Monday, November 12, 2018

Thanks for Everything, Stan!

I knew I'd have to write this post someday. It's something I dreaded for years. And I certainly didn't intend to come out of "semi-retirement" for this particular post, but here it is: Stan Lee passed away this morning at age 95.

Let that sink in for a moment. The Living Monument to Marvel Comics is no longer with us. People always want to debate "who created what" in the Marvel Universe. Being a sometimes creator myself, I know how diluted and confusing all of that can be. This I do know for certain: Stan's voice was the voice of Marvel for me. The letters pages. They cover hype. The Bullpen Bulletins. The Mighty Marvel Checklist. Stan's Soapbox. The feeling of friendship and community that made us Marvelites. That all started with Stan...and I'll always love and admire him for that.

Your positive memories and thoughts on Stan the Man are most welcome in the comments section. Let's use that space to celebrate one of the all time greats. Our friend, Stan.


  1. Yes, he was the voice of Marvel - no doubt about it. I got to meet him once, and he was everything I hoped he'd be. A sad loss for the world of comics.

  2. Groove, thanks so much for putting this together on the fly. Like you, I dreaded this day for a long time, so while it's not as if Stan's passing was unexpected, I am nonetheless sad, ...but uplifted with so much thankfulness for all he's gave.

    Today I'm also smarting a bit from the fact that I never let Stan know the impact he had on my life. In the Dec 2015 edition of "The Costco Connection" magazine I read in the interview with Stan something I'd never heard before:

    "CC: ..does it really feel like an amazing, fantastic, incredible life?"

    SL: If I said anything but “yes, absolutely,” I’m sure I would sound like a terrible human being. But it’s funny, when I look back at those days in Long Island, I remember the feelings I had then of being just a little bit unhappy because, mostly, there were three kinds of comic book people in the world back then. There were the people who thought comic books were stupid and unimportant, and there were people who just didn’t care about comic books at all. And then there were the people who actually read them. We were living in Long Island, surrounded by stockbrokers and doctors and lawyers and businessmen, and there I was, writing these little stories with drawings in them, and I couldn’t let go of the idea that most people didn’t give a damn about the work I was doing. I wasn’t winning important court cases. I wasn’t healing people’s bodies. I wasn’t changing anyone’s world. It was a lousy feeling in those days."

    He eventually decided what he was doing was entertainment & that entertainment is somehow important.

    Seriously? I never knew that's how he saw it. He brought back mythology in a new form, & gave us the Hero's Journey in vivid colors and ways we'd never seen before, with reliability for the modern day. He changed the world! He brought forth ideas that inspired others to bring forth ideas that have shaped people's sense of what is possible for their life in one form or another. He influenced generations of men and women.

    He came to the first Honolulu Comic Con soon after & I couldn't make it, but I hear he was just out on the floor talking to everyone.

    If I’d gone I'd have told him how much his stories enlivened me to cultures, ideas, values, that I got nowhere else, & have shaped my life ever since. To me what he did was not just entertainment, but more of a calling, awakening each of us to use our own special, unique abilities & awarenesses to live the greatest life we can imagine, & make hopes and dreams real in this world. And of course, he brought a healthy dose of conscience on various social issues, which always made us more aware of the realities of the world.

    Contacted his office after missing his visit to the first Honolulu Comicon & asked about writing a letter. Learned they do their best to share the fan mail with him, but it was uncertain whether he’d get a letter or not. Ahh, the problems of success.

  3. I often wonder if Stan would think I was full of it if he'd heard what I had to say, but it seems most people don’t recognize the significance of their contributions. They do what comes as normal & ordinary, and when it's normal & ordinary it seems not extraordinary at all. Perhaps that's why Stan created "larger than life" characters who could do things others can’t do, & let us all contemplate what we’d do if we too could live larger than life.

    Interestingly, what I’ve found is that that’s exactly what is at the core of every person, no matter the issue or struggles they may be going through in trying to express their abilities, understandings, & visions. No one wants to give that up, no matter how much the world may say we should. In actuality, everyone is a hero of a unique kind in this life, and one of their purposes in being here is to live that hero's journey as only they can do.

    My thanks to Stan for, whether he knew it or not, helping create the environment where I could give form and expression to these life-changing ideas.

  4. As I've said elsewhere, Stan changed my life as a kid. Introduced me to a new world of adventure and fantasy, made me want to write and draw those worlds, and made me forge lifelong friendships with kids who felt the same way. And I'm just one of us. That's a legacy to be proud of.

