When the Universe made Stanley Lieber, it broke the mould and scattered its pieces to the far flung corners of the cosmos. The bone fide creator of just about everything Marvel, Stan became a cultural icon and his ideas, stories and characters helped to shape the lives of generations of comic book fans everywhere. He was everyone’s favourite old uncle who could make up fantastic tales in a millisecond and spin more incredible yarns than there are stars in the heavens and I, and countless thousands of others, loved him for who he was and what he gave the world. And then, in keeping with the eternal truism that nothing lasts forever, one day, he was gone and my little microcosm became darker, colder and lonelier than ever. Stan was gone and nothing would ever be the same again. Much as I know that change is inevitable, some changes are almost too much bear. Ted Stryker found it almost impossible to get over Mucho Grande and I don’t think I’ll ever really get over Stan Lee taking the next step on wherever it is his journey is going to take him and leaving the rest of us behind.
I guess the folks at Panini an Marvel felt the same way as me as they’ve put compiled this wonderful tribute to Stan in which he meets his most famous(ish) characters. Not trusting anyone else to do the job which he knew he could better because modesty wasn’t an affliction that Stan suffered, Stan authored and was responsible for creating the endearing, self-effacing and affectionate encounters in this book. Encounters that portray the vulnerable and incredibly fallible lives of his four colour children and reinforce Stan’s belief that it isn’t powers that make someone special, it’s the ability to embrace being human and all that it entails that elevates us beyond our limitations. Each and every one of the stories of the father meeting his literary offspring is accompanied by a brace of other heart-warming, touching and often funny fables, all which were inspired in some way by Stan, from some of the most famous names in the comic-verse.
Backed up by some of Stan’s most famous stories from his comics heyday, the tales he tells in this collection open the door to his soul and reveal his fun-loving, mischievous personality in a way that no amount of comic con and cameo appearances ever could. This is the master at play in his chosen medium, offering himself and everything that he was to everyone whose lives he ever touched. Stan Lee Meets… soars thanks to it’s author the limitless imaginations and talents of the all of the artists and writers involved. Stan would have loved have loved Stan Lee Meets… How could he not? After all, it’s all about his, and the four colour universes, favourite person. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, raise a glass of whatever libation you favour and be upstanding for the one and only Stan Lee and enjoy this rather splendid tribute to the father of modern comics. Excelsior… Tim Cundle