Stan Lee was one of Miya Crummell's most important pieces of childhood. As a young, black girl and self-employed pop culture artist, he saw that Lee was ahead of his time.
"At that time he wrote" Black Panther "when the separation was still heavy," said New Yorker, 27, attributing influence to Lee to become a graphic designer and comic artist. "It was somewhat unheard of to have a black pencil character , let alone a title character and not just a sidekick. "
Lee, the master and creator behind Marvel's biggest superheroes, died at the age of 95 on Monday. As the fans celebrate their contributions to the pop culture rule, some also reviewed the way in which Marvel's guide felt that with the big comics came a great responsibility. When black people risked their lives in the 1960s to protest the discrimination they lived and worked on, Lee approved integration with the first mainstream black superhero. Black Panther, along with X-Men and Luke Cage, are now heroes on the screen. But then these were the soldiers in Lee's battle against the real enemies of racism and xenophobia.
Under Lee's leadership, Marvel Comics introduced a generation of comic book readers to the African prince who runs a mythical and technologically advanced kingdom, black ex-con whose brown skin repels the spheres and the X-Men, a group of heroes whose superpowers are otherwise a cultural background.
WATCH: Marvel co-creator Stan Lee remembered in Toronto
The works and ideas of Lee and the artists behind T & Challa, Black Panther. Luke Cage, Hero for rent? and Professor Xavier's band of pleasant mutants – groundbreaking during the 1960s and 1970s – have become a cultural force that breaks down barriers to membership.
Lee had his fingers in all that Marvel produces, but some of the characters and design lines "came from the artists being inspired by what was going on in the '60s," said independent writer Alex Simmons .
Despite all this, there has been some push from the white comic distributors when it came to black heroes and characters. Some Marvel Comics bunches were sent back because some distributors were not ready for Black Panther and the Wakanda kingdom developed by artist and co-creator Jack Kirby.
"Stan had to take on these dangers," said Simmons. "There has been a liberation movement and I think Marvel has become the voice of the people, tied up the inept energy and led with him."
Lee also spoke directly to readers about the absurdity of hatred. In 1968, a sad year saw the killing of Martin Luther King Jr., Lee wrote one of the most vocal columns of Stan's Soapbox, calling fanaticism and racism "the most deadly social suffering that plagued him today's world. "
"But unlike a group of super-villain suitors, they can not stop with a punch in snoot, or a zap by a ray gun," Lee wrote.
Marvel's characters have always been at the center of how to tackle racial and other forms of discrimination, according to Mikhail Lyubansky, who teaches psychology of racial and ethnic origin at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. With X-Men, many readers saw the mutants, sterilized for their strength, as a comment on how Americans deal with blacks and those who were considered "the other".
WARNING: The creator of Marvel comic Stan Lee dies at 95
"The original X-men were less for the race and more for cultural differences," said Lyubansky. "The Black Panther and some of the Marvels took the mantle and ran with the racial question in ways I think Steven did not intend, but it was an excellent vehicle for that."
Some of the efforts to spread minority characters have not matured well. Marvel characters like Fu Manchu-esque villain Mandarin and Native American athletic hero Wyatt Wingfoot were considered pioneers in the 60's and 70's but may look dated and very stereotyped when viewed through a lens of the 21st century.
"Stan Lee takes credit and responsibility according to character," said William Foster III, who helped create the Black Sea Coast of Comics on the East Coast and is an English teacher at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury, Connecticut.
Foster, who began reading Marvel Comics in the 1960s, said that even doing something as small as involving people with background color was monumental.
"Stan Lee had his attitude:" We're in New York. How can we not have black people in New York? "Said Foster.
Blacks began to take the roles of heroes and villains. Foster said some characters could be considered "tokenism," but this is sometimes where progress should begin.
In 10 years, Marvel Cinematic Universe has cleaned more than $ 17.6 billion in global gross profits. The movie "Black Panther" pulled out more than $ 200 million in the weekend's debut earlier this year. The following year, actor Brie Larson will fly as "Captain Marvel". A moving film centered on Miles Morales, a black and half Puerto Rican teen who inherits the Spider-Man suit, will fall next month. And there is still interest in Kamala Khan, such as Mrs Marvel, the first Muslim superhero.
"I've had a lot of white friends growing up," said independent writer Simmons, who is black. "We watched Batman and we also watched The Mod Squad." My personal conviction is that if you put the material out in front of people and are connected to it, they will connect with it. "
For many fans and consumers, it's the product not the skin color or the sexual orientation of the character, he added.
Crummell, the comic artist, said he believes minority and women's representation in comic books is improving.
"I think they now see that everyone is reading comics," said Crummell. "It's not just African-American people – they're women, they're Asian, Spanish characters now, I'd like to believe Stan Lee with the kind of breaking the barrier for it."