Stan’s Lee’s ‘greatest creation was himself:’ Marvel Comics legend remembered at Hollywood tribute

Stan Lee may not have had the power of immortality, but his legacy and impact on pop culture will surely live on forever.

Longtime friend and filmmaker Kevin Smith hosted “Excelsior! A Celebration of the Amazing, Fantastic, Incredible & Uncanny Life of Stan Lee” at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollwood on Wednesday night. Lee, who died on Nov. 12, 2018 at age 95, helped create some of the most iconic superheroes in history for Marvel Comics, including Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Panther, Dr. Strange and the X-Men.

“I remember Stan meeting [‘Spider-Man’ star] Tom Holland for the first time,” Sean Gunn, one of the stars of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” told Variety. “The thing you have to know about Stan is that he was always f–king with people all the time. He never stopped doing it. He said ‘Tom, everyone tells me that you’re the perfect Spider-Man, but I can’t see it.’ Tom’s face fell and Stan laughed. He looked around and winked at the people who knew he was messing around.”

73 PHOTOS
Stan Lee throughout his life
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Stan Lee throughout his life
NEW YORK - 1975: Writer, cartoonist, Marvel Comics founder and creator of Spiderman, the Hulk, Fantastic Four and X-Men, Stan Lee poses for a photo shoot in 1975 at his office New York. (Photo by Michael Tighe/Donaldson Collection/Getty Images)
Headshot of comic book author, Stan lee, wearing a dark suit and tie with a striped shirt, with a smiling facial expression, standing in front of many comic books of his creation, 1975. (Photo by JHU Sheridan Libraries/Gado/Getty Images).
NEW YORK - JULY 10: Publisher Stan Lee posing for a portrait on July 10, 1978 in New York, New York. (Photo by Santi Visalli/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 15: Stan Lee of Marvel Comics on June 15, 1978 in New York, New York. (Photo by Santi Visalli/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JULY 6: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (alternate keyword: Spiderman). Stan Lee (creator of the character 'Spider-Man' and founder of Marvel Comics), Susanna Martin (CBS photo editor) and Nicholas Hammond (as Peter Parker / Spider-Man). Image dated: July 6, 1978. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
Pasadena, CA - 1982: (L-R) Eileen Brennan, Stan Lee appearing at the 34th Primetime Emmy Awards, Pasadena Civic Auditorium, Pasadena, CA, September 19, 1982. (Photo by George Long /ABC via Getty Images)
Stan Lee is an American comic book writer, editor, publisher, media producer, television host, actor, president and chairman of Marvel Comics. (Photo by Evan Hurd/Sygma/Corbis via Getty Images)
Comic book mogul Stan Lee attending 'Comic Book Greats' on September 20, 1991 at Excelsior Productions in Van Nuys, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Comic book mogul Stan Lee attending 10th Annual Software Dealears Convention on July 14, 1991 at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Comic book mogul Stan Lee attending 'Book Autographing Day' on May 23, 1992 at the ABA Convention Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Comic book mogul Stan Lee attending the premiere of 'City of Leon' on April 7, 1992 at the Cineplex Odeon Cinema in Century City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Steven Spielberg & Stan Lee (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Stan Lee, wife Joan and Peter Paul with wife during Cast of 'Friends' Receives Friends Helping Friends Award at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/WireImage)
5/19/97 Universal City, Ca Stan Lee and the Marvel heros at the 'Marvel Mania' restaurant at Universal City Hollywood.
Stan Lee, Creator of Spider Man and other Marvel Comic Book Characters in His Los Angeles office. Marvel Enterprises Inc. was told it owes comic book icon Lee 10% of the profit it has received since November 1998 for films based on Spider-Man and other superheroes Lee created. (Photo by Kim Kulish/Corbis via Getty Images)
Stan Lee, Creator of Spider Man and other Marvel Comic Book Characters in His Los Angeles office. Marvel Enterprises Inc. was told it owes comic book icon Lee 10% of the profit it has received since November 1998 for films based on Spider-Man and other superheroes Lee created. (Photo by Kim Kulish/Corbis via Getty Images)
American comic book writer, editor, actor, producer, publisher, and the former president and chairman of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee co-created Spider-Man. (Photo by Axel Koester/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)
Comic book mogul Stan Lee and director Bryan Singer attending the world premiere of 'X-MEN' on July 12, 2000 at Ellis Island in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
382240 08: (L-R): Actors Dennis Hopper, Mickey Rooney and his wife Jan, Stan Lee pose at a preview for the Hollywood Christmas Parade, November 21, 2000 in Los Angeles, Ca. (Photo by Newsmakers)
CENTURY CITY, CA - OCTOBER 2: Comic book mogul Stan Lee attending 26th Annual Dinner of Champions Gala for Mutliple Sclerosis on October 2, 2000 at Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
372769 17: Creator of X MEN, Stan Lee attends the World Premiere of the Twentieth Century Fox Film 'X-MEN', July 12, 2000, at Ellis Island, New York. (Photo by George De Sota/Liaison)
UNITED STATES - JULY 12: Stan Lee at the Premiere of Twentieth Century Fox X-Men movie.held at Ellis Island. (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 8: Comic book mogul Stan Lee attending 'Benefit for Larry King Cardiac Foundation' on May 8, 2000 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Stan Lee at the Home Office of Stan Lee Media in Encino, California (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/WireImage)
