Will Stan Lee Sing the Kars4Kids Jingle?
While the scene at the NASDAQ at Times Square Thursday night was
the polar opposite of the geek circus this past weekend at the Javits Center,
the one thing they both had in common was Stan Lee at center stage. The Stan
Lee Foundation, a new literacy program recently launched by Stan and his
business partners at POW! Entertainment, used only the thinnest veil of
superhero banter and trope to get the message out that they are serious—deadly serious—about solving
illiteracy across the globe.
“The Stan Lee Foundation is a foundation with a message,”
said the keynote speaker. “We want to make this a planet we can live with. That
way we can, uh… live with the planet… Er, that’s what the foundation was
Okay, I thought from the eighth row—somebody forgot
his lines. Or never took an extemp course. He should’ve had my speech coach
Jerry Lasso at Morris Hills. Three months later, you could blither all day
I turned to Richard Manitoba (aka, “Handsome Dick” of The
Dictators) who was sitting to my right and whispered, “Don Corleone, I am
honored and grateful that you have invited me to your daughter… ‘s wedding…
on the day of your daughter’s wedding.”
Richard nodded but didn’t look up from his Blackberry. He
was busy texting baseball with band-mate Scott “Top Ten” Kempner. “And I hope
their first child is a masculine
child,” he replied, then added, “Andy Pettitte is rolling over the Twins. Sixty
pitches through five innings after a 1-2-3 fifth.”
“Still bothered about that autograph?” I inquired. Stan’s handlers wouldn’t let
anyone get their books scribbled in, not even a rockstar/radio host like HD.
“Nah—I’m a big boy,” said Richard, fingers flying, both eyes on his
Blackberry. “I got my picture taken with Stan. That’s enough.”
Enough indeed. It struck me how Stan Lee reduces everyone he surveys to fanboys and fangirls. Fanpeople. I’ve known comic industry’s grand old icon as
long as I can remember. He even wrote the introduction to my forthcoming ComicBook
Babylon. But I was still jacked to get a personal invite to his
foundations’ coming out party. I’d recently helped launch the Kars4Kids
Literacy Program and was hoping to get Stan to sing the Kars4Kids jingle.
Or maybe someone else would sing it. Isn’t that Ne-Yo the R&B rapstar yaking
it up with Joe Quesada in the corner? Or maybe Handsome Dick will come to the
mike after the Yankees finish trouncing the Twins. I turned to my left to see
who else was available. Gene Colan was snoring audibly.
Stan’s stage appearance followed the keynote debacle. Our
man of the hour needed no script. “I don’t even know what I’m doing here!” Stan told his standing
ovation as he stood tall in front of an even taller projection screen with his
iconic signature plastered across it. “But it’s a little embarrassing, isn’t
it? Couldn’t they make my name any bigger?”
And then came the celebrity auction. That is celebs bidding
on comics-related items that Stan had signed. That is if you consider
behind-the-scenes marketing folks celebs of any sort. They certainly had deeper
pockets than yours truly. A VG copy of a late-issue Spider-Man went for
50-times its Overstreet value. Dutch courage, they call it. Pay heed, would-be
auctioneers, to the value of an open bar.
Auction over. Sony and Sega and IMG execs and their young,
scantily clad dates are back at the bar for refreshers. Handsome Dick finally
looks up from his Blackberry.
“Yankees win,” he said, John Sterling-like. “Theeee Yankees win!”
And then he noticed the young women at the bar for the first
time. “I don’t get it,” he said. “Look at those shiksa noses, willya? They’re so small! How can they even breathe out of those things?”