I was at my local Michael’s art store today, and while waiting in line at the check-out I saw the new Entertainment Weekly featuring the life of comic book king, Stan Lee. It hit me as odd that EW dedicated an entire issue to “The Man” now, as he passed nearly 3 years ago. But as a born and bred comic book nerd it’s always good to see our guru again, any time we can. Despite my dog gnawing on the treat in my pocket and the cashier lady yelling “NEXT” at me, I was immediately hit with a wave of realization about how much of my life is colored by the work this one man did. My own work, my hobbies, my entertainment, and a lot of my ideals and morals, so much resonating out of what Stan Lee created and left behind.
The photo above was taken by my brother from the time when Stan gave him the “THWIPT” Spidey hand as he left the C2E2 stage in 2015. I was at the convention as well but missed his stage appearance. But my brother, knowing this was his announced last Con appearance, immediately texted me saying Stan was on the move down aisle 23, surrounded by his security entourage. I quickly scampered in his direction and cut them off at the pass. With complete tunnel vision and absolutely not thinking, I stupidly got in the way of half a dozen of his SHIELD Agents (who were doing an excellent job of not letting anyone near Stan as they rushed him safely to his next signing), reached out my hand and said “Mr. Lee! I just wanted to say hi.” Several karate chops and Kung Fu grips were simultaneously being hurled at me, but Stan froze them all and more than happy, and with a massive smile on his face, he reached through the human force field, took my hand and said “Hi! How are ya!” And then, like Kaiser Soze…he was gone.
I’ll never forget that. And against most people’s advice, meeting that hero was absolutely worth it. He 100% lived up to his legend, and I think that’s pretty much who he was.
RIP, True Believer.