There will never be another Stan Lee; storytelling is forever changed by his wit, charm and creativity. I have never met anyone so spontaneously inventive. This past week, like millions of Americans I gathered with my family to give thanks. In that spirit, I would like to thank Stan for the timeless characters and stories he brought to the world, for his mentorship, his friendship, but most of all for his time. For those moments when he stepped back from the spotlight and shared something private with me, even while the universe of fandom spun around him.
I remember sitting next to him at the X-Men and Spider-Man premieres, watching a long held dream coming true; going to the Magic Castle for my father’s last birthday – Stan making Dad laugh when they both knew Dad would soon be gone; and seeing Stan smile when I finally wrote something he really liked, and his eyes twinkle when he met my baby girl. These kinds of moments I will never forget and am forever in his debt. The day we met he patiently explained storytelling to a novice, a true master where you learned just by being in his presence. The most important lesson he taught me, however, was not how to write but how to live. How to treat people, what kind of man to be, what mattered and what didn’t – Stan led a singular life, extraordinary and rare, with the earned wisdom of successes and setbacks over nearly a century.
Stan was dynamic – at once sage and innocent, patient and eager, profound and infinitely playful. While he was a larger than life character, he was also very human. It was this humanity, matched with a big heart, sharp mind and limitless imagination, that made his tales so universally compelling. When we lost him, what hit me was how many lives he had touched. Everyone I knew had a picture with Stan and a story about how they came into contact with the man and left forever changed. It seems like he was everywhere, with everyone, radiating positive energy and personal magnetism.
The last thing I ever said to Stan was: “It was a privilege knowing you” – truer words I’ve never spoken. Being able to create one of his most recent works with him was the honor of a lifetime. I will miss you Stan, but I know you have just been waiting to rejoin Joan ever since she left you. Now you are back with the love of your life and the rest of us have lost a national treasure.
-Luke Lieberman, co-creator of POW! Entertainment and New Reality’s upcoming audio book and novel, and son of POW! co-founder Arthur Lieberman