Monday, November 12, 2018

Excelsior!


His name was always at the top of every Marvel comic book when I grew up. The first page would have a small box that briefly described the character, in a sentence or two, and then the words: "Stan Lee Presents."

I knew who he was because he was on TV, sort of. He would do voice-over introductions to The Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends on Saturday mornings.

It was comforting, in its way. To my mind, it was like he was the caretaker of the Marvel Universe, a constant, active presence who acted in its best interests, though I couldn't have phrased it that way back then.

I met him at a convention once. He autographed for me some comics he had written, including a special issue of my favorite comic, Fantastic Four.


Marvel Comics used to have a newsletter-type page in every comic. Sometimes he would say a few words in it, usually reporting from Hollywood about the in-roads Marvel was making: a new TV show here, a new video game there, that sort of thing. It was exciting.

Those in-roads laid the foundation for the Marvel kingdom of today: a subsidiary of the mightier Disney empire, true, but his creations — in collaboration with Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, John Romita, and all the rest — have never been more popular. (Whether or not this has translated into higher sales of the comics themselves is another story.)

Recent years have not been kind to him: embroiled in one lawsuit after another, not to mention a contentious relationship with his daughter. I can only hope he made peace with her before he went to that great bullpen in the sky.

Today is a sad day for Fandom Assembled, but we will never forget him and his great gift to American popular culture. I have distanced myself from the comics; they no longer mean to me what they once did. Still, if it weren't for them, my life — the friends I've made over the years, the passion I have for visual art in general — would be quite different.

Face front, true believers.

8 comments:

  1. I hear that.

    Well, not literally, but you get the idea.

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  2. Top-notch tribute to a legend. Mine was a DC childhood and not Marvel but I saw plenty of Stan's Soapboxes in my second comics childhood, and his was a familiar name even to those of us who barely pay attention to creator names because they weren't even printed at first. [I do recall a really excellent comic book artist and writer - something like Rick Wilson or something like that :)] But this really is the end of an era because his name was practically a household name even to non-comic fans... and his cameos in the movies - and the Universal Studio Spider-man ride - were terrific (in September Eric and I counted them while going on the ride twice); a few days before his passing I laughed out loud while watching the "Ant-man and the Wasp" DVD.
    As you say, a sad day.

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  3. Beeb! So good to see you here at last.

    Someone online suggested future Marvel movies incorporate Stan's image somewhere within them. That's a nice idea.

    Is the artist you're thinking of Ron Wilson? He did a lot of MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE and THING books as I recall.

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  4. No, that wasn't the name... it was something more like Rich ... he did these really innovative comics.. maybe Watson instead of Wilson... :) (I guess my joke was too subtle! Was trying to point out YOUR great work :)
    On the topic I mentioned about Stan being a household name - on the heels of my response came an email from "Signals" catalog about a book about Stan! It'd be one thing if this came from Previews, or ThinkGeek, but Signals??
    'Nuff said!

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  5. Oh, ha ha. Cute. :-)

    I don't know what SIGNALS is, but I got the link you sent me about a Stan Lee biography with illustrations. Maybe that's what you're thinking of?

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