Stan Lee is bowing out of comic conventions at the New York Comic Con (NYCC), making his last attendance of the meet on October 6 – 9, 2016 at the Javits Center, in New York City. The NYCC announced the news on its home page, inviting fans to hobnob with 93-year-old Lee for perhaps the final time at the October event.
According to the Washington Times, Stan Lee did not say he was bowing to physical infirmities that have been affecting his eyesight and hearing. On the contrary, the comic book icon has appeared to be in perfectly good health.
Born Stanley Martin Lieber to Romanian-Jewish immigrant parents, Celia (née Solomon) and Jack Lieber, Stan Lee adopted his pen name when he started writing comic book stories. He was at the low end of the social barometer in his early years, living in a one-bedroom apartment which he describes as “a third-floor apartment facing out back” at 1720 University Avenue in The Bronx, and bowing to a need for identity upgrade.
“I was a little embarrassed to be doing the work I did, and I figured someday I’ll write the Great American Novel and I don’t want to ruin my possibilities by having my name disliked this way.”
Despite his failure to become a novelist, Stan Lee found success by bowing to the public demand for comic book characters, which he spun off into popular movie or television franchises, with Iron Man, Spider-Man and Daredevil as prime examples. Being a comic book writer was also better than his other jobs, like writing news service obituaries and National Tuberculosis Center press releases, delivering sandwiches to Rockefeller Center offices; working as a trouser manufacturer’s office boy; ushering at the Rivoli Theater on Broadway, and selling subscriptions for the New York Herald Tribune newspaper.
According to Tech Times, Stan Lee has not mentioned bowing out of the San Diego Comic-Con, July 21 to 24, and Comikaze Expo, October 28 to 30. This gray area suggests that it is still possible to see the comic book legend in the flesh, if West Coast fans don’t mind traveling around to get to the events.
Stan Lee also said that Fan Expo Canada will be his last convention appearance north of the United States on November 11 to 13. While bowing to the restrictions of age, Lee is not exactly the sit-at-home type, as demonstrated by his most recent appearance in a cameo for Captain America: Civil War.
Stan Lee’s career goes back to working with Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, who let him write for Captain America when he was starting out. Since then, he has created such Marvel favorites as The X-Men, Thor, Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, Silver Surfer, The Incredible Hulk, The Fantastic Four, Daredevil, The Avengers, Iron Man, and Spider-Man.
In an interview with The Pitch, Stan Lee explained why the Storm family members in his Fantastic Four books get on each other’s nerves so much. He wanted to show his comic book characters bowing to real world neuroses that people can relate to.
“I was always a little embarrassed that I was writing comic-book stories because in those days nobody had any respect for them. Most parents didn’t want their children to read comic book stories. I thought, ‘What if you tried to write them a little bit better? What if you write them for intelligent people with characters who have their own personality, their own neuroses, their own problems, their own quirks, and they still get involved with adventures?’ So, just to make myself feel better, I tried writing stories about characters who, if they weren’t superheroes, perhaps could be in any normal novel. I was just doing it to make myself feel better, really.”
Stan Lee’s illustrious career has exceeded seven decades, and has given the world a comic-book writer, editor, publisher, media producer, television host, actor and former president and chairman of Marvel Comics.
Eager to please, Stan Lee kept himself attuned to changing public demand even as digitalization extended the reach of his stories, giving him an estimated net worth of between $50 million and $200 million today.
[Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]