393232 05: Comic book character creator Stan Lee speaks about his new comic book project 'Just Imagine' at the Golden Apple Comics and Collectibles store August 15, 2001 in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - AUGUST 13: Creator Stan Lee (L) and Spider-Man greet fans during the Spider-Man 40th Birthday celebration at Universal Studios on August 13, 2002 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Michel Boutefeu/Getty Images)
Stan Lee and Mark Hamill during 2002 San Diego Comic Con International - Day One at San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California, United States. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/WireImage)
Stan Lee arrives at the premiere of 'Windtalkers' held Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. (Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)
Stan Lee, the co-creator of 'Spider-Man', signed and met with fans while promoting the release of the new Columbia Tristar DVD, 'Stan Lee's Mutants, Monsters & Marvels'. The DVD is moderated by director and comic scribe Kevin Smith. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/WireImage)
Stan Lee during The 3rd Annual DVD Exclusive Awards at The Wiltern Theater LG in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/WireImage)
SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 18: Director Stan Lee (L) answers questions at the Comic-Con International Convention being held at the San Diego Convention Center July 18, 2003 in San Diego, California. The four-day event, which bills itself as America's largest comic book and pop culture convention, runs through July 20 and features well-known comic publishers and creators. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
Stan Lee and Lou Ferrigno arriving at the world premiere of 'The Hulk.' --- Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis (Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)
Stan Lee during The 8th Annual Hollywood Film Festival Awards Ceremony - Show at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by L. Cohen/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 18: Stan Lee and wife Joan arrive at The Hollywood Awards Gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel October 18, 2004 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images)
Stan Lee during 'G-Phoria - The Award Show 4 Gamers' - Arrivals at Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Stan Lee at the House of Blues in San Diego, California (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD - JULY 06: Actor Elijah Wood and Marvel Comic's Stan Lee arrive at Video Games Live at the Hollywood Bowl on July 6, 2005 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Stan Lee during 2005 Covenant With Youth Gala at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
SANTA MONICA, CA - DECEMBER 7: Comic book legend Stan Lee poses before signing copies of 'Amazing Marvel Universe' at Barnes & Noble on December 7, 2006 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)
Los Angeles, UNITED STATES: Comic book creator Stan Lee (C) poses with famous comic book heros for the launch party of the new Playstation 3, hosted by the Best Buy store, in Los Angeles, California, 16 November 2006. Throngs mobbed stores to buy Sony's eagerly-awaited PlayStation 3 from New York to San Francisco and Los Angeles as the video game console finally made its US retail debut. AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
SLUG: ST/MEDAL. DATE: November, 17, 2008 CREDIT: Katherine Frey / TWP. Washington, DC. President and Mrs. Bush present the 2008 National Medal of Arts and Humanities Medals in the East Room of the White House. Stan Lee greets President George W. Bush at the White House's East Room ceremony to receive the National Medal of Arts. (Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
Writers Stan Lee and Frank Miller arrive at SPIKE TV's Scream 2008 Awards held at the Greek Theatre on October 18, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 18: Stan Lee, founder of Marvel Entertainment Inc., poses next to a Spider-Man model in his office in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., in this file photo taken on Dec. 18, 2008. Walt Disney Co. agreed to buy Marvel Entertainment Inc. for about $4 billion in cash and stock in August 2009, adding comic-book characters Iron Man and Spider-Man to Disney's lineup of princesses and live-action stars. (Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Presenters Kristen Bell and Stan Lee onstage at SPIKE TV's 'Scream 2008' Awards held at the Greek Theatre on October 18, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/FilmMagic)
BURBANK, CA - OCTOBER 03: Nickelodeon kicked off the fifth annual Nicktoons Network Animation Festival, the first and only multiplatform animation festival and largest event of its kind in North America, with 'Creator Night.' The event, targeted to the animation community, featured a Q & A with Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee moderated by Brown Johnson, President, Animation, Nickelodeon and MTVN Kids and Family Group. The evening was hosted by actor/comedian Chris Hardwick (Back at the Barnyard) and included a musical performance by Rooney. Pictured is actor Chris Hardwick, voice of Otis on Nick's 'Back at the Barnyard' (L) and Stan Lee, Marvel Comics legend. (Photo by Charley Gallay/WireImage)
NEILL J. SCHUTZER/©2009 RAMEY PHOTO LOS ANGELES 11/30/09 STAN LEE OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS. NJSJP (Photo by Philip Ramey/Corbis via Getty Images)
Film maker Stan Lee arrives at Spike TV's Scream 2009 held at the Greek Theater. (Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 17: Writer Stan Lee accepts the Comic-Con Icon award onstage during Spike TV's Scream 2009 held at the Greek Theatre on October 17, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
