By now, you’ve likely seen the news that former Marvel editor-in-chief and superhero visionary Stan Lee has died, aged 95. The man behind characters such as Spider-Man, the X-Men, Iron Man, and Black Panther was well-loved in China and there’s been an outpouring of sorrow on social media here, just as in his native US.
The news comes just weeks after a comic con bearing Lee’s name took place in Shanghai. Although the man himself was unable to attend, news emerged soon after the event that Lee had felt inspired to draw up a new superhero based on pop star (and Rap of China judge) GEM, which now appears to be one of his last creations:
GEM, also known as Deng Ziqi, joined the chorus of Weibo users sharing their grief, calling Lee “one of the most amiable people I’ve ever met”:
Many other users on Weibo have taken to the Twitter-like platform to express their sadness having just seen Lee’s cameo in Venom, the Tencent-backed Tom Hardy-led movie which opened in China at the weekend and raked in a record-breaking 111 million USD.
Popular sci-fi account Future Affairs Administration captured the mood with a post that read:
Maybe to some people this is just another famous person who passed away, but to us the god of creation has fallen from the sky, a disaster so great that neither the reversal of time nor the assemblance of heroes can correct.
One of the top-rated comments on that post also draws parallels between Lee and Louis Cha, who passed away two weeks ago and created a hugely influential world of wuxia characters. User StrawberryForest writes: “The East no longer has the universe of Louis Cha [also known as Jin Yong], now the West has lost the world of Marvel.”
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Alongside “Just saw Stan Lee in Venom” and “Stan Lee has passed away”, another highly trending topic on Weibo right now is “Stan Lee has passed, Sheldon must be heartbroken”. With geeky sim-com Big Bang Theory a massive hit in China, and the character portrayed by Jim Parsons especially popular, many are wondering how the comic-loving Sheldon Cooper would be reacting to the sad news.
The fact that three of Weibo’s top ten “hot topics” right now are all Stan Lee-related is testament to his universal appeal. He will be certainly be missed.
Additional reporting: Andrew Little.
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