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Partha Kar: Stan Lee’s lessons for the NHS

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: (Published 06 December 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k5037

Re: Partha Kar: Stan Lee tribute - please keep DC Comics' characters out of the Lee's Marvel Universe

As a fellow Marvel Comics/Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU fan, I would like to thank Kar for a thought-provoking but well-reasoned and indeed reasonable reflection on Stan Lee’s life work as co-creator of the Marvel franchise and what lessons the Marvel universe of superheroes holds for the NHS[1].
It is very fair to draw lessons about leadership, team working, different personalities and understanding that we as NHS doctors each have our place and roles to play, which may vary in place and time, as it does for Marvel’s superheroes, albeit with much less violence.
I regret though that Kar has somewhat muddied the waters in this tribute to Stan Lee and his many Marvel creations, which have entertained millions if not billions of people around the world over several decades. I was surprised to see Kar mention Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman in his piece. As many people will know, these superheroes are from the DC Comics “universe”, an arch rival of Marvel’s.
This may seem pedantic to most, but in an article inspired by the death of Stan Lee, many Marvel fans would have raised eyebrows at the liberal sprinkling of rival DC superheroes in a tribute to Marvel’s most well-known co-creator.
Perhaps my personality type is “…someone who stands up for what’s right and whose reluctance to shift on principle frustrates others…” like Captain America. As a Marvel fan, the inclusion of Stan Lee’s DC rival superheroes leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
Perhaps with this unfortunate mixing of superhero franchises, Kar’s tribute is reflecting the imperfections of some of Marvel’s most well-known heroes like Iron Man, an imperfect character & flawed leader & indeed the infamous anti-hero Deadpool who is only good because he is so bad.
RIP Stan Lee (born Stanley Martin Lieber, 1922-2018)[2]

[1] Partha Kar: Stan Lee’s lessons for the NHS. BMJ 2018;363;k5037
[2] Stan Lee obituary: The genius of the superhero creator. BBC Entertainment & Arts 12/11/18:

Competing interests: I am a lifelong Marvel Comics/MCU fan. I am not a great fan of DC Comics superheroes with one or two exceptions. I am writing in a personal capacity. The views expressed are my own & not those of my employer(s).

15 December 2018
Gee Yen Shin
NHS; specifics irrelevant
London, United Kingdom