FANGASM -- Episode 103 -- Pictured: Stan Lee -- (Photo by: Danny Feld/Syfy/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 15: Marvel Comics publisher/writer Stan Lee and author Paul Levitz arrives at the launch party for Levitz' new book '75 Years Of DC Comics', held at the Taschen Beverly Hills store on December 15, 2010 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)
Stan Lee poses with his new book 'Stan Lee's How To Draw Comics' during a book signing at Barnes & Noble bookstore at The Grove on November 20, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/FilmMagic)
LONG BEACH, CA USA -- Stan Lee walks checks out the Long Beach (Calif.) ComiCon on October 31, 2010. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 16: Comic book writer Stan Lee attends the 5th Annual Rock The Kasbah Gala in Support of Virgin Unite and The Eve Branson Foundation at Boulevard3 on November 16, 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images For Rock The Kasbah)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 16: Comic book writer Stan Lee attends the 5th Annual Rock The Kasbah Gala in Support of Virgin Unite and The Eve Branson Foundation at Boulevard3 on November 16, 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images For Rock The Kasbah)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 14: Stan Lee attends day 2 of New York Comic Con 2011 at the Jacob Javits Center on October 14, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, USA - APRIL 11: Stan Lee at the Los Angeles Premiere of 'The Avengers' held at the Grauman's Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, USA on April 11, 2012. (Photo by Christian JENTZ/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 30: Comic Book legend Stan Lee signs an autograph for a fan at Wizard World New Orleans Comic Con 2012 at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on November 30, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Skip Bolen/Getty Images)
Comic book writer Stan Lee attends day two of the Wizard World Austin Comic Con at the Austin Convention Center on November 22, 2013 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Suzanne Cordeiro/Corbis via Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 23: Stan Lee speaks to fans during the Wizard World Austin Comic Con at the Austin Convention Center on November 23, 2013 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Gary Miller/FilmMagic)
LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 20: Comic book icon Stan Lee unveils the renovation of Madame Tussauds Las Vegas at The Venetian Las Vegas on November 20, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Steven Lawton/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - NOVEMBER 14: Comic book writer Stan Lee (L) and Hub Network CEO Margaret Loesch attend the 13th Annual Discovery Award Dinner presented by the Zimmer Children's Museum at Beverly Hills Hotel on November 14, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 04: Stan Lee arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of 'Thor: The Dark World' at the El Capitan Theatre on November 4, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 31: Famous American comic book writer Stan Lee poses during the first day of Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo at Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, United States on October 31, 2014. (Photo by Mintaha Neslihan Eroglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 02: Comic Book Icon Stan Lee onstage on Day 3 of the Third Annual Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo held at Los Angeles Convention Center on November 2, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 07: Stan Lee signs copies of his new book 'Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir' at Barnes & Noble at The Grove on November 7, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images)
US comic-book writer Stan Lee attends a talk show during the Tokyo Comic Con in Chiba, a suburb of Tokyo, on December 2, 2016. / AFP / Behrouz MEHRI (Photo credit should read BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 18: (L-R) Publicist Jerry Olivarez, J.C. Lee, comic book icon Stan Lee and Clark County Commissioner Larry Brown pose at Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino on November 18, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)
CHIBA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 01: Stan Lee attends the opening day of Tokyo Comic Con at Makuhari Messe on December 1, 2017 in Chiba, Japan. (Photo by Jun Sato/WireImage)
CHIBA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 01: Stan Lee attends the opening day of Tokyo Comic Con at Makuhari Messe on December 1, 2017 in Chiba, Japan. (Photo by Jun Sato/WireImage)
NOVEMBER 18, 2017: ADELAIDE, SA - (EUROPE AND AUSTRALASIA OUT) Marvel Comic book creator Stan Lee speaks at the 2017 Adelaide Supanova at the Wayville Showgrounds in Adelaide, South Australia. (Photo by Brenton Edwards Photography/Newspix/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 23: Comic Book Creator Stan Lee and Keya Morgan arrive for the Premiere Of Disney And Marvel's 'Avengers: Infinity War' held on April 23, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 23: Comic book creator Stan Lee arrives for the Premiere Of Disney And Marvel's 'Avengers: Infinity War' held on April 23, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 23: Stan Lee attends the premiere of Disney and Marvel's 'Avengers: Infinity War' on April 23, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
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Smith first met Lee while filming “Mallrats” in 1995 after writing a small role specifically for the comic legend. A short meeting about how inaccurate the character was to Lee’s actual persona soon led to a 23-year friendship.

