I don't have any personal anecdotes to share about the late Stan Lee. I know he didn't like the book I co-wrote about him, though it did come from a place of great affection.
Lee's DNA is all over modern comics, to the extent that the way comics and comics creators approach things can frequently be traced back to something Stan wanted, or an ambition he had. The fact that comics are frequently boiled down to concepts -- where Fantastic Four is a "comic about family" instead of a a stupendously drawn science fantasy with endearing characters -- I might argue comes mostly from Stan and his desire to be a Hollywood ideas man.
I think Lee also perfected a way for fans to extend their relationships with a certain kind of comics story by presenting a second story marking their creation, with the comics' creators replacing the characters on the page as the heroes of the narrative. Eight-year-old Marvel readers wanted to be Spider-Man. 16-year-old Marvel readers wanted to be the guy drawing Spider-Man. Lee found a way to wink at readers that never felt like he was making fun of any potential serious devotion to the narratives.
It's also noteworthy that Lee had a hosting function with the work that unlike Walt Disney's similar efforts had to push against dismissive and disdainful attitudes about the material itself. As a kid in the 1970s with no comics-reading friends, it felt like Stan Lee was sticking up for me.
I could go on forever, and probably will. Lee's reluctance to advocate for his artists as co-creators isn't comics' original sin but is perhaps its most unnecessary and therefore extra-troubling. His not-unique orientation towards film and TV as a legitimizing force has had a unique ripple effect, not all of it good. His last years had significant elements of personal tragedy. There are lessons in those last three decades for every creator of anything.
As is the case for many comics creators and comics industry professionals, I owe Stan Lee. He is certainly one of those public figures that if he were absent from my life things would have turned out very differently. I appreciate his accomplishment and in ways both good and bad his example. Excelsior and RIP.
* the way the site is set up I don't have a good way to make note of ongoing art exhibits, but since I didn't list the opening of San Francisco's Ralph Steadman exhibit, I thought I'd at least mention it here.
* Tom Tomorrow notes that Twitter was engaged with Matt Bors' account late last week. I don't see how this stuff ends with no real threat of any sort of ban harming the company.
* I am going to Comic Arts Brooklyn (CAB) tomorrow the 11th for about six hours and you should, too if you're anywhere in the region.
* You should buy as much stuff as you can stand. There's a year's worth of books out there on that floor, plus about a same-size entire group of books from cartoonists who are new or with whom most of us even close readers are as yet unfamiliar. CAB has my favorite expo floor in comics, and I think it's the strongest show we have for buying things booth to booth, top to bottom. I will be doing a lot of bending over and squinting at books.
* If you don't have a ton of time for a voyage of discovery like this and only a few other shows provide, there are some cheats. Olivier Schrauwen's Parallel Lives is the buzz book going in; you could do worse than walking out with only that book. Lauren Weinstein's September issue of Frontieir is still new and is one of the two or three strongest books of this year if not #1. She'll be there, so you can have it signed. I am interested the new Roman Muradov; Muradov is a really talented cartoonist that hasn't had a signature hit as of yet, and one hopes Vanishing Act might be the one that enters into enough imaginations that he has a strong book to book presence from here on out. And I guarantee you: even with certain books from established publishers from Drawn and Quarterly to Silver Sprocket to Conundrum to Secret Acres, there are going to be 17 more books just as interesting on that floor waiting for you find them. Dive in!
* although I think the show has taken on a more aggressive sales identity: this is New York. There is going to be worthy programming. Three spotlights jump out at me, and I'm going to try and see all three: Schrauwen's, Jim Woodring (Woodring has been great in interviews this year, and Poochytown is so, so good), and Ariel Schrag interviewed by Hillary Chute, which is a great pairing.
* enjoy yourselves, enjoy New York and I hope to see you in Brooklyn.