The past few days have been pretty bleak for the world of Hollywood and celebrities. After George Michael passed away on Christmas Day, we all assumed that 2016 has taken its final legend. But then Star Wars actress and writer Carrie Fisher succumbed to the damage done during her mid-air heart attack. The past 24 hours have been completely consumed by Fisher's death, so a reason to celebrate and be happy is sorely needed. Luckily for us, we have the birthday of a comic book legend to celebrate; Stan Lee has turned 94.

Kevin Smith Stan Lee

Stan Lee's influence on the world of comics and movies is practically mythic, and perhaps no one understands this importance more than director, writer, and comic book aficionado Kevin Smith. Despite all the negativity currently going around the internet, Smith took a moment to celebrate Stan Lee's influence on his personal Twitter. Check it out.

Now isn't that just the sweetest? Kevin Smith took the time to not only wish Marvel comics grand poobah Stan Lee a Happy Birthday, but also acknowledge how Lee's work has affected generations of superhero fans.

Stan Lee is best known for creating the majority of our favorite Marvel characters. From Spider-Man, to The Hulk, to the X-Men, Stan Lee's creative mind is to thank for the existence of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and X-Men franchise, as well as all of the comics we know and love. But in addition to the characters themselves, Lee's creativity has also affected the decades of fans who identify with Marvel's myriad characters.

What hardcore Marvel fans love so much about the characters is how utterly flawed they are. While the DC world is usually pretty shiny and perfect, Marvel features heroes and villains who are often making mistakes, or who are under-appreciated by the outside world. Chief among them is the X-Men, who are heroes which are loathed by the general population. DC has Batman being called upon by the Gotham, while the human population fears and hates Marvel's mutants for being different. This resonated for outsiders, both adolescents and adults, who have ever felt isolated because of their uniqueness or differences. That is perhaps Stan Lee's most significant legacy.

It's crazy to thing about what the world of Hollywood would currently look like, had Stan Lee never created Marvel's most exciting characters. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has changed the way that blockbusters are produced by introducing the concept of serialized storytelling and shared universes. This served as the catalyst fro the DC Extended Universe, as well as budding franchises like the Universal Monsters and Hasbro's Universe. But if characters like Iron Man and Captain America were never created, Hollywood would be without its new method of film production.

So Happy Birthday, Stan Lee. Thanks for capturing our imaginations, as well as bringing us characters who would entertain us from childhood well into adulthood.

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