Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Drawing Stan Lee

Stan Lee (1922-2018), Born Stanley Martin Lieber, was a complex man. He was both worshiped and vilified, and has been described as a tireless and shameless celebrity spokesman for Marvel comics. He was an imperious comics writer and editor, a persistent self-promoter, and a credit and publicity hog. His public persona was charming, funny and affable.  He was the face of Marvel for over half a century and probably the most famous man to have ever worked in the comics industry.
Christmas card sent to me from Stan Lee
in late 1972 after I briefly interned
at Marvel
I got to know Stan when I was a young kid in the early to mid 1960's. My dad was a magazine editor at Martin Goodman's "Magazine Management" publishing company, and he shared an adjoining office with Stan for a decade, between 1954-66. Mario Puzo's editorial office was also nearby. My brothers and I would often visit and I always made a beeline for the Marvel comics offices, where Stan held court. He couldn't have been nicer to me, like a favorite uncle handing out candy, although in Stan's case, brand new Marvel comic books. Stan took a liking to me, especially after he learned I liked to draw cartoons. He'd often exclaim "Someday Drew is going to draw for MARVEL!". That was not to be although I did intern at Marvel for a week at age 14 in 1972 as part of a school work-study program. Stan was still as kind and attentive to me as ever.

Some of my Stan Lee drawings from over the years:
Stan Lee, drawn for my book Heroes of the Comics (Fantagraphics)

two pencil sketches included in my introduction to Heroes of the Comics...

a 1960's Stan

and a 1970's slimed-down, toupee'd Stan

Stan cover art for The Comics Journal, early 1990's
(the original art owned by Daniel Clowes)