Sometimes I feel … like lunch with Stan Lee

Okay, so I don’t really feel old…but sometimes I feel old.

Let me ‘splain.

Recently one of Brittany’s teachers asked me to come talk to some of her classes about comic books, their production, etc. Her classes were graphic design classes so it was all relevant and I certainly never mind talking about comics! However, as I was talking, I mentioned one of my highlights at MarvelBu was a lunch with Stan Lee (Yes, it’s true! Me and several of the Malibu editorial crew got to have a long lunch with him. WAY cool!). The entire class of about 20 high schoolers did not respond in the “I’m impressed” fashion I usually get…so the next words out of my mouth were “you know who Stan Lee is, right?”

With the exception of my daughter, not one of them knew Stan Lee.

Not one.

And I could tell it wasn’t because they were shy or didn’t want to speak up—you can just tell. They did not know his name.



What planet am I on?

How can you not know who Stan Lee is? How can you not know him from his name plaster all over every Marvel comic for more than 25 years? How can you not know him from his voice was on all the Marvel cartoons in the 70s and 80s, exclaiming his trademarked “Excelsior!”? How can you not know him from his cameos in just about every Marvel movie? Or does he just become “that old guy who’s in all the superhero movies?”

For people of my generation, Stan Lee IS The Man! Even the people who aren’t comic nerds know him. This is the man that is partially responsible as creator or co-creator for all the characters in current pop culture that is dominating the film industry (Marv Wolfman is a close second, of course!). HOW CAN YOU NOT KNOW WHO HE IS?

The sad thing is that most of them know who Elvis is. Aside from the face that Hound Dog was a song in Lilo and Stitch, for some reason, they just know. Oh, it’s not that I’m dissing Elvis, he certainly has his place in pop culture. But we’re talking Stan Lee. In 100 years, no one will know Elvis outside of a history book. Spider-Man, and possibly other Lee characters, will live on in the literary and pop culture worlds for generations. And really, there is no comparison of Jailhouse Rock to The Avengers.

See? Now you know why I feel old…but don’t really feel old.

I’m through ranting now…move along. Nothing more to see here.

Don’t know who Stan Lee is! Sheesh!


Filed under Columns

15 responses to “Sometimes I feel … like lunch with Stan Lee

  1. Chris

    I bet they know who Bruce Springsteen is …

  2. The only Elvis I recognize is Elvis Costello.

    Your post made me sad.

  3. Jerri Mann

    Roland. What a thing to say with a mother and aunt who are BIG Elvis fans. I do know who Stan Lee is, but Elvis is king.

  4. That’s not feeling old, that’s just them being dumb. They watch all his movies I’m sure but don’t care who invented them.

    BTW- love the new header of your site. 🙂

  5. Soon they will be speaking of Star Wars [1977] as classic SF, and only one out of four will know who Mark Hamill is – and that, because he’s the guy who does the Joker on those old animated Batman cartoons!

    There’s nothing more sad than realizing your hot, contemporary geek knowledge is not only old, but unimpressive and nearly useless.

    To the COOL generation…

    “Hey KID! I got COMICS older than you! I got a Spider-man T-shirt older than you! Heck, I got UNDERWEAR older than you!”


  6. Oh my goodness! I’ve never even opened a comic book and even I know who Stan Lee is, and yes, he is the man! My husband reminds me at every new Marvel movie release.

  7. Chris

    Welcome to my world, Roland.

  8. If it makes you feel any better, Stan Lee doesn’t know who we are, either. I know of what I speak. He’s one of the most delightful people in the world, but man is he bad with names!

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