For these last few days, the world has been mourning the loss of Stan Lee, with countless fans and acquaintances taking to social media to express their sorrow at his passing and their gratitude for the legacy he left behind. Among the many associates who’ve shared their thoughts on the legendary comic book creator is Roy Thomas, who was Lee’s immediate successor as editor-in-chief at Marvel Comics and who met with the man shortly before his death.
Speaking to Bleeding Cool, Thomas reminisced about Lee’s final days, acknowledging that while he remains saddened by Lee’s passing, the 95-year-old writer seemed ready to go:
“I’m sadder than I can say that Stan has died… even though I know, from my recent phone conversations with him, that he was more than ready to leave this Earth. I’m so grateful that, by sheer circumstance, I got to spend a half hour or so with him this past Saturday, less than 48 hours before he passed away.”
There’s no doubt that the man led an extraordinary life, and the mass outpouring of tributes to Lee serves as a testament to the lasting mark he left on our culture.
Thomas went on to observe how Lee became tired in his final days, but was still open to doing more of his patented movie cameos:
“At that time, it was obvious that he lacked much of the old Stan Lee energy that everybody had got to know at conventions and in movie cameos, but when I asked him about future cameos, he expressed a real interest in making them, if he could find a way to do it without their [Sic] being too much trouble.”
Though that “old Stan Lee energy” may have left him in the end, it’s clear that his visible passion made a strong impression with the people he met. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige, for instance, recently recalled the infectious enthusiasm that Lee brought to every one of his cameo appearances, saying that “the energy would skyrocket when he came on the set.”
Hugh Jackman recalled much the same spark in the man when the X-Men star appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, describing Lee as “a true gentleman that had this glint in his eye.” Chris Evans, meanwhile, tweeted a couple of days ago that the writer “exuded love and kindness.”
Though most of us never had the privilege of knowing Stan Lee in person, his personality persists in the world and the characters he helped create, and so long as his legacy continues to evolve and find new audiences, his memory will remain in our midst.