Culture & Lifestyle
Published December 16, 2022

Stan's Soapbox

Classic quotes and kernels of wisdom from the editorial column of Stan Lee himself!

Join all month long to celebrate Stan Lee’s 100th birthday! Share your own favorite Stan Lee memories and creations on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more with #StanLee100.


For years, Stan Lee held court in the pages of “Stan’s Soapbox,” his personal editorial column that ran in every Marvel comic published between 1967 through 1980. Musing on everything from the Marvel philosophy, to storytelling, entertainment, and meatier subjects like politics and prejudice, “Stan’s Soapbox” was a firsthand account into the issues of the day. But it was also a direct channel for Marvel fans, AKA “True Believers,” to participate and share! Fostering a relationship with his audience like only Stan can, the letters column took on a life of its own in timeless fashion.

Here are just a few of Stan’s Soapbox gems, our favorite quotes from the caliph of comics himself.


“We believe in our cavortin’ characters a lot more than we believe in some people we know, and we do have a motive – a purpose – behind our mags! That purpose is, plain and simple – to entertain you! We think we’ve found the best formula of all – we merely create the type of fanciful yarns that we ourselves like to enjoy – and, if we like ‘em, you oughtta like ‘em too; after all, you’re our kinda people! Now then, in the process of providing off-beat entertainment, if we can also do our bit to advance the cause of intellectualism, humanitarianism, and mutual understanding… and to toss a little swingin’ satire at you in the process… that won’t break our collective heart one tiny bit!”

The inner struggle of Bruce Banner in INCREDIBLE HULK (1962) #1.
The inner struggle of Bruce Banner in INCREDIBLE HULK (1962) #1.


“We’d [Marvel Comics] like to go on record about one vital issue – we believe that Man has a divine destiny, and an awesome responsibility – the responsibility of treating all who share this wondrous world of ours with tolerance and respect – judging each fellow human on his own merit, regardless of race, creed, or color. That we agree on – and we’ll never rest until it becomes a fact, rather than just a cherished dream!”


“Comic books are a medium of communication – just as television and motion pictures are. All three employ words and pictures, and all must be judged on their individual merits. A story is a story, whether presented between two covers, or on a screen. If the words have dramatic impact, if the pictures are visually appealing, if the theme is emotionally relevant, then certainly it is worthy of a reader’s attention.”

Spider-Man’s tragic origin in AMAZING FANTASY (1962) #15.
Spider-Man’s tragic origin in AMAZING FANTASY (1962) #15.


“Whatever we are, you’ve made us! We’ve had a lot of laughs together, and a lot of excitement – and the best is still ahead! So face front, frantic one. On behalf of the entire batty Bullpen, to True Believers everywhere – we’ll never let you down, ‘cause you’re the ever-lovin’ greatest!”


“Here in the Bullpen, we can’t talk to each other for five minutes without coming up with a zillion new thoughts and angles. The big hangup is getting the time to develop the ideas… to polish them, and refine them until we feel they’ll have maximum impact – until we know they’ll be an integral part of the ubiquitous Marvel universe! Everyone has ideas – you, I, the gang in the mailroom – even our competitors, bless ‘em. What really counts is what you DO with them. We believe that almost any idea can be worthwhile, if it’s presented with integrity, taste, and imagination. For, an idea is like a guitar – it doesn’t mean a thing unless you know how to use it!”

The first appearance of the Silver Surfer in FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #48.
The first appearance of the Silver Surfer in FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #48.


“It’s totally irrational, patently insane to condemn an entire race – to despise an entire nation – to vilify an entire religion. Sooner or later, we must learn to judge each other on our own merits. Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill our hearts with tolerance.”


“Let’s consider three men: Buddha, Christ, and Moses… men of peace, whose thoughts and deeds have influenced countless millions throughout the ages – and whose presence still is felt in every corner of the earth. Buddha, Christ and Moses… men of good will, men of tolerance, and especially men of love. Now, consider the practitioners of hate who have sullied the pages of history. Who still venerates their words? Where is homage still paid to their memory? What banners still are raised to their cause? The power of love – and the power of hate. Which is truly enduring? When you tend to despair… let the answer sustain you.”

The wedding of Reed Richards and Sue Storm in FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL (1963) #3.
The wedding of Reed Richards and Sue Storm in FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL (1963) #3.

Pick up your copy of Stan’s Soapbox: The Collection for more wit and wisdom from the maestro of Marvel.

Join us to celebrate Stan Lee's 100th birthday! Every week this month and into January, we'll offer a deep dive on Lee’s remarkable history, creations, and contributions. Follow along at


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