Face Front, One Last Time

Though not unexpected, it is certainly sad to mark the passing of Stanley Martin Lieber, known the world over as Stan Lee, at age ninety-five.

“Silver Age Stan,” circa the mid-1970s

Much has already been written about Stan’s career while he was with us, and his obituary is appearing everywhere, including The New York TimesThe Hollywood ReporterThe Comics ReporterBBC News, and elsewhere.

I met Stan once, at a Boston convention, along with my good friend Mike Dudley. Stan was gracious to all, and personalized a bit of Fantastic Four memorabilia for Mike that had been previously autographed by both “King” Kirby and Joe Sinnott.

Stan in his later years, when the public-at-large knew him primarily through his movie cameo appearances.

And of course, in recent years I interviewed Stan in association with our own Amazing Spider-Man newspaper strip collections. Stan was forthright and upbeat, and as we wrapped up our twenty-minute session he told me, “You’re a good interviewer, and I wish you a lot of a lot of luck with those books.” A cynic might say he was only being polite, but it was a pleasant moment for me, to have a man whose work brought me years of enjoyment give his brief connection with me a thumbs-up.

It’s natural to want to speak of one’s own brushes with a passing Great, but it also seems right to me to use this occasion to let The Man speak for himself. Here is Stan, on the Soapbox that was familiar to so many of us in our formative years, delivering a message at least as relevant today as it was when it was first published, almost a half-century ago:

Speaking for everyone at The Library of American Comics, our most sincere sympathies are extended to Stan’s surviving brother, Larry Lieber (himself just recently retired from drawing the Spider-Man newspaper comic), and Stan’s daughter, Joan (J.C.) Lee.

Rest in peace, Mr. Lee.

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