By Heidi Frankel
In 2017, one of my journalists recommended I experience Fan Expo in Dallas. So, I took his advice and found myself in the world of costumed superheroes, where I took pictures with Barry Bostwick (Brad Majors from The Rocky Horror Picture Show) and played with a $500 replica light saber! Now that was fun.
I was soon intrigued by a very long line of eager people. Of all the cool things to do and see at the show, what were these people standing in line for?
Then the crowd went wild: Stan Lee had appeared. Yes, the one and only Stan Lee; iconic comic book writer, co-creator of the likes of Spider–Man, The X-Men, Thor, The Avengers, and many, many others, and the massive force behind Marvel Comics.
Seeing Stan is thrilling. Getting his autograph is awesome. Meeting and talking with him — well, that is something else entirely.
I decided to throw caution to the wind… I asked his manager if I could interview Stan. There was a long pause.
With Stan, the fans always came first. So, I agreed to wait until he was finished signing autographs. Two hours later, I actually interviewed the legendary Mr. Stan Lee!
Stan was charismatic, with a smile that was friendly and inviting. He was open and willing to talk about his interests.
An active participant in both the comic book and filmmaking industries, he was always looking for his next adventure. In 2001 at age 79 years young, he co-created POW! Entertainment, Inc. Kind of apropos, don’t you think?
Stan told me one of his passions was to foster a love of reading in young kids. He did this through his multimedia company, Stan Lee’s Kid’s Universe, which publishes children’s books. One book, Reggie the Veggie, is about a vegetable loving crocodile that encourages kids to eat a balanced diet.
Another project that was dear to his heart was Hands of Respect. He designed a pin that has a black hand and a white hand, locked in a friendly handshake, with the word RESPECT over the top. His goal was to encourage people to listen, learn, and respect all mankind; to bring both unity and understanding to communities the world over.
When our interview ended, we talked a bit about my Mom and her health. Stan and Mom were about the same age at the time. Before he left to meet his waiting fans, he turned back to me and said, “Take care of your Mom.”
He walked through the curtain to greet his fans, and the crowd went wild again.
That was Stan Lee: not just an entertainment mogul, but also the creator of beloved characters who gave voice to the voiceless because he knew how to listen and understand.
Fans everywhere will miss you… and so will I.