By Kyle Ellington 
BELLEVILLE – To some he’s a comic legend. To others he was a real-life superhero. Others would just call him Stan the Man. Many would even say he was immortal.
There is no doubt that Stan Lee is the most influential figure in comic-book history, having made an enormous impact on people around the world.
When Lee died Monday, it came as a shock to the whole world – even though he was 95 years old.
Aaron Crossen, owner of Need a Hero? Comics  on North Front Street in Belleville, grew up on Marvel comics, which Lee created.
“I didn’t really get into the continuity and comic series until about college,” Crossen told QNet News this week, “but growing up I was a huge X-Men  fan.”
His favourite superhero of all time, he said, is Cyclops , a member of Lee’s X-Men.
The best part of his job “is when new readers come in (to his store) who have never read a comic in their life,” he said. “They say, ‘I love the Marvel characters. I love the cartoons and the movies. I want to see where this comes from (and) where it’s going.’ And it just gets them hooked – and I just love passing on (Lee’s) material, his legacy.
“I would say he is one the most influential media people of our time. Years ago the comic-book fans knew him, but now even the average Joe knows.”
Crossen said he thinks that with Lee’s passing, the Marvel comic-book industry is going to thrive.
“I believe the stories are actually going to be better – that current writers are going to work even harder to make his work so memorable,” he said.
“For me he will be the guy that created the team that I love. No one could write like him. It was almost poetry.”
Crossen said he can describe Stan Lee in one word: legend.
“There’s been lots of key players in comic history (but) without him comics would not be where they are now.”
Damon Maclean, a first-year photojournalism student at Loyalist College, has done something that many people would have liked to do: he got to meet Stan Lee.
“I met him at Fan Expo (in Toronto) in 2015,” Maclean said this week. “I was volunteering with my Scout group, and we’re handing (out) candy and water bottles, and he said, ‘No thank you – I’m too old for that.’
“I was star (struck). I didn’t know what to say. I just came over and I’m like, ‘Uhh, do you want, uhh’ and just stuttered. And then I bragged to all my friends that I got to meet Stan Lee.’’
Although it was a brief experience, it’s one he will never forget, he said.
When he learned of Lee’s death, he couldn’t believe it had actually happened, Maclean said.
“I thought it was a joke. I saw it online, and I’ve seen a few fake celebrity deaths, so it made me question it and check other websites and go, ‘Oh, he’s actually dead.’ ”
Lee “was giving kids a purpose, a sense that there was something greater out there – something stronger than the average human: people doing these super things. And (he) gave kids something to worship and live in their own little imagination even as you get older.”
What Lee has left behind will never go away, he said: “In a sense it’s not like he really died, because his work is still here.”
Jakob McIntyre, a first-year business sales and marketing student at Loyalist, said that he, like many, was in complete shock when he heard the news of Lee’s death.
Lee was was known for making a cameo appearance in many of the Marvel movies, he noted: “It’s going to be kind of sad, because when you’re in a theatre, everyone is waiting for it. I don’t remember one movie that I saw … where no one was clapping once they saw Stan Lee. It’s just a piece of the puzzle that’s not going to be there.”