When the news came out many people, especially old, old friends emailed me. They all know I was, and still am a huge comic book nerd. Every week when I was old enough to walk to the store, I would buy the latest comic books. They cost 10 cents. Then they went up to 12 cents. I didn’t own a copy of Spiderman#1.
Or the Fantastic Four #1.
But I did own the first copy of every other Marvel character that debuted after that. Iron Man, The Hulk, The X-Men, etc.
Every single one. I wasn’t a collector. They were just there and new, so I bought them. Years later I was in a bookstore and I found a book of comic collectibles and what they were worth. I started to tally up all the issues I remembered I owned. I stopped at 17-THOUSAND DOLLARS! So, you say, why didn’t you just sell them all? Because when I was about 17 my mother put all of them into three grocery bags and GAVE THEM AWAY TO OUR BARBER!!!
That was over 50-years ago, and I still haven’t gotten over it.
They were superheroes. I always hoped that someday, somehow, I would get bitten by a radioactive spider and become Spiderman. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I still do. I always have.
When I read about Stan Lee’s death, I got to thinking about this again. But this time, for some reason, my fantasy about becoming Spiderman changed a little. The fantasy is, you wake up one morning and you’re Spiderman. But for the first time, I started to think about what happens next.
I rush to tell my wife, Ellin.
ME: Ellin! I’m Spiderman! I can climb on walls! I can pick up a car!”
ME: You don’t understand. I’m Spiderman now. I have to use my powers to for good! I have to fight crime! I have to use my webs to swing from building to building and save people from being mugged!
ELLIN: We live in Easton CT. There is no crime here. And we live in the woods. There are no buildings to swing from. Just a lot of trees.
ME: Well, yeah. OK, I could go to New York City.
ELLIN: Really? You’re going to start commuting to the city, again? You did that for 40-years. That’s why you retired. To stop having to spend four hours a day in a car commuting.
ME: Yeah, well yes, but with great power comes great responsibility!
ELLIN: And even if you do start commuting to the city again how are you going to swing from building to building with your webs? Don’t you need a web shooter thingy to shoot all those webs? You’d have to invent it. You’re a retired TV Director, not a genius 16-year-old biochemist.
ME: I never thought of that. But still, with great power comes great responsibility!
ELLIN: I agree. You now have great powers and you have great responsibilities. First, you have the responsibility to take out the garbage. It’s overflowing. And there are light bulbs out in the bedroom.
ME: But, but…
ELLIN: No buts, garbage, light bulbs.
So, there you have it. At least I don’t have to hire anybody to clean the gutters on the roof anymore.
And I can still bench press a car.
RIP Stan Lee