“Heroes, Villains, and Me” is a periodic article on Geeky KOOL by Larry Litle about the world of comic books and my reaction to it. “Heroes, Villains, and Me” is not a comic book review article. I will write about current events, speculation and rumors, or my own wacky thoughts about the world of comic books and related stuff.
A couple of weeks ago, the feared but expected news came down. Stan “The Man” Lee will no longer be signing comics or items at conventions. In fact, he will not be signing anything in public. He might sign some limited items in special private settings but that is it.
I knew this day was coming soon. After all, Stan Lee is now 95 years old. He has suffered from some health issues. Signing items at conventions is a long full day that most of us would be worn out from never less a 95 year old who is very popular with the geek and convention crowd. When you add in the germs from various fans, you have a scenario that could be deadly.
I am deeply sadden by this news. A few years ago, I purchased The Amazing Spider-Man 42 with the intent that I would get Stan Lee to sign it. This issue is significant for me because it has Peter’s first meeting of Mary Jane with her famous line, “Face it tiger…you just hit the jackpot!” Mary Jane is one of my favorite characters and this is an important comic for me.
I shelled out the cash for this issue for the nostalgia but also to give me something for Mr Lee to sign. I had been at C2E2 prior with nothing for Mr. Lee to sign. I became determined to get Stan’s signature no matter how outrageous the prices were for his signature. I finally had my item for his coveted signature.
Because of scheduling issues with Stan Lee and my schedule for what conventions I would attend, I was never again at a convention that Stan was at. I was heart broken when he had to cancel certain appearances. I knew Stan’s time of signing would soon be over. Now it is official.
Lots of people wanted to meet Stan Lee and to get his signature. His line is always a mile long even when the convention floor just opens. I am not alone on the desire and the disappointment that it will never happen.
I know some signature seekers were hoping for signatures to up the value of their books. Maybe even hold onto it until Stan is long gone and then cash in on it. That was never me. It was never about adding value to a comic for me. It was purely about my admiration for the man and his creations (co-creations in most cases).
Stan Lee represents to me the best parts of comics. This is purely my perspective and what he means to me. He stands for complex characters that we can relate to. He stands for the little guy like Peter Parker. He is about taking something that others find worthless like comics and putting your imprint and soul into it and making it great.
Stan’s impact over me was more than just the awesome characters and stories. In the 70s and 80s as a kid, I read his Stan’s Soapbox articles every month. He helped shape my views by him using that platform to share his.
Stan Lee influenced me to be a writer. I wanted to create awesome stories and characters like Stan had done. Stan made it KOOL to be a writer for the 7 year old me. Since then, writing has been one of my great passions.
I am sad that I will never get my The Amazing Spider-Man 42 signed by Stan the Man. But I am happy that Stan is taking care of himself. Hopefully he will be with us for several more years to come.
Stay Geeky My Friends!