By now you will have heard the sad news that comic book scribe, producer, creator and all round legend, Stan Lee has passed away.

Lee – the co-creator of Spider-Man, the Hulk, Iron Man, Doctor Strange and so many more – died at the age of 95.

Since news broke, many, many people have taken to social media to pay their respects – from colleagues who worked closely with Lee, to fans who followed him for decades.

Leading the tributes Marvel posted: “Today, we pause and reflect with great sadness on the passing of Stan Lee.”

Stan Lee Marvel

Former Incredible Hulk star, Lou Ferrigno, said: “Not enough kind words to post about my dear friend @TheRealStanLee. My life wouldn’t be the same without his incredible talent as a creator, storyteller and friend  Rest In Peace Stan. You’ll be missed.”

Captain America actor, Chris Evans, said: “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!!”

Scroll through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and you will see countless tributes just like these and it’s really not surprising; in his 95 years, Lee became a source of inspiration for millions worldwide.

As a comic book fan of 27 (of my almost 37) years, Lee played a big part in my love for comic books. Marvel was my gateway into comics and Lee was the gatekeeper, introducing me to the likes of Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men.

But it wasn’t just the characters that kept me interested in Marvel Comics, it was Stan himself. Whenever I opened a Marvel book, or switched on a cartoon featuring a Marvel character, Stan’s voice was there, creating a bridge between stories and real life.

His passion for Marvel Comics was evident in the way he spoke about his characters. He believed in them and he wanted his readers to believe in them too.

Of course, Stan loved a bit of self-promotion but he always did it in a self-deprecating way, ensuring there was always a healthy dose of humility in all of his comments. That humility formed the fabric of his greatest creations and made them seem more than just ink and paint.

This blog, my interest in comics, my profession as a writer all originates from Stan Lee. He inspired me (and I’m sure many others) to write the way I like to write. It doesn’t have to be perfect prose, it just needs to be words on a page that I find enjoyment in and then maybe others will too.

Today a true legend has passed away. He will be missed, but he will never be forgotten.