convicted terrorists who are dual nationals to keep their Canadian citizenship. Trudeau believes these terrorists have a “right” to return home. In fact, he refuses to even call them terrorists, but instead refers to them as “returning foreign travelers.” When asked about this policy at a town hall meeting, the PM declared Canada is a country that takes in people from all over the world who are fleeing persecution and poverty. He compared the returning terrorists to other groups of people who came to Canada in large numbers – the Greeks, Italians and Portuguese. Sixty known terrorists have returned to Canada with no consequences. One gave an interview to The New York Times detailing the horrors he perpetrated for ISIS. He now lives in Toronto with his parents and attends a public university.

Yet, when public officials with a modicum of moral clarity (and a huge amount of common sense) try to direct public policy, they are lambasted. How can we forget the opposition to Trump’s travel pause (a policy which was ultimately vindicated as constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court)?

ISIS had announced its goal of embedding its terrorists with those fleeing war zones (especially in the Middle East). In response, Trump proposed a three-month pause in immigration from specific countries where ISIS and other terrorists were active. The time was to be used to sort out the U.S.’ woefully inadequate vetting process — one which, by design, even forbid an inspection of the applicant’s social media footprint.

No matter that one of the San Bernardino killers of 14 people easily got through the system that way. Social justice warriors – our culture’s current arbiters of right and wrong cried Islamophobia and fought tooth and nail to get the policy revoked.

Stan Lee was born in 1922. He watched his father struggle to make a living for the family during the Great Depression. He lived through the horrors of Pearl Harbor, World War II and Nazi ideology.

Was it a simpler world that Lee grew up in? I would posit that the answer to that question is “no.”

The genre of comic book superheroes is one committed to elevating a “simple” individual who has been compelled by his or her circumstances or moral compass to take a stand against evil in the world.

They come to remind us that we, too, share those qualities and that it is incumbent upon us to fight for good as well. Sadly, in today’s world, simply standing up to evil makes one a super hero.



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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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