A phrase that Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee used a lot was, “Who would win in a fight?”. Stan had an answer to every one of these hypotheticals, from “Superman vs. Spider-Man” to “Luke Cage vs. the Thing.” Some people may think he had a lot of character abilities to memorize. Still, it was a lot easier than they thought.
A year after the first Avengers film’s release in 2012, Stan Lee launched a YouTube channel titled Stan Lee’s World of Heroes (the track still exists as MarvelousTV). He would post a lot of material at the end of the first two phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fan Wars court sessions would see him judge comic book debates like “Spider-First Man’s Love: Gwen Stacy vs Mary Jane,” and he’d appear in his superhero animated series Bad Days.
Having Stan Lee’s channel was a blessing for fans of both Marvel and DC. Stan Lee’s legacy lives on in World of Heroes, a hidden treasure that celebrates an era when Marvel was at its best. Stan Lee’s Stan’s Rants series, in which he recorded clips of himself like his old Soapbox sections at the end of classic Marvel comic books, are some more intimate videos in World of Heroes. His YouTube channel has several different series, but if you want to hear Stan Lee’s thoughts on comics and beyond, Stan’s Rants is probably the most relevant.
In one of his videos, “Who Would Win,” Stan talks about the simple answer to every versus fight in fiction. He continues, saying: “Simply put, the answer to all of this is one. Everyone should be aware of this. In a fight, the scriptwriter wants the person who would win to win!” To illustrate his point, he cites Spider-fight Man’s with The Thing and says, “If the Thing wins, the Spider-Man wins. If I want Spider-Man to win, the Thing wins.”
Ending with Stan’s exaggerated outbursts, he says: “These characters are fictional! They are at the disposal of the author! Because I’ve had enough of these bone-headed questions!” Stan’s comments may seem obvious, but they do apply to every comic fight ever. When Marvel and DC fans discuss their characters’ preparation, powers, weaknesses, and locations, they’re essentially writing their own stories. As crucial as facts are to the report, however, is the emotional component.
So many stories have a dramatic and satisfying climax in which the underdog triumphs. Squirrel Girl, for example, has fought and defeated Thanos several times. Squirrel Girl has no chance of defeating Thanos based solely on her powers. Doreen can communicate with squirrels, possesses superhuman senses, and possesses only a limited set of other talents. Wolverine to Eternity has been defeated by Thanos.
As expected, the Mad Titan is defeated by Doreen. If only the most substantial characters triumphed in comic book battles, the stories would be tedious. One of the main reasons Batman and Spider-Man are popular superheroes is that their characters have overcome adversity. Ratcatcher II in The Suicide was all about this. “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future,” according to J.R.R. Tolkien.
Those who ask “who would win in a fight?” should pay more attention to Stan Lee’s sage advice. When an underdog wins, it’s usually for the sake of making a fan happy, rather than stoking rage overpower imbalances. Even after his death, Stan Lee continues to educate comic book fans on better understanding the characters and stories they read about.