Stan Lee Talks Comics and Cosplay

Original Article Date: June 2018

Think about some of your favorite cosplayers. Now think about something that all of them have in common. Regardless of who is on your list, chances are, at some point, all of them have cosplayed something directly related to the amazing career of Stan ‘The Man’ Lee.

Born as Stanley Martin Lieber, the Marvel Comics Legend has been working in the comic book industry since 1939. He broke in to the business as an assistant while still a teenager. With duties such as going on lunch runs, filling ink-wells, and erasing pencil lines on inked pages, Mr. Lee was still finding his place in life. “I wanted to be everything,” Stan recalled of his teenage years. “Anything I would see, I would go to a movie and want to be a cowboy. I wanted to be a soldier, I wanted to be an actor in a movie. I also wanted to be a writer, but that was just one of many things I wanted.” Much like the cosplayer in all of us,

Stan would eventually find a way to be nearly every type of ‘character’ he ever wanted to be. Even for fans that aren’t familiar with his early work in the comic book industry, they still recognize him as ‘that guy in all the Marvel movies!’ Spotting the comic icon on the big screen has become one of the audience’s favorite moments during the movie going experience. “The first one I did was the X-Men. Bryan Singer, the director, threw me in the background in one scene. And then in a Spider-Man movie they threw me in the background. Then little by little I think one director thought ‘Hell, if he uses Stan then I’m going to use Stan.’

And now it’s become a whole thing. In fact, I was wondering, maybe I shouldn’t call them cameos anymore…maybe I should call them supporting roles.” Stan said with only a slight amount of jest in his voice. As many con-goers already know, Mr. Lee, for the most part, retired from conventions last year. But the fact that the 95-year-old comic creator continued to work the road as long as he has led many people to ask ‘why?’

With everything he has accomplished in his career and life, why has he continued to attend conventions for all these years? “I never really thought of it,” he began with a chuckle. “They have the shows and they invite me…and I am so pleased to be invited. To know that people are still interested in what I’ve done, that it’s just hard to say no. I love to come and see how enthusiastic the fans are and I love to see how every year these conventions are bigger and bigger, and more and more people attend,” Stan explained while looking around at the sea of convention goers.
“I realize how important entertainment is to people. I-I never was really aware of it when I started out writing for Marvel Comics. I was almost a little bit embarrassed that I was just writing comics because I felt that other men were building bridges and doing things that matter…manufacturing things; and I was just writing these little stories. But now that I see how important comic book stories have been to the public, and how they care more about them now than ever before…especially

Think about some of your favorite cosplayers. Now think about something that all of them have in common. Regardless of who is on your list, chances are, at some point, all of them have cosplayed something directly related to the amazing career of Stan ‘The Man’ Lee. 

Born as Stanley Martin Lieber, the Marvel Comics Legend has been working in the comic book industry since 1939. He broke in to the business as an assistant while still a teenager. With duties such as going on lunch runs, filling ink-wells, and erasing pencil lines on inked pages, Mr. Lee was still finding his place in life. “I wanted to be everything,” Stan recalled of his teenage years. “Anything I would see, I would go to a movie and want to be a cowboy. I wanted to be a soldier, I wanted to be an actor in a movie. I also wanted to be a writer, but that was just one of many things I wanted.” Much like the cosplayer in all of us, Stan would eventually find a way to be nearly every type of ‘character’ he ever wanted to be. 

Even for fans that aren’t familiar with his early work in the comic book industry, they still recognize him as ‘that guy in all the Marvel movies!’ Spotting the comic icon on the big screen has become one of the audience’s favorite moments during the movie going experience. “The first one I did was the X-Men. Bryan Singer, the director, threw me in the background in one scene. And then in a Spider-Man movie they threw me in the background. Then little by little I think one director thought ‘Hell, if he uses Stan then I’m going to use Stan.’ And now it’s become a whole thing. In fact, I was wondering, maybe I shouldn’t call them cameos anymore…maybe I should call them supporting roles.” Stan said with only a slight amount of jest in his voice. 

As many con-goers already know, Mr. Lee, for the most part, retired from conventions last year. But the fact that the 95-year-old comic creator continued to work the road as long as he has led many people to ask ‘why?’ With everything he has accomplished in his career and life, why has he continued to attend conventions for all these years?

