Inspiration from Stan Lee and Sir Patrick Stewart

Two sessions I attended at Comic Expo over the weekend left a deep impression. One featured the great Marvel comic book creator Stan Lee; the other, Sir Patrick Stewart, a.k.a. Captain Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation. What struck me about both was the spirit they brought to their work.

Sir Patrick said that when he first walked onto a stage at age twelve, he immediately felt safer. Acting became the place of certainty in the chaotic world of his youth. And although his life is no longer turbulent, he is still most at home on the stage or set.

Stan Lee spoke about the creation of Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson. Gwen was intended to be Spiderman’s girlfriend but Lee found that once the girls were created, they took on lives of their own, and it turned out that Mary Jane was not only the more interesting of the two, but also the best suited to be the girlfriend of Peter Parker/Spiderman. Lee said it was as though Stacy and Mary Jane were real people, flesh and blood, speaking to him as the writer.

Sir Patrick is 72; Stan Lee, 90. Both were full of energy and optimism about work and life. They caused me to reflect on how lucky I am to be doing work that holds my interest so fully. To spend every working day with a sense of purpose is truly a wonderful thing.