There was an enormous crowd of pop culture fans out for the Phoenix Comicon on Sunday. It might have just been our imagination, or maybe it was because comic book icon Stan Lee was in the house, but it appeared the number of attendees on the last day of the Con was almost as large as Saturday’s crowd. A sure sign the convention is growing.
We spent the last morning of the convention securing a couple of signatures, including prized autographs from Marvel Comics legends, artist Herb Trimpe and writer Len Wein; and we also picked up a couple of art prints that had caught our eye a couple of days earlier. (Talking awesome cool “Six-Gun Gorilla” prints by Wes Huffor and Arizona artist Shelby Robertson.)
There were several autograph lines packed with people, but after being chastised and chased away for taking a picture of the line (that’s the line mind you – at 50 yards away from a certain celebrity) we easily decided to leave the hounds to their own devices and moved on to check out some of the last-day bargains being offered at many of the amazing vendor tables.
As the clocks passed noon we moved on to the main event of the Comicon, the ballroom panel with renowned comic creator, Stan Lee. The hall was packed with Stan-fans, but thanks to the kind Comicon staff we were able to find a spot on the floor right up front, camera in hand (see photo gallery below.)
It was a fun surprise to have Todd McFarlane come out and introduce Lee, and he told the story of how he first meet the legend, happening upon a comic convention and then sitting at “the Man’s” table all day; picking his brain about the comic book and storytelling business. One thing is for certain, the days of giving the fans that kind of access is, unfortunately, long past for these two gentlemen.
When Stan took the stage the crowd went nuts, it was immediately evident that, despite McFarlane’s political issues with the Marvel corporation, the two men have a genuine affection for each other. But then who doesn’t love Stan Lee? The two tossed loving jibes at each other for a bit, and Lee even presented the gift of a fancy guitar to Mr. McFarlane before the two got down to a question and answer session about Lee’s illustrious career, in which he created or co-created some of the biggest names in popular culture (i.e. Fantastic Four, Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, The Avengers, etc.)
Lee’s bluster and never-ending marketing prowess, especially for himself, is always entertaining to listen to, and he told stories about his early days in the comics business, sang the praises of his co-creator Jack Kirby, and even poked some fun at the “esteemed competition” over at DC Comics.
As if Lee and McFarlane were not enough fun, Michael Rooker (from The Walking Dead television show and the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie) appeared on stage about halfway through the event, and he gave Todd a hand explaining the audience questions Lee, who at ninety-one years old has become a little hard of hearing..
Stan enchanted the crowd and completed the show by telling the story of how he came up with the idea for his favorite character, Spider-Man. He then ended the event with his signature catch phrase, “Excelisor!”
Many fans would then go from the panel on to a meet and greet with the comic book icon, but for us, Uncle Stan’s sign-off seemed the perfect way wrap-up the 2014 Phoenix Comicon. Onward and upward!
Check out our photo gallery of images (below) from Sunday’s 2014 Phoenix Comicon! Click HERE for all of ourPhoenix Comicon 2014 coverage.