As the lights dimmed, a hush fell over the room. The screens lit up. A video tribute to Stan Lee appeared. It’s a collage of various cameos and rolls that Lee appeared in a variety of his movies. A man among men, Lee was iconic in the world of comics, as well as to humanity.
Friday afternoon in the Marriott Imperial Ballroom, the panel of Peter David, Colleen Doran, Lou Ferrigno, Mac Lee, George Perez, Roy Thomas, and Marv Wolfman recounted their interactions with Stan Lee. Doran remembered when Lee gave her his phone number. “All I could do was stare at the card. I couldn’t believe I actually had Stan Lee’s number.” She said she kept that number in her Rolodex for twenty years, long after Rolodexes went out of style.
David was so impressed that Lee even knew his name. He recounted how Lee was the same on stage as well as off. Marc Lee told the audience about how outgoing Stan was in the office. He was always outgoing. He was a great problem solver. He was realistic, and he always cared about people.
Perez was a freelancer at first. He was called into Lee’s office. At first, he thought he was in trouble. He wasn’t. Lee had heard Perez was working there and wanted to meet him. Perez was so thrilled, he brought back books for Lee to autograph, which Lee graciously did.
Ferrigno was inspired by Lee when he was 12 or 13 years old. He was hooked on the Incredible Hulk and wanted to be just like him. It motivated him to work out daily, which eventually won him the Mr. America and Mr. Universe titles, which led to his role as the Incredible Hulk.
Roy Thomas is Stan Lee’s first successor as editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics. Even though Lee’s roll in Thomas’ life was more work related than friend-related, he states that Lee became one of the most important people in his life.
The panel was asked the question “What was Stan Lee’s best element?”
The answers, in no particular order, were:
- Emotional intelligence; he could really read people
- His never-ending energy; he was so full of life
- His appreciation of fans
- He was the spokesman for comics
- His enthusiasm
His best element? He was loved by all of us.
Stan Lee is missed, and will be for years to come. He made so many contributions in so many areas and became a part of people’s lives. When Lee passed, a little bit of us went with him.