Stan "the Man" Lee
I just heard that Stan "the man" Lee, is gone. He was 95 years old.
He was everything you have heard and so much more. I am not going to mention whether Kirby was the real engine of the Marvel revolution or not. It’s like trying to parse which Beatle song was written by Lennon and which was McCartney, because it doesn’t matter. Neither one of them wrote better songs than when they were in the Beatles.
Like so many kids, when I was around 9 years old, I called Marvel and asked to speak to Stan. As I completely expected, he picked up. While we conversed, like old pals, I told him about my parents separation and inevitable divorce and what that meant to me. My mother, coming home from work, wanted to know who I was talking to. I told her and she took the receiver from me suspiciously. I never found out what they talked about. My mother walked around the apartment laughing and chatting, like when the baby sitter called her boyfriend. She stretched our ten foot phone cord to its near breaking point trying to get a little privacy.
A week later, Stan took my mother and I out for lunch. I came home with a huge stack of silver age Marvels, a handful of autographs and some serious criticism of my drawing and story-telling skills.
I got better, I hope. Stan was a terrible flirt and it was a fun time for my mom, who never thought of comics as more than one of her slightly nerdy son's hobbies. Okay, a little more than slightly. But not much!
Stan schooled her, he explained how comics led to other things, books, television, movies! He explained that every director he ever met was a comics fan and how he himself was an influence of the French new wave of cinema.
He made a sad little boy's day, that day, so long ago, I will miss him. Excelsior