Stan Lee has already been immortalized in the minds of countless fans the world over. The man essentially created a modern mythology with Marvel Comics and, once those stories started getting adapted for the big screen in a proper way in the early 2000s, his stories changed the landscape of blockbuster cinema. So it seems very fitting that the man responsible for some of the most beloved pop culture creations in history was recently honored with a handprint ceremony at the legendary TCL Chinese Theatre.
Per ABC News, Kevin Smith was on hand to host the event and to help honor the 94-year-old Stan Lee who is arguably the most spry and active 94-year-old man on the planet. He was on hand and his usual self for the event, despite the recent passing of his beloved wife Joan Lee. Still, Stan the man was there and plenty of those who know and love him best were there as well to share some kind words during the momentous occasion. Here is some of what Kevin Smith had to say in his opening speech.
"Welcome, ladies and gentleman to that rare opportunity where you get to see justice served outside of a comic book. I have known the man we're here to honor today for over 20 years, but that's only in person. I knew him from a young age. The man we're here to honor is certainly not family but he might as well be. He didn't teach me to read, but he taught me to enjoy reading. He did not teach me to dream, but he gave me so many things to dream about. He taught me to be proud of what you make and stand up for it as well. It's not enough to just be the artist that makes it. Go out and champion it as well."
Those who are allowed to be immortalized with their hand imprints at the Chinese Theatre are allowed to do so for their significant contributions to the industry. Even though Stan Lee started out as a man who wrote comic books, he absolutely fits that bill. His creations, most notably in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the X-Men movies over at Fox, have become the biggest movies in the world for nearly two decades. The idea of cinematic universes in general truly springs from the way he had characters share the pages with one another in Marvel Comics back in the day. Plus, technically speaking, thanks to his many cameos in Marvel movies over the years, he is the highest-grossing actor at the box office ever. So there's that. Here is what Stan Lee had to say about the honor at the ceremony.
"If I had known I was so good, I'd have asked for a raise, I can't tell you what this means to me. I'm thrilled, I'm overwhelmed. All I can say is I thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I've always wondered about that expression, why is the bottom of your heart more important than the top of your heart? So I thank you with all of my heart, how's that?...Excelsior!"
Excelsior indeed, Mr. Lee. For years and years to come, the legacy of Stan Lee is going to impact the industry and those who help drive it, be it fans or creators. This is well earned. If you'd like to check out the ceremony for yourself, you can watch the entire presentation in the video below.