Stan Lee’s Final Florida Convention Appearance (Or Was It?)
It’s no secret… I love Stan Lee. So any chance I get to attend one of his panels at a convention, I am one of the first to line up. Stan’s panels are always entertaining. He has a wit and sassiness that comes off as charming rather than ego, and his stories expanding over his multi-decade career are worth a listen.
I must admit, every time I see Stan is bittersweet. I love being in his presence, but I know that our time with him is not finite. He is on a final convention tour, with Megacon Orlando being his last Florida convention appearance… or is it? (See his response below.). I have had a tear in my eye on a few previous occasions, and I thought this was going to be the time that I was really going to lose it. But I didn’t. I was laughing way too hard during the whole hour we spent with Stan. That man is a national treasure.
Despite being 30 minutes late, (he had photographs and autographs scheduled before the panel), Stan was ready to go at 8:30pm, and gave us a full one hour panel, as promised. His manager, Max, sat on stage next to him to help mediate the Q&A. Stan’s hearing isn’t the greatest, and he has trouble hearing amplified sounds. After someone asks a question, Max needed to repeat the question to him off mic, and then he would respond accordingly. This did not prevent him from telling certain audience members that their questions were “lame” or too long, only like Stan can. In fact, after the first (admittingly long) audience question he said, “If they are going to keep the questions that short, we are going to be finished about 2:30.” To which the crowded roared with laughter. Oh, this is when I knew that it was going to be a great panel.
The next question was quite insightful. A fan asked, “What keeps you determined to get things done? What keeps you going?” To which he replied, “What keeps me going where?” The crowd roared with laughter. He continued, “Greed.” Then a more serious response was given:
I don’t know, this is fun. There is nothing more fun than being with fans, especially if they are your fans! If they were DC fans, it wouldn’t be as fun.
He continued, “I wake up in the morning and say, ‘Is there a fan somewhere I missed?’ And I go hunting for him or her.”
The discussion then turned to the term “True Believer”.
“Nobody has ever asked me what is it we believe. I want to have a panel some day to discuss what true believers believe. Is that alright? We’ll come back to Orlando and do it here.”
Max turned to him and asks, “So we’re coming back?” To which Stan replied, “We always come back.”
The discussion ranged from his recent cameos in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, to his trip to Marvel Island in Universal’s Islands of Adventure earlier that day.
One of the most poignant questions came from a fan later in the panel. They asked, “What would you suggest that fans do that have been inspired by you to honor and preserve your legacy?”
Believe it or not that is something I never think about. While I’m here, I’m enjoying it. When I’m not here, it’s gonna not matter to me. I’ll be honest with you, when I’m not here, I’m not going to be saying ‘Gee, I hope they are observing my legacy.’ That’s up to you. Do what you want! I set you free!
And that is one of the many reasons that I love this man.
God bless Stan Lee.