“I never really thought of it,” he began with a chuckle. “They have the shows and they invite me…and I am so pleased to be invited. To know that people are still interested in what I’ve done, that it’s just hard to say no. I love to come and see how enthusiastic the fans are and I love to see how every year these conventions are bigger and bigger, and more and more people attend,” Stan explained while looking around at the sea of convention goers. “I realize how important entertainment is to people. I-I never was really aware of it when I started out writing for Marvel Comics. I was almost a little bit embarrassed that I was just writing comics because I felt that other men were building bridges and doing things that matter…manufacturing things; and I was just writing these little stories. But now that I see how important comic book stories have been to the public, and how they care more about them now than ever before…especially with all these wonderful movies that have been made with the comic book characters. I’m really so happy to come to these.”Anyone that has been to a convention with Stan Lee in attendance knows that he stays busy from open to close. Whether it’s meeting fans, signing autographs, or speaking at panels, Mr. Lee seems to barely have time for a lunch break. However, that hasn’t stopped him from still finding time to make friends with several cosplayers in the industry. One of which happens to be Miss Ivy Doomkitty.“I met her through my friend Max. She was a friend of his that dresses up at various comic book conventions as different characters. If you can do that, and obviously she can, I think it must be a fun way to make a living.” The Marvel legend also told us about the nickname he came up with for her. “Her nickname is Quick-Change because she’s able to go from one role to another so quickly.”

Ivy, however, is only one of the cosplayers that Mr. Lee loves to see at conventions. Who are the others? Well, all of them of course! “It’s so satisfying to see that the characters I dreamed up years ago have caught on with the pubic and people are actually willing or eager to dress like those characters. It really is an indescribable feeling,” he said before taking a long pause. “It’s wonderful, and I’m flattered as Hell. However, I am a little annoyed when I see those that dress up as Spider-Man, that I don’t see them shooting webs or sticking to the walls…but I guess you can’t have everything,” he said with his trademark smile and laugh. “But Al, when I was younger, I did the same thing. I used to go to see cowboy movies and I would see Errol Flynn, or anybody, any famous cowboy star. I’d go get myself a little toy gun belt and a cowboy hat. Yszou know, when I was about eight, nine, ten years old. And, I was playing cowboy the same as they [cosplayers] play.”

So, essentially, the father of comic book cosplay has been a fan of character dress-up for over 80 years now. And during my time with ‘The Man’ it was easy to see that every Marvel cosplayer he sees, brings a smile to his face. A beautiful way to give back to a person who has given us all so much throughout our entire lives. And to that, I can only think of one thing to say…Excelsior!

with all these wonderful movies that have been made with the comic book characters. I’m really so happy to come to these.”
Anyone that has been to a convention with Stan Lee in attendance knows that he stays busy from open to close. Whether it’s meeting fans, signing autographs, or speaking at panels, Mr. Lee seems to barely have time for a lunch break. However, that hasn’t stopped him from still finding time to make friends with several cosplayers in the industry. One of which happens to be Miss Ivy Doomkitty. “I met her through my friend Max. She was a friend of his that dresses up at various comic book conventions as different characters. If you can do that, and obviously she can, I think it must be a fun way to make a living.” The Marvel legend also told us about the nickname he came up with for her. “Her nickname is Quick-Change because she’s able to go from one role to another so quickly.”

Ivy, however, is only one of the cosplayers that Mr. Lee loves to see at conventions. Who are the others? Well, all of them of course! “It’s so satisfying to see that the characters I dreamed up years ago have caught on with the pubic and people are actually willing or eager to dress like those characters. It really is an indescribable feeling,” he said before taking a long pause. “It’s wonderful, and I’m flattered as Hell. However, I am a little annoyed when I see those that dress up as Spider-Man, that I don’t see them shooting webs or sticking to the walls…but I guess you can’t have everything,” he said with his trademark smile and laugh. “But Al, when I was younger, I did the same thing. I used to go to see cowboy movies and I would see Errol Flynn, or anybody, any famous cowboy star. I’d go get myself a little toy gun belt and a cowboy hat. You know, when I was about eight, nine, ten years old. And, I was playing cowboy the same as they play.”

So, essentially, the father of comic book cosplay has been a fan of character dress-up for over 80 years now. And during my time with ‘The Man’ it was easy to see that every Marvel cosplayer he sees, brings a smile to his face. A beautiful way to give back to a person who has given us all so much throughout our entire lives. And to that, I can only think of one thing to say…Excelsior!

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