As tributes to the late Stan Lee continue to pour in from fans all over the world, a video in which the comics and pop culture legend sends some love back to the people who adored him has surfaced online.
The clip comes courtesy of POW! Entertainment, the company Lee co-founded in 2001 and was associated with for the last 17 years of his life (a few bumpy months earlier this year aside). Stan would film videos for the company occasionally, and while setting up for one such shoot, a person off-camera remarked on how much the fans loved Stan's sense of humor. His response was warm, eloquent and full of sincere affection:
“It’s an equal love-fest 'cause I love my fans. I cannot tell you how much I love my fans. Sometimes, at night, I’m sitting here, and I’m thinking, ‘Ah, what’s it all about?,’ and then I get a letter from a fan, or I read something, or I see something, or I remember something, and I realize, it’s so lucky to have fans -- fans who really care about you. And that’s the reason I care so much about the fans, because they just, they make me feel so great, and there’s something, if you think about it, that is wonderful about somebody caring about you as I care about them, whom you’ve never met, who may live in another part of the world. But they care, and you have something in common, and occasionally you contact each other. This business of fans, I think is terrific, and I love ’em all.”
Stan, sadly, looks extremely frail in the video, and it seems clear that his overall health was well on the decline at this point. But his mind and his heart were intact, and it's equally evident that the love afforded to him by generations of fans and readers was genuinely moving to the man.
His other comment, about caring for someone who you never met, who may live in a different part of the world from you, was right in line with the kind of messages that Stan incorporated into his groundbreaking early work for Marvel Comics, and which he championed for the rest of his life: that no matter how different or strange we looked or seemed to ourselves or others, we were all human beings worthy of respect, dignity, equality and love.
That message, along with his many creations and those of the artists and writers he inspired, will be one of Stan Lee's lasting legacies. The other will be the relationship he had until the end with his fans, and as this video shows, that relationship meant as much to him as it did to them.