Comics icon and living legend Stan “The Man” Lee paid a visit to AT&T Park, home of World Series Champions the San Francisco Giants, on Wednesday evening as the Giants took on the Milwaukee Brewers. The home team paid tribute to Lee shortly before the game with a special event dubbed “The Stan Lee Experience,” featuring free food and drinks for fans, a raffle of comics signed by Lee and an exclusive print featuring Lee and Giants pitcher Sergio Romo. Giants mascot Lucille the Seal found herself dressed up in a Spider-Man costume specially tailored for the event.
Lee came out with Romo to thunderous applause from a large crowd filled with just as many orange and black Giants shirts as red and blue Spider-Man ones. Right off the bat, Lee tweaked the local fanbase when called San Francisco was his “second favorite city.” The crowd momentarily turned on him, letting loose a chorus of good-natured boos when he then revealed his favorite city was San Francisco’s biggest rivals “Los Angeles, cause I live there!”
However, Lee immediately swayed the crowd back on his side, pointing to the man at his side and saying, “Sergio is my first favorite ball player, though!”
Lee and Romo then dove right into a Q&A session with fans, including both pre-submitted questions and ones directly from the audience.
Asked which of his creations was his favorite, an enthusiastic Lee responded, “My favorite character that I’ve created is my daughter! After that, I’m partial to a character, you may not have heard of him, called Spider-Man!”
Lee revealed he most relates to genius, billionaire, playboy Tony Stark, saying the resons why “should be obvious to all of you!”
Romo got in on the fun as well. When the All-Star closer was asked which super-power he’d most like, revealed he’d like “to be able to look through walls and throw baseballs through walls.”
Lee dismissed the question, however, arguing, “[Romo’s] already got a super-power, for crying out loud!”
One fan incorrectly asked Lee when he decided to become an artist, to which Lee replied, “I never knew it, ’cause I’m a writer. But if I were an artist, man, I’d be a good one.”
Revealing himself as a long-time fan of Lee’s comic work, Romo told the writer, “I started with ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ #1 through #19.”
“Only 19?” Lee interjected. You had a stunted childhood!”
Romo listed his other favorite comic book heroes as Thor, Daredevil, Avengers, the X-Men and Nick Fury.
Recounting the story of how he came up with the idea of Spider-Man, Lee reminisced, “I was sitting around trying to think of an idea for a new hero and I saw a fly crawling on a wall. I thought, gee, that would be kinda groovy — I said groovy cause they didn’t have the word cool yet — so I thought that would be kinda groovy, a hero that can stick to walls. The next thing I needed was a name. I thought of Insect-Man, but that didn’t sound dramatic. Mosquito Man? And then I said to myself Spider… Man… And that’s how a legend was born!”
Lee joked to a fan he didn’t base any of his characters on friends or relatives because “I never had any friends or relatives who could crawl on walls or burst into flames!”
An older fan inquired, “How important was Jack Kirby to Marvel?”
Lee response was a passionate one, heaping praise on his longtime collaborator. “Working with [Kirby] was the most delightful, wonderful experience. The man was a genius. He not only drew like a house on fire, but he was a visual storyteller. He should have been a movie director. He always knew what scene to draw and how to draw it to make it look the most exciting. He was dependable, he was fast, he was wonderful. I can’t say enough good things about him. His name was Jack Kirby, and if you don’t know who he was, I’d like you to leave the audience!”
Lee and Romo posed for photos for a few minutes before departing, leaving fans with an unforgettably positive experience — though the Giants weren’t so lucky, suffering a 6-1 loss to the Brewers later that evening.