Monday, November 12, 2018

R.I.P. Stan Lee

Dang, this one really, really hurts. Stan Lee died this morning at age 95.

We all knew this day would eventually come, but it's still a bitter pill to swallow. It honestly feels like someone in my family died.

What can you say about the man who co-created the entire Marvel Universe? I've been a comic book fan ever since I was old enough to read, and I always preferred Marvel to DC. That's because Stan Lee's characters all had personalities and were fallible, just like his readers. They felt far more real than the stiffs populating DC's books.

Even though Stan was writing primarily for kids, he made it a point to never talk down to his audience, peppering his scripts with words and phrases far beyond our vocabularies. His work actually challenged me, causing me to look up and actually learn the words I didn't understand!

I won't be the only one saying this today, but Stan's prodigious output inspired me and fanned my own little creative flame. There's no doubt in my mind that I wouldn't be an artist and aspiring writer if not for him.

Sadly, I don't have any stories about meeting Stan Lee. I did have a near encounter with him at a comic show about ten or twelve years ago though. This was before the Marvel Cinematic Universe was a thing, so he wasn't as widely known as he is today and there wasn't a huge mob of people around him. I decided I was going to walk over and tell him how much his work meant to me. 

Unfortunately right as I got to Stan's table, a huge sweaty nerd who looked exactly like The Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons elbowed his way in front of me. He plopped a stack of literally a hundred comics down in front of Stan and said, "Sign the covers of ALL these, please." Sigh... 

Being the gentleman that he was, Stan tried his best to accommodate this "fan." I wasn't gonna stand there waiting a hour while he scribbled his name on all those covers, so I just walked away, glaring at the Comic Book Guy. In hindsight, I wish I'd Stooge-poked that jerk in the eyes and swept his precious stack of mint condition comics onto the floor. But I digress. I didn't get to meet Stan, but I did come withing three feet of him, and can confirm that he actually did exist.

Anyway, thanks for all the thousands of hours of entertainment you gave me and the rest of the world, Stan!

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