For most if not all comic fans, meeting Stan is the holy grail of convention experiences. And I thankfully got to meet Stan this past September at Fan Expo in Toronto. My friends Tony, Kerry and Matt made the hike up to the Great White North to meet the legend himself. He seemed like he enjoyed meeting the multitude of fans coming out to meet him. He had a handshake for everyone that came by to say hello.
We actually arrived 15 minutes after his photo line had formed and since we were group "B", we thought we wouldn't be able to get our photo, since Stan only had limited times for photos. Thankfully, a staff member escorted us to the a sweet spot in line. So, finally, after about only 5 minutes, we waltzed into the photo booth, took our photo and were done. But not before we got a nice handshake from the man himself and I received a "Happy Birthday, kid!" from Stan, after telling him it was my birthday. That's something to remember!
And yes, I know I'm wearing a Batman shirt. DC 4 life, son.
So, Stan's photo and autograph sessions were in separate parts of the building at different times. In fact, technically, they were in different buildings that were connected to each other through a lot of escalators and sky-walks. On top of that, the distance to walk back and forth was pretty grueling if you have back issues like me. Be that as it may, I got my autograph ticket for Stan and waited in a nasty line. But what item did I want Stan to sign? It's easy. Gotta get him on my Marvel Universe coffee table boo, already signed by a bunch of artists and writers. I've been collecting signatures in it for close to 15 years and the one name I needed the most, was Stan. Finally, I had my chance! The moment I've been waiting for since I started this project!
|It'll look great with Stan, won't it?|
The line wrapped around the signing booth multiple times and the waiting time was about 3 hours. But thankfully, I met some of the nicest fans in the building. Which came in handy because as I progressed in line, I apparently dropped my signing ticket. I immediately panicked and searched through my backpack many times. Thankfully, fans were vouching for me with one of the signing officials. One random woman even came over to help me dig through my backpack. Someone I had never met before just willing to help me. Believe everything they say about Canadians being uber polite and amazingly awesome.
So I went back to the ticket table. The guy who was selling tickets remembered me and gave me a spare ticket. Something he didn't have to do. But, since he recalls a conversation we had previously, he knew I wasn't fooling around. I thanked him and when I got back in line, thanked everyone for their help, and waited another hour.
It was worth it. Stan signed as quick as he could. At his age, he can't afford to just chat with everyone and have long, drawn out conversations. But, he seemed pretty pleased with my book and liked what he saw as he saw all the names in it. He gave me another handshake, a big smile and I was out. And it was worth all the back pain I had later.
Of course it had to be in gold. You don't get Stan Lee in just black sharpie. This is the...ahem...gold standard we're talking about here...
So that's my experience meeting Stan. It was worth the 3 hour drive from Rochester to Toronto to meet the man himself. Brief, yes? Memorable? Absolutely. There's something great about meeting Stan.
Happy birthday, Stan! Thanks for everything you've done for us fans!