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Kevin Smith pens emotional tribute to Stan Lee

Lifelong comics fan Kevin Smith penned an emotional Instagram tribute Monday to his hero Stan Lee following the Marvel legend’s death.

The actor and director shared an Instagram photo of the Marvel Comics co-founder seated atop a throne, flanked by Smith and his “Clerks” co-star Jason Mewes, with the following caption:

This is how I’ll always see you, @therealstanlee: as our benevolent leader and king, smiling down from your eternal throne on the generations of imaginations you fed and inspired.

You were the first creator whose voice I knew before I’d ever actually heard it.

You dreamed up some of my favorite modern myths and created characters that instilled in me a moral barometer, teaching me right from wrong and showing me it’s always better to be a hero instead of a villain.

Your characters represented us: yes, they had extraordinary, unbelievable abilities, but they were also reflections of a world we knew, where a Spider-Man is really just a boy who wants to help.

You showed me how to interact with the audience whenever you stepped onto Stan’s Soapbox to reach out to the readers.

You showed me how to advocate for my field beyond the actual art itself whenever you tub thumped for comic books outside of the medium.

It was never enough for you to simply make a comic because you were a true salesman at heart.

So you not only sold comics, you sold me *on* comics – so much so that I built a life and career around your dreams and ideals.

When you did Mallrats with us, you not only made a lifelong fan’s dream come true, you also lent me comic book credibility that I still get to spend today.

And whether it was for @comicbookmenamc or @yogahosers, whenever I asked to borrow your heat again, you were always there for me with a smile.

Your love story with Joanie and your long, happy marriage always shined as an example of what I wanted for my personal life.

I long admired (and emulated) your kindness and patience and sense of humor when dealing with your public.

Outside of my parents, you were the one adult who gave me the most useful life skills I still use today.

Thank you, Stan, for making me not only the boy I was but also the man I am today.

You had great power and you always used it responsibly, fostering billions of dreamers who all know your name – a name written in the stars for all time.

You were not just the literary titan of comic books, you were our modern day Mark Twain.

I will miss you all my days, my friend and hero.

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