Stan Lee, the creative force behind the Marvel universe, died in November this year, aged 95. According to Google’s recently published 2018 Year in Search report, which shows the top trends in what people searched for this year, the world dedicated a lot of time to learning more about Lee and his creations in 2018.
Google’s report is “based on search terms that had the highest spike this year as compared to the previous year,” Google said, and you can filter the results by category and country. For the global population, and across every category, “Stan Lee” was the fourth most trending search term in 2018. (In the “loss” category, Lee ranked third.) What’s more, fifth place overall went to “Black Panther,” related queries for which were mostly related to the film, which is based on a character that Lee created in 1966.
Lee was the visionary writer behind numerous iconic comic book characters that have influenced pop culture today. Many of the characters he created or co-created have had movies named after them, or have turned into multimillion- and multibillion-dollar franchises. Several of these creations also dominated Google’s top search trends for 2018.
The four top search terms in the film category were superhero films based on Marvel comics: Black Panther, Deadpool 2, Venom, and Avengers: Infinity War, in that order. Of these, Lee helped create Black Panther, the characters in the Avengers, and the Spider-Man universe from which Venom originated. (Deadpool was developed by comic book writers Fabien Nicieza and Rob Liefeld.) Google Trends shows that many of the related queries that people searched along with Lee had to do with these movies—Lee also had cameos in all of them.
Lee and his creations’ dominance of this year in Google search is testament to just how significant his contribution to today’s pop culture was, and how people sought to learn that after his death. It seems fitting that Lee’s motto was “Excelsior,” a Latin word meaning “ever upward.”