As Michael Jackson is to music, Michael Jordan is to basketball, and perhaps even Michael Clarke Duncan is to shadows of The Green Mile, Stan Lee is to the world of comic book super-heroes. And with the release of yet another Marvel Comics movie around the corner, there was no better time than this past Thursday night to pay tribute to the man, the still-living legend, Mr. Stan Lee.
Last night at the iPic Theaters in Pasadena, CA, the intimate premiere of the celebratory documentary With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story brought together some of the comic book world’s biggest game-changers. Lee arrived at the event with daughter JC ,and “The Man” spent about 45 minutes on the red carpet, allowing almost everyone—including even Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino of MTV’s Jersey Shore fame — to get a photo op with the man of the evening. Fans of all ages could be seen with cell phone cameras in hand as Lee, a seasoned red carpet attendee, relished in being the night’s big star. Meanwhile, guests inside the theater were greeted with tasty hors d’oeuvres and specialty cocktails cleverly dubbed “the Marvel-tini” as they anxiously waited for the screening.
The feature-length documentary covered all aspects of Lee’s life and creations through Stan’s own words. It showed his progression from lowly copy-boy at Timely Comics to ventures as a military “playwright” in World War II; through the public adversity of Stan Lee Media to his current role as head of POW! Entertainment.
Along with that chronicle, the film added interviews from other legendary comic book creators, Marvel film producers and actors and Stan’s family and friends. For hardcore comic book enthusiasts, the documentary will reaffirm their love for the legend. But major credit goes to directors Will Hess, Nikki Frakes and Terry Dougas for their ability to allow even the most novice comic fans to fall in love with Stan.
Perhaps the most touching scenes showed Stan and his wife, Joan, blissfully waltzing together in their living room while reminiscing about their wonderful 65-year marriage. It was also very touching to watch Stan take the time in this film to credit much of Marvel’s blockbuster success in the 1960s to fellow genius and longtime creative partner Jack Kirby.
While Marvel’s forthcoming Avengers film is sure to draw colossal box office numbers for its mass market appeal, fans of all levels of comics experience and passion should do themselves a favor by paying some attention to this wonderful history lesson.
With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story will premiere on premium television network EPIX as April 27th as part of Marvels Heroes Weekend.