LB’S NOTE: Comic book legend in his own right (or as “Conway’s Corner” puts it “minor pop culture ‘icon'”) and longtime friend and co-worker Gerry Conway voices an opinion with which I wholeheartedly agree:
Stan the Man
by Gerry Conway
Since the news of Stan Lee’s death I’ve wanted to write something meaningful about my own feelings for him, what he represented to me as a creator and as a human being, and what kind of impact his life had on my life. For many reasons (I was dislocated by the Woolsley Fire and haven’t fully settled down since our return) I haven’t had a chance to give such an in-depth appraisal much thought. Honestly, I doubt I could do a full appraisal of Stan’s importance in my life even under the best of circumstances. His work and presence as an icon and as a human being helped form who I am today. To write a full appreciation of Stan I’d have to write my autobiography.
Among my most vivid childhood memories is my discovery of the Fantastic Four with issue 4, the first appearance of the Sub-Mariner. I was nine years old, and I’d been a comic book reader for years at that point. I knew about Superman, I knew about Batman, I’d read the early issues of Justice League. I was a compulsive reader, voracious (still am)– devoting hours a day to books and stories and comics and even my parents’ newspapers. (Both my parents were avid readers. My dad read science fiction, my mom loved mysteries.) I vividly recall the astonished joy I felt when my mom took me to our local library and got me my first library card. I was six, I think, and the reality of a roomful of books just for kids seemed like a gift from heaven. I won all the reading awards at school– any competition for reading the most books in a year was over as far as I was concerned the first week. By nine, I’d already graduated from “age appropriate” books for pre-teens to Heinlein’s juveniles, Asimov’s robot stories, and the collected Sherlock Holmes stories of Arthur Conan Doyle. I was a total reading nerd.