Stan Lee, co-creator of Spider-Man, Iron Man and tons of other characters published by Marvel Comics, received the 2,428th Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Tuesday in front of the Live Nation Building in Hollywood. I’m fairly confident saying he is the first comic book creator to be recognized by this institution. Stan’s fellow POW! Entertainment executive Gill Champion and Image Comics co-founder and Spawn creator Todd McFarlane were guest speakers.
I was kind of hoping to get away from work and shoot the ceremony on Tuesday afternoon, but the realities of life had other plans. Not that I think it’s some big crucial moment in comic book history (maybe if the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce had created a new category of comic books for the Walk, but no, Stan Lee is in the Motion Pictures category) (plus I became disillusioned some when I found out years ago that recipients pay $30K to get their Star), but still it might’ve been fun to do. I knew coming off the holidays that it would never really happen, though. Plus, when Randy Newman got his Star, there were several videos posted online, so I figured others would already have their cameras ready for someone as beloved as Stan Lee. And I was right. Videos starting hitting YouTube about an hour or two after the event.
For more slick coverage, check out the LA Times’ Hero Complex blog, the LAist‘s collection of pics (like the one above), the Washington Post, and with videos of their own: CNN, Hollywood Reporter, and LA station ABC-7. Also, Variety has a quick story on the after-party Tuesday night.
Some bold statements in the above links caught my eye, and I just want to touch on them briefly, because while Stan Lee deserves a lot of praise, it’s important to keep things in perspective and not get overcome with hyperbole. Phrases like “father of the super hero” and “created or co-created 90 percent of Marvel’s characters” stand out to me most. The former is pretty silly. I could see him being called the father of the modern super hero (or some such modifying term), but he did not create or co-create Superman (that would be Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster). The latter percentage seems really rounded up. I can agree with 90% of the Marvel characters most people have heard of or know about through mainstream movies and TV shows, but not of the entire library of thousands of Marvel characters. But I’m nitpicking, so enough of that. There is no doubt that Stan Lee helped rejuvenate, even revolutionize, the super-hero genre in the 1960s, and he helped build the foundation of Marvel Comics both as a company and a fictional universe. He has also done a lot as a personality/celebrity to bring comics awareness to the masses. I know plenty of people who have never read a Spider-Man comic (or any other comic) but they know of Stan Lee because he’s a character himself. So congratulations, Stan Lee! And congratulations, comics! There’s no way I could see this happening 5 or 10 years ago.
Click through for your Stan Lee Star Video Feed complete with shaky handheld and subpar audio.