On January 30, 2019, a public remembrance celebrating the life of Marvel Comics mastermind Stan Lee was held on his square outside the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. As military bagpipers played a soulful Amazing Grace, fans dressed as various members of the X-Men and Avengers respectfully stood by.
Organized by Lee’s company POW! Entertainment, the memorial was moved inside the theater for a private gathering with prominent executives, actors, and artists Lee had worked with, as well as fans. Filmmaker Kevin Smith was among the hosts of the event, which included additional speakers, musical performances, an art exhibit, and costumes and props from Lee’s creations and Marvel-movie cameos.
“This was a guy who spent his life dreaming of writing the great American novel, and he didn’t realize he was doing it, over and over and over again,” said Smith. “The world didn’t need another ‘In Cold Blood.’ It needed Spider-Man.”
X-Men producer Tom DeSanto commented on the global reach of Lee’s creations, saying “I’ve seen kids dressed up as Spider-Man in Beijing, Boston, and Barcelona.”
Throughout the evening, such stars as Vincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil), Clark Gregg (The Avengers), Laurence Fishburne (Ant-Man and the Wasp), Mark Hamill (Ultimate Spider-Man), Wu Tang Clan member RZA, Chris Miller and Phil Lord (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) participated in a lively discussion of Lee’s legacy. Lee’s daughter J.C. Lee also made a rare public appearance, quickly thanking fans and reporters.
In between Lee’s Marvel movie cameos on screen, came video tributes from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, William Shatner, and Mike Colter (Luke Cage). Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti also posthumously awarded Lee a key to the city, engraved with his catchphrase “Excelsior!”
Lee, described as “the literary titan of comic books” and “one of the best humans to ever walk the earth,” passed away on November 12, 2018 at the age of 95. The face of Marvel up to the very end of his life, Lee co-created most of heroes in both the Marvel comic and cinematic universes.
As hundreds of fans filed out of the theater sining the Spider-Man theme song, Lee’s road manager Max Anderson told the crowd: “Stan isn’t looking down on us, he’s here with us. Inside all of you. Share your stories, that’s how Stan lives on.”