Underground Film Journal

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Seeing Stan Lee

By Mike Everleth ⋅ November 1, 2006

So, this morning I headed on down to the grand re-opening of the Golden Apple Comics store on Melrose Ave. This is probably one of the most famous comic book stores in the country — I certainly knew about it well before I moved to Los Angeles. Well, they moved as of today from one end of Melrose to the other. It’s certainly not in the “hip” section of the trendy street anymore, but it’s in a much, much better spot away from all the fashion madness.

For those who don’t know the full story (and I didn’t know all of it): Golden Apple founder and original owner Bill Liebowitz died suddenly almost exactly two years ago and the business was immediately taken over by his son Ryan, who moved to L.A. from Vegas to run things. Today’s event started with a few words by Ryan. He talked about trying to fix up the old store, which was starting to look pretty run down, but a combination of their lease being up and this nice new location just happening to open up, Ryan decided to pack up and move a mile away.

Next, Sharon, Ryan’s mom and Bill’s widow, talked for a bit and got a little misty eyed talking about her late husband. I never knew Bill, but I’ve seen Sharon in the shop a bunch of times and talked to her for quite a bit last week in the old location. (She rang me up.) Nice lady.

I’m not good at counting crowds, but the sidewalk outside the new store where Ryan and Sharon spoke was pretty dang crowded, so I’d have to guess at anywhere from 50-100 people showed up. And we were repeatedly told to stand on the sidewalk and not in the street, should a cop happen by and give the store a ticket. It was pretty jam packed.

Then the main event came outside to give the store his blessing: Stan “The Man” Lee, who walked out to thunderous applause. Stan definitely had the vibe of “Please don’t make me actually talk to any comic book fans today,” which is not to say that I blame him. The poor man could have been trampled. But he was in his typical, jovial, self-effacing persona, downplaying his role in comics history, e.g. when Sharon introduced him as an “icon” Stan quipped, “One of these days I’m going to have to look that up in the dictionary and find out what it means.” He was there to praise the Golden Apple, which he did, and of course throw out a trademark “Excelsior!”

Lastly, Stan cut the yellow ribbon in front of the door. It was so crowded, I didn’t get to see that and next thing I knew he vanished like the Invisible Woman.

The new store is great. Honestly, I wasn’t such a big fan of the old one. They kept saying the new location is bigger than the old one, but it seemed about the same to me. However, it is much nicer and newer looking and laid out better. Of course, that’s on opening day when all the comics are in nice order. But really, it looked great.

And so I didn’t look like I was just there to see Stan Lee and nosh on some free cookies — which I was — I did actually buy some comics. I picked up Michael Kupperman’s Tales Designed To Thrizzle #3 since I’m always reading raves about the book; and a copy of E-Man Recharged #1 even though Steven Grant gave this a bad review today, but I wanted something goofy and nostalgic and I’ve never read E-Man before even though the character’s been published off and on for over 30 years.

Finally, as you can see, I didn’t take any pictures and I didn’t take any video. Yeah, I’m a sucky blogger. But, I was there. I swear.