“He never gave me any advice, which was so awesome because that’s what a friend is. He doesn’t tell you how to live your life. He just enjoys the life that you live,” Smith told Variety. “He never gave me advice, but he gave me so much more than that. That man lived the life, where I was like ‘I’m gonna borrow that, gonna borrow that, gonna borrow that.’ He was never like ‘Kev, be like me.’ I just chose to be like him.”

The celebration began with a police flag raising ceremony outside the TCL Chinese Theatre and a salute by Veterans in Media & Entertainment to Lee, who served in World War II. The veterans group presented a memorial flag to his daughter, J.C. Lee.

Inside, Smith hosted several star-studded panels to remember the impact Lee had on so many people’s lives and careers. Without Lee’s early comics, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller wouldn’t have had the inspiration for their Oscar-nominated film.

“Our first encounter with him was at eight years old reading comic books. We first met him when we were 20 years old and snuck into a Comic Con after-party and ran up to him. Any other person would’ve totally been calling security over,” Miller said. “Reading his notes to the readers in those pages was the first time we felt part of something bigger. He made ordinary people feel extraordinary. To me, that’s his legacy.”

In the final pages of many of his comics, Lee penned “Stan’s Soapbox,” letters that he wrote that spoke to the reader in a humorous, honest way. No other creator developed such a direct relationship with their legions of adoring fans.

