For many years, comic book writer, Stan Lee penned a column called Stan’s Soapbox. Lee would use the column to talk about a range of subjects, from topical issues to marketing and promotional information.

It seems as good a time as any to take a look back at one of Stan’s columns, from a classic edition of Stan’s Soapbox. This one featured in many Marvel books back in October 1994, and I feel that it is something worth re-publishing.

To put things into context, this column was written following the very public arrest of former football star O.J. Simpson – a huge event in 1994. Stan’s editorial discusses the idea of what it means to be a ‘hero’.

I’ll hand over to Stan…


“Hi, True Believers!

“As I write this, late in June, most of America is still reeling in shock due to the incredible headline-grabbing story of the terrible accusations levelled against a man whom everyone considered one of our nation’s greatest athletic heroes.

“It got me thinking about the true definition of the word hero. It’s so easy to make a hero out of anyone who excels at something we wish we could do. From the most popular rock stars, to glamorous actors and actresses, to champion prizefighters, baseball players, astronauts, comic book artists – the list is endless. We find people who are the best at what they do, people who have become wealthy and famous, whose deeds are as well known to us as our own names, and we begin to idolise them; we put them on pedestals and make role models of them.

“In most cases there’s no harm in doing that. As the success of our own comic books proves, people seem to want heroes. In fact, the public seems to have a desperate need for them, especially in difficult times like these.

“But yet, it seems to me that there’s one important fact which many of us tend to over-look. The true, genuine heroes in life are often unrecognised and unheralded. Is anyone more heroic than a father who spends hour after hour, day after day, working at a thankless job in order to earn enough to send his children to school, so that they may have a better life than he? Is anyone more heroic than a mother who cooks and cleans and takes care of her family, giving all her attention, her love, her very life, year after year for the sake of those she loves? Is anyone more heroic than the cop on his beat, the neighbourhood fireman, or the servicemen and women in the armed forces, all of whom stand ready to give their lives if need be for our protection and safety? How about the teacher in an overcrowded school, the doctor toiling in a free clinic, the minister, priest or rabbi always there to help, to advise, to console.

“It’s fun to read about heroes in the press or comics, but let’s never forget the real, unsung heroes who live among us; the people who help their fellow human beings in so many ways, with no hope of glory or reward. It’s the people themselves, those who, despite countless temptations, live honourable, decent lives with no malice in their hearts. They are the true heroes. Without them, we’re lost!


“Stan Lee.”

Wise words and arguably never a truer word said. This piece might have been written way back in 1994, but it has clearly stood the test of time.

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