Outside: Lee-mania. Inside: Comic-con’s spiritual godfather is checking up on us
Stan Lee has something to get off his chest. “Most people who write the word ‘comicbook’ write it as two words,” he says. “Don’t ever let them do that again. When you do that, it means a ‘funny book’. that’s not what comicbooks necessarily are. no, it’s a comicbook. One word! You see to it. I will check on you later.”
If anyone is qualified to know how comic boo — sorry, comicbook — should be spelled, it’s Lee. In a blur of creativity during the ’60s that rivalled the Beatles’ output around the same time, this is the man who co-created the likes of Spider-man, the X-men, the hulk, the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, the avengers and more. Without him, comicbooks would probably still be an underground concern. Without him, you could argue, there wouldn’t even be a Comic-con. talking to Empire in his two-floor suite at a San Diego hotel, Lee shies away from a statement so all-encompassing. “I wouldn’t say that. the Comic-con is really a product of all the work that everybody does in the comicbook business. It’s a pop-culture thing, more than just comics. Of course, comics are at the head of pop culture. Don’t you forget it!”
now 94, Lee was recently bereaved by the loss of his wife of 69 years, Joan. But he’s still a force of nature, and around the halls and corridors of the Con, he’s very much the Man. During our interview, Michael Rooker shows up to pay his respects, bellowing Lee’s catchphrase, “excelsior!”, and kissing the elder gentleman on the forehead. When he goes outside, it’s Lee-mania. So, what’s it like being Stan Lee at Comic-con? “I’ll show you why I’m such a good interview,” he deadpans. “It’s nice.” all hail the king of comicbooks.