How Two Men Used Their Imagination to Change the World


Stan Lee next to Steven Hillenburg’s classic character Spongebob Squarepants.

Liam Kirk, Staff Writer

Recently, two of the world’s greatest pioneers in the field of art, creativity, and imagination have died. These two men, Stan Lee and Stephen Hillenburg, will be forever remembered for their contribution to cartoons, comics, and writing.

Stan Lee often called the founder of Marvel, is known to almost anyone who grew up with superheroes and comics throughout their lifetime. After making cameos in several films, mostly with Marvel, he began to receive the recognition for his contribution to the success of the company.

Like Stan Lee, Stephen Hillenburg created a worldwide icon based purely off of his passion for marine biology. “Spongebob Squarepants” was a cartoon he created that expanded quickly into much more. Most people around the world are aware of Spongebob and his lovable band of misfits Sandy, Patrick, Mr. Krabs, Squidward, and Gary. Giving each character unique personalities and emotions, Hillenburg was able to capture the hearts of viewers around the world.

Both men made incredible accomplishments creating an era of art that is coming to an end. Stan Lee’s most notable is “Spider-man” whose quirky, teenage humor and quick wit established the character as relatable with audiences. Stephen Hillenburg’s creation “Spongebob” allowed him to express his passion for deep-sea science and combine it with comedy and humor.

  Stan Lee’s Marvel comics celebrated timelessness with ease creating characters and stories that have been prevalent for decades. Lee’s characters engaged is scenarios that are as relevant today as they were when they were first written. For example, “Iron Man” was the protagonist of the story that didn’t get the traditional hero’s ending where they get the girl and save the day, but instead, he dealt with alcoholism ultimately ruining his career.

Stephen Hillenburg also used real-life scenarios to establish a story that the audience could connect with. The main plot that he used was his main character “Spongebob” waking up and joyfully working a 9 to 5 all the while indulging in crazy adventures.

Stan Lee brought a new perspective to traditional comics through his writing and was honored with the Will Eisner Hall of Fame award, being inducted into the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame and many others.

Similar to the awards that Stan Lee won, Stephen Hillenburg was awarded with a Daytime Emmy and the British Academy Children’s International Award for his dedication in directing, producing, and writing much of the show. Being so focused on developing how he wanted to convey his passion for marine biology, he was able to do it with enough light-hearted comedy to make it digestible.

As an avid reader from a young age, I enjoyed graphic novels above all else and Stan Lee’s writing was able to influence me to pursue art and writing in school. Much later in my life I began to watch cartoons and found “Spongebob” to be entertaining while incredibly wholesome at the same time. Both Hillenburg and Lee created worlds that can never be replaced or forgotten and have touched the hearts of so many across the globe.