  5. Very nicely stated, Groove.
    RIP, Stan.


  6. Final scene from the next Spiderman

    Peter sees a glimmer in his closet, human shaped, glasses, mustache and a smile.

    Peter: "Who are you?"

    Shape: "Someone who was present at your conception and birth"

    Peter: "Are you my father?"

    Shape: "In a sense"

    Peter: "Why are you here?"

    Shape: "To say goodbye"

    The shape begins to shimmer out of existence

    Peter: "Wait, I have so many questions!"

    Shape: "Excelsior, my son... "

    And then Peter was alone

  7. 95 years old is a great run in this life.

    Stan Lee provided more than entertaining scripts during Marvel's silver age & early bronze age, he also provided a moral & ethical compass for many young readers who, sadly, may not have had one elsewhere---and that's saying a lot.

    Though Stan Lee was Jewish by birth & an atheist (per interviews) he read the King James Version of the Bible for ideas, plots, story titles, and, in Thor's case, speech patterns. The Watcher was derived from the book of Daniel. Silver Surfer was so Messianic in content in the Buscema-drawn series that he was clearly an allegorical Christ figure (Captain America makes a direct reference to Jesus Christ while pursuing Batroc in a late '60s Lee script).

    We lost Kirby quite early, and Ditko just recently...and now Stan Lee.

    Chris A.

  8. RIP Stan Lee. Yes, the titan of comics has passed. I just want to say thank you Stan for all the gifts you gave to the world. I know my life and those of many other millions of fans around the world have been enriched by your creative efforts.


    Michael from Trinidad & Tobago.

  9. Nice tribute, Groove. Seeing those FOOM covers brought a smile to this fan' face...

  10. Somehow the news of his death passed me by. It was a comic fan from Indonesia that broke it to me. He was so close to turning 96. I was hoping he might make it to a Joe Simon 98. Or even the century mark. On the one hand I'm not surprised that he passed after Joan died last year. Couples that have been together for a long time don't seem to survive one another for very long (it was the same for Jack/Roz Kirby. On the other hand it seemed as if he's discovered the fountain of youth. I was lucky enough to have met him twice at NYC comicons when I lived there in 1990 and 1991. He was the same Stan Lee in person as the one who cornballed his way through soapboxes and letters columns: a charming New York Jew with requisite accent. As I've mentioned before I started collecting comics in 1965, arriving midway through the classic 102 issues of the Fantastic Four(and 6 annuals)he and Jack seemed to effortlessly turn out (and who with John Romita was putting the amazing in Spiderman). Stan was a tireless promoter of his beloved Marvel, drawing us all in and making us nerds feel like were all part of a special family. That was perhaps his greatest talent, aside from his prodigious writing and editing abilities. I'm on the verge of tears. No more cameos to look forward to in Marvel movies. I, and so many others, lost a special friend. Now he and the other 2 giants who made up the 2 greatest artist/writer combos of all time are gone: Joe Simon, Jack Kirby and Stanley Martin Lieber. Excelsior.

  11. Good eulogy, but Stan did film a number of cameos ahead of time, so there are more to enjoy.


    1. Really nice to know. Thanks. I'll be looking forward to glimpses of Stan the Man in the future.

  12. I do have a Stan Lee story, from almost 40 years ago. Back in the spring of 1981 the comics store that I and my friend Martin frequented in downtown Colorado Springs (I think it was still a Mile Hi Comics branch then) had Stan Lee appear for a comic book signing. Obviously heady stuff for a pair of teens who were nuts for comics.

    So the big day arrived and we showed up along with a crowd of other fans. And then Martin realized that he had already bought every Marvel comic that he collected for that month. He hadn't brought one with him, and in those days of being on a limited income (iow our allowances), he could either buy a copy of one he already had or one he didn't collect and may not have liked. It also meant that he wouldn't be able to buy the latest issue of his favorite book, DC's Warlord by Mike Grell. So Martin made the decision to ask Stan Lee to sign the Warlord comic.

    As we stood in line Martin got more and more nervous that he had made a mistake and that he would be turned down by Stan and be made a laughingstock in the store. But when his turn came up and he set the comic down, Stan Lee after hearing Martins explanation said, "Well no ones ever asked me to sign a DC before, don't worry about it kid." And then signed the comic.

    Stan Lee could have turned Martin down gently on that or gotten indignant about signing a work from the competition. But he was gracious and kind to a scared kid, and showed that he was as much about comic book fans as he was about the company that he grew into an iconic part of American culture. For that he will always be "Stan the Man" to Martin and myself.

    Excelsior ��

    1. Now you have to get Mike Grell to sign a Stan Lee comic & the circle will be complete.




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