Back in 1972, Roy Thomas was Stan Lee’s immediate successor as editor-in-chief at Marvel Comics, and he also happened to speak with the late comic book creator just a couple of days before he passed away. And when these two old friends and colleagues parted ways, the last words that Lee reportedly spoke to Thomas are enough to get a true believer misty-eyed all over again.
According to Roy’s manager John Cimino, Lee’s parting words to his successor were, “God bless. Take care of my boy, Roy.” If you’re a little confused about what the writer could’ve meant, it’s reported that Lee was referring to one of his most famous creations, Spider-Man.
Peter Parker was among the first of Lee’s characters to make the jump to live-action cinema, and he’s remained one of Marvel’s most treasured and frequently revisited characters ever since. The 2002 Spider-Man film was also one of the first to include a patented cameo from Lee, and while Sam Raimi admitted earlier this week that he only begrudgingly gave the publisher a scene, the filmmaker has since warmed up to the idea.
Thomas himself has shared a few thoughts on his friendship with Lee in his later years, too, recently acknowledging that while he remains saddened by the man’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.”
The former Marvel EIC also recalled how Lee seemed interesting in doing yet more cameos in the Marvel movies. Though that sadly didn’t come to pass, we should still be seeing Stan Lee in at least a couple more pre-shot scenes next year, but even once the man stops appearing on our screens, it’s clear that his presence will still be felt in the characters he created and the fictional worlds he inspired.