“He had such a personality that came across the pages,” “Star Wars” star Mark Hamill said during a panel. “He put a human face on what it was like to work for a comic company. He had catchphrases, like ‘Excelsior,’ and ‘Stan’s Soapbox.’ You really felt like you knew him. He branded that company. He was the figurehead. He was the guy, Stan the Man.”

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Marvel legend Stan Lee and his wife Joan
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Marvel legend Stan Lee and his wife Joan
Comic book creator Stan Lee (L) smiles as his wife Joan walks across his newly unveiled star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California, January 4, 2011. It was the 2,428th star on the Walk of Fame. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
Stan Lee, former president and chairman of Marvel Comics, and wife Joan gesture as they arrive at the 23rd annual Producers Guild Awards in Beverly Hills, California, January 21, 2012. Lee received the Guild's Vanguard Award at the event. REUTERS/Fred Prouser (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
Stan Lee, wife Joan and Peter Paul with wife during Cast of 'Friends' Receives Friends Helping Friends Award at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/WireImage)
Comic book creator Stan Lee kisses his wife Joan after she walked across his newly unveiled star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California, January 4, 2011. It was the 2,428th star on the Walk of Fame. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 18: Stan Lee and wife Joan arrive at The Hollywood Awards Gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel October 18, 2004 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 21: Comic book artist Stan Lee (R) and Joan B. Lee attend the 23rd annual Producers Guild Awards at The Beverly Hilton hotel on January 21, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images For PGA)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 04: Comic book legend Stan Lee and wife Joan Lee attend a ceremony honoring Stan Lee with the 2,428th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 4, 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 21: Stan Lee and wife Joan Lee attend the 23rd annual Producers Guild Awards at The Beverly Hilton hotel on January 21, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
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‘Stan’s Soapbox’ also united fans of all backgrounds and championed respect, equality and diversity. One of the most famous letters from 1969 that condemned bigotry went viral following his death. Wu-Tang Clan member and filmmaker RZA repeated Lee’s words to a hushed audience.

“Bigotry and racism are among the deadliest social ills plaguing the world today. But, unlike a team of costumed super-villains, they can’t be halted with a punch in the snoot, or a zap from a ray gun. The only way to destroy them is to expose them—to reveal them for the insidious evils they really are,” he read. “Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill out hearts with tolerance.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti honored him with a posthumous key to the city. The one-of-kind key was made from solid brass and wood from a fallen tree in the San Fernando Valley, where Lee spent a lot of time.

“Whether you’re lucky enough to be born here or smart enough like Stan Lee to come here, this is indeed a City of Angels. This is a place where we have heart, we have spirit—things Stan Lee was all about,” said Garcetti during the ceremony. “Whether you’re a woman, or a person of color, or LGBTQ, or a religious minor, or a senior, we start thinking of everyone as an underdog. Stan Lee did things to give us a place where we felt ourselves.”

The panels were punctuated with montages of Lee’s cameos in dozens of superhero flicks, personal videos of him signing autographs while singing, and tributes from other celebrities. Seth Green remembered meeting his wife during an encounter with Lee, and Laurence Fishburne recited “The Raven,” Lee’s favorite poem. Other panelists included Felicia Day, Tom DeSanto, Avi Arad, Amy Pascal and Joe Quesada. Video tributes from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, David Tennant, Ming-Na Wen, Mike Colter and Doug Jones also played.

Legion M, a fan-owned entertainment company, the consultancy Agents of Mayhem and Lee’s POW! Entertainment production group helped produce the tribute. Proceeds from ticket sales benefitted The Hero Initiative, a charity that assists comic creators with health expenses.

“If Stan wants to live forever, this is how it begins. He’s here tonight,” Smith said. “Sometimes I lament because I honestly think I’ve met the best f–king human being in my life, and now he’s gone. It’s tough to think about. He meant the world to everyone in this room. We’re talking about someone who didn’t have to touch personally to touch personally. This is a guy who lives in everybody’s hearts.”

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