When I was a kid I could not tell you a thing about Stan Lee. His creations, on the other hand, I knew well: Spider-man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four and many many more. Stan Lee gave the world the gift of his imagination and it’s hard to find someone who is not familiar with his life’s work at Marvel.
Lee passed away yesterday at the age of ninety-five. To show you his reach into the psyche of America, my own girls were near tears with his passing, both of them huge Marvel movie fans. And I thought I’d share my own Stan Lee story.
We met only once, and that briefly, when he stopped at the booth next to mine at FandomFest to sign a bunch of Stan Lee photos. We exchanged hellos and he was on his way.
It was my first major convention and I was an unknown new writer. The Hand of God was released a few months before and I was at the Hydra Publications table. On the first day, Friday, a young man stopped by, listened to my elevator pitch and bought a copy. The next morning, he returned to the table to register a complaint. When he returned to his room the night before, he started reading The Hand of God at ten p.m.. He didn’t stop until almost three in the morning and he was blaming it all on me because he had to be up early to go to his Stan Lee signing and he was exhausted.
I took his complaint as the best compliment a writer could ask for. Later in the morning, a group of people stopped by our booth all at once to buy my book. The publisher asked me what I’d done to bring the people in but I had no answer. One of the guys spoke up. “This dude was reading your book while we waited in line for Stan Lee. He finished it while we were still waiting and he started screaming because he loved the book, but the next one wasn’t out yet. We asked him what he was reading and where he got it and here we are.”
We sold around a dozen books thanks to Stan Lee, who helped jump start my career. Considering I started my reading career by burying myself in Spider-man comics, I couldn’t ask for anything better.