|Stan "the Man"|
At the same Fandomfest gathering where I met William Shatner last year, I also met up with the great Stan Lee. I first met Stan back in the '80s, when his autographs were free. Now they're $60 per. I had him sign a nice hardcover of the first Spider-Man Marvel Masterworks, now my most prized possession. Geeky but true.
It’s kind of ludicrous, but I admit I wanted to ask Stan for a "Stan Lee" nickname. During Marvel Comics’ heyday in the ‘60s, Stan used to give the creators a goofy nickname in the credits. For example, “Rascally” Roy Thomas, Jack “King” Kirby, “Jazzy” John Romita. Stan himself was Stan “the Man.” I guess I just wanted to tell people Stan Lee gave me an official nickname so I could run around calling myself "Joltin'" Jerry or something.
Stan’s line was around the convention hall and out the door. The convention staff were moving folks through quickly and the line moved fast. Still spry at 90 years old, Stan was all smiles, thriving on love from middle-aged fanboys like me. I approached Stan and handed him my book, which he signed.
“Hi Stan,” I said. “My name is Jerry Smith, would it be possible to get a Stan Lee nickname?”
While Stan’s health is great, in that crowded hall his hearing wasn’t so much. He misunderstood me and thought I wanted my autograph personalized. He smiled and said, "I'm not supposed to, but ... " He took my book from the security goon who had swept it up, intending to write "To Jerry" on it. The goon actually snatched it out of his hand and snarled to me, "Sorry, signature only."
Stan looked at me like he just ran over my puppy, very disappointed he couldn't get me what he thought I wanted.
I smiled back and said, “Don’t worry about it, Stan. There's always next year.”
You gotta love Stan the Man.