Today we have Nan Klee, author of the Dreagan Star Saga, telling us about the times she met her idol, the great Stan Lee.
Can you picture the great hall that convened the Republican National Convention in San Diego in the late 90s? It is one Big room.
One afternoon my former husband, Douglas, and I stood in THAT massive room, which was now the San Diego Comic Con’s trading and sales floor. This was my first ComicCon. Doug had attended every Con since his mom let him ride public transportation when he was a kid. This was all new to me.
I was looking in a showcase of original Mike Biasi statuary when Douglas nudged me and pointed over my head, behind me.
“See that man over there in the white jacket?” He whispered. “That’s Stan Lee.”
Straightening, I spun and gawked.
There he was: The Great Stan Lee! My hero! A Founding Father of my comic book world! The man who had a cameo in every Marvel comic film (except one).
Stan the Man Lee and his comic company had shown me as a child that reading brought adventure. I had loved the action/adventure genre ever since. He had inspired the many Spider Man and Man from U.N.C.L E. stories I had written as a child.
“Be right back,” I muttered to my spouse, as my feet got me moving and in 20 feet I was standing a respectful distance for the thin, gray haired celebrity, who was concluding business with some Suit.
Mister Lee glanced at me as the other man went away, and then he smiled at me. Stan’s fans know that twinkle-in-his-eye smile. I was a slim fangirl in my forties, a young woman to him.
“Can I help you?” he asked in a good-humored tone.
“It’s all your goddamned fault,” I replied strongly as I grinned like an idiot.
“Excuse me?” was Stan Lee’s response as he looked around the hall, concerned and confused.
“I started reading your comics when I was 8 years old.” The words spewed out of my mouth. “And now I am not only qualified to but I do teach Shakespeare.”
Stan Lee focused on me, amused and speechless. He started to grin.
Much to my dismay I finished up with “And it’s all you’re goddamned fault.”
And Stan Lee kissed me.
Fast forward five years.
Alone, I systematically worked my way through the same massive San Diego Comic Con’s trading and sales floor. At the wide end of a long, long aisle, I discovered that Stan Lee was signing autographs and pictures, and the line of waiting fans snaked around and into the next aisle.
Not a collector, I made my way around the turmoil, until I was parallel to Mister Lee’s table which was ringed by fans and a few security jacks.
Finding a spot to stand above the crowd, I drew a deep breath, and shouted in my big-crowd-voice: “GOD. BLESS. STAN. LEE!”
Stan the Man looked up from his signings, caught my eyes, grinned, and then yelled back. “Hey! Hello! I know you! You teach Shakespeare.”
You can find more information about Nan Klee and her novels at her website.