It’s not unusual to see military bagpipers playing “Amazing Grace” at a memorial; what is unusual is seeing people in attendance dressed up like Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the Avengers. It was the perfect encapsulation of Stan Lee’s life, a wannabe serious writer who instead became the legendary creator of Marvel Comics.
Lee passed away last November 12 at the age of 95, and a number of fans & colleagues gathered outside the TCL Chinese Theatre to celebrate his work in a memorial entitled, “Excelsior! A Celebration of the Amazing, Fantastic, Incredible & Uncanny Life of Stan Lee”.
“Excelsior!” was Stan Lee’s signature catchphrase, and it was a heartwarming sight to see fans shouting it while near Lee’s engraved hands and footprints by the Theatre. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti gave Lee a posthumous key to the city with the catchphrase engraved on it.
“This was a guy who spent his life dreaming of writing the great American novel, and he didn’t realize he was doing it, over and over and over again,” said filmmaker Kevin Smith, a friend and super-fan of Lee. Other celebrity fans in attendance were Laurence Fishburne, Mark Hamill, and Tom DeSanto – all who collaborated with Lee in Hollywood.
The night also served as a tribute to Lee’s fellow Marvel co-creators, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, as well as his wife Joan, who died in 2017. The couple are survived by their only child J.C. Lee, who made a rare public appearance to thank the people in attendance.
Three films featuring Marvel characters are nominated at the 91st Academy Awards – Avengers: Infinity War (Best Visual Effects), Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Best Animated Film), and Black Panther (seven nominations including Best Picture).
“Sometimes when I’m feeling sad or I’m upset I would think of Stan Lee and this wonderful universe he’s created,” said Marvel Comics fan Isaac Suarez, who was celebrating his 14th birthday. “His soul lives on in every one of us, in every single comic and movie he’s put his life into.
Story and photos from AP